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Title: Under Greek Skies
Author: Dragoumis, Julia D.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                           UNDER GREEK SKIES
                                   BY
                           JULIA D. DRAGOUMIS


                                NEW YORK
                          E·P·DUTTON & COMPANY
                               PUBLISHERS



                            Copyright, 1913
                                   BY
                         E. P. DUTTON & COMPANY

                   The Knickerbocker Press, New York



                                   TO
                         MY THREE GRANDCHILDREN
                     NICO AND ALEXANDRA YANNICOSTA
                                  AND
                              NADINE RALLI
                          I DEDICATE THIS BOOK



A LETTER TO THE ONE WHO READS THIS BOOK


Dear Little Schoolmate:

If you have read the story of Pilarica and Rafael in sunny Spain, you
know that these "Stories for Little Schoolmates" are being written
about the child you might have been, if your father and mother--or
your grandfathers and grandmothers--had stayed in Spain, or some other
far country, instead of coming across the sea to live in America. "In
Sunny Spain" told you what you might have been doing a few years ago,
if you had been a Spanish child during the Cuban war; and now this
new book will tell you how children work and play in Greece.

There are not yet many school children with Greek names in the United
States, for most of the Greeks who have come to America have been
young unmarried men, or else like Ulysses they have left their wives
and children in Greece and mean to go back to them. Of course you know
about Ulysses and his wife Penelope and his son Telemachus. He is the
hero of a long and delightful poem called the Odyssey, a Greek tale of
wanderings and adventures by sea and land. There is a story about him
in Hawthorne's "Tanglewood Tales" which I think you must have read;
but if you haven't, why not read it now? These modern Greeks who
love to sail away to new countries make me think of Ulysses, although
their adventures are not always as exciting as his were. But lately,
more and more of them are bringing their families across the sea,
and that means that they will make America their home, and presently
we shall have boys and girls with pretty Greek names, Constantine,
and Iason, and Chryseis, in our schools.

In the old days, too, not all the Greeks were like Ulysses; they
used to make colonies and homes in other lands; it is no new thing
with them, for Greece has always been a tiny country, not nearly big
enough to hold all her people, nor fertile enough to feed them. There
were Greeks in Italy and Sicily and Asia Minor, in ancient times; and
there were many Greek children in Constantinople, but they--poor little
ones!--were there against their will, for in the fifteenth century
Turkey conquered Greece, and as it was the custom in those days for
the conquered people to pay a tax to their conquerors, Greece had to
pay a tax to Turkey. But not a tax of money. No; Turkey demanded a tax
of children. Year by year, one-fifth of all the little Christian boys
in Greece were taken away from their fathers and mothers and carried
off to Constantinople, where they were educated to be the servants,
or clerks, or soldiers of the Turks.

If you have read Charles Kingsley's book of "Greek Heroes," this story
of Turkey and the little Greek boys will remind you of the old legend
of the Minotaur, that cruel, man-eating monster who made the Greeks
send him a shipful of young men and maidens every year, until at last
there rose up a hero named Theseus, who was brave enough and strong
enough to slay the dreadful beast. For nearly three hundred years
Turkey was a sort of minotaur, but instead of eating the children she
made them serve her, and she would not let them worship in Christian
churches. The story called "The Finding of the Cave" in this new
book of ours by Madame Dragoumis, tells us something of the War for
Independence which the Greeks fought, in the nineteenth century,
against the Turks, when they at last set themselves free and were no
longer obliged to pay the wicked child-tax. Lord Byron, the English
poet, fought in that war, to help the Greeks, and died at Missolonghi.

But the Greeks, in the old days, who went to Sicily and Italy and other
countries around the Mediterranean Sea, usually did so of their own
will; and of their own will they are coming to America to-day. You
will wonder, perhaps, why they did not come long ago; why, if they
loved adventure and sea-faring, they did not come with De Soto and Sir
Walter Raleigh, and Champlain, and Captain John Smith, and all those
other gallant gentlemen. But you must remember that in those years,
when America was being settled, Greece was under Turkey's yoke; she
was no longer rich and free, like Spain, or England, or even France;
she could not afford to risk money for ships and expeditions on an
unknown ocean and in lands so far away. Later, when she had won her
independence, she was kept busy putting her home affairs in order,
choosing a king, and trying to earn her own living--which is, of
course, what every nation as well as every man should want to do. But
it is because Greece has not yet been very successful in earning her
own living that her people have begun to come to America.

One of the ways in which she tried to live was by selling currants to
France. As far back as 1863--half a century ago--a pest attacked the
grapevines in France, so that there were not enough grapes to make
the wine which all the world buys, and France had to use currants
with her grapes. Now currants grow very well in Greece, and the
eager Greeks immediately set to work to raise them for the French
market. But they were so eager that they did a foolish thing: they
neglected their other crops for the sake of the currants; they put
all their eggs in one basket--as the saying goes; and when after many
years and much experimenting, France at last got rid of her grapevine
pest and no more currants were needed to make French wine, the Greek
farmers were left with their currants on their hands. This is one
of the reasons why, since the beginning of the twentieth century,
so many Greeks have come to the United States.

At first they came only for what they could get. As soon as they had
made a little money, by keeping candy shops and ice cream parlours
and fruit stands, all the husbands and fathers and big brothers
would hurry across the sea again, to spend their earnings at home
in Greece. Little brothers had a harder time. Hundreds of little
brothers, fourteen and fifteen years old, and younger, were sent over
to America by their parents, to earn money as bootblacks. In Greece
many little boys are bootblacks. One of the stories in this book,
"Alexander the Son of Philip," is all about a young Greek lad who
blacked shoes for a living in Athens. Madame Dragoumis, who tells
the story, has also written me a letter, in which she says:--

"The third story concerns a little newspaper seller and shoeblack,
which two trades are nearly always combined in Athens. In order to
make this last story clearer to you I must tell you that these little
'loustro' boys as they are called ('loustro' meaning polish and by
extension of meaning polishers or shoe blacks) are a well-known
institution in Athens. They nearly all come from Megaloupolis in
the Peloponnesus, and are noted for their honesty. They are employed
as messenger boys as well, and in the mornings you may see them in
numbers bringing provisions home from the market--which the master of
the house or the cook has bought and sent home by these boys. Examples
of dishonesty are almost unknown amongst them and so jealous are they
of their good reputation that woe betide any boy who might endanger
it--the others would half kill him. A literary and scientific club,
the 'Parnassos' has organized a night school for these boys where they
are well taught for their class and receive money prizes at the end of
the year. The various members take interest in the boys and give them
treats at Easter and on Independence Day (March 25). They do not wear
exactly a uniform but nearly all are dressed in a tunic and trousers
of a striped gray material which is made in Greece and very cheap."

But the bootblacks who come to America are not so well taken care of
as those who stay in Athens. Perhaps if their fathers and mothers
knew what a hard life they were to lead in the United States they
would not send them. But I am quite sure that little Constantine and
Aleko and the others come eagerly, and are proud to be able to help
support the family. Poor little fellows! They are hired out--sold
is nearer the truth--for a certain number of years, to some older,
craftier countryman who has an American shoe-blacking parlour;
and there they work all day, and far into the night, with never a
holiday. Our Government is trying to put a stop to this hard life,
and there is a law which says that children under sixteen must not
come to America without their parents; but these persistent little
fellows do get in, somehow. Ever since the Greeks got inside the
walls of Troy town, hundreds of years ago, by hiding inside a great
wooden horse, they have found it easy to make their way into other
people's cities whenever they wished to. But now that Greek men are
beginning to bring their wives and families with them to America,
perhaps the little bootblacks will not have such a hard time, for
their parents will find out how badly they have been treated.

Perhaps also, now that Greeks are making a second home in America,
they will no longer think only of what they can get out of her, but
will want to give as well as to get. We cannot make a home without
giving something to it; every bird who builds a nest knows that. And
the Greeks have great gifts which America needs.

They have the gift of beauty. If you live in New York or Boston or
Chicago, or any other city where there is an Art museum, no doubt you
often go on Saturday afternoons to see the casts of famous statues
in the museum,--there may even be a cast hanging on your school-room
wall,--and you know that the most beautiful statues, and the most
famous, are those which the Greeks made, hundreds of years ago. With
all our added years of skill and knowledge we have never been able
to make any statues more beautiful than those early Grecian ones. If
the Greeks bring us this gift of beauty, surely America must some
day be a beautiful place to live in, free from crowded tenements,
and lovely with fair dwellings.

And the gift of wisdom is theirs; for no philosophers are greater than
those ancient Greeks, Socrates and Plato; no poets are greater than
Homer, who told the story of Ulysses, or Æschylus who wrote a play
about how Prometheus brought fire from heaven and gave it to man. Some
day I hope you will read some of this Greek poetry and philosophy;
you will never be a really well-educated man, or woman, unless you do.

Thirdly, they can give us the key to the out-of-doors. In the ancient
days they were great athletes, they raced and wrestled and leaped, for
the pure joy of motion. What does Marathon mean, little schoolmate? Why
do we call a race a Marathon? Find out! The Greeks can tell you. To-day
they are not such lovers of active sports as they used to be, perhaps,
but they still love to live out-of-doors. At home, many of them are
farmers, growing currants and olives and lemons; they are shepherds,
herding sheep and goats upon the steep hillsides. When I see them
trudging along our gray streets shoving their pushcarts of fruit,
I cannot help wondering if they do not miss their olive orchards and
lemon groves. Even the Greeks who lived in cities, before they came
to us, must long for a glimpse of the Athenian acropolis, sometimes.

Do you not think we ought to make our American cities beautiful, so
that the immigrants who come to us from more beautiful places need
not be too homesick?

And now this homesickness of the Greek, this loyalty to his native
land, brings me to the greatest gift he can give us. No matter how
far away from Greece he goes, he carries the love of his country with
him in his heart forever; and whenever she needs him he is ready to
fly to her aid and to spend his money and himself in her service. He
is a great patriot, and his children, born in America, ought to be
even greater than he, for they must carry the love of two countries
in their hearts, and the love of all the races which mingle to make
the man we call an American.

But I have talked long enough. I know you are in a great hurry to read
the stories which Madame Dragoumis has written for you about the joys
and sorrows of the Greek children who might have been your brothers and
sisters, if you lived in Greece to-day. You will find them very like
you in many ways; very lively and noisy and lovable; patient in work
(are you?); full of courage; fond of play; fond of moving picture
shows, just as you are, for in Athens where once the people used
to go to see the greatest plays in the world acted in the theatre,
the plays of the poet Sophocles and Æschylus and Aristophanes, to-day
there are cheap moving pictures for amusement, just as there are in New
York or Chicago or San Francisco. But we must look forward to the day
when our theatres and our plays shall be as great as those of Greece
used to be, and the Greek children must help us to make them great.


    Affectionately yours,
        Florence Converse.



CONTENTS


        Mattina                                 3
        The Finding of the Cave               109
        Alexander the Son of Philip           191



ILLUSTRATIONS


        Coming Towards Them          Frontispiece
                                      FACING PAGE
        Mattina Sat Down                       14
        Mattina Set to Work                    64
        There Was so Much to Do               138
        Alexander                             260



MATTINA


I

With her black kerchief drawn forward over her face to protect her
head from the sun, her back bent under a load of sticks, Mattina, Kyra
[1] Kanella's niece, came stumbling down from the road that leads
from the little spring, the "Vryssoula," through the pine trees,
over the bridge, past the old well, and into the village of Poros.

It was a big load for a little girl not much over eleven years old,
but her aunt was going to bake, the day after next, and wanted the
sticks to light her oven; so, as Mattina was leaving the island the
next day to go to Athens in the steamer, there would be no one to
get sticks for Kyra Kanella and bring them down to her.

It is true she had plenty of daughters of her own, but they did not
like carrying sticks on their backs, or walking so far to find them,
and Mattina did not mind. She liked being out on the hills and down
by the sea, more than anything else. Of course she liked it still
better when there was no heavy load of branches or thyme to carry,
but if she had had to choose between staying indoors or in the narrow
village streets, and being out with a load of sticks however big, she
would always have chosen the load. So when her aunt wanted her to go,
she never pulled a crooked face; besides it was only on the way back
that she had the burden to carry; going, she was free to run as she
liked among the trees, to see how far she could throw the pine cones,
to swing herself on the low branches, for everyone knows that pine
branches will carry almost any weight without breaking; and if her way
took her by the sea-shore, she could balance herself on the edge of
the big rocks, or kick off her clumsy shoes and let the water run over
her bare legs. Of course she was not yet old enough to wear stockings.

Sometimes, when she had no wood to fetch, she would take her little
brother Zacharia with her; but he was only two years old and as he soon
got tired of walking, it was not possible to carry him and the load of
sticks as well. When he had been quite tiny and had lain quiet in his
"naka," the leathern hammock-cradle that is slung over one shoulder,
it was easy to manage him, but he was too big now, so he stayed in
the house, on the other side of the dark arch, with their aunt and
all the cousins, or tumbled about the market square, and played with
the little kids which were tethered round the old marble fountain.

Mattina stopped a moment to wipe her forehead with the back of her
sleeve. It was only May and the hollows of the hills on the mainland
opposite were still filled with the blue morning shadows, but she
had just left the shady path, slippery with pine needles, for the
stony ledge along the hillside, and it was hot already. There was
not a ruffle on the water, even on the open sea beyond the strip
of the Narrow Beach which joined the wooded part of the island to
the village part. Mattina decided that she would put the child on
her back in the afternoon and carry him to a little crescent-shaped
beach of which she knew on the Monastery road,[2] and let him kick
his little legs in the water. Kyra Sophoula had told her that sea
water was good for him and would make his legs strong.

Who would take the trouble to carry him to the sea-shore when she was
away? And she was leaving him and the island and everyone she knew,
the next day!

This was how it happened.

More than a year ago her father had died of general paralysis,
which is what often happens to sponge-divers[3] when they stay too
long down in deep water. Her mother had been ill long before her
father had been brought home dying, from Tripoli in Barbary, and
after his death she got worse and worse, and had died just before
Easter. The only relations Mattina and little baby Zacharia had left
were an uncle, their mother's brother, who was a baker in Athens,
and Kyra Kanella here in Poros, the wife of old Yoryi the boatman;
and she was not really their aunt, but only their mother's cousin,
and had a great many children of her own.

Mattina and Zacharia really had another uncle too, a younger brother
of their father's, but he did not count; he had left for America on
an emigrant ship when he was quite a youth, and only wrote letters
home once or twice a year. Mattina remembered that when her father
was away with the sponge-divers, Kyr Vangheli, the schoolmaster,
would read these letters to her mother, and in them it was always
written that her uncle Petro was so pleased in America that he did
not mean to come back for many years.

So the two orphans had stayed with Kyra Kanella at first, because
there was nowhere else for them to stay, and now she was still going
to keep Zacharia; he was such a little one, and as she told Yoryi
her husband, what the babe ate, nobody could miss it; it was not
more than a sparrow would eat. But Mattina was different; Mattina
was a big strong girl of more than eleven years of age, and she was
going to Athens to be a servant. It had all been arranged some time
ago. Her mother had said to her:--

"When I am dead, you must go to Athens, and your uncle Anastasi there,
and his wife, who is a good woman, will find a house in which you
may serve and earn money. Afterwards when you can, you will come
back to Poros and take care of Zacharia; he is not a strong child;
how should he be, the unfortunate one! But you are a strong girl and
you must be a good sister and look after him."

She had said this the night before she died, when for a moment they
were alone in the house, and when her eyes looked so big.

There was a tiny bit of land which had belonged to the children's
father, and which was theirs now, but it had given nothing that year;
the crop of olives had been very poor indeed, the rains had come out
of season, and the wind had blown every single almond off the trees;
so that even the poor bits of clothes that Mattina was to take with
her to town in her bundle had been cut down from some old things of
her mother's, and Kyra Sophoula who was a neighbour, had taken them
to her house to stitch them.

By this time to-morrow, thought Mattina, who had got down to the
Narrow Beach and was passing before the open gates of the Naval
School,[4] it would be nearly time for the steamer to leave; her uncle
would take her in his boat and she would climb up the little ladder
at the side of the steamer up to the deck. She herself, she, Mattina,
would be one of those people whom she had so often watched from the
shore, one of those who were going away to strange parts, who were
leaving the island.

She stopped to shift her load of branches higher on her back, and a
sailor who was standing by the gates took a step forward and held it
up for her while she took a firmer grasp of the thin rope which kept
it together.

"God give you many years," she said to him, looking down. She did
not like speaking to strangers, but she remembered what her mother
always used to say to anyone who helped her, and since she was alone
now it was for her to say it.

The man laughed.

"The load is bigger than the maid who bears it," he said; then looking
down at her curiously, "Whose are you?"

"I am Aristoteli Dorri's."

"What does he do?"

"He was a sponge-diver, but he died last year."

"Bah! The unfortunate one! And you carry wood for your mother's
oven, eh?"

"My mother died also on the Thursday of the Great Week."[5]

"Bah! The poor child! Here!" he cried, as Mattina was starting off
again, "stop a moment!" and from the bottom of his pocket, he pulled
out a little twist of pink muslin into which were tied five or six
sugared almonds.

"Take these! They are from a christening, ... you can eat them on
the way."

Mattina had no pocket, but after she had thanked the sailor, she tied
the almonds into one corner of her kerchief, and trudged on.

When she reached the first houses of the village, she turned away
from the sea and began climbing up a steep little street, threading
her way between the small houses, disturbing flocks of gray and
white pigeons who fluttered up and settled on the ledges of the low
terraces, between pitchers of water and pots of sweet basil. She
stepped carefully over the ropes of tethered goats, passing by the
open doors of the big church, and stopping for a moment to admire a
length of pink and white cotton stuff which hung outside Kyr Nicola's
shop. If only, she thought, her new dress might have been made of
that! But the brown dress which her mother used to wear on holidays,
before her father died, was still quite good, and it would have been
a sin to waste it; Kyra Sophoula had said so. Moreover she had made
it too wide for Mattina, and with three tucks in it, so that it might
last her for some time to come.

Before one arrived at Yoryi's house, there was a whole street of low
broad steps which Mattina descended slowly one by one, for her back
was beginning to ache. When she reached the little blue-washed house
she dumped down her load of sticks beside the oven in the courtyard
with a great sigh of relief.

She found Zacharia whimpering before a half-eaten "koulouri"--a sort of
doughnut with a hole in the middle--which someone had amused himself
by tying to a nail in the wall, so that it dangled just out of reach
of the child's little arms.

"'Attina! 'Attina!" he cried as soon as he saw her; "My koulou'i! My
koulou'i!"

She broke the string violently, and thrust the half-eaten koulouri
into the child's outstretched hands, then turning angrily to three
big girls who were seated laughing, on the wooden steps leading to
the flat roof, she cried out:--

"What has the child done to you that you are forever tormenting him? A
bad year to you!"

But they only laughed the louder, and one of them called out:--

"Drink a little vinegar, it will calm your rage!"

Mattina did not answer; she shouldered the water pitcher, took
Zacharia by the hand, and went out again, out through the dark arch
to the Market Square for water.

"'Attina!" and there was still a little sob in poor Zacharia's voice.

"Yes, my little bird."

"My koulou'i is nearly finished."

"Eat it slowly then," advised the big sister. "And if you only knew
what a good thing I have for you to-morrow!"

But to-morrow meant nothing to Zacharia.

"What, 'Attina? What? Give it to me!"

"Not now. To-morrow. Come then! Come and see all the little boats!"

When they reached the square, Mattina sat down to rest for a moment on
the deep stone trough built round the fountain under the old eucalyptus
tree. Most of the women had already filled their red earthen pitchers
and were carrying them away on their shoulders.

Only one old woman was still leaning against the trunk of the tree,
waiting for her pitcher to fill itself. As she saw Mattina she
stepped forward.

"It is well I find you. Tell your aunt that the clothes are
finished. She can send you to take them."

"I will tell it to her."

"It is to-morrow you leave?"

"Yes, it is to-morrow."

"And who takes you?"

"I go with Yanni, the messenger."

"Listen, Mattina," said the old woman, "I have stitched you a pocket
into the brown frock. In the town it is not like here; sometimes you
may have some money, or someone may send you a letter; you must have
somewhere to put things."

Mattina's eyes brightened.

"A pocket!" she exclaimed, "like the big maids have!"

"You are well nigh a big maid now!"

The word pocket reminded Mattina of her sugared almonds.

"Kyra Sophoula," she begged, "see, I have some sweets here. A sailor
gave them to me, he said they were from a christening. Take them,
you, and hide them away, and to-morrow after I go, take this little
one to your house for a while, and give them to him. He cries when I
leave him; and the others at the house, they torment him always. Do
this for me, and may your children live to you!"

The old woman took the twist of muslin and put it into her apron
pocket.

"Surely, I will, my daughter, surely I will." Then she lifted her
pitcher which had filled, gurgled, and overflowed, set it carefully
on the ledge, and turned to Zacharia who was struggling for what
remained of his koulouri, with a woolly black puppy.

"Come here, you little one!"

Kyra Sophoula was a funny old woman, as brown and as wrinkled as a
quince that has been hung up too long, but children never ran away
from her, even the tiny ones. Zacharia successfully rescued the last
remnant of the koulouri from the puppy's teeth, and came, looking up
at her with round black baby eyes.

"If a good little boy who does not cry ... a golden little boy, comes
with me to my house to-morrow, I shall have ... two sugar comfits,
and a whole dried fig to give him! And if this golden little child
never cries at all, there will be some more comfits the next day! I
wonder if I shall find a good little boy, like that?"

Zacharia rubbed his black curls confidingly against the old woman's
skirts, and murmured:--

"Me!"

"Ah, we shall see fine things, that golden boy and I!" then turning
to Mattina:--

"Tell me; your uncle Anastasi and his wife, have they found a good
house in which you may serve?"

"Not yet; my uncle sent a letter to say that it would be better if I
did not go till September, because there are more people who change
servants at that time, but my uncle Yoryi here, he says that I must
go to my uncle Anastasi's now at once, and let them find a house for
me to serve, when they can. He says he will keep the little one, but
that I am a big girl, and that he has fed me long enough. It is true,"
she added gravely, "that my hunger is great."

Kyra Sophoula nodded her head.

"Yoryi is a poor man," she said, "also, he has daughters to marry."

"Is it far to Athens?" asked Mattina.

"Myself--I have never been there, but Metro has told me that one does
not reach the town till long after noon."

"Kyra Sophoula, do you think that after some time, when I earn money
and can pay the fare on the steamer myself, that where I serve they
will let me return for a few days to see if the little one be well?"

The old woman shrugged her shoulders.

"Do I know?"

"But if I tell them how little he is, and that we have no mother?"

"Listen, my daughter!" said Kyra Sophoula, as both she and Mattina
shouldered their pitchers and turned towards the dark arch, Zacharia
pattering behind them on little bare brown feet, "listen! there is
one thing that you must put well into your head, that in the town
it is not like here on the island, where everyone knows you and
who your father and mother were. I know, because Andriana served,
and Calliope served, and my Maroussa served also for a time. In the
town when they take you as a servant and pay you a wage for serving,
it is work that they want from you, as much as they can get. They do
not know you, nor do they mind whether you like to work, nor whether
you are well or ill, as long as your legs will hold you; neither do
they care whether your heart be glad or troubled. But you, you must
remember always that your father was a good man, and that your mother
was a hard-working housewife who always kept her floors well scrubbed,
and kneaded her own bread, and for whom all had a good word; and you
must do the work that they give you, and not be thinking all day long
of when you can leave it. As for the child, be easy! Kyra Kanella has
not a bad heart, and I will see him often, and perhaps some time when
the schoolmaster has leisure I will ask him to send you a letter. But
you, be a good girl in the town, and mind well that you never touch
aught without it be given to you, even if you have to go hungry,
for as they say, 'Better to lose your eye than your good name.'"



II

It was a forlorn little figure that knelt on a bench of the out-going
steamer next morning. A little figure clad for the journey in a short
outgrown print frock, with an old gray jacket which had once belonged
to her aunt, tightly buttoned over it.

Mattina was looking with wide open eyes at all the familiar landmarks
as they seemed to glide past her; at the big clock tower of the Naval
School with its waving flag, at the little coffee-house of the White
Cat down on the shore, at the Red House on the hill, at the Garden
on the mainland where she had often been with her mother to help in
the picking of the lemons, at the white blur far away in the hills,
which was the village of Damala. But when the steamer turned round
the corner by the lighthouse and Poros was hidden from her sight,
she twisted herself round and sat down on the bench, her back huddled
up like an old woman's, and her eyes fixed on the deck.

When the steamer stopped at Methana,[6] she stood up and watched the
shore, but it already seemed strange and foreign to her; the gray
rocks, bare of pine trees, the line of bathing houses, the bright
yellow colour of the water close to the land, which someone said came
from the sulphur of the baths, the big white hotel, the strange boatmen
rowing backwards and forwards; all was new and in some curious way
terrifying. The boatmen shouting to each other seemed to be shouting
at her, and the sun shining on the sea made so many glittering little
pinpricks of light that she closed her eyes not to see them.

After Methana, the steamer began to move a great deal more than it
had done at first, and she went back to her bench for fear she should
fall. For a short time she was interested in a little toddling boy
belonging to a woman who seemed asleep, her kerchief shadowing the
upper part of her face. The boy was not at all like Zacharia, being
much fatter, and with hair which was almost yellow, but he took bites
out of his koulouri all round, just as Zacharia did. Mattina made
timid advances to him, but he ran away from her to a white-bearded
old priest on the next bench, and began to wipe his wet little mouth
and hands, all over koulouri crumbs, on the black robes. Mattina
expected that the old priest would be angry, but he only smiled and
patted the little yellow head.

While she watched them, the priest's black figure seemed to mount
up, up, up, against the glittering sea, and then to sink down again
as though it were never coming up. It hurt her to look at it, and
she folded her arms on the back of the bench and laid her head on
them. Perhaps she was going to sleep; she had been up very early
that morning; but she did not feel at all sleepy, only very hot and
miserable. She began to long for a drink of water; perhaps she was
thirsty, but she felt afraid to move. Her uncle Yoryi when he had
put her on board had said, "Do not leave your seat, or someone may
take it."

The woman with the child had a pitcher with her; it stood on the deck
beside a big bundle and a little shining green trunk, studded with
brass nails; and the mouth of the pitcher was stopped by a bunch of
myrtle leaves. Mattina ventured to nudge the woman's elbow.

"Kyra," she asked, "may I drink from your 'stamna'?"

The woman opened her eyes with a little groan and, thrusting her arm
into an opening of the big bundle, pulled out a short thick tumbler
and handed it to her. Mattina poured some water into it and drank,
but somehow it tasted bitter, not like Poros water. She put the
tumbler back without even wiping it, and sank back on her bench.

How hot it was, and how miserable she felt!

She bent forward and hid her head in her arms.

It was so, that Yanni the messenger found her a little later when
they were outside Ægina.[7]

"Bah!" he exclaimed, pulling her head back, "what a colour is this? You
are as yellow as a Good Friday candle! The sea has spoiled you, I
see! Your head is giddy. Here, lie down! Put your head back on this
bundle! You will be better so."

Mattina made no resistance, but as she fell back she murmured:--

"It is not my head, it is my stomach which is giddy."

It went on getting so much giddier that when at last they arrived
at Piræus[8] Yanni had to carry her down the side of the steamer to
the little boat and when she was lifted out on the quay she could
scarcely stand. However, the fresh air and the walk to the railway
station revived her.

The railway carriage in which they traveled up to Athens was very
crowded, and the fat woman sitting next to Mattina seemed very cross.

"Why do they not put more carriages?" she enquired of no one in
particular. "We are jammed as flat here as squashed mosquitoes." But
to Mattina who had never even ridden in a cart in her life, it was
wonderful. The swift rushing, the bump, bump of the carriages, the
man with a gold band on his cap who looked at the tickets and gave
them back again, and who said to Yanni while he was searching for
theirs, "Come, now; hurry! The new day will dawn by the time you find
it!" ... the stopping at Phalerum[9] and at the Theseum[10] before
they got out at the Monastiraki[11] Station.

Then there was the street-car; the rush through narrow streets at
first, and then through wider and wider ones, till they stopped
at a wonderful big square full of people. In all her eleven years,
Mattina had never imagined so many men and women and children and
horses and carriages together. The square seemed to her surrounded
by palaces, till Yanni showed her the one in which the King lived,
and over which the flag was flying.

Then the car went on again, and the streets got narrower again, and
at last Yanni got off the little platform at the back of the car and
Mattina scrambled after him.

"Come!" he said, "your uncle's oven is quite close by here and I have
work to do after I leave you."

Up one narrow steep street, a turn to the left, along a still
narrower street almost like a Poros one but far, far dustier, and
they came to a stop before a small baker's shop. On the open slab
of the window were quantities of ring-shaped loaves, and heaped up
piles of oven-cakes covered with squares of pink muslin.  A man was
counting some smaller loaves in the dimness of the back of the shop,
and a tidy stout woman in a big blue apron was standing at the door.

"Good day to you," said Yanni, "I bring you your niece from Poros."

"Bah!" exclaimed the woman, "has she come to-day? I thought they said
on Saturday."

Yanni shrugged his shoulders.

"Do I know what they said? Yoryi gave her to me this morning, to
bring straight to you. What I am told, I do."

"It does not matter," said the woman quickly, "it does not matter at
all. Welcome, my girl! Come in! Come in!" Then turning towards the
back of the shop, "Anastasi, your niece has arrived!"

Her husband started, left his loaves and came forward. He was a thin
man with stooping shoulders, and a look in his eyes which reminded
Mattina of her mother and made a lump come into her throat so that
she could scarcely answer when he spoke to her.

"Welcome, my maid, for your mother's sake," he said. "When I saw you
in Poros you were so high only; now you have grown a big maid! And
Kanella, and Yoryi, and their children, and the little one, are they
well? How did you leave them?"

"They are well," stammered Mattina, "they salute you."

Her uncle Anastasi turned to his wife:--

"Demetroula," he said, "take the child in; she will be hungry; look
to her while I pay Yanni for his trouble."

Her aunt took Mattina into a little room which opened on the courtyard,
and taking her bundle from her, pushed it under a big bed in the
corner. Mattina had never seen her before. The poor do not take
journeys for pleasure, or for the sake of visiting their relations. But
her new aunt had a kind round face and pretty shiny brown hair which
one could see quite well, as she did not wear a kerchief; and when she
spoke she smiled very often, so that Mattina did not feel shy with her.

"Come here to the window," she said, "and let me look better at
you. Ah, yes; it is your poor father that your face brings back to one,
not your mother at all. Now, my girl," and she let her hand fall on
Mattina's shoulder as she spoke, "let us say things clearly! You did
well to come, and it is with joy that your uncle and I would keep you
to live here with us. How should it not be so, since God has given
us no children? A piece of bread and a mattress there would always
be for you. But we are poor people, and, ... that would be all; so
it would be a sin to keep you with us. It is myself I injure when I
say this, for you would be a great help to me in the house. But that
you should work, and get only your bread for it!--no, that must not
be! We have spoken with your uncle, and he thinks as I do. What do
you say also? Do you not wish to earn money?"

"Yes, my aunt."

"Well, then, see what good luck you have! We thought that not till
September could a house be found, but only yesterday the boy from the
grocer's round the street, told me that his brother who works for
a butcher in the Piræus Road, knows a house where they are looking
for a serving maid. It is a good house, he says, where they buy meat
every day; there are only two small children, and the master has
a shop of his own in the big street of shops. The lady, he said,
prefers a girl from the islands who has not as yet served, and she
will give ten drachmæ[12] a month and dress her. So that you will have
naught to spend and we can put all your money in the People's Bank
for you. Will not that be well?"

"Yes, my aunt."

"Good!" said Kyra Demetroula, "I will take you there to-morrow early,
to speak with the lady. Now come and eat! There is plenty left of
the artichoke stew, and I will warm it up for you."



III

So, early the next morning, after the boy from the grocer's round the
street had given the necessary directions, they found themselves in the
neighbourhood of the Piræus Road, and Mattina toiled after her aunt,
up narrow dusty streets in search of the house where a new serving
maid was wanted.

She was very hot and uncomfortable, for her aunt had insisted on her
wearing her new brown frock with the pocket in it, as being by far
the best in her bundle. This it certainly was, but also very thick
and warm and the heat was coming fast that year. Though the Saint's
day of St. Constantine and St. Helen was till some time off, the May
wreaths--which are hung over all balconies or front doors of houses in
Athens on the first day of May and left hanging there until replaced by
the fresh wreath, the following year--were already hanging withered and
yellow from the house doors and balconies. After many wrong turnings,
and many inquiries at neighbouring grocers' and bakers' shops, the
aunt and the niece stopped before the wide open door of a house in
a street behind the Piræus Road. The narrow entry certainly looked
as if it were a long time since the last serving maid had scrubbed
it. A woman with a long face and a fat body was standing just inside
with a packet of macaroni in her hands.

"What do you want?" she called out sharply.

Kyra Demetroula advanced a step.

"Good day to you, Kyria," and as she said it she pushed Mattina a
little forward. "They told us that you wanted a girl to serve you,
and because we have heard much good of your house, I have brought
you my niece."

"Your niece! What? That child! Much work she can do! Who sent you?"

"It was the butcher in the big road here, who told us that...."

"Come inside! Let me see her better! I should never think of such
a small maid but that it is a bad season for servants, and that I
have been three days without one." Then turning to Mattina, "How old
are you?"

Now no one had ever thought of telling Mattina her age; she was a
big girl, since her mother had often trusted her of late to make
the bread, and that was all she knew about it. She looked up at the
woman and noticed that she had little black eyes like currants, a
nose that went in before it came out, and a mouth that had no lips;
then she quietly answered her question by another one.

"How should I know my years?"

Her aunt interposed hurriedly:--

"She must be fourteen, Kyria."

"Fourteen! Vegetable marrows! She is not even twelve! From where
is she?"

"From Poros."

"Poros! I have had many serving-maids from Andros, and some from Tenos,
and one came from Crete, but from Poros ... h'm...."

"It is a beautiful island!" returned Mattina, flushing angrily that
anyone should "H'm" at her island. "It has hills and trees down to
the sea, and lemon woods, and big fig trees, and the Sleeper, such
a high mountain as you never saw, and the sea all round everywhere."

"How should the sea not be round everywhere on an island? Is the girl
an idiot?" and the woman looked at Kyra Demetroula.

"She has but just come from there," ventured the latter. "Have sympathy
with her; she has not yet learned town speech."

The woman sniffed.

"Well, what can you do?"

"I can do much."

"What?"

"I can scrub boards till they are quite white, I can wash clothes,
I can knead three okes[13] of dough at a time, I can weave yarn at the
loom and I can row in a big boat with both oars together."

The woman laughed.

"Truly, that will be very useful here! You can row the master to the
shop, every morning."

Mattina looked at her pityingly; she had never before heard people
say things that meant something else.

"That is foolish talk, ..." she began, but her aunt pushed her aside
hurriedly:--

"She is very strong, Kyria; when her poor mother, God rest her soul,
lay for three months on her mattress, Mattina here kept all the
house clean and looked after her little brother as well. Take her,
and you will never repent it."

Just at that moment a hand organ stopped outside in the street, and
began to play the valse from the Dollar Princess. Mattina, with never
a look at the two women, who went on talking, ran out of the passage
to the open street door. All the music she had ever heard in her life
had been the harsh tuneless tunes which men sang sometimes in Poros
at the tavern after they had been drinking, or at best the little folk
songs which the officers of the Naval School sang to the accompaniment
of a guitar on moonlight nights. This beautiful swinging tune coming
out of the tall box when the man turned a handle, was quite new,
and she stood there listening with wide open eyes, her arms hanging
loosely on either side of her, and her lips apart. So intent was she
that at first she did not hear her aunt calling her.

"Mattina! Mattina! Where has the child gone? Mattina! Mattina, I tell
you! Do you not hear?"

"I hear," she answered at last, retracing her steps reluctantly.

"Come, my child; all is arranged. This good Kyria says she will take
you and teach you many things. She gives only eight drachmæ a month
now, because she wanted a bigger girl. I do not know, that is to say,
whether your uncle will like you to come for so little, but...."

"Of course," put in the fat woman, "she will have her shoes, a woolen
dress in the winter, two print ones in summer, and her present at
New Year."

As she walked back to the baker's shop with her aunt, Mattina was busy
thinking. The dresses did not interest her very much, though she hoped
that one of them might be a pink one, but the present at New Year,
that was another thing! She knew all about presents, though she had
never received one herself. When Panouria, old Lenio's Panouria,
had been married to Theophani the shoemaker, did not her father
make her a present of a big mirror with a broad gold frame all round
it? This mirror had been brought from Piræus, and Mattina had seen
the men taking it carefully out of its wooden case, and had heard the
neighbours who were standing around, saying that it was a present to
Panouria from her father. Did not Stavro, the son of Pappa Thanassi,
send a present to his mother from America, a big rocking chair all
covered with red velvet? Did not the little ladies from the Red House
on the hill once give a present to Antigone, who lived in the small
house near their gate, when she was so ill, a wonderful doll with
yellow hair, that opened and shut its eyes like a real Christian? Yes,
she knew all about presents! They were beautiful things which were
not really necessary to every-day life, but which people who had
much money gave you to make your heart joyful. Later on, when her
aunt related to her uncle all that the new Kyria had said, adding:--

"I could not get more from her than eight drachmæ for the child;
she looks of the kind that counts every lepton,"[14] Mattina had
said:--

"But there will also be a present at New Year!"

And her aunt had replied in a funny voice,--"Oh, yes! And a fine
present that will be I am sure!"

Then Mattina's joy was complete. Not only was she to have a present,
but her aunt had said she was sure it would be a fine one; and surely
she knew all about town ways, and the kind of presents that are given
there. Mattina, you see, was not used to people who said one thing,
in fun, and meant another. She often thought of that present, and of
what she would like it to be, if she might choose. And certainly the
poor maid required the comfort of this thought in the long dreary
days which followed the one when she had been left with her bundle
at the house where she was to serve.

It was not the hard work she minded. She had had plenty of that in
Poros; scrubbing, weaving, bread-making which makes the arms so tired,
carrying heavy burdens till one's back feels as if it would break in
two; all this she knew, but it had been at home in her own island in
Poros, surrounded by people who knew her and had known her father
and mother, and who had a good word for her now and then. And when
work was over, she had been free to run wild among the pines and on
the sea-shore. But work in town never seemed to be over.

Her mother and Kyra Sophoula had often called her a good little worker,
and strong and quick, but in Athens her mistress was always telling
her she had never seen such a clumsy child in her life. Perhaps she
may have been awkward at first, and did break a plate or two, when
it came to washing up basins full of greasy pans, and platters, and
plates, and knives, and forks all muddled up together. But necessity
compelling,--and the difficulty of dodging a blow on the head, when
one's arms are dipped in soap-suds, and one is standing on a shaky
stool,--made her learn pretty fast how to be careful. Also, at home,
Zacharia had long ago pattered after her on his little bare feet, but
here in Athens, "Bebeko" the smaller of her mistress's two boys who
was nearly a year older, always cried to be carried when she took them
out, and Mattina found that to carry a fat, squirming, cross boy of
three, and have another of five hanging heavily on her arm or skirts,
was far worse than the heaviest load of sticks she had ever borne.

May melted into June, and June into July, and the days grew hotter
and hotter, and longer and longer, and the longer they grew the more
time there was for work, and the less for sleep. Mattina's mattress
was in a little dark room half way up the stairs, and as soon as
it was light in the mornings, her mistress would pound on the floor
above, with a walking stick which she kept beside her bed, for the
little maid to get up, sweep the rooms, brush the master's clothes,
and prepare his coffee for him before he went to his shop; and in
June and July it is light very early indeed.

Later on in the morning, Mattina used to bring out a big table cover
to shake outside the front door, and her gesture as she shook it,
had anyone cared to watch her, was strong, decided and thorough. One
could see that she would grow into a strong capable woman; that she
would know how to lift things, how to handle them, how to fold them;
that whatever she touched would be the better for her touching. And
as she shook the dust out, while the hot sun beat down upon her head,
she would close her eyes and try to fancy that the whistle of the
distant Kiphissia[15] train was the whistle of the morning steamer
coming into the bay of Poros and that she need only open her eyes to
see the glittering blue water before her, and the fishing boats with
the white and red sails gliding across it; but when she opened them
she only saw potato peels and pieces of old lettuce floating forlornly
on the dirty stream of water beside the sidewalk. This stream was
here because there was a public tap round the corner of the street,
and the slatternly women who went there for water, the heels of their
loose down-trodden slippers tap-tapping on the pavement as they walked,
generally neglected to close it.

One evening, when the food for supper was not enough, Mattina's
mistress sent her out to the grocer's in the Piræus Road to buy some
sardines; and while she was waiting to be served, she noticed four
men sitting outside the shop around a little table. One of the men
was strumming a guitar, and suddenly very softly they began to sing
all together. They sang the "tsopanoulo," that song of the "shepherd
boy" which Mattina had so often heard the young officers singing as
they rowed themselves about the bay on moonlit nights "at home."

She leaned against the door of the shop and closed her eyes very tight.

"I will not look," she thought, "I will only listen, and it will be
for a little as if I were back in my island."

And because there is nothing like music to remind one of places, unless
it be scent, a picture arose behind her closed eyelids, of the quiet
dark water, of the broad golden path of the moon, and of the little
boat that glided through the gold; and as she watched the picture, two
tears trickled from the eyes that were shut, and ran down her cheeks.

"Now, my girl," said a voice beside her suddenly, "here are your
sardines!" and a greasy paper was thrust into her hand.

Oh, how it hurt, to have to open her eyes, to take what was given to
her, to pay her lepta, and to stumble out half dazed into the street.

Once there, she thought for a moment that she was still dreaming,
for on the side walk, talking to a man in a straw hat, was an old
sea captain in the cross-over vest and the baggy blue breeches such
as she had seen hundreds of times on the quay at home.

"The wind has turned a little chilly," the man in the straw hat was
saying, "and there are many clouds in the sky. It will rain I think
before night."

Mattina instinctively raised her eyes to the west, and half
unconsciously repeated what she had so often heard her father say:--


           "If but the Western sky be clear,
            Though East be black, you need not fear."


then pointing with her finger where the sky was still of a dusky pink,
she said, "There are no clouds there."

The captain turned suddenly, and looked at the odd little figure in
her white festooned apron that hung far below her frock, with her
short black plaits tied round her head.

"That is what we say in my country." Then stooping a little. "From
where are you? Are you from Poros, perhaps?"

Mattina gulped down a lump in her throat.

"Yes, I am from Poros."

"Whose are you?"

"Aristoteli Dorri's, the sponge diver's."

"Ah, yes! The poor one! I heard that he had died. And did your mother
send you here?"

"My mother wept much after my father died, and then she coughed more
than she did before, and then she got worse, and then she died." And
Mattina turned her back on the men, and twisted and untwisted the
end of the paper in which the sardines were wrapped.

"Now, lately?" asked the captain.

"It was on the Thursday of the Great Week."

"Well! Well! Life to you! It is a dirty world! With whom do you
live now?"

"I serve at a house."

"You have no one in Athens?"

"I have my uncle Anastasi the baker, and my Aunt Demetroula, but they
live far from here near the Kolonaki."[16]

"Ah, Anastasi Mazelli, your mother's brother; I know him. A good
man! When you see him give him my salutations. Say they are from
Capetan Thanassi Nika of Poros, and he will know."

"I will say it to him," answered Mattina.

"Well, the good hour be with you, little compatriot!"

Mattina walked back to the house very slowly, with her eyes fixed on
the pavement. The talk about her people, the sound of a Poros voice,
had brought back so much to her! She thought of the good times when her
"babba," as she called her father, came home from a long absence with
the sponge-divers--filling the room with his laugh, the little bare
clean room with the big pot of sweet basil on the window seat--telling
all that had happened: how this one had not been able to stay so long
under water, and that one, the lazy dog, had pretended to be ill,
and how the captain had called on him again and again--"Come then,
you, Aristoteli! I would rather work with you alone than with ten
others; you are always ready to get your head into the helmet." And
Mattina, seated on his knees, would clap her hands with pride, crying,
"My Babba is always ready!" and her mother cooking a hot dinner in
honor of the return, would shake her head and mutter, "Too ready;
too ready," but would smile at them the next moment, as she emptied
the stew from the pan to the dish and told them to get their plates
ready. After her father had died, the house was never so bright again;
there was no laughing in it. Still, she had had her mother then, and it
was she whom Mattina missed most, for she had never been away from her.



IV

All the next day Mattina thought of the old captain, and in the
afternoon she told Antigone how she had met a compatriot, and what he
had said to her. This was when they sat side by side on the steps of
their "houses" to take the cool of the evening, after their mistresses
had gone out.

Antigone was the serving maid of the next house, which was kept by
a widow who let the rooms out to different lodgers. This maid was
much older than Mattina and puffed out her hair at the sides, besides
wearing a hat with pink flowers on it when she went out on Sundays.

"Your heart seems to hold very much to that island of yours!" she
was saying. "What is there different in it to other places?"

Mattina tried to tell her; but talking about Poros was like relating a
dream which has seemed so long and which one still feels so full and
varied, but which somehow can only be told in the fewest and barest
of words.

"Is that all?" exclaimed Antigone, "just trees, and rocks, and sea,
and fisher folk, and boatmen? It would say nothing to me! But each
one to his taste. Why do you not go back to it and work there?"

"I cannot; each one works for himself on the island; there are no
houses in which to serve, there is no money to earn."

Antigone shrugged her shoulders.

"Truly it is much money you are earning here! Eight drachmæ a month,
and your shoes," with a contemptuous glance at Mattina's feet,
"all worn out!"

"There are only three holes," said Mattina gravely, "and she," with
a backward jerk of her thumb, "said I should have new ones next week."

Antigone laughed.

"You will get them on the week that has no Saturday."

"And at New Year," went on Mattina, "she will give me a present!"

"Give you a present! She! Your Kyria! You have many loaves to eat,
my poor one, before that day dawns!"

"But she said so."

"She said and she will unsay!"

"But my aunt heard it, too, and she told my uncle it would be a
fine one."

"Your aunt does not know her, and I have lived next door to her it
is three years now, and I have known all her servants. Some people
give presents, yes, they have good hearts; but your mistress would
never give a thing belonging to her, no, not even her fever! Now
there is the 'Madmazella' who lives in the ground floor room at our
house. She gives lessons all day long, and she has not much money,
yet she often gives me things. When she came back from her country
last time, she brought me a silk blouse ready sewn with little flowers
all over it, and lace at the neck. And the other day she put her two
hats into one paper box, and gave me the other one to keep my hat in,
because it gets crushed in my trunk. And always with a good word in
her mouth! So I too when she is ill, I run for her till I fall. She
is going away again to her country, in a few days now, and she says
that when she comes back she will bring me a new hat."

But Mattina's mind was running on her present.

"I do not want a silk blouse, nor a box for a hat, because," she added
as an afterthought, "I have no hat. But I should like very much if
someone would give me a picture with a broad gold frame, which I saw
in the window of a shop the other day when I took the children out. It
was the picture of the sea, and there was a boat on it with a white
sail, and you could see the sail in the water all long and wavy, as
you do really, and if you touched the water you thought your finger
would be wet. That is what I wish for."

"A picture! And where would you hang it?"

Mattina thought for a moment.

"I do not know," she said at last, "but it would be mine, and I could
look at it every day."

"You! with your seas, and your rocks, and your island!" exclaimed
the older girl as she stooped to pick up her crochet work which had
fallen off her knees. "Even if it were Paris, you could not make more
fuss about it."

"What is Paris?"

"Paris is the country from where Madmazella comes. She says it is a
thousand times more beautiful than Athens."

Mattina looked about her, at the women who sat chatting before the
narrow doorways behind which were occasional glimpses of crowded
courtyards and linen spread out to dry, at the dirty little trickle of
water along the sidewalk with its accustomed burden of rotting lettuce
leaves, at the children scrambling and shouting in the thick dust of
the road, and sighed. She could not have told why she sighed, nor have
put into words what she found so ugly about her, so she only said:--

"Perhaps it is better there than here."

That Athens has beauties of its own, which people travel from distant
lands to see, she knew not. Its charms were not for her. When she
walked out with Taki and Bebeko, the pavements hurt her badly shod
feet, and the glare of the tall white houses hurt her eyes. As for the
beautiful Royal Gardens with their old trees and their shady paths,
their pergolas, their palms, their orange trees and their sheets of
violets, as for the Zappion[17] from whose raised terrace one can see
the columns of the old Temple of Jupiter, the Acropolis,[18] the marble
Stadium,[19] and Phalerum and the sea, all of which together make what
is perhaps the most beautiful view in all Europe, ... she had never
been there! Those were walks for the rich and well-born children
whom she sometimes saw wheeled about in little carriages by foreign
nurses who were dressed all in white with little black bonnets tied
with white strings. How could she lug two heavy children so far? No,
Athens for her was made up of hot narrow streets, of much noise and
hard pavements.

The very next morning while she was sweeping out the passage, she
saw Antigone in her best dress and her hat with the pink flowers,
beckoning to her from outside the house.

"What is it?" exclaimed Mattina, "how is it you are dressed in your
fine things in the morning? What is happening?"

"It is happening that I am going! That old screaming mistress of mine
has sent me off!"

"But what did you do?"

"I only told her I was not a dog to be spoken to as she speaks to me,
and she told me to go now at once! Well, it matters little to me;
there is no lack of houses, and better than hers a thousand times! I
am a poor girl without learning, but I should be ashamed to scream as
she does when anger takes her. Why, you can hear her as far off as
the square! Well, if she thinks I shall regret her and her screams,
she deceives herself! See, I leave you the key of my trunk. I will
send my brother for it this evening, if he can come so far; he lives
at the Plaka[20] you know. And I will tell him to ask you for the key:
I will have no pryings in my things. And Mattina...."

"Yes?"

"Do me a favor and may you enjoy your life!"

"What shall I do?"

"Who knows when the old woman in there will get another girl to serve,
and there is that poor Madmazella who is ill, and in bed again to-day,
and not a soul to get her a glass of water! Go in you, once or twice,
will you not? Her room is over there; it opens on the courtyard by
a separate door, so you need not go near the rest of the house at all."

"I will go," said Mattina.

"I shall owe it you as a favor. Well, Addio--good-by--perhaps I shall
see you again."

"The good hour be with you!" said Mattina, and then ran back into
the house, hearing her master calling her.

Later in the day, when her mistress had gone out for the afternoon,
Mattina filled a glass with cold water and carried it carefully into
the neighbouring courtyard. She found the ground floor room easily,
and lifting the latch, stood hesitatingly in the doorway. Tapping at
a door was unknown in Poros etiquette.

A young woman with a pale face and tumbled fair hair lay on the bed
in a corner of the room.

She opened her eyes as the door creaked, and smiled at Mattina.

"What is it, little one? Whom do you want?"

"Antigone said ..." and Mattina shifted from one foot to another,
"that there was not a soul to get you a glass of water."

The young woman raised herself on her elbow, and her fair hair fell
about her shoulders.

"And so you came to bring me one! But what kindness! I accept with
gratitude; but it is not water I want. Since the morning I have taken
nothing, and I have a hollow there, which gives me still more pain
in the head."

Mattina looked puzzled; she did not know what a "hollow" was.

"Listen, little one: on the shelf of that cupboard there, there is
a small box of chocolate; it is in powder all ready and my spirit
lamp wants but a match to it. Bring then your glass of water; you
see we do require it after all, pour it in the little pan, and the
chocolate, so ... stir it a little with the spoon, and we will wait
till it bubbles. You can wait a little.... Yes? Is it not so?"

"I can wait; the Kyria is out."

"Then pull that little table close to my bed. Ah! How it hurts my
head! Scarcely can I open my eyes."

"Close them," said Mattina; "I will tell you when it boils."

Deftly she pulled forward the little table, straightened the tumbled
sheets, and closed the open shutters so that the hot afternoon sun
should not pour on the bed. Then she stood by the spirit lamp, and
watched the frothing mixture.

"It boils," she announced at last.

The young woman opened her eyes.

"Ah, the glare is gone!" she said, "how well that is for my poor
eyes. But you are a good fairy, my little one! Now bring the cup
from that shelf.... No; bring two! There is plenty of chocolate,
and I am quite sure you like it also."

"I do not know," said Mattina. "It smells good but I have never
tasted it."

"Never tasted chocolate! Oh, the poor little one! Quick! Bring a cup
here, and bring also that box of biscuits from the lower shelf! I am
sure you are hungry. Is it not so?"

"Yes," assented Mattina, "I am always hungry. My mistress," she added
gravely, "says that I eat like a locust falling on young leaves."

"Like a locust! But what a horror! It is a sign of good health to be
hungry. Come then, my child, drink, and tell me if it be not excellent,
my Paris chocolate?"

So Mattina tasted her first cup of French chocolate, and found it
surpassingly good.

And the next day, and for three days after that, in the afternoons,
when she might have sat down to rest on the doorstep, Mattina would
lift the latch of the room in the courtyard, while "Madmazella"
was out giving lessons, and sweep, and dust, and tidy, and put fresh
water into the pretty vase with the flowers, and clean the trim little
house shoes, and fill the spirit lamp.

But on the fifth day, a carriage came to the door of the next house,
and the coachman went into the ground floor room and brought out a
trunk, which he lifted to the box, and "Madmazella" came out also in
a dark blue dress, with a gray veil tied over her hat, and a little
bag in her hand, ready to go away to her own country.

Mattina stood outside on the pavement looking on, and there was a
lump in her throat.

"Madmazella" got into the open one-horse carriage and beckoned to her.

"Come here, my little one! You have been of a goodness,--but of a
goodness to me that I do not know how to thank you; I shall bring you
a whole big box of chocolates from Paris when I return; and now take
this very little present, and buy something as a souvenir of me! Is
it not so?"

She smiled and waved her hand as the carriage drove off, and only
when it was quite out of sight did Mattina look at what had been
pressed into her hand. It was a crumpled five drachmæ note and Mattina
looked at it with awe. She wondered whether it would be enough to
buy the picture with the boat, in case the New Year present should
be something else. In the meanwhile where should she keep it?

Suddenly she thought of the pocket Kyra Sophoula had stitched into
her brown dress. She ran up to the little dark room, half way up the
stairs, reached down her bundle from the nail on which it hung, pulled
out a much crumpled brown dress, shook it out, found the pocket, and
placed the five drachmæ note in it, pinning up the opening carefully
for fear the note might fall out.



V

It had been agreed that Mattina should be allowed to go to see
her uncle and aunt every other Sunday, in the afternoon. But it
had happened lately that Sunday after Sunday her mistress had said,
"I have to go out myself, a friend expects me," or, "My head aches; I
cannot be troubled with the children; you can go out another day." But
the "other day" never came. An older serving maid, or one who knew
town ways better, would have asked for the outing on a week day;
but Mattina did not know. She cried a little over her lost holiday
and stayed in week after week, in the narrow street and the close
rooms that always smelt of stale smoke.

It was a blazing hot Sunday morning in September, and the fifth
since Mattina had last been out, when as she was sitting in the small
kitchen listlessly peeling and slicing a pile of purple aubergines[21]
which seemed as though it would never lessen, someone shuffled along
the street outside and stopped at the little window which was level
with the pavement.

It was Kyra Polyxene, the old washerwoman who lived on the top floor
of the next house, and who went out washing to nearly all the houses
of the neighborhood. Mattina knew her quite well. She had been engaged
two or three times to help for a day when the big monthly wash had been
an extra heavy one. The brown old face and the gray hair made Mattina
think a little of Kyra Sophoula when she looked at her, except that
Kyra Polyxene was taller and stouter and wore no kerchief on her head.

She put her face close to the window bars and peered in.

"Good day, Mattina, what are you doing in there?"

Mattina let drop the slice she was holding, into the basin of cold
water beside her, and came close to the window.

"Good day to you, Kyra Polyxene; I am cutting up aubergines to make a
'moussaka.'"[22]

"How is it you have so many aubergines?"

"We have people to-day for dinner. The Kyria's sisters are coming,
and Taki's godfather also."

"And your mistress does not help you?"

"She is upstairs dressing the children to take them to hear music in
the square. When I first came here she showed me, but now I can make
'moussaka' all alone and it tastes as good as hers." There was a
certain pride in Mattina's voice.

"Shall you go with them to the music?"

"I? No! There is this to finish, and the dining room to sweep,
and the table to lay, and if the dinner be not ready at twelve,
the master is angered."

"And after they have eaten?"

"There will be all the plates to wash."

"And then?"

"Do I know? There is always something."

"Listen to me, my girl! Yesterday I washed at a house up at the
Kolonaki, and they sent me for a loaf to your uncle's oven, and he
was saying that they had not seen you for many days; and he told me
to tell you that you must go there this afternoon and that if your
mistress makes difficulties, you are to tell her that if she keeps
you always closed up, he, your uncle will come and take you away,
and find another house for you."

Mattina opened her eyes widely.

"Did he say so to you, Kyra Polyxene?"

"Just as I tell you, my daughter."

Mattina wiped her hands on her apron and ran upstairs to her mistress's
bedroom. She found her struggling with Taki's stiffly starched sailor
collar, while Bebeko sitting on the unmade bed, with unbuttoned boots,
was howling for his hat which had been placed out of his reach.

"How many more hours are you going to be, cleaning those aubergines,
lazy one? How do you want me to dress two children and myself? Have
I four hands do you think? Fasten the child's boots and make him stop
that crying."

Mattina lifted the heavy screaming boy off the bed, and sat down on
the floor with him.

"Why does Bebeko want his hat?" she whispered. "Now in a minute after I
have fastened his little boots for him, I shall tie it on his head and
he will go with Mamma and Babba and Taki, and hear the pretty music;
and when he comes back...." The child stopped crying and looked at her,
"and when he comes back, if he be a good child, I shall have such a
beautiful boat ready for him, cut out of an aubergine! It will have
two seats and a helm."

"And a mast. Will it have a mast too, Mattina?"

"And a mast, of course."

"And a sail?"

"No," said Mattina seriously, looking out of the window, "it will
not want a sail, there is no wind to-day."

"But I want it to have a sail," persisted the child.

"I have no rag for a sail," said Mattina. "Bebeko must ask his Mamma
for some when the boat is ready."

When both children were dressed, there was a search for the Kyria's
parasol which was nowhere to be found. At first she accused Mattina of
having broken it and hidden the pieces, and at last remembered that
she had left it at her sister's house. Then her keys were mislaid,
looked for in all sorts of places, and discovered at last under her
pillow. Lastly she searched angrily for a twenty-five drachmæ note,
which she declared she had folded up and placed under her gloves in
the early morning.

"I put it there on purpose to change it when I went out, and buy
'pastas'[23] for dinner to-day. It was here, I tell you, just under
these gloves; or stay, perhaps I pinned it on the pincushion."

But neither under the gloves nor on the pincushion was the note to
be found.

"Well," said the Kyria at last, "your master must have taken it for
something, and have forgotten to tell me. I shall meet him at the
square. Come, let us go!"

"Kyria," and Mattina stood in her way.

"What do you want? It is late."

"Kyria, my uncle has sent me word that they have not seen me for
many days, and that I must go there this afternoon, and also if you
make difficulties, and keep me closed up, I am to tell you that he,
my uncle, will come and take me away and find another house for me."

All this was repeated very quickly, and as though Mattina had just
learned it by heart.

Her mistress stared at her.

"Another house, indeed! And what house will take a lazy one like
you? Do you think there are many mistresses who have as good a heart
as I have, and will keep you only because they are sorry for you being
an orphan? Besides, who says I keep you closed up? Do you not go for
a walk nearly every day with the children? Also I was just going to
tell you that as I have my sisters here this afternoon, who will help
me with the children, you could go out. Of course I mean after you
have washed up your plates, and put all in their places. And you are
not to be late, mind!" she added as an afterthought. "Do you hear?"

"I hear," said Mattina.

After the street door had banged to, she finished cutting up the
aubergines, lined the baking dish thickly with the slices, added a
layer of mince-meat, another of aubergines, broke two eggs over them,
bread-crumbed them and carried them off to the oven in the next street,
so quickly and so deftly that even her mistress, had she been there
to watch her, could not have called her "lazy one." After that she
carved Bebeko's promised boat from a large aubergine which she had
kept back, and sharpened a bit of firewood for the mast.



VI

It was nearly four that afternoon before she got up to the baker's
shop, and her uncle had already gone round to the coffee-house. Her
aunt was in the courtyard, sorting out wood for the night's baking,
from a load which had been brought down from the hills the day
before. Mattina set to work to help her, and her aunt told her that her
uncle had said he was to be sent for as soon as she arrived, because
he meant to take them both out to see something, ... "something,"
she added mysteriously, "that your eyes have never seen!" And then
she went off to send the boy to call her husband.

When Kyra Demetroula returned after a few minutes' absence, it was to
find Mattina, who had come across a little sprig of thyme among the
firewood, holding it tightly between her hands, close to her face,
and smelling it with long indrawn breaths, the tears trickling down
her cheeks.

Her aunt stared at her dumfounded. She had always been of the town.

"Are you mad, my child?" she exclaimed, throwing up her arms. "To be
spoiling your heart over a bit of old herb! Give it to me! Let me
throw it into the oven! What will your uncle say when he comes? He
will think I have been giving you stick! Look at your eyes!"

"Never mind! Let me keep it! Oh, let me keep it! I beg of you to let
me keep it, my aunt! Oh, it is so beautiful! It ... it ... brings
back Poros to me," and Mattina gulped down her sobs and dried her
eyes on the back of her sleeve.

"Hush, now, I hear your uncle."

He came in laughing, dressed in his Sunday best.

"Health to you, Mattina! You have been forgetting us for so long! And
if you only knew where we are going! If you only but knew!"

And it is true they went to a wonderful place.

In a broad street, up and down which the crowded street cars were
constantly running, they stopped at an entrance where a man sat behind
a tiny little window, and Mastro Anastasi paid some money to him. Then
they passed into a great big dimly lighted room, with many seats all
in a row placed from one end to another; and a great many people and
children were sitting in them. Mattina sat between her aunt and her
uncle, and waited.

"Why do we sit here?" she asked at last, "and why is it dark?"

Suddenly a little bell tinkled, and at one end of the hall it became
light; and then all sorts of extraordinary things passed before
Mattina's eyes.

She saw a motor car such as those which she had seen outside in the
streets, but this one climbed up the walls of houses. She saw a funny
short man running away, and a great number of people chasing him,
and he upset a woman carrying a bottle of wine, and the wine was all
spilt; and the woman was very angry, and got up, and followed after
him with the rest; and he upset two men on a ladder who were painting
a house, and all the paint ran over him, and they also chased him;
and he upset a cart laden with eggs, and all the eggs broke, and
the carter also ran after him, brandishing his whip; and he upset
a whole shop front of plates and dishes, and they all broke, too,
and came tumbling all over everyone; and when the people who were
chasing had nearly caught him, the man ran upon some railway lines,
and a railway train ran over him, and made him quite flat, but he
sprang up quite well again; and he came to a bridge, and he jumped
right into the water, and swam across to the other side, and all the
other people jumped in after him, but they could not swim and they
made a great splash in the water, and suddenly all the picture went
out and Mattina did not know what happened afterwards.

But she saw many other things.

She saw a little girl in a lovely frock of lace playing with a big
dog in a garden, and some men came and stole her and hid her in a
dark cellar, and a lady and a gentleman who came into the garden wept
and tore their hair, but the big dog sniffed the ground, and ran and
ran, and sniffed again, and jumped over walls and found the child,
and dragged her by her frock and brought her back to her father and
mother; and the last Mattina saw of them, they were all sitting in
the garden and patting and stroking the big dog.

Then she saw a seashore and rocks, in a place that her uncle told
them was called Spain, which was so like the second little bay on the
Monastery Road that she felt like crying again, but that picture went
out at once; and when she saw a man putting a lighted candle in his
mouth and swallowing it, she forgot to feel sad.

When at last they left the wonderful place, her uncle gave her a ten
"lepta" copper coin, and stopped a street car that was passing. He
told her to be sure to get out when she saw the grocer's shop in
the Piræus Road at the corner of the street where her master lived,
and Mattina climbed into the car with a big sigh.



VII

It was still light when she got down off the car step and turned into
the narrow street, still sniffing at the dry sprig of thyme which
she had kept tightly clasped in her hand all the time.

Out of the gathering dusk, an old woman came running towards her.

"It is you, Mattina! It is you! And they said you would never come
back."

Mattina looked around her anxiously.

"Why did they say that, Kyra Polyxene? Is it so late?"

"No, it is not late. But you will find trouble for you at the
house. Your mistress has lost money ... much money ... a twenty-five
drachmæ note, and she says that only you can have taken it."

Mattina fell back a step and stared up at the old woman.

"I?"

"Yes, and your mistress got your bundle and took out all your things
and threw them here and there; but she found naught, and she is
spoiling the world with her screams."

"Come!" said Mattina, "let me go and tell her she does not know what
she says."

But the old woman pulled her back.

"Listen, my girl! You are but a little one, without a whole shoe
to your foot, and these people count every mouthful of bread you
put into your mouth.... If it was in an evil moment?... Give it to
me! and if it be not changed, I will put it where they may find it
and the noise will be over."

"You, also, do not know what you say," and Mattina dragged her arm
away and ran into the house.

The door of the living-room was open, and from it came the sound of
angry voices and loud cries.

Mattina walked right in.

"I am here," she announced, "and neither have I seen your...."

But she could not finish her sentence; a furiously angry woman rushed
at her, caught her by the shoulder, and shook her viciously.

"You thief!" she screamed. "You little thief! This is how you repay
me for taking you in! And you have the face to speak also!"

If Mattina had been a poor little servant all her life, and if her
parents had been servants before her, she would perhaps have insisted
on her innocence more respectfully, but until lately she had always
lived with her equals, and also she was the child of free islanders,
who had never called any one their master.

With both hands she pushed her mistress away from her as hard as she
could push.

"Leave me! Leave me I tell you! I a thief! I! It is you are a liar
for saying so!"

But two heavy blows sent her staggering against the table.

Then it seemed as though all the people in the room were about to fall
upon her, and she crouched there with uplifted arm to protect her head.

The master pushed aside his wife.

"Wait a moment!" he said. "Let me speak to her!" then to Mattina:--

"Tell me now what you have done with the money?"

"I never saw it, I tell you."

"That does not pass with me; you have hidden it somewhere, or given
it to someone."

"Since I tell you I never saw it!"

"There is no one else in the house to take it. If you did not see it,
where is it?"

"Do I know?" said Mattina, sullenly. "Is she not always losing her
things?" and she pointed to her mistress.

Now because the woman was really constantly mislaying her belongings,
this made her still more furious. She darted at Mattina.

"Wait till I show her!" and she struck her so hard a blow on the mouth,
that Mattina screamed and covered her face with both arms.

Her mistress raised her hand again but one of her sisters pulled
her back.

"Find the money first," she said. "What do you gain by beating her?"

"You are right. If she has it on her, I will find it."

And the woman went down on her knees and felt over Mattina, pulling
her frock roughly about. In a moment she found the pins that closed the
opening of the pocket, and dragged them out, thrusting her hand inside.

"Here it is!" she screamed triumphantly. "See! I have it!" and she
waved the folded note which she pulled out of the pocket. But as soon
as she looked at it, her tone changed to one of bitter disappointment.

"She has changed it, the shameless one, and this is all that remains!"

Mattina tried to snatch it from her.

"That is mine! That is mine! That is not yours! It is five
drachmæ. Give it to me! It is mine I tell you."

Her mistress laughed aloud.

"She told Taki here that she had not a 'lepton' of her own."

"That was before," cried Mattina, wildly, beginning to sob. "That
was before I had this. This is mine! It is mine! On my father's soul,
I tell you it is mine!"

"If it be yours," asked one of the sisters, "where did you find it?"

"She gave it to me."

"She! What she?"

"She, the Madmazella from the next house."

"She tells lies!" broke in her mistress. "A governess, who works one
day that she may eat the next! Has she money to give?"

"When did she give it to you?" asked the master.

"When she went away in the carriage to go to her country."

Then they all laughed.

"Ah, of course, you thought of someone who has gone away and whom we
cannot ask! You are very clever, my girl, but your cleverness will
not pass with us!"

"Now, enough words," said her mistress. "I shall lock her up in her
room and send for the police inspector. Perhaps in prison they may
get the truth out of her."

Mattina turned as pale as wax.

She knew what prison was. Even in Poros she had seen men with their
arms tied back with ropes, taken to Nauplia[24] to the big prison of
the "Palamidi";[25] and she had heard tales of those who had returned
from there!

"To prison!" she gasped. "To prison! I?"

"Of course," said her mistress, enjoying her terror. "Did you think
that you could steal and then stay in honest houses? Now you will
see what will happen to you, you little thief!"

Mattina stumbled back against the wall. The sweat sprang out on her
face, she kept wetting her lips, and her hands groped before her as
though she were in the dark.

Her mistress seized hold of her arm and pulled her towards the open
door of the room. For the first moments she struggled wildly, and then
feeling how useless it was, she let herself be dragged out of the door
and up the few steps to her little dark room. Her mistress pushed open
the door with her foot and thrust Mattina in so violently that she fell
upon the mattress in the further corner. Then the key was pulled out of
the keyhole, and the door locked and double-locked on the outside; then
Mattina heard her mistress's heavy tread descending to the room below.

It was quite dark already. Mattina was never allowed a candle in her
room, nor even a floating wick in a tumbler of oil. "As though," her
mistress had said, "it were necessary to burn good oil for a serving
maid to pull off her clothes and tumble on to her mattress." As a
rule she was so tired and sleepy, she did not mind; but now she was
very frightened indeed, and fear is always worse in the dark.

She lay there, where she had been flung, huddled up against the wall,
her eyes hidden in the bend of her arm.

Prison! They would send her to prison! She had heard of a man in Poros,
Andoni, the joiner, who had broken open the money box of Sotiro, the
coffee-house keeper, in the night, and he had been kept ten years in
prison! She did not know how much money he had taken; she had never
heard. How long would they keep her in prison if they thought she
had stolen twenty-five drachmæ; it was a great deal of money! And
what would they do to her in prison? Was it a dark place under the
ground? Oh, why was her father, her own "babba," not alive to beat
off the men of the police who would soon be coming to fetch her?

For a long time she cried and sobbed on the mattress without
moving. When she opened her eyes she could distinguish nothing
in the room, the darkness was like a thick black veil covering
everything. There were voices, but they seemed distant; the house
seemed still, with the stillness that brings terror with it.

Suddenly the dark seemed full of big hands with hooked fingers
stretching out to clutch at her.

She ran wildly to the door and shook it, screaming aloud.

"Oh, my mother! My mother! Manitsa![26] Where are you?"



VIII

In the meanwhile, her mistress, downstairs, was urging her husband
to go to the police station.

"Just think of the little thief," she was saying. "And I who kept
her out of charity, though she broke a fortune in plates, because I
thought that at least she had 'clean hands.'"

"I wonder," said an elderly man who had not yet spoken, and who was
Taki's godfather, "where the girl can have found this twenty-five
drachmæ note?"

"I put it myself on my chest of drawers under my pincushion this
morning," explained Mattina's mistress. "When I came to go out with
the children it was missing; and she, the little hypocrite, helped
me to look for it everywhere."

"Had the girl been alone in your room, since you had put the money
there?" inquired the elderly man.

"Do I know? But she was there a long time messing about with the
children and pretending to help to dress them. A note is easily slipped
up a sleeve. Is it such a big thing? Well, when I could not find it
I said to myself that doubtless Theophani must have taken it, and
forgotten to tell me before he went out. You know how absent-minded
he is. And when I met him in the square, I forgot to ask him, and
never remembered till late this afternoon; and when he said he had
never touched it, of course I knew at once it could only have been
Mattina who had stolen it. Who else? And I, the stupid one, who have
such confidence in people and never lock things up! Who knows how
much more money she has taken at times?"

"Have you missed any, besides this?" asked the elderly man.

"I would have you know, my friend, that money is not so scarce in
this house that we have to count exactly how many drachmæ we leave
about!" Then turning to her sisters: "Someone is knocking outside,"
she said, "I must go and see who it is. You just take those children
and put them to bed. They are fighting the whole time."

It is true, there was a great noise and much whimpering when Bebeko
was dragged out by one of his aunts from under the table, holding to
a purple limp-looking object which was the half of his boat.

"Taki," he sobbed, had "boken" his boat.

"He is a stupid one," announced Taki. "What is it but a piece of
aubergine, his boat?"

"Never mind, my little bird!" said the aunt, picking Bebeko up,
"to-morrow I will buy you a new one; a real boat of wood!"

But to-morrow was far away for Bebeko. He kept tight hold of his
half boat.

"The mast!" he cried as his aunt was carrying him off, "the mast, and
my sail! They are under the table! They fell off! Taki made them fall!"

The aunt, who was a kind young woman, put down the child and stooped to
look for "the mast and the sail," creeping under the long table-cover
to do so. When she found them, she stopped for a moment, looking at
them, and then called to her sister who came back into the room with
a newspaper in her hand.

"Angeliki! Look at this! Do you see with what the child has been
playing?"

And she held out a piece of paper with two small holes pierced in it,
through which was passed a sharpened stick.

And the piece of paper was a twenty-five drachmæ note.

Bebeko's mother snatched the note from her sister's hand, and seized
the child roughly.

"From where did you get this, you bad child? Who gave it to you? Was
it Mattina?"

The child began to cry loudly.

"I want my sail! I want my sail! It is mine! It is not Mattina's;
it is mine!"

"From where did you get it? Tell me at once, or you will eat stick."

"Do not frighten the child," said the father, and he picked up Bebeko
and set him on the table.

"Now tell me like a golden little boy that you are, where did you
find this paper? Tell me, and Babba will give you a 'loukoumi.'"[27]

The child gulped down a big sob.

"Mattina had no rag to make a sail; she said to ask Mamma...."

"And then?"

"I asked Mamma, and she said, 'I have no rag, go away,' and then I
put the paper in my own self. It is mine."

"Where did you find the paper?"

"On the floor."

"But where on the floor."

"Down on the floor."

Then the youngest aunt said:--

"Come and show me where, Bebeko, and Babba will get the 'loukoumi.'"

Bebeko scrambled down and took hold of her hand, and led her, all
the others following, into his parents' bedroom. Then, pointing to
a spot at the foot of the chest of drawers, he said triumphantly:--

"There."

His mother looked very vexed.

"Those children!" she cried. "Whatever they see, they take. All this
fuss we have had for nothing!"

"Go upstairs, now," said her husband, "and tell that poor girl that
you have found the money. She was half mad with fright when you told
her you would send her to prison."

"It does not do her any harm," said Mattina's mistress, "if she did
not do it this time, it will be a lesson for her if she ever feels
inclined to steal in the future. However, she may as well come down
and take the children to bed," and she took a lighted candle, and
went upstairs to unlock the door.

In a moment the others heard an astounded voice exclaiming:--

"Bah! She is not here!"

"Not there! Nonsense!" cried her husband; and they all ran up and
peered into the little dark room.

But it was quite true, Mattina was not there.

They looked all round, but there was only the tumbled mattress on the
floor, a red cotton coverlet hanging on a nail in the wall over it,
a straw chair, a pitcher of water in a tin basin, and not a single
cupboard, nook, or corner in which anyone could hide.

"The girl must have crept down quietly while we were talking, and
run away to her uncle's," said the master.

"But the door was locked," objected his wife.

"Impossible."

"But it was, I tell you."

"You meant to lock it but you did not."

"I locked it and double locked it."

"You were in a passion at the moment, and you did not know what you
were doing."

"Since I tell you I turned the key twice with my hand," screamed his
wife, getting very red. "Do I eat straw? I locked it and I locked it
well. Do you not understand Greek? Shall I say it in Chinese?"

Her husband strode into the little room and, taking the lighted candle,
lifted it high above his head.

"You women have no logic! Look!" turning to the others, "can the girl
have climbed through the window?"

It was a tiny barred window over their heads, looking out upon a
courtyard far below.

They all laughed.

"No, certainly!"

"Well, then, she must have got through the door! Come downstairs
now, there is no use in staying up here. In the morning I will go to
her uncle's."

Then as they left the room he turned to his wife who was still
protesting violently that she had locked the door; she would lay her
head that she had.

"Now enough words, wife! Perhaps you think the girl passed through
the wall?"



IX

And yet, had he but known it, that was very nearly what had
happened. When Mattina, worn out with crying, had sunk down on the
floor against the door, sobbing out every now and then, "My mother,
my manitsa," she suddenly heard a very low muffled knocking which
seemed to come from the other side of the room. At first she took no
heed. It was someone, she supposed, in the next house; she had often
heard people moving there. But it came again, a soft little knock
repeated twice; then her name just whispered.

"Mattina! Mattina! Are you there?"

The voice was Kyra Polyxene's, she was quite sure, but from where did
it come? She crossed the little room. The knock was quite clear now.

"Mattina!"

"But where are you, Kyra Polyxene?"

"Now you will see; can you hear what I say?"

"Yes, I hear you."

"Move your mattress!"

"What did you say?"

"I dare not speak any louder; move your mattress away from the wall!"

Mattina seized hold of the heavy straw mattress with both hands,
and dragged it aside.

"Have you done it?"

"Yes."

Then slowly, very slowly, a narrow door painted exactly the same color
as the rest of the room, with no handle, no crack even to show its
outline or to distinguish it from the surrounding wall, a door which
Mattina had certainly never seen before, was pushed open from the
other side and Kyra Polyxene's kind old face appeared in the opening.

"Not a word!" she whispered, with a finger on her lips. "Not a word
for your life! Come!"

Mattina was very bewildered.

"Where shall I come? How did you get in?"

"Hush! Lest they hear us from below. Once this was all one big house,
and when they made it two, they left this door. It was all painted
over, and no one knew; but I remembered. Wait!" and she came right
in. "Give me your coverlet! See I will hang it over the opening, so
... because now that I have opened the door, when it is light they will
see that the paint has cracked. And before that lazy mistress of yours
takes the coverlet down to shake it, many days will pass. Come! Why
are you waiting?"

"Kyra Polyxene," said Mattina, "they all tell lies! I never saw
their money!"

"And for that, will you stay here and let them take you and lock you
in prison?"

There was a loud knocking at the door below.

Mattina clung desperately to Kyra Polyxene's skirts.

"Do you hear?"

"I hear," said the old woman grimly. "Come, I tell you! Come!"

She pushed Mattina first through the half-open door and followed,
closing it softly behind her and turning a rusty key on the other
side. They were standing in a small dark room filled with cases
and lighted by one candle. Kyra Polyxene took up the candle. Then
she clasped Mattina's hand tightly in hers, and together, treading
very softly, they crossed a long narrow passage outside the room,
passed through a glass door, went down a flight of stone steps into
a cellar where piles of wood were stacked, and then went up three or
four steps again to a little back door that opened on the pavement.

The night air that blew in their faces felt fresh and cool.

"Listen, my daughter!" said the old woman. "Now you go straight
to your uncle's house! You know the way. If to-morrow dawns well,
I will come and tell you what is happening. Go! Run! And the Holy
Virgin be with you!"

At that moment loud voices came to them from the open window of the
house which they had just left. Mattina thought she caught her name,
and then she heard her master say very distinctly:--

"Go upstairs, now!..." but she did not hear the end of the sentence.

The men of the police must have come, and they were going upstairs
to look for her!

Without a word, she dragged her hand from the old woman's and ran
wildly down the dark street.

She ran on and on, panting, stumbling, falling, picking herself up
again, her plaits of hair which had come loose in the struggle with
her mistress flying behind her. When she came out to the Piræus Road,
where a few people were still about, she stopped, and leaning against
a lamp post, tried with trembling fingers to tie up her hair.

To her uncle's! No! She would not go there!

She had not had time to explain to Kyra Polyxene that her master knew
where the baker's shop was. He had asked her one day. And of course
it was there they would search for her at once. No, no! Not to her
uncle's! But where then? Where?

She tried hard to remember where Antigone had said that her brother
lived. Perhaps she would hide her; she knew how bad mistresses could
be! But try as she would, she could not remember. Athens names were
all new and strange to her.

And there was no one else.

Perhaps she could walk about all night, or sit down on a bench? But
when it dawned, what then? Suddenly she heard running steps in the
street behind her and loud voices, ... men's voices. Was the one
her master's? She looked wildly round like a trapped thing and once
more started running, as she had never run before, down the middle of
the broad road. Every moment it seemed as if a hand were grasping her
shoulder. She flew past the lighted grocer's shop where they might know
her, and her head struck against the open shutter, but she did not feel
the pain. On she ran, her breath coming in loud gasps, and great throbs
beating in her throat. She heard steps again.... Were they behind her?

Suddenly, under a lamp post, she came into violent contact with a big
man, who was walking leisurely before her, his hands crossed behind
his back, fiddling with a short string of black beads.

He caught hold of the lamp post to save himself from falling and
turned round.

"Who falls in this way on people? Have you gone mad, my girl? One
would think someone was hunting you."

It was a Poros voice, and Mattina clung desperately to the baggy blue
breeches of Thanassi Nika, as the old sea-captain bent over her.

"They are! They are!" she cried wildly, "they are hunting me! Save
me! Save me! And may all your dead become saints!"

"Why? Why? What is happening here? Are you not Aristoteli Dorri's
daughter? Who is hunting you?"

"The people of the house; the master ... the mistress ... they have
called the men of the police; they will put me in prison!"

"What have you done?" asked the old man sharply.

"I have done nothing. On the soul of my father, I have taken nothing
of theirs. But money was lost, and they say I took it. Save me! Take
me from here!"

Capetan Thanassi looked up and down the road.

Farther up towards the grocer's shop two or three men seemed hurrying
towards them, but just at that moment a bright light flashed in
their eyes, and a street car going to the square came to a stop a
few paces away.

The old man lifted Mattina bodily to the step and followed her. The
little platform was crowded, and as they stood there tightly wedged
between many people, he put his finger on his lips so that Mattina
should keep silent. Almost at once in the big lighted square they got
down again, and before Mattina had time to think where they might be
going, she had been run across the road, down a broad street, through
a crowded waiting-room, down an endless flight of stone steps, and
was seated once more in a railway carriage, which started almost as
soon as Capetan Thanassi threw himself down puffing and panting on
the seat beside her.

"Well," he said, wiping his forehead with a big red handkerchief,
"it is not a good thing to be hunted and to run; but to let these
Athenians, here, seize hold of Aristoteli Dorri's daughter, and call
her a thief! That could not be! Now, listen to me, little one! If
you have done anything crooked, that is between God and your soul,
but for me it is sufficient that I knew your father. My caique[28]
leaves to-night, now, with the turn of the wind. I shall put you in
it and take you back to your own country, and once there,... we shall
see what can be done."

Mattina had seized his hand and was kissing it.

"To my own island? To Poros? God make your years many, Capetan
Thanassi, for this that you are doing for me!"



X

The big white caique at Piræus was ready laden, only waiting for its
captain, and an hour later, Mattina, in a little corner between two
planks of wood and a big case, lay curled up on the low deck, with
the cool night wind blowing salt and fresh on her face. She listened
to the water flap-flapping against the wooden sides of the boat,
and dimly saw the great white sails bellying out above her head. She
heaved a big sigh of content and stretched out her feet under a loose
piece of sack-cloth.

The harbor lights of Piræus were already far behind them when, rocked
by the softly swaying movement, she fell asleep.

And how good it was the next morning to awake at sea, with the sun
high above the horizon on a blue September day, to feel safe and free,
to lean over the side of the boat, munching the hunk of bread and the
piece of "touloumi"[29] cheese which one of the sailors had given her,
while she watched the swish and sparkle of the water as the tall
prow of the caique divided it, and listened to Capetan Thanassi's
loud orders to his men, as they tacked round by the lighthouse.

Ah! and how good it was, as soon as they turned the corner, to see
in the distance the white houses of Poros!

It was even better when she stepped down the plank thrown from the
boat to the shore and was treading Poros soil once more. Then it
was like dreams coming true! The caique had anchored far away from
the village, in a little creek before one came to the Beach of the
Little Pines. Someone from Athens was building a house there, a big
house with balconies and terraces. Capetan Thanassi had brought a
boat load of wood-work for the doors and windows, and the workmen
were busy unloading it almost before the anchor had been dropped.

"What will you do?" the old captain asked Mattina. "Before noon, when
this unloading is over, I shall sail into the village. Will you wait?"

"I thank you, Capetan Thanassi. For the good that you have done me,
may you find it from God; but I cannot wait. I will go along the shore,
and reach the house and the little one long before you have finished
your work."

"Go then, my girl! Go!" and Mattina ran up the slope of the hill
leading to the Beach of the Little Pines, and did not stop to take
breath until she reached the top.

There she stood still, waist-high in a tangle of bushes. The thyme
was all dried up of course, but the heather was in bloom and the
lentisk bushes were laden with thick clusters of red berries.

She dropped on her knees, with a little cry of joy, beside a big
bush on which the bright crimson berries seemed thicker than the tiny
leaves. "Fairy-cherries," the children of the Red House on the hill,
called them. Mattina had never heard this, but she loved the little
tight bunches of red berries because they were so pretty and because
she had never seen them but in Poros. In a moment she got up and
began the descent of the hill.

The glorious curve of the Beach of the Little Pines seemed almost
entirely deserted. The morning sea in lines of deep golden green near
the pines of the shore, and of deep blue beyond, blue as the sky,
blue as the flag, bore not a single fisher boat on its surface. Only
far away in the distance under the big round fig tree Mattina could
distinguish a flock of sheep, and still farther away the figure of a
man coming down the next hill, but whether it was the shepherd or not
she could not tell. Down she came through the tall white spikes of the
dog-onions waving all over the hill side, till she stood at last on a
flat gray rock on the very edge of the sea. The perfectly smooth water
showed the shining yellow and green and gray pebbles lying below, as
though a sheet of glass had been placed over them. In and out between
the stones swam tiny black-striped fishes, and now and then a ripple
trembled over the surface and broke softly against the rock. And it
was clear and beautiful, and her very own sea, and she lifted her
face to its breath, and she fell on her knees and stretched out her
bare brown arms that the water might flow and ripple over them!

In the water close to the shore, every tiny green branch, and every
vein of the gray rocks, and every clump of red earth, was reflected
line for line, and tint for tint, and through these reflections ran
long straight lines of bright, bright blue. Suddenly Mattina remembered
Antigone, the serving maid of the next house, who had said to her,
"You! with your trees, and your rocks, and your sea!" And she thought,
"She has never seen them, the poor one! If she were only here now!"

But she did not know that Antigone was of those people who would never
see some things, even if she were to touch them with her hand. She
would find that the rocks hurt her feet and spoiled her Sunday shoes.

The morning light would never bring a light into her eyes, and
certainly a little cool soft breeze blowing in her face could never
have made her feel so entirely and unreasonably joyful.

Mattina could never have explained, nor did she understand as other
children might, who had read books, or who had lived with people
who had read books, that it was just the beauty of everything around
her that made her feel so happy, that for some moments wiped all her
troubles off her mind as though by a magic sponge. She had never heard
that her ancestors were of the race which above all other had always
worshipped beautiful things.

However, in a few moments she stood up, wiped her arms on her frock,
and walked along the shore more soberly. She must get on, she felt;
she must see the child--Zacharia. How he would laugh when he saw
her! "'Attina! My 'Attina!" he would cry. Kyra Sophoula would say a
good word to her also; but the others, her uncle Yoryi, and her aunt
Kanella, what would they say? They would ask why she had returned. They
would ask so many things; and what could she say? She had come back
not much richer than she went; and now what could she do? She thought
for a moment of the mayor and the doctor. Each of them kept a little
maid. If only one of them would take her! How good that would be! She
was stronger now, and had learned much in the town. But she knew it
was not likely that either of them would be requiring a new serving
maid just then. People here did not change their servants like shirts
as they did in Athens. In Poros, one took a little girl, one did
not even call her a servant, but a "soul-child"; one taught her, one
fed her, one dressed her, and in due time one prepared her dowry for
her. The doctor, she knew, had got Panouria, the widow's daughter,
as a "soul-child." No, it was not at all likely; and Mattina heaved
a big sigh as she filled her hands with cyclamen for Zacharia. Poros
had its troubles too.

She had nearly reached the end of the big beach, and was stooping to
pick a bright crimson cyclamen growing in the shadow of a lentisk bush,
when suddenly a flat pebble skimmed past her, touched the surface of
the water, and then flew from ripple to ripple like a thing alive.

"It is many years since I did that," said a boyish voice just behind
her. But when she wheeled round, it was no boy who stood there laughing
and following the pebble with his eyes. It was a grown man, the one
whom she had seen in the distance, coming down the hill, and it was
certainly not a shepherd. It was a man wearing good clothes, like
the men she had seen in Athens in the fine streets; better far than
those her master wore; with a gold chain across his waistcoat. It was
a man whom she had never seen before; tall, with thick brown hair and
a small moustache, but whose sunburnt face did not seem strange to her.

He flung another pebble, swinging his arm well back and making it go
still farther than the last.

"Did you see that one, my girl?" he said without looking at her. "I
thought I had forgotten,... but see there," as he flung a third and
began counting,... "eleven,--twelve,--thirteen,--fourteen! I wish
some of the lads from Lexington were here to see me. They never would
believe that I could make it go more than ten times."

"Throw another," said Mattina who was interested, picking up a good
flat one.

The man held out his hand for it and, as he did so, looked at the
girl for the first time.

The pebble dropped to the shore between them.

"Why!" he said slowly, "Why! From where did you come? Not from the
village?"

Mattina, her empty hand stretched out as though still holding the
stone, looked at him.

"No,--I come from Athens. Only just now we have arrived."

"Now?"

"Yes, in Capetan Thanassi's caique."

"You are from Athens?"

"Oh, no; from the island. I was only serving in the town."

The man put his hand under Mattina's chin, turned her face up, and
took a long look at her.

"If you are not Aristoteli's daughter, may they never call me Petro
again."

Mattina stared in wonderment. How came this well-dressed stranger to
know her?

"Yes; I am Aristoteli Dorri's the sponge diver's."

"God rest his soul," added the man, "and your mother's also! Little
did I think to return to the island and find them both under the
soil. And when I looked for you, they told me you had gone to serve
in the town! How did this good thing happen that you should just
have come back today? Now I need not take the steamer for Athens to
go and search for you."

"For me?"

"For who else? Do you think I mean to return to America all alone,
and leave my brother's daughter working for strange folk in strange
houses!"

Mattina was beyond speech.

The young man put his arm round her shoulders.

"So you do not know me? Your uncle Petro? Truly how should you? You
were a babe in swaddling clothes when I left the island. But look at
me! Look at me, then! Have I not the same face as your father--the
blessed one? All have told me so."

A sudden enlightenment came into Mattina's eyes. Of course he had
her father's face! The hair which came down in a point, the eyes that
laughed; that was why he had not seemed strange. But her father had
never worn such fine clothes, and his back had not been so straight.

Timidly she crept a little closer.

"My uncle," she whispered looking up into the laughing boyish eyes,
"are you my 'family' now?"

"Is it a question? Of course I am your family; and you are mine. Your
mother's cousins here and her brother in Athens, they good people,
I do not say the contrary, but they have their own families for which
to provide. I have no one, and you are mine now, and I shall work for
you. It is ended now that you should work for strangers. You did well
to leave them!"

"I did not mean to leave them; I did not know you were here on the
island, my uncle, but I was afraid, and I ran away from their house."

"Afraid! Why?"

Mattina flushed very red.

"They said I stole their money."

"They called you a thief! My brother's daughter! A bad year to
them! But why did you run away as thieves run? You should have stayed
and told them that they lied."

"I told them. But they would not believe me though I swore it on my
father's soul; and the master was going to fetch the men to take me
to prison, and I was afraid."

"It is true, you are but a little one. But rest easy; no one shall make
you afraid, now that I am here! We will go together to these people and
if the master dares to say you stole, I will break his face for him!"

And Mattina saw that her uncle's laughing eyes could look very fierce.

"Have you the money for which you served?"

"No, they had not given it to me yet."

"We will get it. Rest easy! And how much did they agree to pay you
for every month?"

"Eight drachmæ."

"Are they not ashamed? It is not even two dollars. And doubtless they
made you work hard for it, eh?"

"There was always work, yes; but...."

"But what?"

"She said that ... that at New Year I should have a present. And now
... now...."

And Mattina suddenly realizing that the present, the long dreamed of
present, was lost for ever, burst into wild sobs.

"Bah! Bah! And is it for their miserable present that you are spoiling
your heart's content? Am I not here to get you a far more beautiful
present?"

Mattina lifted streaming eyes, full of wonder.

"You!"

"Who else? And what shall the present be?"

The heavens seemed opening in glory before Mattina's dazzled eyes.

"Can I say whatever I like?"

"Surely."

"Then I want ... there is a picture in a shop in Athens, with a broad
golden frame; it is the sea, and a boat on it with a white sail, and
you can see the sail in the water all long and wavy, and if you touch
the water, you think your finger will be wet. That is what I want."

"You shall have your picture; we will hang it in our house in
Lexington, where there is no sea, and it will remind us of our island."

"Shall we not live here in Poros, my uncle?"

"Here? Not yet! I am young still, and strong, and I mean to earn more
money in America than I have done already. Besides, I have to think
of providing your dowry now, you see. In good time, when I am older,
and you are a woman grown, then, if God wills it, we will return to
the island. It is not good to leave one's bones in a strange land. No;
in eight days we go down to Piræus to leave for America in a great big
ship, bigger than you have ever seen before, even in your sleep, and
when we get there, to America, you shall see what your eyes will see!"

"My uncle!"

"Yes." Then as no words came, he added, "Say what you want! You must
not fear to ask for whatever your heart desires."

"My uncle, there is Zacharia too...."

"What? The little one? I saw him at Kyra Kanella's. He is very
little." Just for a second the young man hesitated, then--

"Can you care for him on the journey, my maid? A journey of many days,
mind you, with a sea which may make you ill; a rough green sea with
waves as high as houses; not like this blue joy here. Can you?"

"Surely," said Mattina, "I can do many things."

Her uncle looked at the sturdy little figure, and at the strong firm
little chin.

"I believe you can," he said. "Come!" holding out his hand, "let us
go and find the little rascal."



THE FINDING OF THE CAVE


I

It is a great thing to be a Zamana, and of the right branch, too. At
least that is what little Pavlo Zamana had always been told.

Was it not his own great-grandfather who had fought at the siege of
Missolonghi?[1] Was it not he who had suggested the famous message to
the Turks: "If you want our town, come and take it!" though it was
the sender who got the credit for it? Was not he one of the leaders
of the last heroic sortie, on the never-to-be-forgotten tenth of
April? And did not Botzari say of him, "Without my right hand, I can
do something, without Zamana, nothing"?

All this was most gratifying when Pavlo was at school; especially
when new boys arrived, for the old ones had heard the story pretty
often. And of course it was always a proud moment when the history
master came to the siege of Missolonghi, and rolled out the names of
Botzari,[2] Palama, Tricoupi, Pappalouka, Razikotsika, Kapsali, Zamana,
to be able to whisper very audibly, "That was my great-grandfather!"

But it was less interesting at home, when he could never cry in peace
over a barked knee, or howl if there were a splinter to be dug out
which had gone in deeply, or feel very sad when a visit to the dentist
was projected, without being always told:--

"Shame! Shame! And you a Zamana!"

And the fact remained, whether it was that the blood had weakened
by the time it had come down to Pavlo, or whether some of his other
grandfathers or grandmothers had been built in a less heroic mould,
that when he had to go up into a dark attic to look for a book for
his uncle, or to face an aggressive band of schoolboys waiting with
stones in their hands round a street corner, he did not feel at all
as a Zamana should; oh, but not at all!

There had been a great many Zamanas, but they had all died, some at
home and some abroad, and only two were left now; a middle-aged doctor,
and a little boy.

The doctor was Pavlo's uncle, and he lived in a gloomy house in Solon
Street, in Athens, and when he was at home he was always very busy
writing, and had to be called again and again when dinner or supper
was ready.

"I have come; I have come!" he would answer impatiently, but he never
came till the pilaf[3] was all sodden, or the "keftedes"[4] had stuck
to the dish in little rounds of cold fat.

The little boy was Pavlo, and he lived with his uncle.

The house in Solon Street was not an interesting house to live in
one bit. It was tall and narrow, jammed in between another tall
narrow house on one side, and a green grocer's shop on the other,
and one could only see the Acropolis,[5] and Phalerum and the sea
if one got up to the terrace on the roof, where they hung out the
clothes to dry; and even from there it looked very far off. There
was not a scrap of garden, only a small paved courtyard at the back,
generally littered with empty cases which had come from abroad with new
instruments and new books for the doctor. Pavlo sometimes attempted
to play house or shop in the biggest of these, but Marina, the cook,
used to get very cross if he brought in damp straw on his shoes over
her freshly scrubbed kitchen, and the other maid, Aphrodite, would
screw up her ugly brown face, and bring her thick black eyebrows
together, and threaten that the next time he got another big tear
in his clothes from those great long packing nails for her to mend,
if she did not tell his uncle, they need never call her "Aphrodite"
again! His uncle heard her once, and said laughingly that they need
never have called her "Aphrodite" at all, but Pavlo got his scolding
all the same, for causing unnecessary work, so that the packing cases
had to be abandoned.

In winter it was better. After his preparation for next day's school
was over, and before the long delayed supper, he would stay in the
little dining room, and lying flat on the floor in the warmth of the
big white Viennese stove, he would colour the pictures in the odd
numbers of an English illustrated medical journal, which his uncle had
given to be thrown away. There were very rarely what Pavlo considered
real pictures in them, and he got rather tired of colouring "thoracic
aortas" in bright orange, and "abdominal aortas" in pale green, and
"tracheæ" in stripes of purple and yellow; but now and then he would
come across some funny groups of little insects, and once there was
a picture of an operation in a hospital, where there were any amount
of doctors and nurses to be coloured, each one differently. That
picture lasted him three whole evenings, and would have been even
more successful than it was, if only the very best and softest of his
chalks, the crimson one, had not somehow got broken inside the wood,
so that it all came away in little pieces when he tried to sharpen it,
till at last there was nothing left but a little stump of chalk without
any wood, and anyone who has tried, knows how hard it is to colour
a whole dress with a little bit of chalk that one cannot hold properly.

But when the days grew longer and warmer the dining room was too hot
for comfort; the study, even when the doctor was out, was always kept
locked, and Pavlo's own bedroom on the third floor was even hotter
than the dining room. So he would end by taking his books or his
chalks into the hall, where at least there was a little coolness to
be had from the chink under the front door. There he would sit on the
stairs, or lie flat on the floor, kicking up his heels as he read or
painted, till he knew every stringy part of the long strip of gray,
red-edged carpet that crossed the middle of the passage, and every
place where the paint, which had peeled off the once-painted floor,
had left curiously shaped patches, which only needed the touch of
a pencil here and there to turn into all sorts of faces. The yellow
walls, imitating veined marble, offered terrible temptation of the same
kind, but it was too dangerous; pencil marks on the walls would have
been seen at once. There was one spot, indeed, where the criss-cross
of veins made such an exact head of Hermes,[6] winged cap and all, with
only the back of the head and one ear missing, that Pavlo absolutely
could not resist touching it up, one long hot afternoon. He rubbed
all the pencil marks very carefully off afterwards, with his piece of
india rubber, but this had got so mixed up in his pocket with odds and
ends of chalk and with half a "loucoumi" that the rubbing-away marks
were very red and sticky and showed worse than the pencil ones. So
Pavlo had been rather frightened, till he discovered that by pushing
the hat stand a little nearer the study door, the place was quite
hidden. However, he dared not make any more attempts on the wall,
and the afternoon dragged wearily.

Of course, no playing in the street was ever allowed, but sometimes
when Marina the cook slipped out late to buy a bowl of "yaourti"[7] for
supper, or some chicory for salad, she would take him with her, and he
would stand about while she bargained, envying the blue-pinafored boys
of the neighborhood tearing and whooping down the street or gathered
together over their marbles on the edge of the pavement. Pavlo played
marbles at his school near the National Library, when he managed to
get there ten minutes before lessons began; but the class-bell always
rang in the middle of the most interesting game, and the ten minutes
between each lesson were of no good because no play was allowed then,
at that school. Only the bigger classes could do as they liked, the
little boys were marshaled in order of size by one of the overlookers
and marched round and round the big courtyard, so that, as Pavlo
heard the director explaining to his uncle one day, "the little pupils
should have all the benefit of fresh air and exercise during this short
interval, without any danger of their minds being distracted from the
lesson they had just been taught!" But the "little pupils'" minds
were as a rule more occupied with the secret exchange of pen nibs,
the recognized school currency, than in pondering over the last lesson.

And then, when June had passed into July, when summer in town was
at its hottest and dustiest, when the examinations were just over,
and there was not even school to break the monotony of the long empty
days, a wonderful change came into Pavlo's life.

It happened like this.

One afternoon he had just got up from the enforced lying down with
a book, which he hated--especially as the book was not a new one,
but only Louki Laras[8] which he had read already four times, so that
even if one skipped the descriptions, the exciting parts were too
familiar--and was wandering about the house, a piece of bread in
one hand and a piece of chocolate in the other, when he came across
Aphrodite packing his uncle's valise. He was going away, she told
Pavlo, for some days. There was nothing extraordinary in that. People
were always sending for the doctor from one part and another of the
provinces, to come and cure them, and Pavlo was quite accustomed to
being alone in the house with the two maids, and having his dinner
and supper served on a tray at one end of the dining room table. The
only advantage of this was that Marina let him choose his dinners,
and that he could have pilaf or even "halva"[9] two days running, and
need never touch soup or boiled meat all the time his uncle was away.

But the extraordinary thing happened a few moments later, when his
uncle let himself into the house, and walked right up into the room
where the packing was going on.

"Is the valise full?" he inquired.

Aphrodite straightened herself up.

"It is full, Kyrie. I have put three soft shirts at the bottom and
the little black box which you gave me last night; the rest of your
things are in the middle, and there are two starched shirts under
the covering, and your traveling cap at the very top."

"Is it quite full?" he repeated.

"If there is any other small thing you have forgotten, I can slip it
in between the clothes."

"No, ..." and his eyes wandered round the room and rested on Pavlo
who was looking out of the window with great interest at two newspaper
boys having a fight. "No, ... I meant if you could perhaps get a few
things of the child's in with mine. I think that this time I shall
take him with me."

The street fight was forgotten, and a flushed, bewildered Pavlo with
wide open eyes caught hold of his uncle's hand.

"Me! Take me with you!"

"Yes. How does the idea seem to you? This time I am going to visit a
sick man in Poros, the deputy of the island; and in that same island
I have an old school friend who lives there all summer through with
his family, and who has asked me again and again to go to see him;
so, how would you like to come with me to Poros, and all day long,
while I am busy, to play on the hill and in the woods behind the
house with the children? There are three or four of them, I believe."

"This evening shall we go?"

"No," laughed his uncle, "early to-morrow morning."

Even Aphrodite was quite nice about it, and turned all the doctor's
things into a larger valise where there would be room for Pavlo's
clothes also, without any grumbling or bringing together of her
thick black eyebrows as she did when she was cross; and Marina sat
up quite late mixing some "kourabiedes"--cookies--for him to eat
on the way. She gave them to him herself wrapped up in two papers
so that his clothes should not get "all over fine sugar" when he
was starting for the station in the open carriage with his uncle,
at six o'clock the next morning.



II

It was a wonderful day! The drive to the station through the
great empty squares and the half-awakened streets; the wait in
the railway station of the Monastiraki while his uncle bought the
tickets and Pavlo gazed open eyed at the little railed-in bookstall,
hung round with very brightly coloured pictures of various heroes
of the Revolution; the railway journey down to Piræus with all the
people getting out at Phalerum, towels in hand, for sea baths; the
landing stage at Piræus with the multitude of little blue and red and
green boats swaying on the sunny water; the climb up the side of the
white steamer; the fat kind-faced captain who greeted his uncle as
an old friend and himself as a new one and gave him the freedom of
his bridge; the steaming out of the harbour past the King's Summer
House[10] surrounded by its great aloes and its little baby pines,
past the grave of Themistocles[11] gloriously placed in eternal view
of Salamis,[12] past the long breakwater and the lighthouse, and so
out into the open sea; the stop at Ægina with its big-sailed boats
and shouting boatmen crowding all round the steamer; the sighting
opposite Methana of the "stone ship" and the breathless listening to
its legend, of its captain the nereid who was turned into stone with
all her ship for presumptuously attempting to surpass the moon in
swiftness; the thrill of seeing a real dolphin swimming alongside the
steamer, ... all these and more, made the journey a dream of delight
to Pavlo, from which he was almost in fear of awaking to the ordinary
every-day life of Solon Street. He forgot to be hungry. It was his
uncle who after all reminded him of the packet of crushed and crumbly
"kourabiedes" which he had quite forgotten on a bench beside him;
and though he did eat them, they might as well have been dry bread
for all the pleasure he got out of them.

In a little while after leaving Methana they passed a lighthouse on
a rock, and the steamer turned round the corner of it.

"There is Poros!" said his uncle, suddenly laying his hand on Pavlo's
shoulder and twisting him round; and there it was.

A little white village with red roofs, and here and there a big round
pine or a tall narrow cypress all climbing up a hill to an old ruined
mill at the top.

There was a glorious open bay, and red and orange-sailed fishing
boats were sailing about it, and there were tall hills covered with
olive trees to the right, and tall hills covered with pine trees to
the left. And in the pines nestled a red house, and Pavlo's uncle
pointed it out to him.

"See, there is my friend's house! There is where you will play with
the children; across there! Do you see?"

Pavlo saw, and his cup of happiness was full, for he saw no trimly
set-out garden with elaborate flower-beds such as he had once seen
at Kiphissia, with "Do not touch" plainly written all over it, but
hollows and crags where lentisk and thyme bushes grew strong and
thick, and open hillside, and trees and trees and trees around and
behind the house, from the top of the hill right down to the seashore,
promising endless possibilities for climbing and hiding.

The steamer stopped quite close up to the village, and Pavlo and his
uncle shook hands with the fat kind-faced captain and thanked him
and climbed down into a little swaying boat which in three or four
oar-strokes brought them to the side of the sea-wall. Doctor Zamana
got out.

"Stay there, Pavlo," he said, "while I go up and keep a room at the
hotel, and then we shall go on at once to the Red House; and after
I leave you there, I can return and see my patient."

So Pavlo stayed, dipping his hands over the side of the boat into
the sea, and watching the boy not much bigger than himself, and the
brown-faced, blind, old boatman, at their oars, but feeling too shy
to speak to them.

In a few minutes his uncle came out of the hotel door, crossed the
sea-road and stepped down into the boat. Then the oars were dipped
into the water, the shining drops ran off the long blades, and they
were off again.

Pavlo, who was more accustomed to carriages than to boats, pulled
timidly at his uncle's sleeve.

"Will you not tell them, my uncle, to go to the Red House?"

His uncle looked at him and laughed.

"Is not the helm in my own hand, little stupid one?"

And the old blind boatman and the boy rowed right across the shining
bay, getting nearer and nearer to the Red House.

Pavlo's eyes opened wider at each plash of the oars, and he quite
forgot to be shy at the thought that he was going to meet new people.

He had never seen such a pretty house before in all his life!

The villagers called it "the Red House on the hill"; but in reality
it was rather a soft old Venetian pink than red, and the blending of
this old pink into the masses of golden green around it, was a joy
to the eyes; even to the eyes of little boys, though they did not
exactly know why. The shape of the house was delightful, it was low,
wide, two-storied, with jutting stone balconies on the second floor. A
monster bougainvillea spread its dark leaves and regally purple flowers
round the southern windows, and the eastern ones looked out on the open
sea through the pretty paler green leaves of a wistaria, whose mauve
bunches of flowers reached up to the round balcony. The whole house
was set on a very long and very wide terrace, and at equal distances
along the balustrade of short columns, were placed big stone vases of
geraniums of all colours. There was a ruby one with the sunshine on it
which made Pavlo think with regret of his crimson chalk, the one that
had broken all to bits. A long broad flight of stone steps flanked
by more geraniums, by big flowering oleanders and great gray-green
aloes led down from the side of the terrace to the little landing
stage. It seemed to Pavlo that a whole multitude of people was coming
down these steps to meet them, and he felt very shy again; but after
he had stepped out of the boat helped by various outstretched hands,
the multitude resolved itself into five people and three dogs.

There was the master of the Red House, tall and broad, who looked,
Pavlo thought, like an officer without his uniform, and there were
four children, two little girls and two smaller boys; there was a big
black poodle, a fox-terrier, and a little white dog, of no particular
breed, with pointed ears. He was the special property of the eldest
girl, and when Pavlo first caught sight of him, he had got hold of
her skirt between his teeth and was shaking it vigorously, which he
always did whenever he felt excited.

When Pavlo's uncle was also out of the boat, there was the usual
exchange of useless and embarrassing remarks, which according to
Pavlo's experience grown-ups always make on first meetings. Later on,
when he came to compare impressions, he found that it was also the
painful experience of the Four!

"Oh, is this your little nephew?"

"Are all the four yours? Fine children truly! May they live to you,
my friend! Quite a Zamana, did you say? Well, yes; but is there not
something of his mother in the shape of the mouth? This boy now,
is you all over again, I think I see you at his age!"

"Yes, they tell me he is like me."

"The little one also, I think."

"Oh, no! Nikias has the long face of his mother's family." And
Nikias, the little boy, whose legs were too thin for his socks,
wriggled uncomfortably.

"The second girl is the image of your mother. What a fine woman she
was! And this one, what lovely fair hair, and how long!"

And Pavlo from the bottom of his heart pitied the poor eldest girl
who with a crimsoning face had to submit to be turned round and round
while the fair hair was duly admired and while she was told that she
was worthy of her name, which was Chryseis.

"You had a good journey?"

"Excellent. The sea was oil, not water."

"You will stay long I hope."

"It depends on my patient; I heard in the village that he was better
to-day."

"This young man will stay with us, of course?"

"He will be delighted to come, as often as your children want him."

"To come! Nonsense! He must stay here entirely. I only wish I had
room to keep you also, but he can sleep with the boys. What would he
do at the hotel or in the village while you are absent? Of course he
must stay here. There can be no question about it. What do you say,
little one? Will you not stay?"

The second girl, Andromache, whose hair had been cut short after a
fever, and now waved all round her head, nudged his arm.

"Say yes! Say yes! It will be splendid!"

Pavlo, wishing nothing better, nodded shyly, and was at once taken
possession of by the Four, the three dogs barking and yapping at their
heels, to be shown all the delights of the Red House and of its hill.

First of all he was taken into the long cool dining room to be
introduced to the mother of the Four, who had been arranging fruit in
glass dishes, and who hurried forward to greet his uncle. Then, with
a big bunch of grapes thrust into his bewildered hands by Andromache,
who declared that "Mother has plenty more in the basket," they started
to see everything.



III

And what was Pavlo not shown on that first wonderful day?

Everyone knows how one's nice things feel nicer when they are shown to
a stranger for the first time, and how even old things of which one
has tired regain something of their first charm. The Four were very
proud and very fond, each in his or her different way, of their house,
and their hill and their sea; so it seemed as though they would never
tire of showing little things to Pavlo.

First of all he was taken up to the big pine, the oldest tree on the
hill. Under this were benches and a round table where, as they told
him, they had their lessons out of doors when the governess was in
a particularly good mood. For there was a temporary summer governess
somewhere in the house, but as it was holiday time, she was not allowed
to make herself too much of a nuisance except for an hour or so every
morning. From the big pine, one could see all the hills around, and the
Monastery Road, and the open sea, and the Naval School, and the Narrow
Beach, on which as Pavlo was told, one could see the sailors drilling.

Behind the big pine was the wood of small pines, all over anemones
in the spring and cyclamen in the autumn. It was softly and greenly
dark in this little wood; the ground was strewn with pine needles,
so many of them that they made a thick carpet, and there were
shady corners where, as Chryseis told Pavlo, you could lie on the
pine needles and read, and read, and read, for ages before you were
discovered. Higher still was an open clearing and, at the end of it,
the little hill-gate through which one passed from the hill of the
Red House on to the other hills, and if one turned to the left,
one got down to the big Beach of the little Pines.

He was raced down to the bath cabin on the shore, and shown all the
extraordinary drawings which decorated the inside of it, to which
all the members of the family had contributed, but more especially
Chryseis and Iason the eldest boy. Pavlo, in fact, admired the funny
faces drawn by the latter so whole-heartedly as to make the artist
flush with pride.

"To-morrow you will bathe with us," announced Andromache. For that
day the bath was already over; besides, the grown-ups had some sort
of an idiotic notion that one must let a day pass after a journey,
before beginning sea-baths.

Then up they raced again among the pines, scrambling through the
lentisk and thyme bushes, to show Pavlo the little house which they
had built themselves of stones and branches. One could really get
into this if one took care to stoop properly; and it was a splendid
place for the hoarding of biscuits and raisins, and for amateur
cooking of all sorts. By this time, it was getting too hot even for
the Four, so that they got under the wide-spreading shadow of the
big pine and sat around on the benches and talked, while the warm
pine smell filled their nostrils, and the tettix[13] chirped loudly on
all sides. Andromache, who was of an uncanny cleverness in catching
them, swarmed up a pine tree and brought one down enclosed in her two
hands turned into an impromptu cage, through the fingers of which,
Pavlo peeped at the whirring prisoner. The black poodle, Kerberos,
threw himself panting loudly on the ground; Deko, the little dog,
sat on his haunches beside Chryseis, cocked his little pointed ears
and looked about him; while Philos, the fox terrier, dug vigorously
at the roots of the nearest lentisk bush. He scratched his face,
he stopped repeatedly to shake his head violently and to sneeze,
then he would begin again, snuffing and digging as if the work were
very important indeed, and there were no time to lose.

"Where do you live in Athens?" asked Iason, nursing a much scratched
knee.

Pavlo told them.

"Just alone with your uncle?"

"Yes."

"And your father and mother? Do you not remember them?"

"My mother, ... no, ... I was very small. My father just a little. I
remember playing with the tassel of his sword. You know that my
great-grandfather...."

"Oh, stop! Stop!" cried the two boys and Andromache in chorus;
"we know all that!"

Chryseis told them that they were very rude, but they went on
determinedly:--

"Four times yesterday, when they knew you were coming, did we hear
the story. Once father told us, once mother, once Kyria Penelope,
that is the governess, you know, and once we had it for a dictation
lesson out of the History of the Revolution; so we know all about
what your great-grandfather did, and all Botzari said about him,
and how brave you must be and everything."

Pavlo flushed a little, and felt quite grateful to Chryseis who
changed the subject.

"What do you do all alone in the house?" she asked.

"Oh, just nothing; I paint sometimes, and once I went to Kiphissia,
and once to a circus."

"Can you ride?"

Pavlo shook his head.

"Ride? Oh, no!"

"I can," said Iason, "and she can, too," nodding his head towards
Chryseis. "Father has another horse over on the mainland, besides
his own, which can be ridden; and we go with him in turns."

"Mother says," put in Andromache, "that when her ship comes in,
she will buy horses for all of us, and a real motor boat, too."

"When I am big," said Chryseis, whose stories "out of her head," were
generally in request, "I shall write a lot of stories in a book, and
sell hundreds and thousands of it, and give all the money to mother,
and then she can buy anything, and a new grand piano, too, for father!"

"You cannot write a real book, if you cannot spell properly," retorted
Andromache, whose spelling was her strong point.

"Yes, I can. The printers do all that part."

"No, you cannot!"

"Yes, I can!"

"Well, try then! But when I am big I shall marry a very rich American
and I shall go away with him to America, and I shall send a whole
ship full of money back to mother, so that she will not need your
stupid old books."

"No one will ever marry you," put in Iason, "you are too cross!"

"Yes, they will, I tell you!"

"I know!" cried the little boy, Nikias; "I know why she is so sure,
because she has taught Katerina when she finishes washing her hair
instead of wishing her as she always used to, 'And a fine bridegroom
some day,' to say 'And an American!' I know because I heard her when
I was waiting my turn for the bath in mother's room!"

There was loud laughter and Andromache flew at Nikias with tooth and
nail for telling overheard secrets, and the struggle which ensued,
and at which Pavlo looked on in secret dismay, was Homeric. Traces
of it were visible at lunch time but were attributed to "playing
soldiers." The Four of the Red House were not tell-tales; that is
one good thing I can say of them.

After lunch they were condemned to afternoon rest. The reason given
being that Pavlo had been up so early, and they trooped sadly upstairs;
but Iason, who was nothing if not inventive, comforted them.

"When they are all asleep, you girls come into our room and we will
take all the sheets off the beds and fix them up with broom handles
and pretend we are deserters in a cave and soldiers coming after them."

The sheets, with the aid of the broom handles and sundry wooden clothes
pegs, which Andromache managed to secure by a barefooted expedition to
the wash house, made a splendid cave, but the triumphant discovery of
the deserters by the soldiers was a little noisy, and the mother of
the Four coming unexpectedly on the scene, wisely chose the lesser
of two evils, and turned them all out of doors quite early in the
afternoon while the soft wind was still blowing,--the soft sweet sea
"batti"[14] that makes a swish, swish in the pine branches and shakes
down the geranium petals from the stone vases on the terrace; that
blows coolly in one's face while all the grown-ups are stupidly lying
down for afternoon sleeps.

The Four and Pavlo tore madly up the hill and, throwing themselves
down on the pine needles under the trees, graciously signified to
Chryseis that she "might tell stories."

So the long fair hair was tossed back, the eyebrows were puckered
for a moment, and then the quick little voice began:--

"There was once upon a time a dryad who lived in a great big tree...."

Good old Kerberos had allowed Nikias to make a pillow of his soft
black body, Philos lay curled up with his nose between his paws,
and Deko stretched out his forelegs as far as they would stretch,
making a prodigious curve in the middle of his back; then suddenly
righting himself he sat back on his haunches, twitched his pointed
ears backwards and forwards and prepared to listen with the rest.

Over their heads the "batti" made a soft roar as of the sea, in the
pine branches the fir cones cracked in the heat, and far away over
the Narrow Beach there were white-tipped waves on the open sea, that
made Andromache whisper to Pavlo, "It will not be too hot later on;
they will let us go to the Monastery."

It was glorious! glorious! glorious! Certainly the Four had no words
then to describe how they loved it all. Since then, Iason has turned
some of the glory of those days into verse, and those who read it,
feel the warm scent of the pine, the note of the tettix, and the
blue of that sea, but he and the other three know that only when
colour-words are invented can the real beauty of those sights and
sounds be expressed!



IV

In the days that followed, Athens and Solon Street and the thick
dust of the streets and Aphrodite's cross frown seemed very far away
indeed to Pavlo; even of his uncle he saw very little; now and then
the doctor came to luncheon or to dinner on the terrace, but already
he seemed to belong to a past life. There was so much to see and to
do! There were delightful torpedo boats to watch, steaming in and out
of the bay and sometimes passing quite close under the terrace; there
were the long narrow boats from the Naval School, full of new sailors
learning how to row; there was fishing with home-made bamboo rods
off the end of the landing stage, while the broad flapping straw hats
which they were all obliged to wear because of the sun were weighted
down on the ground with stones, so as to be better out of their way,
as soon as the grown-ups were not looking; there was fire-fishing
with spearing rods from the boat at nights when there was no moon;
there were rambling afternoon walks to the Monastery or to the beach
of the little pines; there were longer expeditions to the Devil's
Bridge, to the lemon wood, or up to the Seven Mills;[15] there were
visits to the funny little shops of the village in search of picture
post cards, or even of what sweets Poros could supply, when the town
stock ran out. For of course, visiting aunts and uncles and cousins
generally brought proper boxes of chocolates and sweets from Athens;
and though the grown-ups never failed to repeat the same stupid
remarks such as, "How you are spoiling the children!" or, "Indeed
that was quite unnecessary!" still visitors scarcely ever failed to
fulfill this elementary duty. Once, a certain absent-minded uncle so
far forgot his obligations, as to bring only some silly old caramels,
and Pavlo heard all the abuse that was lavished on him.

There were the delicious long-stretched-out sea baths, notwithstanding
the unfortunate governess's cries of, "You are staying too long in
the water! Come out this very minute!" There were swimming matches
between Chryseis and Iason; and there was under water swimming by
Andromache. As for poor Nikias, his sea-bathing usually took place on
dry land, under the shelter of the pines, where he would flee wet and
naked for refuge, till his elders were safely out of the water. It is
true, the others were very merciless and he was only eight years old,
and when they caught him and dipped him, they dipped him so far down,
and kept him so long under!

There were endless games on the hill, of soldiers, of robbers, of
outlaws, of Turks, in which Pavlo for the first two or three days was
politely allowed to be Kanaris, Athanasios Diakos, Odysseus Androutsos,
Marcos Botzaris, or his own great-grandfather, according to the moment,
but afterwards was obliged to take his turn at being a Turk, or at
commanding a big Turkish frigate represented by three long planks
behind the servants' quarters. Two of the Four were his crew, and the
two others,--for of course they always had to be inferior in numbers or
where would the bravery be?--were Miaoulis[16] and his devoted followers,
heroically bent on blowing up the frigate, or perishing in the attempt.

Then there were stories read or told on the terrace in the hour before
dinner, by the mother of the Four, when Nikias would climb up on the
arm of her chair, or even sometimes, if it were getting pretty dark,
on her knees, and listen with both eyes and ears, and Iason would
draw funny men or officers while he listened. All the old tales of
Theseus and Heracles, and King Midas, and the winged Pegasus were
retold, and the fairy tales of the King's daughter with her three
wonderful dresses, the Sea with its Fish, the Earth with its Flowers,
and the Heavens with their Stars; and the tale of the Pacha with his
three pairs of slippers. There were French tales too, of the heroes
who rode through the valley of Roncesvalles, of Roland, and Ganelon;
and even, for the mother of the Four had lived abroad in England in the
remote past, English tales, of knights and ladies with curious names,
of whom Pavlo had never heard; of Enid and Geraint, of Lancelot,
of Pelleas, and Gareth and the Lady Lyonors.

And while the tales were told the sky turned into a lovely golden pink
behind the pines, and the stars came out one by one. Iason knew many
of their names and would show Pavlo the exact spot on the terrace
from which one could see the whole of the Great Bear, and how the
Scorpion dipped its tail behind the hill over Galata.[17]

Of course the shadow of lessons did occasionally fall across the
sunshine. The village schoolmaster came over in a boat twice a week
for the boys, and there was a family of friends living in the "Garden"
on the mainland who had a French holiday governess, and every other
day the Four went across in the small boat with Kyria Penelope, and
Greek and French lessons were exchanged. But even so, there were ways
and means. Pavlo overheard Chryseis early one morning reproaching
her sister:--

"You have only written half your verb, and you do not know your poetry
at all! Mademoiselle will be furious again. You will have pages and
pages to write afterwards."

"No!" declared Andromache stoutly, "I shall not!"

"But you will. There is no time to learn anything now. It is time
to start."

"I shall learn nothing, and I shall have nothing to write."

"How will you manage?"

"Wait, and you will see," answered Andromache darkly, shaking her
short wavy hair.

They all ran down the long flight of steps to the sea, and Yanni the
boatman was already settling the boat cushions. The big clock of the
Naval School was just on the last stroke of eight and the boys had
entreated Kyria Penelope to wait till the flag went up on the tower, as
Iason wanted to run their boat flag up on its pole at the same moment.

His hand was holding the rope loosely, and all eyes were fixed on
the square tower of the Naval School, waiting for the signal.

Bam! Boum! went the morning gun, and the lovely old blue and white
flag rose majestically to the top of the flagstaff.

At the same moment, with naval precision, Iason pulled the rope, and
the little boat flag was waving at the top of its pole; and almost at
the same moment, Splash! went Andromache into the sea, books and all.

A shrill shriek followed, as Kyria Penelope went down on her knees
on the landing stage, and flapped helpless arms over the water.

But the boatman was there and the boys too, and the next moment a
drenched, dripping, sea-weedy Andromache was standing in the midst
of them, little pools of water rapidly forming all round her. Yanni
was reaching out for two floating books, and a soaked copy-book was
slowly sinking beyond recovery.

"If I could possibly imagine," said the poor innocent governess, who
had no small brothers and sisters at home, "that you would jump into
the sea on purpose, I would keep all the others waiting, till you
changed your wet clothes; but as such a thing is quite impossible,
you may stay at home to-day and not delay us."

And such a thing being quite impossible, naughty Andromache stayed
comfortably at home, finished all the chocolates out of her box;
successfully fished out a big bunch of grapes through a hole in the
wire netting of the store room window, carefully enlarged by the
boys; visited the kitchen and learned all about the cook's little
nieces and nephews and what their names were and how old they were;
stood outside the gate watching the "trata"[18] and did a whole host
of other equally pleasant and forbidden things.

That same afternoon they went to the Monastery with ten "lepta" each,
with which to buy and light a taper in the Chapel.

"Look at Kyria Penelope!" cried Chryseis. "She has stopped to tie her
shoe lace again; it is always coming untied. Let us run on to the cave;
we shall have time to get in before she reaches us!"

The magic word "cave" sufficed, and they were all off racing down
the hill and up again towards the second bridge.

It was not a real cave, Chryseis jerkily explained to Pavlo as they
ran; only a dark hole in the earth under the bridge, and it was
not mysterious at all and did not seem to lead anywhere, but the
governess would never let them look properly into it. Over on the
mainland there were some splendid real caves, that real robbers and
deserters had hidden in; and in the old days people who were escaping
from the Turks; but the Four had only been there once and then they
were with grown-ups.

"Lambro the shepherd told me," panted Iason, "that there is one here
on the island over on the other side of the hills, near the beach
of Vayonia. A great big dark cave with a small opening, and you go
in and in and never find the end. He says there were old swords and
guns hidden there and ... all sorts of things. I mean to look for it
some day."

"Will they let us?" asked Nikias, stooping to pull up a sock which
threatened to cover his shoe entirely.

"Let us!" said Iason contemptuously; "they never let us! But we
will go!"

The cave under the bridge was nothing but a small hole full of cobwebs
and dry leaves. However, they all managed to wriggle in and wriggle
out again, dirty, but triumphant, before Kyria Penelope, hot and
protesting, came up to them.



V

Of course Pavlo's uncle had finished all he had to do in Poros long
before this time, but it so happened that another summons had called
him on to Nauplia, and it had been settled that while he was there,
Pavlo should stay on at the Red House and that his uncle should spend
one more day in Poros on his way back, and then that both should
return together to Athens. There had been cries of delight over this
arrangement, and Andromache had expressed a wish that the patient in
Nauplia might have a nice proper illness. He need not die, of course,
she added, but just be ill enough to want to keep the doctor from
Athens near him for a long time.

So it was strange that the very day after this, Pavlo should have
been lying on his face under the pines in the small wood, crying his
heart out.

For alas and alack, it had daily been getting more and more difficult
to live up to all that was expected of his name, and this particular
morning it had been worse than impossible. He had been at the gate
with the girls and the three dogs watching the "trata." For him,
it was a new sight, and the Four were never tired of looking at the
fishermen and the fisher boys with their bare brown limbs, wet and
glistening in the sun, pulling all together at the ropes, and emptying
all the squirming little silver fishes out of the long net.

And while they were standing about and watching, a big yellow sheep
dog had rushed down the hill, and though at first he had contented
himself harmlessly enough with sniffing at ropes and the nets, Deko
who, it is true, was always very impertinent to big dogs, had provoked
him. Chryseis snatched Deko up in her arms, and Andromache seizing
Philos screamed for help, for the sheep dog was ready to spring at
them. Then the two boys rushing down to the rescue from the top of
the hill, instead of finding Pavlo standing in front of the girls,
found him behind the trunk of a mimosa tree, staring horror-struck
at the big snarling yellow brute, whom they drove howling away with
two well-directed stones.

Then Iason had turned fiercely on Pavlo:--

"You may be a Zamana as much as you like; you are a coward all the
same!" and even Nikias had echoed jeeringly:--

"Coward! Coward!"

And then Pavlo had fled blindly to the shelter of the dark little wood.

He longed, as he lay there sobbing, that it might be possible never
to see any of them again. For he had found out from the first that
for the Four the great rule was, "Never be afraid, and if you are,
mind you hide it!" Of course they knew that Nikias shirked being
dipped far down, or being held long under water. That was a family
misfortune, never mentioned before strangers, but on the other hand
even Nikias had only two days ago boldly attacked a long snake when
it glided out of a thick bush, round which Philos had been sniffing
for so long. He had struck at it with all his might on its flat head,
and while Anneza, the Andriote serving maid, had picked up her skirts
knee-high and fled down the hillside shrieking loud enough to be
heard over at Galata, he had followed, his little long face flushed
with triumph, his socks hanging over his shoes, and the corpse of
the victim dangling horribly at the end of a long stick.

"Were you not afraid, you little one?" his father had asked; and
Nikias answered that he had been just a little afraid when it raised
its head and hissed, but that Chryseis was so stupid that he knew she
would never sit comfortably under the big pine again with her book,
if she felt there were a snake, however harmless, wriggling about
in the bushes beside her, so that he had to kill it all the same;
did they not understand? And the mother of the Four had looked rather
proud, and the father had said:--

"Of course I understand."

And Nikias was not yet eight years old, and he, Pavlo, was over eleven!

So he lay there and sobbed, till Chryseis found him out and sat beside
him, and expressed her energetic opinion that her brothers were "Pigs"
because, of course, as she said, Pavlo had always lived in Athens, and
how was he to know that those fierce-looking sheep dogs only require
a stone thrown at them to run away; she even succeeded in making him
laugh a little, by relating how Andromache had once, when she was
quite little, called an officer who had offended her in some way "A
green pig!" No one had understood why, but the insult had evidently
been intended to be terrible. Then Chryseis had wiped his eyes with
a handkerchief which happened to be not so much "a rag of all work"
as the handkerchiefs of the Four generally were, and brought him down
to the house, to show him the pictures in the Doré Dante which was
usually reserved for rainy days or for convalescence. The mother of
the Four had wondered a little at this very peaceful occupation in
the middle of the morning, but was too wise to make awkward enquiries.

There was a prolonged visit that same afternoon from the children
of the house in the "Garden," which had made matters easier for all,
and by the evening everyone was too busy making plans for the morrow,
to think of past disagreeables.

It was to be the last day of Pavlo's stay, and a picnic had been
proposed, a real picnic, with no accompanying governess. There was
some hesitation over this, but Andromache had urged that it was
really only fair to the poor creature herself to give her a whole
day's freedom now and then. "I suppose," she added thoughtfully,
"we may be rather tiring sometimes."

At last, consent was obtained on two conditions, the first being that
they should be back early, the second, that they must promise to obey
Chryseis. This, they did not mind much, knowing of old that her rule
was mild. The picnic was to be somewhere on the hills behind the Red
House, wherever a nice shady spot should be found. Eatables were to
be packed in small hand baskets, so that each might carry his share;
and everyone was to wear his very oldest clothes.

The master of the House wanted to know why the enjoyment would not be
just the same if they simply carried their food to the big pine and ate
it there? But this question was treated with the contempt it deserved.



VI

Happily, the next morning was wonderfully cool, for July, for though
they had all got up at impossible hours, by the time all the baskets
were packed and all the last recommendations given to Kyria Penelope
to look after poor Deko who had run a big thorn into his foot and had
to be left behind, it was nearly nine o'clock. In fact the clock of
the Naval School had just boomed out the three-quarters when Iason
turned the big key in the lock of the hill gate.

They passed out in single file; all except Philos, who had found it
simpler to climb up the wall and jump down on the other side.

Iason hid the padlock safely in a big lentisk bush just outside the
gate, and then, standing up, faced the others, pointing up the thickly
wooded hill.

"Listen you! We are going straight up there, and down on the other
side towards Vayonia. I am going to find that cave of which Lambro
the shepherd told me."

Andromache and Nikias gave a united whoop of joy and were rushing
forward in the direction of the pointing finger, when Chryseis cried:--

"Stop! Stop! It will be ever so much too far. We had better go to
the little chapel of Saint Stathi."

"We have been there hundreds of times; and I tell you we may never
get such a splendid opportunity for the cave again."

"But to Vayonia! So far ...!" objected Chryseis.

"Now, listen!" persisted Iason. "What did father say last week,
when I said we wanted to go to Vayonia?"

"He said, 'We shall see.'"

"Well, that does not mean 'no,' does it? Only when the grown-ups say,
'We shall see,' sometimes it does not happen for a long time, and we
want this to happen now, to-day, at once!" Then as Chryseis still
hung back, he added, "Of course we will say where we have been,
directly we get back. Come, then!"

And Chryseis came.

The first part of the climb was uneventful. Kerberos plodded on heavily
and sedately, Philos of course stopped to dig round the roots of
nearly all the thyme and lentisk bushes on their way. Andromache, who
considered him her special dog, would catch him by the neck and pull
him off by main force, but in an instant he was back again, digging
frantically, shaking his head, sneezing and beginning all over again.

After some time there was a rest under a clump of pines, and Nikias
suggested opening the baskets. But when the others all told him he
was "A greedy little pig!" he explained that he had only wanted to
see if Athanasia had not forgotten the peaches which he had seen on
the pantry shelf.

"And of course you would run back for them if she had!" said Iason
derisively.

"Wait till we get to the top," said Chryseis.

So they started off again.

"Where shall you look for the big cave?" asked Andromache, who was
beginning to find her basket heavy and the sun hot. "Did Lambro say
if it were high on the hills above Vayonia, or to the right near
the vineyards?"

"Did you ever hear of a cave near vineyards, stupid?" answered Iason,
whose basket was heavier still as it had the bottles of water in
it. "Lambro said near the sea; so of course it will be to the left
in the big rocks."

"You do not know really," persisted Andromache, "you only say 'it
will be.'"

"I never said I knew; I said 'let us go and find it!'" Suddenly he
pointed some way above them, "There is a shepherd! No, not there; on
that little footpath where the hill is bare. Let us ask if he knows!"

"Perhaps," suggested Pavlo hopefully, "it may be Lambro himself."

"No," answered the Four in chorus, "Lambro is lame. See how this man
jumps from one rock to another! Bah! Whatever is he doing?"

The distant shepherd who seemed taller than any man they knew, was
waving his arms above his head, and the movements looked curious and
almost startling against the sky. When he caught sight of the children,
instead of continuing on his way quietly and heavily as most peasants
do, he seemed to stop short, to hesitate, and then suddenly using
his long shepherd's crook as a vaulting pole he leapt over a piece
of rock in his way, and came running towards them.

"Good-day to you!" cried all the children as soon as he was within
hearing distance. He swung himself down to the little plateau on
which they were standing.

"May your day be good!" he answered, but as he said it, he laughed
a little.

The children looked at him curiously. At first sight he seemed one of
the ordinary shepherds of the hills with his short "foustanella,"[19]
his coloured kerchief knotted over his head, and the long "glitsa"[20]
in his hand; but certainly they had never seen such a strange-looking
shepherd before. He was extraordinarily tall and broad, a matted
unkempt reddish beard covered most of his face, and round the pale
blue eyes nearly all the white seemed to show. The "foustanella"
was incredibly dirty and ragged, the red kerchief greasy with age,
half fallen off his head. A brightly striped "tagari"[21] was slung
over his shoulder.

"Perhaps you know," asked Iason, "where there is a big cave over on
the other side of the slope, near Vayonia?"

"A cave?" the man twisted his fingers in the tangled beard as he spoke,
"Who told you of a cave?"

"Lambro, the shepherd, told me."

"Many things does Lambro, the lame one know! Did he tell you perhaps
how one enters into this cave?" and the pale blue eyes peered eagerly
into the boy's face.

"No; why? One enters by the entrance I suppose."

The shepherd laughed.

"You say well! By the entrance of course, ... by the entrance. Ask
also of Lambro who is so wise, how you may find the road to the cave!"

Andromache pushed forward.

"And is Lambro here that we may ask him?" she said impatiently. "What
foolish talk is this? If you know where the cave is, speak!"

The man turned his pale blue eyes on her.

"I must speak, must I? The little hens are crowing to-day, as well
as the little cocks!"

Iason turned to the others.

"Come!" he said, speaking in French, "the man knows nothing, and he
is trying to amuse himself with us."

And they turned to continue their way up the hill. But the shepherd
touched the last one, who happened to be Chryseis, on the shoulder,
and unslinging his "tagari" offered it to her.

"Take one!" he said; "let me befriend you with one."

He was still laughing, and he pushed his face close to hers as he
spoke. Chryseis, who was rather dainty, shrank back a little, but the
familiar words reassured her. The tagari evidently contained figs, or
perhaps almonds; and she knew what an insult the peasants consider it,
that one should refuse anything with which they offer to "befriend"
you. So she stretched out her hand over the half-closed tagari,
but drew back in alarm. It was full of earth and stones!

The man threw his head back and laughed loudly and discordantly.

Iason turned on him, like the little cock he had been called.

"Now then!" he cried, pushing the huge man violently, "now then! What
foolishness is this? Leave us alone and go your way! Do you hear?" And
when he raised his voice Pavlo thought it sounded just like the master
of the Red House.

The shepherd's laugh died off in a silly cackle, and he stood where
Iason had pushed him, looking after the children as they climbed on
rather hurriedly; but to Pavlo's intense relief, he made no attempt
to follow them.

"Who was it?" asked Andromache.

"I am not sure," said Iason, "but I think it must be one of the
Pelekas. His brother Yoryi had our pasture land for his sheep last
year. I saw him when I went up to the 'stania'[22] with father. They
are all red-haired, and there are many brothers; but I do not know
this one."

"He was horrid!" said Chryseis, shifting her basket to her other arm;
"he must have been drinking too much 'ouzo.'"[23]

"Father says they never drink, these shepherds, except on big holidays
when they come down to the villages," said Iason, "but I suppose this
one must have."

It was worth the long hot climb, when they reached the top of the
hill, to feel the cool air blowing in their faces. As they scrambled
over the very last ridge, Nikias, who was first, pulled at a falling
sock which threatened to cover his shoe, then stood up and pointing
far below, shouted triumphantly:--

"There is the other sea!"

And there, if not the "other sea" as the children called it, was the
other side of the island, where there were no houses, no gardens, no
lemon orchards, no olive trees, no signs of familiar every-day life,
nothing but pines, of all shapes and sizes, from the dark green rugged
old pines, to the pale green baby ones; and lentisk, and arbutus,
and thyme bushes on the slopes, and far below them the wide-sweeping
beautiful beach of Vayonia with the open sea beyond. The soft plash
of the little waves against the rocks came up to them where they stood.

Pavlo was told that on a bright clear winter day you could distinguish
all Athens and the Acropolis perfectly well, "over there," and four
outstretched fingers pointed to the exact direction behind Ægina.

Just then a big white caique, all sails open to the wind, was
gliding majestically across the opening of the bay, its little
landing boat dancing and skipping on the waves behind it. And closer
to the shore was a tiny puffing steam launch belonging to the Naval
School. Andromache, whose eyes were the best, declared that she could
recognize the officers on board.

"I am sure that one there is the Admiral," she said, "I can see his
hair white in the sun."

"Now then!" jeered the others, "can you not count the stripes also
on the sleeve of his uniform?"

But Chryseis had been unpacking the baskets.

"We will eat now," she announced quietly, and there was not one to say
"no" to her.

Before they had left the house even the children themselves had
exclaimed at the quantity of cold "keftedes" which Athanasia
had prepared for them, but there were very few left when they had
eaten as much as they wanted. There were some "skaltsounia"[24] too,
smothered in fine sugar; and of these there were none left at all;
but there never are, of course. There were plenty of grapes, and the
peaches about which Nikias had been anxious. Pavlo amused himself by
digging holes in the hard sun-baked earth, and planting the kernels
as far down as he could reach,--

"So that when you come up here another time, you will find peaches
growing ready for you."

The boys laughed at him.

"We had better not come here for two or three months, and by then
your trees will of course be laden with fruit."

Pavlo had lived much alone, and he was accustomed to people who meant
exactly what they said.

"No," he said slowly, "I did not mean in two or three months, but
some time."

"Even if they were ever to become trees, without watering or digging
or anything," said Andromache, struggling with Philos, who had left
his dinner to attack the roots of a monster lentisk bush, "do you
think the shepherds would leave any peaches on them?"

But the word "shepherd" reminded Iason of their object.

"I am going down there," he said, pointing to the left, where the
bushes were rarer and the gray crags began. "It looks cave-y. Leave
the baskets there under that bush. No one will touch them."

The children began to scramble down towards the rocks, and the scent
of the thyme as they crushed it mingled little by little with the
fresh smell of the sea, as they got nearer and nearer the shore.

The search for the cave was very thorough. Every big bush growing
near a rock was pushed aside, every shadow was peered into.

"You never know," as Iason said, "how small the entrance may be!"

But after all it was by pure accident that they found it.



VII

They were pretty close to the shore, close enough for all to
distinguish that the officers from the steam launch had got into a
little boat and were being rowed to land. Chryseis was standing on the
top of a big stone, when she slipped on the pine needles which covered
it, and suddenly disappeared from view as entirely and completely as
though a trap door had opened and swallowed her up.

"Chryseis!" screamed Andromache, "Chryseis, where are you?" And the
boys and Pavlo rushed to the spot.

The stone had been on the edge of a sheep track, and as they looked
fearfully over, they saw Chryseis lying on her elbow on a little
ledge a few feet below.

"I am not hurt," she called up at once, "not at all; but do not any of
you climb down this way; there are a lot of prickly pears and I have
got some of the thorns in my hand. Come round by those arbutus there!"

When they got round to her she was picking the tiny thorns out of her
hand, and wetting it in a little stream which seemed to come out of
the gray rock.

"Look!" she said, "there is water here!" She put her finger to her
mouth, "and it is fresh water, too. How funny! It is coming round
this side of the rock. See!"

"Why!" said Iason, leaning both hands on the top of the rock, and
bending his whole body round the corner, "why it is...."

And it was. When they all clambered on the big rock and slipped down
to the other side, they found Iason lifting up with all his strength
a tangled mass of wild ivy and other creepers which fell over it like
a thick curtain. And there was a hole; big enough for anyone to pass
through if he stooped a little.

It looked dark inside, and there was a step going down.

"No one need come," said Iason, "if he feels afraid!"

And of course everyone said, "I am not afraid!" Pavlo first of
all. And he really and truly was not. He was far too excited to think
of being afraid.

The children went down two steps, bending their heads low, and then
stood upright.

They were in a high narrow cave; so long that it was impossible to
tell the depth. A cave like those of which they had often read, and
often dreamt of discovering, but in which they had very certainly
never before found themselves.

"It is quite a real cave!" said Nikias in an awestruck whisper. And
the others looked round in silence. It seemed a moment too great for
ordinary words. Their adventurous hearts were beating quickly.

Then Iason triumphantly produced a bit of candle and a box of matches
from his pocket, and when he lighted it the tiny flame cast rounds of
light and mysterious shadows over rough gray walls. This was for the
first moment after coming in from the blinding sunlight, but as soon as
their eyes got accustomed to the green darkness, Iason threw the candle
away and the flame sputtered as it fell into the little stream of water
which seemed to trickle down one end of the cave near the wall. The
whole place smelt rather nasty and musty, but as Chryseis said,--

"What do smells matter when we have found a real cave?"

And a real cave it was! There were curious niches in the walls; the
stone was fretted away into arches and hollows; in some parts natural
columns had formed themselves, and in others dimly seen stalactites
hung in the darkness above their heads.

Kerberos whined rather uncomfortably and kept very close to Chryseis,
but Philos sniffed round excitedly, bent on investigating every nook
and corner, till Andromache lifted him up struggling and barking and
insisted on carrying him, for fear he might fall into some "unseen
chasm." Iason told her that Philos could take care of himself "a
thousand times" better than she could; but Andromache was never easy
to convince.

They went along very cautiously in Indian file. Iason came first,
then the two girls, then Nikias, and Pavlo last of all.

After they had walked a little way in, they found a heap of charred
sticks and a broken necked pitcher.

"Perhaps," suggested Chryseis, "they may have remained here ever since
the times when the women and children were hiding from the Turks. They
may have had to cook and sleep in here, you know, while the men were
outside fighting. And perhaps," she added, stooping down to touch
the broken pitcher, "we may be the very first people to touch them
since then!"

"Well," put in Andromache, the practical, "I should not care to have
to eat or sleep in here. It smells just awful!"

"It is getting very dark too, and I cannot see where to step any more,"
suggested little Nikias; then he added hurriedly, "Perhaps it will
get lighter further in!"

"No, you little stupid, it will be darker further in," said Iason,
"because it winds away from the entrance!"

Chryseis stopped short.

"Let us turn back! perhaps it turns and turns like the Labyrinth and
we may never be able to get out again."

"And then," added Nikias cheerfully, "people will come after many
years and find only our bones!"

"Stop that kind of talk, you horrid little pig!" cried Andromache.

Iason hesitated.

"If only I had not thrown the candle away! Oh, well, never mind! I
suppose we had better turn back."

And they retraced their steps in the same order. Pavlo who came
last lagged behind for a moment. About half way, on the left side,
was something he had not noticed when they had been going in; a
bright spot, a speck of light, something white and shining in the
dim twilight. But as he wondered what it could be, he saw that he
was alone and hurried on to join the others; and as soon as he had
taken two steps forward, the speck of light disappeared suddenly,
as though someone had blown it out.

He caught up with the others at the entrance.

"Listen!" he said, catching hold of Nikias, who was just stepping
out into the daylight, "Down there I saw...."

But they never heard what he saw, for at that moment he heard a series
of loud thuds, a scream from Chryseis who had been the first to get out
of the entrance, and a muttered exclamation from Iason as he sprang
forward and pushed both his sisters so violently backward into the
cave, that they fell over the two smaller boys, dragging them down.

At the same moment Pavlo, lifting himself up, saw two large stones
fall from above, right in front of the opening of the cave.

"What is it?"

"What was that?"

"What fell?" He and Nikias and Andromache all cried together.

"Stones! A great many," Chryseis answered, lifting a pale face to
theirs as they pulled her up. "They nearly fell on our heads, but
Iason pushed us back. Iason! What is it? Iason!"

For Iason, flattened against the opening, was cautiously trying to
find out what had happened.

"I do not know," he said, without turning round. "I cannot
think. Something must have loosened the stones from the top of the
rock above, and they fell. But what? The first rains have not begun
yet. Well," he continued after a moment's pause, "let us get out! That
was all."

But that was not all! At the step forward which he took, a shower of
earth and stones came rattling down on the ledge outside.

He sprang back only just in time.

"But what is it then? What can it be?"

They soon found out. No sooner had the last stone rebounded and rolled
over the ledge to the rocks below them, than a loud discordant laugh
sounded from above the opening of the cave.

"Come out of your hole, my little cockerels! Come out! You would not
have my stones before. Get them on your heads now! Come out! Come out!"

The children looked at each other in horror.

"The shepherd! The red-bearded man!"

There was a fresh shower of stones and the laugh again, which sounded
closer. Chryseis caught hold of her brother's arm.

"Iason! He will get in! He will get in! Oh, what shall we do?"

"We will not let him!" cried little Nikias, running forward, "let us
push this big stone right in front of the opening! Here! This one;
if you push hard we can roll it down. Iason! Pavlo! Girls! Help me!"

"He is right, the little one," said Iason, and they all pulled,
and pushed and tugged as they could never have done if they had not
been terribly frightened, and little by little the big rounded piece
of rock was rolled in front of the entrance to the cave, and the
green darkness grew darker and darker. The opening was not entirely
blocked. Any of the children could have squeezed in or out, but they
felt almost certain no grown man could.

"Besides, if he only puts his hand in, we will chop it off so! Like
the Persians and the man with the ship," declared Andromache, becoming
vaguely historical.

"Where is your hatchet?" asked Iason. "No, I am sure he cannot get
in. Now we must sit and think what to do. It does no good to cry
like that!"

"I am not crying!" sobbed Nikias. "It comes by itself," and he sniffed
very hard for a few minutes.

"I expect this man is so drunk he does not know what he is doing,"
continued Iason. "At the very worst we shall have to stay in here
till he gets tired of waiting and goes away. We are safe in the cave."

"I tell you what," said Nikias rubbing his knuckles very hard into
his eyes, "it must be 'the mad shepherd.'"

All the others stared at him.

"The mad shepherd? What do you mean?"

"I heard Kyra Calliope the other day telling Yanni. She said there was
a mad shepherd on the hills, and that he had killed a lot of sheep of
the other shepherds, and she said the mayor and the doctor wanted to
tie him up and send him to Athens in the steamer, but they could not
catch him, because he was so cunning and hid in the hills for days."

"You little fool!" cried his brother, seizing him by the
shoulder. "You--You--Idiot--You--Why did you not tell us when we
first met him down there, so that we might have turned back. Do you
think it is a joke--a mad man?"

"Did I know?" whimpered Nikias. "Did I know when we met him? He looked
like all shepherds then."

"If you had only ..." began Iason, but he was interrupted by a shriek
of horror from Chryseis. She was pointed to the small opening left
above the rock that blocked the entrance.

There, clearly outlined against the sky, was a grinning, red-bearded
face. Part of a hairy hand could be seen pushing against the stone.

Iason lost no time. Stooping he seized hold of a big round pebble
and sent it crashing right on the fingers that were working round
the stone.

There was a howl of pain and the face disappeared, then after a
moment came a sound of retreating footsteps and of broken bushes,
and stones rolling down the rock overhead.

The children huddled together, listened, pale and terrified, till
all was silence again. Then Iason pushed them aside and advanced to
the opening.

"Listen!" he said, "I have just thought of it. Perhaps the officers
we saw are still on the shore. Now that the man is not there I shall
get outside and call to them."

"No! No, Iason! Stop! Iason!..."

But before any of them could stop him, Iason was squeezing himself
round the side of the rock. He was out all but one leg, when a stone
bigger than any of those that had been thrown before, bounded against
the rock, and struck him on the side of the head. He fell forward
with a smothered "Ah!" and the others with a scream of fear rushed
to the blocked entrance.

Iason was lying half in and half out, and the short fair hair was
dabbled with blood.

Nikias and Pavlo were for trying to push out the rock, but Andromache
stopped them.

"No! No!" she cried, "we can drag him in without that." And by combined
pulling and pushing they succeeded in getting Iason safely inside. He
opened his eyes and said, "It is nothing," but he closed them again.

Chryseis lifted his head to her knees and looked round desperately.

"We must wash the place in the water from the stream," she said,
"but I have no handkerchief."

Andromache, the practical, lifted up her frock and tore a big strip
from the white petticoat underneath.

"Here, this is better, and there is plenty more," and she dipped the
rag in the running water and washed off the blood that was trickling
down over Iason's ear and neck, while Chryseis raised his head higher.

Nikias was at the entrance trying to push his thin little body round
the rock.

"I will get out now," he said, "and shout for the officers."

"Nikias!" cried Chryseis, her voice shrill with terror,
"come back at once! You must not get out! I tell you, you must
not! Pavlo! Pavlo! Stop him!"

But she looked around in vain; Pavlo was not there. He seemed to have
completely disappeared.

"The coward!" exclaimed Andromache, in furious indignation. "The
coward! He has managed to slip out somehow, and left us here all
alone!"

But she was quite wrong.

The moment poor Iason had been pulled back into the cave, Pavlo
suddenly remembered the speck of light in the wall that he had
noticed as they were coming out, and without saying a word to anyone,
he ran back into the depths of the cave to see if he could find the
spot. Almost at once he came upon it, like a little white star in
the dark wall of the cave.

Now Pavlo's mind was of the kind that grown-up people call "logical,"
which means that he knew that something could not exist without a
reason for it; therefore he argued that if there was a light, there
must be an opening; and even if the opening were only large enough
for a head or even a hand to be passed through, it might be useful.

So he began feeling all over the rough damp wall with both hands.

He felt and he felt for some time in vain, then suddenly when he had
nearly given up, he came upon a hole.

Kneeling, he felt that a little barrier of stone divided the hole
from the floor of the cave, and that it was more than wide enough to
admit him. He scarcely hesitated a second before he climbed over the
barrier and found himself in a narrow tunnel at the end of which the
speck of light was shining.

Pavlo advanced a few steps very slowly. It was a dark, damp, up-hill
passage, and so narrow that he could feel the walls on either side
without stretching his arms.

Suddenly he gave a violent shudder.

Something alive, something that felt heavy and cold, a rat perhaps,
or a toad or a lizard, ran over his foot. Still he kept on. If the
light, which was growing larger, should prove to be a side opening
to the cave, he would run back for the others, and they would all
get out that way, managing somehow to carry Iason between them if he
could not walk, while the man went on throwing stones and waiting for
them at the big entrance. The idea of the man waiting there perhaps
all day, appealed to Pavlo, and he laughed a little to himself as he
got nearer to the light.

He found, as he had expected, that it came from a small hole in the
rock which led out to the hillside, and was almost quite hidden by
hanging creepers.

The opening was not large, but they could easily crawl out. In fact
it would have been safer had it been a smaller hole.

Pavlo could see the purple flowers of an osier bush waving in the open
air before he quite reached the opening. He was just on the point of
crawling out to make quite sure of his discovery before returning by
the same way, when his eye caught sight of some sort of a white rag,
fluttering above the osier bush. He drew back and, lying flat on the
ground of the passage so as to see better, peered cautiously out.

What he saw made him nearly scream out aloud with terror, in fact it
was really the horrible nightmare-ish sort of fear which came over him,
that prevented a sound escaping from his lips.

The fluttering white rag was a fold of the red-bearded man's
foustanella!

His back was turned towards the narrow opening, and he looked gigantic
as he stood there in the light, a big stone poised in his hands
ready to fling over the rocks down on the ledge before the entrance
of the cave.

Pavlo lay in the dark passage, shaking all over and not daring to
move hand or foot lest he should be heard. What should he do? Oh,
what should he do? Suppose he were simply to wriggle back the way he
had come and tell the others what he had seen; what was the good? They
could never crawl all five out of this side tunnel while the shepherd
was standing so close to it. Poor Iason's mishap had proved that it was
not possible to get through the blocked entrance without being struck
by the falling stones. What then? Must they stay in the cave till the
man was wearied out? All night perhaps? But what more probable than
that when the shepherd found that his stones were falling harmlessly,
he should discover this opening so close to his feet, and creep slowly
through it till he got to them? Pavlo shivered coldly all over.

Then a horrible thought came to him.

It might be possible for one alone to creep out very softly the first
moment that the shepherd moved a little off. It would not be difficult
to creep silently on all fours, till one was at a safe distance!

The next moment the thought turned him really sick. What! Leave them
alone? Leave them with Iason wounded and useless? Leave them and
let this horrible man creep on them unawares? On Chryseis who had
been so good to him? On all the brave bright little comrades? Oh,
no! No! No! No! The good old Zamana blood, weakened though it might
be, turned in revolt at the cowardly thought.

Just then the man outside in the light stooped to pick up another
stone, and as he did so, Pavlo saw the gleam of a long curved knife
in his belt. The Turks, thought the poor boy, the terrible Turks
of the times of the Revolution must have looked just like that. Oh,
if it only were in those days! If the dreadful man were a real Turk
and Pavlo's great-grandfather or one of his brave companions were
in hiding as he was now! How they would spring out on him and seize
him. But no! If they were unarmed they would not "spring" out. They
were wise as well as brave, those old Greeks.

What would they do?

Palvo's mind worked quickly.

They would creep slowly, slowly on all fours out of the hole, and
while the Turk's back was turned they would seize hold of his ankles
and pull back, ... pull hard.

The attack would be unexpected, and the "Turk" would fall forward on
his face. He would have to fall so; he could not fall in any other
way. And once he was on his face, it would be easy, before he could
see who had attacked him, to wrench back his arms and tie them. It
would be the best way! The only way!

Suppose he tried it!

No! No! Oh, no! It was brave men who feared nothing who did such
things, not little terrified boys.

Then a very curious thing happened.

Pavlo did not feel as though he were making up his mind to anything,
but quite suddenly he unwound a thin knitted belt which he wore round
his waist, and held it between his teeth, then he crawled noiselessly
out of the hole and looked around him with a look in his eyes which
no one had ever seen in them before.

Had he been in a street in Athens, the man who stood there would have
been simply a villainous looking peasant, and he, Pavlo, a small boy
half dead with fright. But now, on this calm Poros hillside, the man
became a Turk, a Turk of 1821 armed to the teeth with yatagan[25] and
scimitar, and he, the little terrified boy, was a brave patriot of
the times of the Revolution, ready to do or die.

"Let us pretend," had its uses; and Pavlo had not lived a week in
vain with the Four of the Red House.

He crept closer, closer still. His body was not brave at all; in
fact it was shaking and trembling in every limb, and the cold sweat
trickled down his face; but at that moment his heart was very brave,
and because the heart is greater than the body, there was a sudden
lightning spring forward, and two desperate little hands clutched
the shepherd's bare ankles and pulled backwards, pulled strongly,
and swiftly.

There was a helpless grasp at the empty air, a howl of dismay, and
a loud thud as the tall man's body fell flat, face down, on the ground.

Pavlo with an excited, triumphant little shout rushed forward, and
caught hold of one outstretched arm which he pulled back with a jerk,
but already the shepherd was groaning, swearing, and moving, and how
could Pavlo hold the hand he had already seized, and manage to reach
the other one also?

"Children!" he screamed aloud, not knowing whether they could hear
him or not, below in the cave. "Children! Come quick! I have got him!"

And help came, though not from the children.

There were running footsteps behind him and many cries.

"Hold well! Hold fast! We are here!"

And in a moment Pavlo was surrounded by linen-clad, white-capped
officers, and someone's arms had lifted him off the prostrate shepherd,
and stronger, though not braver hands than his had securely tied the
arms of the struggling man behind his back.



VIII

In the meantime the hours had gone by, and the afternoon was drawing
towards evening, and the grown people in the Red House, the father
and the mother of the Four, and Pavlo's uncle, who had arrived that
morning and was to leave the next day, had been getting very anxious;
for there was no sign of the children, though they had promised to
be home early. And the Four got into plenty of mischief, but they
kept their promises.

So the mother of the Four walked from one window to another and
could not keep still, and Kyria Penelope wrung her hands and shook
her head, and Deko rushed about after them; whining and yelping and
limping on his bad foot, till they shut him up in a room upstairs,
and he had to stay there; and Athanasia the cook stationed herself
at the gate near the sea to watch for the children, and Anneza the
serving maid tore up through the pines to the top gate to see if they
were in sight on the hill.

The doctor and the master of the Red House were pacing nervously up
and down the terrace.

Suddenly the latter sent up a big shout.

"There they are!"

Everyone, from the mother of the Four to Yanni the boatman, rushed
down to the little landing stage.

"They are in that," said the master of the house, pointing to a
puffing little steam launch which was fast approaching. "I heard
their voices shouting, and saw one of the girls' frocks, but how the
little rascals got there is beyond me. I only hope they have not been
in any mischief."

The steam launch had stopped alongside, and he caught sight of a
bandaged head.

"... or in any danger!" he gasped.

When everyone had landed, Iason looking very pale under his white
bandage but walking without help, there was at first such confusion,
so many speaking all together and such a tangle of officers and
children and dogs, that it was very difficult for the grown-ups
to get any clear idea of what had occurred. But the mother of the
Four gathered at last that something out of the common had certainly
happened, that the children had certainly been in some peril, and that
the officers had rescued them and brought them home. So she tried,
though her voice shook a little, to thank the Chief.

"You must not thank us," said the gray-haired admiral standing cap
in hand, before her. "We did nothing but arrive at a lucky moment,
and bring the children home. It is another you must thank, another
who deserves your deepest gratitude; one who by his presence of mind
and coolness saved them all in a moment of great danger, ... of very
real danger. This is the boy!" he said, putting his hand on Pavlo's
shoulder. "This is a real Zamana, who when he grows up will be an
honor to his glorious name! And in the meantime I for one, am proud
to know him!"

Oh, how they shouted for him when they heard it all! And while the
mother of the Four was holding him very tight to her, and while the
master of the house and Pavlo's uncle were shaking each other's hand
as though they would never stop, Deko, who had been set free, limped
nimbly down all the steps, and leaped upon Chryseis, and licked her
hands, and whined for joy, and caught hold of her skirt and shook it
so hard that he tore it.

But he was forgiven that time.

And joy followed for Pavlo as well as glory, for though his uncle
was obliged to leave for Athens the next day, no one in the Red House
felt as if Pavlo could be spared. So his uncle was persuaded to leave
him behind; to leave him indefinitely, till it should be autumn,
and school time, and everyone returned to town.



So it came to pass, that when the doctor was being rowed across the
bay the next morning, in the boat that was taking him to the steamer,
the Four and Pavlo stood all together on the little landing stage
and waved good-by to him.

They waved and waved, till he was a speck in the blue distance, and
then they turned and ran with cries and whoops of joy, back into the
pine woods, back to the sea, back to the hillside, back for a whole
long summer to all the manifold delights of the Red House on the Hill.



ALEXANDER THE SON OF PHILIP


I

On a very hot morning in May, at the corner of the Hotel de la Grande
Bretagne, in the Square of the Constitution, in Athens, a dirty little
boy with a sheaf of unsold newspapers under his arm was sitting on
a shoeblack's box, alternately munching a piece of bread and wiping
his eyes with the back of his sleeve.

Another boy, not so dirty, stood beside him, with one foot on the
edge of the box, watching the people in the square. He was fair for
a Greek boy, with light hair which showed through the many holes of
his cloth cap.

There was a tug at his ragged tunic:--

"Aleko! Aleko! You are not listening!"

"What is it? I hear." But he did not look down at the grubby little
fellow who continued sniffing:--

"I dreamt, I tell you, as truly as I see you here I did, that I went
away somewhere, and that I found a great big sweet shop, bigger than
Yannaki's or Doree's, ever so much bigger, and in the shop there
were dishes and jars and trays, and trays, and trays all around of
chocolates, and baklava,[1] and kourabiedes, and little cakes with
pink and green and white sugar all over them; and there were piles of
comfits, and caramels,--oh, and heaps of other things; and ..." warming
to his description, "bottles and bottles of cherry syrup and lemonade,
and I dreamt that the man of the shop waved his hand--so,--over
everything and said 'Please,'--Aleko, do you hear? 'Please eat all
the things you want.' And then," with a savage tug at the tunic,
"then you came and waked me!"

Aleko looked down at him for a minute:--

"Did I want to wake you? It was time to get up. The big one sent
me. And what are you crying about now, any way? For the sweets you
never had?"

The small boy, Andoni, gulped down a sob.

"No!"

"What then?"

"I only sold two newspapers; the other boys got before me; and the
big one will beat me when he sees all these left."

Aleko shrugged his shoulders.

"You will cry when he beats you; what is the use of crying now?" Then
he looked out again, over the square.

Watching people and things always kept him very busy. There were so
many things going on at once. Two coachmen, on the side of the square
where the carriages stand, were swearing at each other, and they were
using swear-words quite different from those Aleko had heard in his
village. A man from Rhodes was trying to sell his embroidered bags to
some foreigners, of those who walk about with little red books in their
hands, at double the price he usually asked for them. Some men were
carrying big trunks down the steps of the hotel, and three ladies with
bright coloured sunshades were going towards the street of the shops.

Two men, an old white bearded one and a fat one who walked with his
legs wide apart and his hands behind his back, passed in front of
the two boys.

"Ah, my friend," the older one was saying; "you are quite right,
but gnôthi seauton, know thyself, is a very difficult thing."

Suddenly Aleko stooped and pushed Andoni off the box.

"Run!" he said, "they have no newspapers; run after them!"

The dirty little boy picked up his sheaf of papers and rushed after
the men, who had already turned the corner.

In a few minutes he returned, jingling some copper coins in his hand.

"They bought three," he said, "the old one took the Acropolis and
the fat one the Embros, and the Nea Himera. Why did you not sell them
yours? You have some left."

"Because I am waiting here for a man whose shoes I black every
morning. He always comes at this time, and I wait for him."

"Do you mean," asked Andoni eagerly, "a big man with a beard, who
wears a soft gray hat?"

"Yes; why?"

"Because I saw him now at the corner where the flower boys
stand. Yoryi, the one who squints, had just polished his boots for him,
and the gentleman was paying him."

Aleko wasted no words. He seized his box, and ran round the corner
of the square with such speed that his feet raised a cloud of dust
all around him.

A group of shoeblacks and flower boys were standing about the end of
the Kiphissia Road, but there was no sign of a client of any sort.

Aleko rushed up to a boy much bigger than himself, with squinting eyes,
and caught hold of his arm:--

"Did you clean the boots of the man with the black beard?" he
asked. "Do you not know he is my client?"

The elder boy shook him off roughly.

"You, with your clients!" he muttered.

The other boys sniggered.

"You are late, you see, to-day, Aleko; another got before you."

The lad's face reddened.

"He always asks for me, and I was waiting for him just there."

"Oh," said one of the flower boys, tying up a big bunch of scarlet
carnations as he spoke, "your client asked for you all right, but
Yoryi here, told him that you had been sent on a message and that he
was your partner."

Yoryi laughed noisily.

"That is how I do business."

But his laugh broke off in the middle. Aleko had come close to him,
and with one well-directed kick had sent the big shoeblack's box
flying into the middle of the road.

Brushes flew here and there, bottles of yellow and black polish were
broken and their contents spilt in the dust, and round metal boxes
rolled in all directions. Yoryi seized hold of Aleko by the neck and
struck him savagely on the head.

"A bad year to you!" he shouted, as blow followed blow. "Did you not
know that you would eat stick if you played those tricks on me? Did
you not know it? Take that then! And that! And that! Did you think you
could touch me and go free?" and the blows came down like rain. At last
he flung the smaller boy away from him and began sullenly collecting
the scattered contents of his box.

Aleko picked himself up, staggering a little as he stood.

"Oh, I knew!" he shouted, staunching a bleeding nose on the sleeve
of his tunic. "Of course I knew. Do I not eat stick every day? Am I
not the smallest? But it was you who did not know! You who thought
you could cheat me and be safe! You did not know that your box would
be all over the road, that your bottles would be broken, that all
your things would be so spoiled that you could not steal other lads'
clients this morning again! Pick them up then! Stoop! Yes, stoop in
the dust and pick them up!"

The other boys were laughing at Yoryi now.

"He has played you a good trick, the little one!"

"Did you think," shouted Aleko, "that you could touch me and go
free?" and before Yoryi, furious now with rage, could catch him a
second time, he doubled, and ran round the corner of the University
Road.

Being fleet of foot, he left Yoryi far behind him, and running up
one street and down another and across a third, he soon arrived safe
and unpursued at the top end of Stadium Street and back again in
Constitution Square.

A sound of music came from the direction of the Palace and he looked
up eagerly. The guard was changing; he could hear the measured tread
of the soldiers. Though he had been in Athens nearly two years the
spectacle had never lost its charm for him.

Pushing, stooping, dodging, he elbowed his way to the edge of the
pavement and waited.

On they came, the officer, the band, the marching men, the beautiful
blue flag held aloft by a white-gloved sergeant. Aleko knew all
about it, for a soldier had told him one day that you had to be a
good-conduct man to be allowed to carry the flag, and that you had
to wear white gloves: and the boy had long ago decided that when his
time came to serve as a soldier, he would always carry the flag.

Up sprang all the officers who happened to be sitting at the little
café tables in the square, and stood saluting. Civilians who were
passing stopped and uncovered; coachmen stood up on their boxes
bare-headed; Aleko pulled off his tattered cap in imitation and stood
with the hot sun shining on his tumbled fair hair.

An old man looked down on him and smiled. Then, catching sight of
the dust and smears of blood on the boy's face, he remarked with a
chiding gesture:--

"Ah! you have been fighting."

"No," answered Aleko, "I have been beaten." Then emboldened he asked,
"Tell me, why do people take their hats off?"

The old man stared at the question.

"Why, to the flag, of course."

"Yes, I know; but why?"

"Why? To show respect to the flag, of course."

"Why does it show respect when one takes one's hat off?"

The old man answered by another question:--

"From where are you my lad?"

"From Megaloupolis."

"Ah, you do not see flags there, do you?"

"At Easter, and on the twenty-fifth of March,[2] there was always a
flag put up at the Town Hall but no one took his hat off."

"Well, in Athens you will learn many things," said the old man walking
away. Aleko looked after him.

"I do not think," he muttered, "that he knew why. How many people
do not know things when you ask them." Then he ran up the steps of
the Hotel Grande Bretagne where one of the head servants, standing
on the verandah, had beckoned to him to clean his boots.

"Make them shine well," said the man, putting his foot on the little
inclined rest of the box.

"Be easy," answered Aleko, "you will see your face in them."

He scraped, and rubbed, and polished vigorously; then when one foot
was changed for the other, he suddenly asked without looking up:--

"What does 'Know thyself' mean?"

"Where did you pick up that fine phrase?"

"One man who was passing said it to another, and he said it was a
very difficult thing. What does it mean?"

"If it be difficult how should I know it?" answered the head
servant. "Do poor folk have time to go beyond the municipal classes
at school?"

"Does he know?" and Aleko with a backward jerk of his thumb indicated
another servant, stout and gray-haired, standing within the portal
of the hotel.

"He! He can scarcely read the newspaper!"

"Then who knows?"

"Do you not go to the Parnassos School every night?"

"Of course I go."

"Well, ask your schoolmaster."

"Oh, he has no time; we are many boys. You see I thought as you
stand here so often doing nothing, if you knew you would have time
to tell me."

The man scowled.

"Enough words! There are your ten lepta. Go about your business and
leave me to mine."

Aleko slung his box over his shoulder and descended the hotel steps
slowly. He was beginning to feel sore all over and his head ached. He
decided that he would go home and have a sleep. Home meant the
cellar which he shared with the other boy, Andoni, and with the older
shoeblack, "the big one" who had brought them over from Megaloupolis,
and for whom they worked, till such time as they should have earned
enough to set up for themselves.

Bells were ringing for noon, and after that no one would be out in
the sun-blaze of the streets to want boots cleaned; there would be
no work again until the sales of the evening newspapers began.

He trudged rather wearily up the steep streets towards the Square of
the Kolonaki, near which he lived; and as he went, he wondered once
more why so many people did not know things when you asked them.

There were so many things he wanted to find out.

Who lived in the Academy with the two statues on the tall columns,
which he passed two or three times a day, and what did people do
inside it? What was in the red books which the foreigners held in their
hands when they looked up at the old temples? What was that statue in
the Zappion Gardens where a woman was putting a crown of leaves on a
man's head? And most of all, what made automobiles go without horses
when the driver turned that round wheel? The whole town was one great
"Why" to him.

When he reached the street behind the Kolonaki Square, and went down
the steps to the cellar, he found it empty. From a shelf in one corner
he took down the half of a loaf of bread, and a piece of white cheese
wrapped in a sheet of paper. His mother was renowned in Megaloupolis
as one of the tidiest housewives of the place, and it was from her
that he had learned not to leave food about uncovered; this was also
probably the reason why his face and hands were generally less grimy
than those of most of the other shoeblacks.

Nearly all the boys he knew were shoeblacks, or newspaper sellers and
messenger boys, or they combined the three trades; and nearly all came
from Megaloupolis in the charge of an older boy of eighteen or twenty
years old, "the big one," as they called him. He paid them a yearly
wage and, except what was necessary for food, all their earnings went
to him. Aleko was paid one hundred and fifty drachmæ a year; next year
he was to have two hundred. Later on, he would work for himself, and
doubtless when he was old enough he would in his turn employ smaller
boys. He had no father, and the money was required to help his mother
and the two small sisters in Megaloupolis. How could they live else?

After he had eaten, he sat down and pulled out his morning's earnings
from the breast of his tunic. The copper coins and nickels amounted to
one drachma and thirty-five lepta; of these, he put aside thirty lepta
for his supper, and screwing up the rest in a piece of old newspaper
pushed it underneath a painted wooden chest to give to "the big one"
when accounts were made in the evening. Then he threw himself on his
mattress, doubled his arm under his head, and slept till the loud
barking of a dog on the pavement outside awoke him with a start.

He rushed up the cellar steps which led to the pavement of the narrow
street, banging the door behind him, and nearly fell headlong over a
fox-terrier busily occupied with the rubbish tin of the next house. The
little dog yelped sharply as Aleko stumbled over him, and abandoning
the rubbish tin, trotted quickly off towards the square.

"Solon!" called Aleko. "Here Solon! Why do you run away? It is only I."

Solon stopped short, listened for a moment with uplifted paw, and
then with a series of little joyful barks ran back towards the boy.

Aleko stooped, and catching him up by the middle of his well-fed,
white little body tucked him under his arm.

"You little rascal! What do you mean by rooting in the rubbish? Have
you not enough to eat in your house? I should be glad to have your
luck."

Two little ears were cocked on one side of Aleko's arm and a short
tail wagged frantically on the other.

"I wonder how it happens that you are out alone? Has Anneza lost you?"

Just then, coming out on the Kolonaki Square, Aleko descried a young
woman carrying a basket, who was looking all around her and peering
under the bushes of the enclosure seemingly in great distress. He
put his fingers to his mouth and whistled sharply.

"Anneza! Eh! Here is your dog! It is I who have him!"

The young woman wheeled around and came rapidly towards him. She was
pretty, with black hair and a big white apron crossed over a pink
cotton frock.

"Do you not feed him enough?" Aleko asked her as he put down the
dog. "I found him in my street with his nose in the rubbish tin."

"Feed him, indeed?" snorted the young woman, "he has of the best. If
all poor people fared as he does, it would be well. The master is
so fond of him he fears lest the wind should blow or the rain should
drop on his body. He often comes himself into the kitchen to see what
I give him to eat. But all the same the dirty dog is always grubbing
in the rubbish tins. When I take him out he is always straying and
making me go cold with fright for fear the 'boya'[3] should catch him."

"The 'boya' only takes dogs who belong to no one. He would not take
yours," said Aleko, turning Solon over on his back with his foot as
he spoke.

"Do I know? Now, in this hot weather when dogs go mad, they say that
the 'boya' gets paid one drachma for every dog he catches; and all
he can lay hand on are thrown into his cart. If I had my way the dog
should never stir out, but the master says he must have exercise,
and if he sees me out without Solon, bad luck for me!"

"Take your dog now," said the boy, "I must go for my newspapers."

"Listen, Aleko."

"What?"

"Come to the house in the morning; there are some curtains to beat."

"I will come." Then, as he turned to go, he added, "Keep the dog by
you! Do not let him stray again."

"I have no strap," answered Anneza.

Aleko was already some way off, but he called back over his shoulder:--

"You need not tie him. Talk to him."

Anneza looked after the boy, whose bare feet were raising a cloud of
dust as he ran, and tapped her forehead.

"A good boy," she murmured, "but ..."



II

It was nearly sunset when Aleko came up to the Kolonaki again with
his evening papers, after having sold all he could in the big squares
and at the little tables outside the cafés and confectioners' shops
where people sit to eat ices and look at the passers-by.

He was walking slowly up the long straight street, dotted here and
there with trees, which leads out of the square, dragging his feet
as he walked, for the day had been long and hot. There were not
many papers left in his sheaf but every now and then he raised his
piercing cry:--

"Astrapi! Hesperini! Hestia!" These were the names of his newspapers.

Suddenly from a narrow side street which he had already passed he
heard an answering call.

"Newspapers! Here!"

He turned on his steps and looked down the alley. At the door of a
low house stood an old man leaning on a stick. He did not beckon nor
make any sign but continued to call, "Newspapers! Here!"

Aleko ran up.

"Which do you want?"

"Have you the Embros?"

"No, that is published in the morning."

"I know it, but I thought you might have one left. I always take the
Embros, but no one passed here this morning."

"I have only the evening papers."

"Well, give me the Hestia, then."

Aleko picked out one of his three remaining Hestias and held it out,
but the old man made no movement to take it. He was tall, straight,
and gray haired, and somehow it was not easy to imagine his face
as ever having been young. He wore shabby gray clothes, very frayed
and stained.

"Here is your Hestia."

"Put it down here on the step beside me. Take your five lepta,"
and from an inner pocket the old man produced a copper coin, but
as he held it out, his stick came into sharp contact with Aleko's
elbow. The boy gave a little cry and began to rub it.

"I have hurt you, my lad," said the old man, bending forward and
dropping his stick with a clatter. "You must forgive me! I cannot see;
I am blind."

Aleko stopped rubbing his elbow and looked curiously into the old
man's face. The wide open brown eyes seemed to be looking at him. He
remembered an old blind woman who used to go about asking for alms
in Megaloupolis, but her head was always sunk on her chest, and her
eyes were closed.

"Are you quite blind?"

"Quite."

"Your eyes do not look blind."

"But they are."

Aleko held up his hand, high above his head.

"Can you not see how many fingers I am holding up now?"

"Not even that you have lifted your hand; not even that you stand
before me."

"That is a pity you should be blind," said the boy slowly. "You are
not very old yet. Have you been blind long?"

"Two years now."

"That was before I came to the town. And how did you lose your light?"

"I had a bad fever for many months, and afterwards my eyes never got
well; then they grew worse and worse, till the darkness fell. There
is a good man who was once my pupil and who is rich now, and he took
me to the best oculists; but they said they could do nothing."

Aleko passed his fingers through his hair and hesitated; but his
curiosity got the better of him.

"Tell me, master, why do you buy a newspaper if you cannot see to
read it?"

"It is read to me."

"Your children read it to you?" queried the boy.

"No, I have no children. There is a young man,--a student, who lives
in the next house,--and every day at noon I give him ten lepta to
read the whole newspaper to me. One must know the news and what the
outside world is doing." Then half to himself he added, "Though the
eyes be blind the mind must see."

But Aleko frowned.

"What! Pay lepta to have the news read to you! That is a sin! Better
keep the good money for bread. In our village, he who can read reads
aloud, and the others listen, but no one pays."

"In the town it is different," sighed the old man. "In small places
people are kinder. I know, for I taught school for many years at
Lixuri in Cephalonia and one helped the other when there was trouble."

Aleko looked up suddenly.

"Give me your name, master."

"My name is Themistocli."

"Listen, then, Kyr Themistocli; now, with the sun-blaze, no one comes
out to have their boots cleaned after noon, so there is no work before
the evening newspapers are published. I will keep you an Embros every
day, and at two, or at three, after you have had your sleep, I will
bring it and read it to you, and then you need not spend your lepta."

"But, my child ..."

"Oh, I can read. I can read without stopping at the big words. Also
I do not sing when I read. It is not I who say so; it was one of
the members of the Parnassos at our examinations, when we all read
out aloud. He said to the master, 'That boy there, with the yellow
hair, is the only one who can read without singing.'  Shall I come,
Kyr Themistocli? Shall I come to-morrow?"

The old man groped with his hand until he found Aleko's arm and patted
it gently.

"You are a good boy to a poor blind man."

"No," said Aleko wriggling a little, "I like to read, and since you
were a schoolmaster perhaps you will know things when I ask you."

The old man, stooping, felt for the newspaper on the doorstep and
turned towards the house.

"Come inside with me for a minute, my lad."

Aleko followed him through a narrow passage and into a little
living-room, containing a round table covered with a red and white
checked cloth, two cupboards, a high one and a low one, and three odd
chairs. On the floor were two or three torn newspapers, and on the low
cupboard was a pile of unwashed plates. The dust lay thick everywhere.

Just as they entered, a door leading to another room opened and a
stout woman with a dirty blue apron tied round her, looked in; she
held a pan in one hand and a plate of salad in the other.

"Your soup is ready," she began, then catching sight of Aleko she
added quickly, "A loustro[4] has followed you in. What does he want?"

"I brought him," answered Kyr Themistocli. "Sit down, my child."

But Aleko had been taught that one should never stay when people are
about to sit down to a meal.

"With your permission, master, I go to eat bread, and I shall return."

"No, do not go. Stay and take your soup with me."

The stout woman muttered something about a rat whose hole was too
small for him, but who would drag a pumpkin in as well.

"What is it, Kyra Katerina?" asked the old man sharply. "Is there
not sufficient soup for two?"

"As for that, yes, there is sufficient."

"Then pour it into two soup plates, and stay  ... there was a dish
of potatoes left...."

"Those are for to-morrow," said the woman sullenly.

"I wish for them to-night."

The woman said nothing. She pushed the red and white cover half off
the table and put down the pan and the plate of salad on the yellow
oilcloth underneath. Then, opening the low cupboard, she produced two
soup plates and the half of a ring-shaped loaf. Then she poured the
thick rice soup into the plates: it was red with tomato and smelt very
good. Lastly, she took the empty pan into the back room and returned
with a dish of cold potatoes and a pitcher full of water.

"I have served," she said. "Is there perhaps anything else you want?"

Her voice sounded angry, but Kyr Themistocli took no notice of it.

"No, there is nothing. You can go."

The stout woman pulled down her sleeves, and untying her apron threw
it on the top of the unwashed plates.

"As you like." Then, as she opened the door, she added, "A nice work it
will be in the morning to have to clean the floor after a shoeblack's
dusty feet." Then she passed out and shut the door quickly before
Kyr Themistocli could answer.

"Eat your soup, and do not mind her," he said to Aleko.

"I do not mind her," said Aleko, taking a big spoonful of soup; and
after swallowing it, he added sagely, "Women always make much noise."

The blind man ate slowly and did not always find his mouth
exactly. Aleko saw, now, why there were so many stains on his
clothes. When he had finished he pushed his plate back.

"Tell me, now, what do they call you?"

"They call me Aleko."

"From where?"

"My mother lives in Megaloupolis, and I was born there and the little
ones, but my father was not from there."

Kyr Themistocli noticed the past tense.

"He is dead, your father?"

"Yes, it is two years ago that he died."

"And from where was he?"

"From Siatista."

"Ah, a Macedonian! And what was his name?"

"Philippos Vasiliou."

"So your name is Alexandros Vasiliou?"

Aleko nodded.

"Alexander of the King! Alexander the son of Philip![5] Your master
has taught you about him at school?"

"Of course," said Aleko frowning.

The old man smiled. "There is a story about him which you have not
heard perhaps. Do you know how Alexander the King got the Water
of Life?"

Aleko shook his head: "We have not reached such a part."

"Well, I will tell you about it. Listen:--



"When Alexander the King had conquered all the Kingdoms of the world,
and when all the universe trembled at his glance, he called before
him the most celebrated magicians of those days and said to them:--

"'Ye who are wise, and who know all that is written in the Book of
Fate, tell me what I must do to live for many years and to enjoy this
world which I have made mine?'

"'O King!' said the magicians, 'great is thy power! But what is
written in the book of Fate is written, and no one in Heaven or on
Earth can efface it. There is one thing only, that can make thee enjoy
thy kingdom and thy glory beyond the lives of men; that can make thee
endure as long as the hills, but it is very hard to accomplish.'

"'I did not ask ye,' said the great King Alexander, 'whether it be
hard, I asked only what it was.'

"'O King, we are at thy feet to command! Know then that he alone who
drinks of the Water of Life need not fear death. But he who seeks this
water, must pass through two mountains which open and close constantly,
and scarce a bird on the wing can fly between them and not be crushed
to death. The bones lie in high piles, of the kings' sons who have
lost their lives in this terrible trap. But if thou shouldst pass
safely through the closing mountains, even then thou wilt find beyond
them a sleepless dragon who guards the Water of Life. Him also must
thou slay before thou canst take the priceless treasure.'

"Then Alexander the King smiled, and ordered his slaves to bring
forth his horse Bucephalus, who had no wings yet flew like a bird. The
king mounted on his back and the good horse neighed for joy. With one
triumphant bound he was through the closing mountains so swiftly that
only three hairs of his flowing tail were caught in between the giant
rocks when they closed. Then Alexander the King slew the sleepless
dragon, filled his vial with the Water of Life, and returned.

"But when he reached his palace, so weary was he that he fell into a
deep sleep and left the Water of Life unguarded. And it so happened
that his sister, not knowing the value of the water, threw it away. And
some of the water fell on a wild onion plant, and that is why, to
this day, wild onion plants never fade. Now when Alexander awoke,
he stretched out his hand to seize and drink the Water of Life and
found naught; and in his rage he would have killed the slaves who
guarded his sleep, but his sister, being of royal blood, could not
hide the truth, and she told him that not knowing, she had thrown
the Water of Life away.

"Then the king waxed terrible in his wrath, and he cast a curse upon
his sister, and prayed that from the waist downward she might be
turned into a fish, and live always in the open sea far from all land
and habitation of man. And the gods granted his prayer, so it happens
that to this day those who sail over the open sea in ships often see
Alexander's sister, half a woman and half a fish, tossing in the waves.

"Strange to say, she does not hate Alexander, and when a ship passes
close to her she cries out:--

"'Does Alexander live?'

"And should the captain, not knowing who it is that speaks, answer,
'He is dead,' then the maid in her great grief tosses her white arms
and her long golden hair wildly about, and troubles the water, and
sinks the ship.

"But if, when the question comes up with the voice of the wind, 'Does
Alexander live?' the captain answers at once, 'He lives and reigns,'
then the maid's heart is joyful, and she sings sweet songs till the
ship is out of sight.

"And this is how sailors learn new love songs, and sing them when
they return to land."



When the old man ceased speaking Aleko waited a moment and then
said slowly,--

"That is not true--but I like it."

"Do you know, my lad," said Kyr Themistocli, "that with a name such
as yours you ought to grow up a great man."

"But if one cannot?"

"That is only if one is not born so," said the old man shaking his
head, "but if one is born with brains, and will, one always can."

"No!" burst out Aleko, "without learning one cannot and when one is
poor how is one to get learning?"

"We live in a country, my boy, where learning is free."

"And must not one live while one is learning? And must one not keep
one's mother and the little ones who cannot work?"

"Did you not say that you go to the Parnassos School?"

"Of course I go, but already I am in the third class, next year I shall
be in the fourth, which is like the first Hellenic class in municipal
schools, and after that, there are no more classes at the Parnassos."

Kyr Themistocli thought for a moment.

"How old are you?"

"In August, on the Virgin's Day, I close my twelve years."

"Why are you in the third class if you have only been here two years?"

"Oh, the first is only for those who cannot read, I did not pass
through it at all."

"You could read already, when you came from your village?"

"Long before that."

"Who taught you?"

Aleko shifted from one bare foot to another and thought for a moment.

"I do not know," he said at last. "My father had three books, and
there were newspapers which the coffee-house keeper threw away,
and ... I learnt."

"If you finish the fourth class of the Parnassos, you will know a
good many things."

"What will be the benefit? When there is no more night school and I
have to work with my hands all day, as the years pass I shall forget
all they have taught me, and I shall be an unlearned man. The member
who spoke at the examinations last year, told us that an unlearned
man is like wood that has not been hewn."

The boy pushed back his chair and stood up.

"Why do they say such things to us? Can we help it if we are poor? It
is bad to know only the beginning of things! It is worse I think
than to know nothing. Sometimes I am sorry that I went to the
Parnassos!" And Aleko turned towards the window and began drawing
his finger over the dust on the pane. But the old schoolmaster
called him:--

"Find the Hestia," he said, "and read to me, will you?"

So Aleko read for some time by the fading light. He read of many
things, and amongst others of how a great big warship had been launched
and was soon to be brought to Greece ... the Averoff.

"Why do they call it the Averoff? What does it mean?"

"It is the name of a very good, and very rich man, who gave the money
to build it."

"Will it fight the Turks?" asked Aleko eagerly.

"Good grant it, my boy! And may I be alive to hear of it."

"When it does, I will read all about it to you."

"Thank you," said the old man very seriously.

Then Aleko went on reading till he could see no longer.

"You read well," said Kyr Themistocli slowly. "Will you come again? you
will give me pleasure."

"I will come every day." Then Aleko got up and began carrying the
plates off the table into the kitchen at the back. He returned with
a lighted candle.

"Now," he said, "I will tidy up a little so that the cross woman will
not have so many words to say to-morrow. As for her floor ..." and
he looked at it with disgust, "it is so dusty that anyone who walks
over it will take dust away instead of adding any! Does she come
every day?" he asked suddenly.

"Yes, she cleans and cooks for me."

"And you pay her?"

"Naturally."

"Kyr Themistocli, you must find another woman who will have a little
conscience; this one, because you cannot see ... she lets you live
in dirt." He took up the cover and shook it vigorously out of the
window. "But what dust! It is a sin to take money for such dirty
work! Ah," he continued, polishing the window panes with a piece of
torn newspaper, "you ought to have my mother to work for you! Then
you would see what your house would be like!"

"Your mother is a good housewife?"

"She is the best in Megaloupolis; all say it. What would she say if
she saw this room? And my clothes also," he added, looking at them
ruefully. "But when one works, what can one do?"

When he had finished, he blew out the candle. "Since it is useless to
you," he remarked, "why should it burn in vain?" Then he came close
to the old man and laid his hand on his knee.

"I thank you for the good food. To-morrow, then, I shall come at
three."

The old man stood up and felt for Aleko's head.

"I want to see how tall you are. Ah, you are well above my shoulder,
that is a good height for twelve. Are you strong? Do you have
gymnastics at the Parnassos?"

"Yes, in the square outside. I know all the movements; and there is
one member--not the one who comes to the lessons, another who has
been abroad--and he is teaching us boxing."

"Boxing?" echoed the old man. This was new for him.

"It is how to fight with your hands; and he says that I shall learn
well and soon."

"That is not real learning," objected Kyr Themistocli, "that is play."

"I do not know," answered Aleko, "but it is very useful for me,
because there are some of the boys who will not understand things
unless you explain with your fists. Now I go," he added. "I must be
at the school at eight o'clock. Good night, master."

"Good night, my child."

But from the door he rushed back again.

"What is that statue in the Zappion Gardens, of the man who stands
at the woman's knee; she who is putting a crown of leaves on his head?"

Kyr Themistocli put his hand to his forehead in a bewildered fashion.

"At the Zappion? A crown of leaves? Oh, I see; you mean Byron. Well,
he was a great poet--a stranger--and because he left his own country
and came and fought for us against the Turks, and helped us, and sang
about us, and loved us, the woman, who means Greece, is crowning him
with laurels."

"Is it like when you take your hat off--to the flag--to show respect?"

"Well, in a way, perhaps," said the old man smiling.

"Is he dead now, that poet?"

"Yes."

Aleko thought for a moment.

"I will fight for his country when I grow up if they want me."

Then he ran very fast because he was afraid he would be late for
school. In winter the hours were from seven to nine in the evening,
but in summer they were from eight to ten, for the members of the
Parnassos who arranged all about the night school, knew that the little
shoeblacks and newspaper boys could find work in the streets much
later, now that the days were long and people dined at such late hours.



III

Aleko rushed through the Kolonaki Square and all the length of the
street called after the brave Kanaris,[6] into Academy Road, crossed
it, and tearing down two narrow streets one after the other, came
out into Stadium Street; this also he crossed, dodging in and out
between the tram-cars and the streams of people, and only slackened
his pace when he got into the short street that leads to the Church
of St. George and the building of the Parnassos.

He pushed open the big door, and dumping down his shoeblack's box in
the outer hall beside a long line of others, was in the class room
and seated in his place, just one moment before the master took his.

Two members were present this evening. One of them heard the boys'
grammar and arithmetic lessons, and commented on them; the other,
a young man with a small dark moustache, leaned against the wall
and looked on without speaking. Just before the books were closed
he crossed the big room and exchanged a few words with the master,
who smiled, nodded his head, and gave up his place on the platform
to him. The whole class looked up with astonishment; members never
took the master's place except to make speeches on the twenty-fifth
of March, or on examination day. This member was very tall, his back
was very straight, and his eyes were always laughing.

He leaned carelessly across the desk.

"Listen to me, boys!" he said. "Some people have been blaming me
for teaching you boxing. They say you are ready enough to fight
without being taught any more about it. So I want to explain, here,
why I think it such a good thing for you. Now--until all men become
saints, and I believe that we, at least, shall not see that day--a
boy will always need to defend himself, or his people, or his things,
by fighting, sometimes. Well, boxing makes a fine healthy animal of
him, ready to face anything that may happen."

Some of the older boys scowled at the word "animal," and the young
member saw it.

"I am sorry you do not like being called 'animals,'" he continued,
"because in reality, you are far worse off than animals when it comes
to fighting, and that is why you must learn how to use your strength,
so as not to be at the mercy of any who choose to attack you. Why,
many insects, even, are stronger than you are!"

The boys laughed out loudly.

"An ant," continued the young member gravely, "can bear nearly a
thousand times the weight of its own body over it, without being
crushed. How many times your own weight do you think you could
carry? But science can supply what nature has denied to us. We can
make our fists be to us just what its horns are to a bull, or its
claws and its teeth to a lion; only, you see, we have to learn how
to do this carefully, and systematically. When a horse kicks, or a
dog bites, no one in the world can teach them to do it better, but
most men have no idea how to hit straight from the shoulder with all
the strength of the body behind the blow. A boy who has learned how
to defend himself will be a thousand times less molested by others,
and more independent. When grown men, in a fit of passion, pull out
a knife to avenge an injury, it is, nine times out of ten, because
they have not learned the use of their fists."

Then the young member, suddenly leaving the platform, came down
amongst them.

"Who will learn?" he asked smiling.

Not a boy but came pressing around him. Benches were pushed against
the walls, and the lesson began.

He made the boys who were to fight take off their tunics and roll
up the sleeves of their more or less ragged shirts. He placed them
in the correct attitude of defense, the right fist closed and held
near the body and the left slightly extended. He showed them how to
thrust straight from the shoulder for the right-hand stroke, and
for the left-hand stroke; then how to parry the right-hand stroke
with the left arm raised and slightly bent, and how to parry the
left-hand stroke with the right arm bent forward and protecting the
face. He showed them how to take their opponent's head prisoner,
and he showed the imprisoned one how to get free.

"Now, Kosta!" he cried, "straight out from the shoulder! Follow your
blow! Come with it! Come with it! Be ready, Aleko! Raise your left
arm. There you see.... That is the way!"

When the lesson was over and the boys had shouldered their boxes,
Aleko lingered until the two members came out down the steps into
the street smoking their cigarettes. He stood himself right in the
way of the younger member.

"Tell me, Kyrie, if you please, when you strike straight out from
the shoulder and the other one does not know how to parry the blow,
what happens?"

The member laughed.

"Why, he will see stars, my boy, especially if your blow lands on
his chin."

"Ah!" said Aleko. "Yoryi who squints shall not take my client from
me again!"

"Does Yoryi 'who squints' come to school?" asked the member.

"Not he!"

"Then I certainly think your client will remain yours."

"Good night, Kyrie."

"Good night to you, my lad."

Then as Aleko ran off, the younger member turned to the older one.

"I wish a few more of the boys had his spirit."

"How fair he is! From what part does he come, I wonder?"

"Oh, they all come from Megaloupolis, but I believe that this one's
father is originally from Macedonia."

"Ah, a good race," said the older man. "One of our best."



IV

The next day, early in the afternoon, Aleko duly took the Embros
to the little street off the Kolonaki Square, where the old, blind
schoolmaster sat waiting for him, just inside his door. The boy sat
down on the doorstep and read out all the news to him. Then he told
him all about his boxing lesson, and left only when it was time for the
evening newspapers to come out. And after that, the afternoon readings
became a regular thing. Sometimes the boy was tired after the long,
hot, hard-working morning, and would have willingly thrown himself down
on his mattress for an hour or two, but he never failed the old man.

Of course the readings were frequently interrupted by questions,
for Aleko soon discovered that Kyr Themistocli was of those who
"knew things when you asked them."

"What is an 'agonistes'?" he asked one day, after reading of the
death of an old veteran.

"An 'agonistes' is one who fights; but now it has come to mean one
who has fought in the Revolution of 1821. My father was one."

The newspaper fluttered down on the doorstep and Aleko was on his
knees beside the old man, his eyes eagerly fixed on the sightless
ones above him.

"Your father! Did he kill Turks himself? Did he blow up a Turkish
ship? Did he come down from Souli[7] with Marcos Botzaris? Did he see
Kanaris and Miaoulis? Did he fight at Missolonghi? Was he there when
the Turks passed the stake through Diakos?"[8]

"Stop, stop, my child! you want the whole of the Revolution at once!"

However, he was very patient, the old man, and Aleko heard many of
those things which never get into the history books, at least into
those from which he read at school. Little incidents of the many
battles and sieges, tales of the misery and the hardships, and of
the braving of all the misery and the hardships, for the sake of
freedom. Of the Christian children who were stolen and turned into
infidels! Of the boys who were taken as babes and brought up to hate
and to fight against their own people; of the girls who were made
slaves in the harems; of the bloodshed, and the tortures, until at
last the day came at Navarino when even strangers joined in arms
against the cruel oppressors.

"I am afraid," said Kyr Themistocli, "that you cannot quite understand
yet, how it all came to pass."

"There is only one thing I cannot understand," said Aleko slowly.

"What thing?"

"When they had the strangers to help them, why they did not go
everywhere, and cut off all the Turks' heads so that none should
be left."

The old man leaned back in his chair and laughed aloud.

"He is terrible, the little one!" and he tried to explain, but Aleko
remained rather unsatisfied on this point.

"Now, will you find me some water to drink. I have talked much."

Aleko found the water, and was just putting the pitcher back
in its place, when he heard a series of short sharp barks in the
distance. Instead of passing out of the house door, before which the
old man was sitting, he vaulted out of the low kitchen window and
went tearing down the street.

"Aleko!" called Kyr Themistocli who heard the clatter. "Aleko! Where
are you?" But there was only silence. He sighed and leaned back in
his chair crossing his hands.

"Of course the boy cannot stay long; it is well he comes at all,"
and he sighed again.

Suddenly he felt something warm, and soft, and alive on his hands. He
was startled.

"What is it?"

"It is only Solon," said Aleko. "Did you not hear me return? He was
barking down the street and I knew he had strayed again from the
cook--Anneza--and I brought him for you to see."

Kyr Themistocli always talked of "seeing" and Aleko had got into the
same habit.

"Put your hands over him,--so,--Is he not soft? And clever! as clever
as a Christian! Whatever I tell him he understands."

Kyr Themistocli smiled.

"He is not yours?"

"Mine! No! He belongs to the big house higher up, the one which has the
garden. Do you know it? Someone lives there who is called 'Spinotti.'"

"Kyrios Spinotti, the banker; he is a very rich man."

"Is he?" said Aleko indifferently. "Well, Solon is his dog, and he is
so fond of him that he fears lest the wind should blow or the rain
should drop on his body; and he often goes into the kitchen to see
what he eats, and Anneza says that if all poor people fared as well
as this dog does, it would be well. So that is why he is so fat, you
see! And when Anneza goes out, her master says she must take the dog
with her for exercise, and if she does not ... bad luck to her! But
he is always straying. She is a stupid woman and Solon will not stay
with her. Some day she will lose him and never find him again, and
then there will be trouble. Now I must take him back."

"His master," said the old man slowly, "is so fond of the dog because
it was his wife's dog, and she is dead."

Aleko, with Solon contentedly tucked under his arm, stopped short.

"You know him then?"

"This house in which I live, is his, and because of that, I pay very
little rent for it. He, Nico Spinotti, is my old pupil from Cephalonia,
of whom I told you; he who took me to the oculists. Once, a long time
ago, when I first came to Athens, when I could still see, I went to
his house. His wife was alive then--a beautiful woman, of one of the
first names of the island--and as she was talking to me and smiling,
she had the little dog, who was but a puppy, in her arms. She died--God
rest her soul--of typhoid fever. Since then I have not seen Nico often,
but he never forgets his old master."

"Of course not," said Aleko, "why should he?"

"Many would, my boy; many would. But he is a good man; take his dog
back to him that he may not be anxious."

After Aleko had left Solon at the big house, it was already dark. He
hurried down the Kiphissia Road and through the Square of the
Constitution, thinking he would have more chance of selling the few
papers he still held, if he went to school by that way.

It was getting cooler, and the streets were filled with people pouring
out of all quarters of the city to breathe the night air after the
weariness of the day spent behind closed shutters.

Crowded street cars and carriages crossed and recrossed, carrying
family parties down to Phalerum and the sea.

The little round tables at Yannaki's, Doree's, and Zacharato's were
all occupied, in fact those of the latter had spread right out across
the square. All around rose the hum of summer night noises, of music,
of the cries of the café waiters, the tinkling of many glasses and
spoons, and the distant whistle of the Kiphissia train.

Groups of men lounged past, talking and laughing.

A man in one of the groups beckoned to Aleko, a young man with a
small dark moustache:--

"Here! Have you any newspapers left?"

Aleko looked up into the pleasant, laughing eyes of his boxing master.

"Oristé!"[9] he cried eagerly. "Certainly, all you want."

"Ah, is it you, Aleko! Good evening to you! Well, give me the Hestia,
the Astrapi, the Hesperini--and the Romios, if you have it."

Then, when he had gathered them up, he asked laughingly:--

"Now, as we are old friends and I have bought so many newspapers,
surely you will take off a discount for me! What shall I give you?"

Aleko, being of pure Greek blood, answered in the good old Greek
fashion:--

"Whatever you please to give."

The young man laughed and held out a five lepta copper coin, the
value of one newspaper alone.

"Suppose then I please to give only this."

Not a muscle moved in Aleko's face.

"You shall give it," he answered, then taking the coin he dropped
it into his pocket, and was turning away, when the young man called
him back.

"Here! Stop! Did you take it seriously?" and while he was searching
for more coins, he asked, "Do you boys not have to account for all
the papers you sell?"

"Of course; the 'big one' keeps count of everything."

"Well then, what would you have said when the 'big one' as you call
him, found fifteen lepta too little?"

"He would have found his money right."

"How could he?"

"I would have put it there from my supper money."

The young man looked at Aleko rather curiously, and two of the other
men who were with him laughed. The one of them, an older man, said:--

"This is an original little specimen!" and the other, an officer,
asked:--

"And why should you be taking from your supper money to make this
gentleman a present of three newspapers? Do you not think he is richer
than you?"

"That does not matter at all," answered Aleko. "My father told me that
it is a shame always to take, and never to give, however poor you
are. He ..." pointing with his thumb backwards, "has given me much;
may I not befriend him with three newspapers?"

"Ah, that of course alters the question," remarked the officer.

"I assure you," began the young man, "that I have never given the
child a single thing!" Then turning to Aleko, "Are you thinking of
the 'tsourekia'[10] and red eggs at Easter? but that was from all the
members of the Parnassos, not from me alone."

"No," said Aleko, "I mean that you have taught me many things, and
that is more than things which are eaten and finished."

"Oh, ho!" laughed the officer, "this is a philosopher we have here."

"No," said Aleko gravely, "I have not enough learning; perhaps if I
could go to school all day, I might be one, some time."

The older man shook his head.

"That is the way of the world. My son can go to school all day,
and every day, and his one object is to stay away."

"What do you want to be when you grow up?" asked the officer of Aleko.

"I do not know ... yet," he answered slowly. "I want to learn how to
do many things, and then to go and do them."

"You could not wish better," said his boxing master. "I think you will
be a man anyway. Here is your money, and run off to the Parnassos;
I am not coming this evening; it is too hot for boxing." Then turning
to the officer he quoted smilingly:--


hôs charien esth' anthrôpos hotan anthrôpos ê


Aleko heard him, though he did not understand; and as he ran down
Stadium Street, he kept repeating the words to himself for fear of
forgetting them, and when he sat down in his place in the class,
the first thing he did was to borrow a stump of a pencil from his
neighbour, and write the words on the fly leaf of his reading book. Of
course they were spelled and accented all wrong, but they could be
read quite plainly. The arithmetic lesson came last, and Aleko was
the last pupil called up to the blackboard, so that when the boys were
leaving the class he ventured to show his sentence to the schoolmaster.

"What does this mean, master?"

The schoolmaster took up the book.

"Why do you write on your school books?" he asked sharply.

"I had no paper. What does it mean?"

The master read the sentence slowly.

"This is ancient Greek," he said. "You have not done any yet: you
could not understand it. Even next year in the higher class, you
will only do Æsop's fables, and a little Xenophon. Better leave it,"
he added laughing. "Do not trouble your head! It is not for you!"

But Aleko put his book into his shoeblack box to take away with him.



V

The next day it was four o'clock before he went up to the Kolonaki
and found the blind old man seated on a chair outside his door,
waiting for him patiently. The daily newspaper was read, but without
the usual stopping for questions. When the reading was over Aleko
opened his box and pulled out his book. Then he flung himself down
and resting the book on the old man's knees opened the tattered,
scribbled-over blue paper cover.

"Master," he said, "these are ancient Greek words; I heard a man say
them to another, and I wrote them down. What do they mean?" and he
read the words aloud slowly:--


hôs charien esth' anthrôpos hotan anthrôpos ê


"Ah, my child!" and the old man's voice trembled a little, "they knew
so much, those old forefathers of ours,--


hôs charien esth' anthrôpos hotan anthrôpos ê


"Yes, that is from Menander. How shall I tell you? It means so many
things and so many different things at different times. Sometimes,
I think, it may mean simply, that it is a duty to be a man and not
a brute. Let me explain...."

"I know!" broke in Aleko, whose eyes had been fixed on the entrance
of the narrow street. "You mean, to be like you and not like that
fruit-seller over there who is kicking his donkey because he has
laden it too heavily, and it cannot walk." Kyr Themistocli smiled.

"Well, ... yes, if you like, my boy ... yes. Sometimes it means that
it is a glorious thing to be all that a man can be! to be afraid of
no evil talk, to hold your head very high, to remember that we have
sprung from a race which has given light to all the civilized world,
to become all that an ancient Greek of the best might have been. I
do not mean that there were no bad men among them! Which race has
been without? There were Ephialtes[11] ... Antipater[12] ... and many
others. But to approach the noblest, ... to touch the hem of their
garment ... who would not be proud? Sometimes, Aleko, it means that
like Socrates, one must give work, and strength, and patience, and
forgiveness to others, and look for nothing in return. Sometimes it
means that a man, to be a man, must give the thing that is hardest
to give of all--his life even!"

"But ..." began Aleko hesitatingly.

"What, my child? Ask all that you wish."

"If a man--a great man, and a good man as you say--gives his life,
then it is finished; he cannot help anyone, or be great, or strong,
any more."

"Ah, no! Many people have said that, little one, but I must make you
see further. There are those who will say, if this man had not done
this deed of sacrifice, if he had kept his own valuable life, he might
have done many more great things later on. Ah, but they forget...." and
the blind man stretched out his arms as though appealing to an unseen
audience. "They forget that all the useful and good things which he
might still have done, are as nothing before the wonderful example he
has given, before.... Oh, how shall I tell you, my child? ... before
the way in which he has made thousands of men's and women's hearts beat
with noble thoughts,--before the way in which he has made the little
children of his land lift up their heads, and say, 'I, too, will be
like him some day!' No, Aleko, no! What he has done lasts through the
years; and the bravery of great men of whom you will read some day,
such a deed for instance as that of Paul Melas[13] in our own time,
makes all the world nobler and stronger for them, even after their
names come to be forgotten!"

There was silence for some minutes, then Aleko said:--

"When I am twenty-one years old, and my time comes to serve in the
army, if there be a war while I am a soldier, then I may be very brave
and perhaps ..." his eyes brightened as he spoke, "they may print it
in the newspaper, and someone will read it to you, and you will say,
'That is Aleko, I know him.' But if there is no war, ... then what
can I do?"

"It is of your age, my child, to think that only in fighting can one
be brave; but I could fill a big book with all the different kinds
of courage."

"Tell me, then! How could I be brave if there were no war?"

The blind man groped for the boy's hand and held it for a moment.

"I think you are brave now."

"But that is impossible; I have done naught."

"Suppose that next year when you finish the highest class of the
Parnassos, you were to get the first prize?"

"Yes," assented Aleko, "I shall get it."

"Very well; how much is it?"

"Three hundred drachmæ."

"Would that sum not be sufficient to keep you for a year at least
without working, if you wished to go to a higher class in the
Municipal School?"

"It would be sufficient for me alone, but who would send money to my
mother and the little ones, if I did not work?"

"That is just what I meant; you go on working for them, instead of
getting more learning for yourself, as you would like to do. Well,
that is a brave deed!"

"But, no," said the boy, his face puckered with perplexity, "that is
not brave. I do not like it at all!"

"But you do it."

Aleko got up from his knees.

"I do not do it; it does itself. How can I help it?" then, as he
shouldered his box to go, he asked, "After I have read to-morrow,
will you tell me about some more great men?"

"I will tell you all I know; ... only come!"



VI

And as the days became hotter and hotter, as May melted into June and
June into July, Kyr Themistocli got to depend more and more on the
boy's daily visits, and as he was an old man and had lost many things
in his life, he would tremble sometimes at the thought of losing
this new joy. For it was a joy as all creating and all planting is
a joy. In all the years he had been a schoolmaster, it was the first
time he had come across an intellect where all seeds once sown bore
fruit; where there were no barren spots.

But Aleko never failed him; every day he would bring the newspaper
and read it all through to the blind man. When the heat was intense,
and the white light in the streets was blinding, they would sit
indoors behind closed shutters, and when it became cooler, late in
the afternoon, the old man's chair would be placed outside the house,
and Aleko sat on the step below him, and asked all the questions
that crowded into his mind. He had more time now, for examinations
were over and school was closed until September again. One evening,
when the sounds of passing guitars and men's voices singing, floated
up to the narrow little street, mingled with the cries of boys racing
and calling to each other, the old man asked him:--

"Do you not want to run with the other lads, Aleko?"

And Aleko answered:--

"I run all day; now it is good to sit. Tell me about some great men,
Kyr Themistocli."

And the old schoolmaster, well content, tilted his chair back against
the sun-baked wall of the house, and told him many things.

He told him of the old, old times even before the ancients, when men
were almost like brutes, but with something manlike in them which set
them apart from the wild beasts; when they made weapons of stones,
and lighted fires by the rubbing of sticks; when they crossed over the
barrier of water by hollowing boats out of trees. He told him of the
terrible wild animals which existed in those days, so monstrous that
the heads of some would reach up to the third floor windows of a house;
and how they would long ago have devoured all the men if these had not
used their brains to defend themselves. How men followed men through
the centuries and how, little by little, their brains grew cleverer and
cleverer through much using, until at last, from those wild men sprang
the minds, and the hearts, and the hands, of Socrates and Plato, and
Aristotle, the philosophers, and Leonidas, the warrior, and Pericles,
the statesman, and Phidias and Praxiteles, the sculptors. Then, he
went on to tell him of all the poor boys through many ages who had
the spirit of the old cave dwellers in them--who would not stay as
they had been born. He told him of Æsop, who was only a poor slave
boy, so ugly and deformed that people laughed and jeered at him; and
yet his fables have been translated into all languages of Europe,
and even into Arabic and Chinese; of Christopher Columbus, the son
of a poor comber of wool in Genoa, who discovered America; of the
shepherd boy Giotto, who drew pictures on stones whilst watching
the sheep, and who grew up to be a celebrated painter; of Lully,
the musician, who was a cook-boy; of Metastasio the Italian poet,
who as a boy recited verses in the streets of Rome; and to come to
our own days, he told him all he had read before he lost his sight,
of Edison, the American, who was a poor boy, and--like Aleko--had
at one time sold newspapers to earn his bread, and of what wonderful
things he had invented, and how there were few in the world who were
not indebted to him; he told him of others--of all he could remember;
then he tried to explain to him, a little, how hard all these men had
worked, each in his own way, and how they had not only wished to do
great things, but had willed it very hard, and had gone on willing
it every moment of their lives, and how it was this great will that
had made them conquer all obstacles, and all discouragement. He told
him also how it was not enough to work, and to be brave, in order to
grow up into a great man, or even simply into a good and just one,
but how he must think as well; how he must always look for the cause,
always ask himself the why and the wherefore, of everything....

"Of course," interrupted Aleko, "I know that. If you do not you are
stupid. Yesterday, the drawer of a boy's box would not open; you know
the drawer, where all the shoe-polishes and rags are kept; and this
boy--Dino--he pulled, and he pulled, and he could not get it open, and
he was very angry, because a man got tired of waiting for him to clean
his boots and went to another boy's stand. Then I looked at Dino's box,
and I pulled a little, and it was one side only of the drawer which
stuck, so I turned it to the light, and I found that a little nail
had fallen between the side of the box and the drawer, and jammed it,
and when I pulled it out with a bit of wire it opened as before."

"And Dino was glad?"

"He was glad, but he did not look why the drawer had stuck, and when
another nail falls in he will be stupid again; he will not know how
to open it. His head is stuffed with straw!"

Then Aleko got up from the step, and gathered his remaining newspapers
under his arm.

"The good hour be with you, Kyr Themistocli!"

"You are going?"

"Yes, I want to go and see if that Anneza has found the dog yet."

"What? She has lost him again?"

"Since noon to-day, and she was trembling with fear of what her master
would say."

"You will remember, Aleko, to bring the coffee to-morrow afternoon."

"I will remember. Be easy! I have the money you gave me safe
here." Then as he turned to go, he said, "You have sufficient for
the morning?"

"No," answered the old man, "it is all finished; but for one day it
does not matter if one eats one's bread dry."

"For you it matters," pronounced Aleko. "I shall bring the coffee in
the morning, ready ground."

"Do not trouble, my boy; in the mornings you have no time."

"I shall have time, and I shall bring it when I come with the
newspapers for the Spinotti house," and without waiting for further
objections he ran down the street and up the wider one, till he came
to the railings of the Spinotti garden.

Anneza, leaning out of her kitchen window, was explaining something
vehemently to the next-door cook.

"Have you found the dog?" asked Aleko.

"If only I could find him, I would give twenty drachmæ out of my wages,
that I would! The master was like mad when he heard I had lost him;
he says the dog must have been stolen, and he has gone now to put it
in the newspapers."

"Did he give it to you badly?" asked the next-door cook curiously.

Anneza became tearful.

"He scolded me," she said, "till I have been trembling ever since."

"He did well," pronounced Aleko as he turned away, "if your head were
not fixed on, you would lose it every day."

"Wait a moment!" shouted Anneza. "Wait till I get the jam stick to
you!" but Aleko was already out of sight.

When he got back to his cellar home he folded the left-over newspapers
to be returned on the morrow, and looked doubtfully at his mattress;
Andoni, the other boy, was already fast asleep in the farther
corner. But it was stiflingly hot in the cellar and there was bright
moonlight outside, so he sauntered up the steps again and looked about
him. There were few passers-by, and the shadows of the houses lay in
deep blue-black patches on the moonlit street.

Farther down, outside a closed fruit shop, were some empty baskets,
and on one of these he sat down, his elbows on his knees, and his
face cupped in his hands. A cooling breeze came from one of the
side streets leading up to the first slopes of Mount Lycabettus,[14]
and though Aleko drowsed a little as he sat there, he did not feel
inclined to return to his cellar.

Suddenly, behind him came a soft patter and something sniffed at his
bare ankles.

He jumped up, overturning the basket.

"Solon!"

And Solon it was, not smooth and white and clean as usual, but muddy,
and draggled, and gray with dust.

"You bad dog! How did you find yourself here? Do you know that your
master is searching for you in all the town? Do you know that he has
paid money to have it printed in the newspaper that you are lost? Are
you not ashamed then? Bad dog!"

Solon did not like this tone of voice so he sat up and begged with
his dusty little forepaws. All at once, Aleko saw that a broken piece
of coarse string was tied round the dog's neck.

"Bah! Your master was right then that you had been stolen! Some one
tried to tie you up, and you must have broken the string and run
away. You are a very clever dog! Bravo, Solon!"

Solon opened his mouth very wide and curled up his tongue in a
long yawn.

"Come, I will carry you home so that you may not stray again." And
Aleko stooped to pick him up; but as he did so, a man who was coming
along the other side of the pavement some distance off, a tall man
wearing a Panama hat, called out loudly:--

"Who is there? What are you doing with that dog?" and hastened his
steps. He crossed the road to Aleko's side, and stooped over him to
see what he held.

Suddenly Solon gave a shrill, joyous bark and the man snatched him
out of Aleko's arms, at the same time giving the boy a violent push
which sent him staggering against the closed shutters of the shop.

"You young scoundrel, you! So I have caught you, have I? Do you know
that this is my dog?"

Aleko looked up. It was the man he had often seen coming out of the
big house in the garden; it was Solon's master.

"Yes," he said, "I know; but you need not push people in that way. I
was going to bring the dog to your house. Now that you have found him,
you can take him yourself."

And turning his back he was walking off. But Nico Spinotti had been
searching for his dog for the whole long hot afternoon; he had walked
up and down likely and unlikely streets; he had visited most of
the shops at which Anneza dealt, he had been to the police station,
and to three newspaper offices, and now that he thought he had found
the culprit, and that this culprit was mocking him, his fury knew
no bounds. He put Solon down and darting forward seized Aleko by
the arm and brought down his walking stick with force across the
boy's shoulders.

"You young limb!" he shouted. "You thieving little blackguard! From
where did you steal that dog? Tell me! Tell me or I will pull your
ears off!" and each word was accompanied by a fresh blow. The poor
boy twisted and writhed, but he had no chance in those strong hands.

"Leave me!" he screamed. "Let go! Why do you strike me? Leave me,
I tell you! I never stole your dog.... I found him.... He knows
me.... He came to me!"

"You can tell those lies to others! They will not pass with me,"
cried the furious man, pushing Aleko away at last and stooping to
pick up Solon. "How should my dog know a ragamuffin like you?"

Aleko, who had fallen on his knees beside the overturned basket,
put up his arm to ward off further blows.

"But he does! It is I who bring the newspapers to your house, and he
sees me every day. Ask Anneza if it be not true?"

"So much the worse if you know him! I suppose someone has put you up
to steal the dog. Now, hark you! You are not to dare to come to my
house or anywhere near it, and if ever I see your dirty face in our
neighbourhood again, I shall hand you over to the police. So now you
know!" and picking up the little dog under his arm he turned to go.

"The street is not yours!" burst out Aleko with sudden fury, rubbing
his shoulder. "And I shall sell my newspapers there every day!"

"You will! Will you? Very well, when you want any change out of the
beating you got just now, you can come to me for it! Do you hear?"

"I hear."

"Well, remember it then!" and turning on his heel he walked quickly
down the street.

Aleko was sore all over, sore in body and sore in mind. Wearily he
staggered back to his cellar, threw himself on his mattress, and there
in the dark, dropped his head on his arms and sobbed himself to sleep.



VII

Next morning, when he got up, part of the bodily soreness had
disappeared, but his indignation was, if anything, greater.

"Just let him wait and see!" he kept muttering to himself as, carrying
his morning newspapers, he waited in a little grocer's shop while
Kyr Themistocli's coffee was being weighed. "Just let him wait! The
next time I find his dog straying--and that will be to-morrow or the
day after, unless he turns Anneza away--I will take it and give it to
someone else, to someone who lives very far away, where he will never
find it again. May they never call me Aleko again if I do not!" As
he was leaving the shop with the bag of coffee in his hand, he found
outside the door an empty petroleum tin which he kicked viciously right
out into the middle of the square. It fell bounding and rebounding with
tremendous clatter against the curbstone, and the noise did him good.

However, he was not to wait even until to-morrow for his revenge,
though it did not happen exactly as he had planned it.

Before the clang of the falling tin had ceased, he saw at the end
of the square, just where the street car tracks come into it, a
little flash of something white tearing along at full speed. In hot
pursuit, but very far behind, came Anneza, with a packet of macaroni
in one hand and two cucumbers in the other. At first Aleko could
not understand why she seemed in such terrible haste, but in another
second he had understood.

From behind the corner of a chemist's shop a man darted out, a man
armed with an open bag of thin knotted rope mounted on a long stick,
something which looked like a monstrous butterfly net; and this net
came down with a dexterous swoop, born of long practice, and rose
again into the air, carrying with it the little white, squealing,
wriggling bundle which was Solon.

Anneza, in the distance, gave a loud shriek, and one of her cucumbers
fell unheeded to the ground. On she rushed, her apron strings flying
behind her; but the man was quicker.

The iron cage on wheels, with its load of barking, snarling prisoners,
stood behind him; with one hand, he lifted up the little spring
door at the top of it, and with a twist of the other he emptied poor
Solon on top of the other dogs. Then he dropped the lid and whipped
up the horse.

"Stop!" panted Anneza, waving her arms wildly, "stop I tell you!"

She was close to the cart by this time; but just at that moment,
the street car which was going up towards the Maraslion met the one
which was coming down, at the corner, and for a moment there was a
block. Anneza, trying to squeeze herself between the two, was pushed
here and there by mounting and descending passengers, and by the time
she got clear the man with the iron cage was out of sight.

But Aleko had been quicker. He had wheeled round as soon as he saw
the dog caught, and running down a short cut had met the cart as it
came out on the street below. He stood right in its way and signaled
to the man.

"The little dog you have just taken," he cried, "is not a stray
dog. He belongs...."

"Stand out of my way," shouted the man savagely, "or I will bring my
whip down on your head!" and he brandished a heavy whip dangerously
near the boy.

Aleko jumped aside only just in time, and the cart went rattling down
the steep incline with a clatter of its iron laths which drowned the
barking of its occupants.

Instinctively Aleko ran back to the square.

Anneza was gone.

"Do you know," he asked of a woman who was weighing some purple figs
at the door of a fruit shop, "where the serving maid has gone who
was here just now?"

"Anneza, from the Spinotti's, you mean?" answered the woman. "The
'boya' took her dog away in his cart, and she has run back to the
house to tell her master."

"By the time she finds him," said Aleko, "it will be too late." And
he tore across the square and down the street leading to Academy
Road. A street car was passing. He leaped on the platform dragging
his box after him. The conductor looked at him angrily.

"Do you not know that you cannot sell your newspapers while the car
is in motion?"

"I am not selling anything," answered Aleko with dignity; "I am
riding." And he produced ten lepta from a pocket inside his tunic.

He got off the street car at Patissia Road and turned to his
right. When he came to a large house, standing somewhat back from
the road, he stopped short. An older boy, also with a shoeblack's
box beside him, was leaning against the railings of the enclosure.

"Is this the Central Police Station?" inquired Aleko.

"Yes."

"Does the Chief of the Police live here?"

The older boy stared at him.

"He does not live here, he has a fine house of his own near the Palace,
but he comes here every day. I know, because this is my stand, and
I see him when he comes and goes."

Then Aleko asked another question.

"Does the 'boya' bring the dogs he catches here?"

"He brings them here first, to be counted, and then he takes them
down there." And the strange shoeblack jerked with his thumb over
his shoulder towards the Homonoia[15] Square.

"Down where?"

"Far down the Piræus Road."

"What does he do with them there?"

"Puts them into a room which kills them."

"How can it kill them--a room?"

"Do I know?"

"When does the cart come here?"

The elder boy looked up at the sun.

"Now, any minute."

"Listen," said Aleko, "the 'boya' has taken just now up at the Kolonaki
a dog that is not a stray one. It is a very good dog, and it belongs
to someone who counts for something. If I wait here, and show the
Chief of the Police which it is, will he give it to me?"

"Are you mad?" asked the strange boy contemptuously. "Do you think
the Chief himself sees the dogs, or that he will listen to you?"

"Then what shall I do?"

"If you want the dog, go down to the place in the Piræus Road, and find
the 'boya' alone. Now, these hot days, they are afraid of mad dogs,
and they pay him one drachma for every dog he catches: so, perhaps,
if you were to give him more...."

"Where is the place?"

"I have never been there. Go down the Piræus Road and ask."

Aleko started off towards the square at a good pace. The heat of the
day had begun and he had eaten nothing yet. But he wiped his forehead
with the back of his sleeve and plunged into the Piræus Road. The
strange boy had told him that the place was "far down," therefore it
was no good inquiring before he reached the Gas Works. It was a long
way; if the "boya's" cart only stopped a few moments at the Police
Station, it might almost be there before him; so he hurried on,
quickening his pace, and now and then breaking into a little run.

He must get there in time! He must! Poor little Solon! Poor little
warm, white creature, so full of life! "As clever as a Christian,"
as he had told Kyr Themistocli the other day. At this point, he looked
at the paper bag of coffee still unconsciously clutched in one hand.

"The old man will eat his bread dry this morning after all; well,
what is to be done? It is a small evil."

After passing the Gas Works he began to ask his way; but most of the
passers-by seemed vague.

"Somewhere down there," they said. A carter told him the place was
after Phalerum, but a second man contradicted him.

"What are you saying, brother? It is far closer than that!"

Aleko remembered that his father used to say:--

"By asking one can find the way to Constantinople." And as it was
not to Constantinople that he wanted to go, but only to the "boya's"
place, to the "room that killed" he went on asking.

At last an old woman directed him.

"Go over those fields there, where the goats are; and behind that
wall you will find a small house with an iron door; that is the place."

Aleko ran across the dreary, stony fields which were neither town
nor country, and climbed over the wall.

A small house stood alone on a bare plot of ground, with two closely
shuttered windows, and an iron door. Aleko tried the door and found
it locked. There was no sign of life anywhere about; the cart had
evidently not arrived yet. He was in time!

As he stood there, on the coarse down-trodden grass, he gave a little
gasp of dismay and felt in his pocket.

The boy had said, "They pay him a drachma for each dog--perhaps if
you were to give him more...."

And Aleko, thinking of the dog's master who would willingly, gladly,
pay so very much more, had raced off confidently, not remembering
that he himself had no more than three five-lepta pieces on him at
this moment.

Just then he heard the clatter of the iron cage rattling in the
distance, and the deep bark of a big dog. The "boya" was coming.

Well, he must promise him the money, that was all. Surely, if he
told him that the master of the dog would pay him well, the man would
bring it up to the house himself, even if he did not trust Aleko to
take it away.

The clatter came nearer and nearer, and now Aleko could distinguish
the two-wheeled cart with its monster iron cage, between whose flat
bars dogs' heads and paws of all shapes and sizes were thrust out.

Behind the cart ran the usual following of ragged urchins who always
seem to spring up about the "boya's" route.

Aleko was grasping the bars of the cart before it came to a
stand-still. He thought he had seen something small and white at the
farthest end of the cage. And as he got round to the back there was
a shrill bark which rose above the rest, and the something small and
white sat up inside the cart and begged very piteously.

Aleko suddenly felt a wave of fury go over him.

He forgot all his pre-arranged plans; all the promises he was to
have made.

The man had stopped the cart, and was raising his arms in a prodigious
yawn. Aleko caught hold of his sleeve, and pulled him towards the
rear of the cart.

"Open it!" he cried. "Open it this minute! I want that dog! That
little white one there, with the black patch over the eye. You took
it from the Kolonaki, and it was not a stray dog. You took it while
the woman who had it was in a shop! You had no right to touch it! Give
it to me! Give it to me quickly!" and the more Solon inside the cage
heard the familiar voice, the more vigorously his little paws shook
up and down.

The man, a short, sickly-looking man, with an evil, lowering face,
dragged his sleeve away from the boy's grasp.

"Give it to you, indeed!" he shouted, "and from where have you sprung
to be giving me orders? Now clear off!"

"I tell you," persisted the boy, seeing that he had angered the man,
"I tell you it will benefit you to give that dog to me; it belongs
to a rich man, and he is so fond of it he will pay you much money
to have it returned to him; more than you can get for all your other
dogs together."

"I do not listen to such lies! You cannot cheat me!"

"I am not cheating you. Give me the dog and you will see! Or if you
do not believe me, bring him yourself! I will show you the house."

"And have I no other work to do than to be running to people's
houses?" snarled the "boya." "Those who want their dogs safe can keep
them indoors."

"I tell you," said Aleko flushing very red, "that if you do not give me
that dog you will find trouble. It belongs to Kyrios Spinotti and...."

"If it belonged to the King I would not give it!" shouted the
man. "What goes into the cart stops there!"

"Keep the dog somewhere safe, then," pleaded Aleko, "and I will bring
his master down here to pay you!"

"No," said the man, unlocking the iron door. "The dogs are going in
here; and," he added with an ugly laugh, "yours shall go in first
of all!"

Aleko seized hold of his arm.

"Keep him till noon!"

"He shall go in first, I tell you. Now, leave go!"

"Keep him just one hour!"

"You, with your hours! Clear off this minute unless you want your
face smashed!"

But these last words were the man's undoing. If he had not talked of
smashing faces, Aleko might not have thought of it, but as he stood
there, his head thrown back, his blue eyes glittering with rage,
some familiar words flashed across his mind.

"Straight out from the shoulder, Aleko! Follow your blow! Come
with it!"

All encumbrances were flung aside; newspapers were carried away by the
breeze, a shower of coffee fell on the ground from a burst paper bag,
and straight as a dart, and steady, and strong, the boy's fist flew
out from his shoulder with all the weight of the sturdy little body
behind it, and landed with crashing force on the man's chin.

The man staggered back, striking his head against the iron bars of
the cart, and went down like a tree that is felled.



VIII

In the meanwhile Kyr Themistocli had dragged his straw chair outside
his door, where, as the house faced west, there was shade for some
hours in the morning, and sat waiting. In his hand, he held a piece of
bread, but he was not eating it. Not because it was dry, there being
no coffee to drink with it; but because for the first time Aleko had
not come when he had said he would.

It was long past the hour for morning newspapers. Other boys had
cried them up and down the street, but now they had ceased.

Two or three times the old man muttered to himself:--

"He is a child! May he not forget sometimes?" but in a moment he would
rise from his chair, and feeling with one hand for the wall of the
houses, he would advance slowly down the narrow street and listen to
the noises that came from the wider one and the square beyond.

Fish was being cried, fresh from Phalerum, and summer vegetables of
all kinds, greens for salad, and fruit.

"Cool, cool mulberries!" cried a man with a good tenor voice,
making a song of the words. "Black are the mulberries! Sweet are
the mulberries! Buy mulberries! Cool, cool mulberries!" Then an old
voice quavered out, "Pitchers from Ægina! Pitchers for cold water! Big
pitchers! Little pitchers!"

But no one cried newspapers. The hour for them was long past, and
slowly, and stumblingly, Kyr Themistocli found his way back to his
straw chair. The sun was gaining on the shade.

"He will not come now before the afternoon," muttered the old man;
but still he did not go indoors.

Suddenly, a voice hailed him close at hand.

"Good day to you, Kyr Themistocli!" It was not Aleko's voice. It was
a man's voice; a voice he knew.

"How is it that you are sitting outside at this hour? The sun will
be on your head in a moment."

The old man stretched out a groping hand in the direction of the voice.

"Is it you, Nico? You are welcome. Yes, I will go indoors just
now. But you? How come you here at this time? How is it you are not
at the Bank?"

"I have no head for business this morning, Kyr Themistocli; I saw you
sitting here as I passed by the end of the street and I came to wish
you good morning."

"Are you not well, Nico?"

"I am well; but from early morning I cannot rest. Perhaps it will seem
a small thing to you--but to me it is a great one--I have lost my dog!"

"The little white one? The one you call 'Solon'?"

"Yes. Twice this week he has been lost and found. Those who believe
in such things are right it seems when they tell you to beware of
the third time. I am a fool, Kyr Themistocli, about this dog. I ... I
love him as I would a man. Some tell me it is a sin to care so much
for an animal. But when I think how she...."

"It is no sin," said the old schoolmaster, "there are dogs that
understand one better than men, and when old memories are mixed up
with the caring ..." he broke off suddenly. "But do not vex your
heart! You will find him."

Nico Spinotti shook his head.

"The 'boya' took him. He was out with my cook, and while she was
in a shop the dog was picked up. She ran after the cart in vain;
and then she returned weeping to the house to tell me. It was well
she had that much sense at least."

"But why are you staying here?" asked Kyr Themistocli excitedly. "Why
do you not run to the Police Station? They will give him back to
you. Even should there be any difficulty, if the dog was not muzzled,
as it writes in the newspapers that they must be now, you can always
pay the fine, and as much more as the 'boya' wants...."

"My secretary went at once; and the man-servant also--if only they
are in time! I could not go myself; I dared not! If I were to see
the man who caught the dog in that net, and threw him into that vile
cart ... I ... I could have killed him! I know myself; when I think of
anyone ill-treating Solon or indeed any animal, I lose consciousness
of what I do. Why, only last night I gave the boy who had tried to
steal him such a beating that it will be days before he forgets it."

"A boy stole him?"

"Yes, a newspaper boy with fair hair; and those shoeblacks and
newspaper boys are generally so honest; but this one it seems came to
my house regularly with newspapers, and knew the dog; and someone,
I suppose, must have paid him well to steal it. I found him just
preparing to carry it off under his arm. Well, he got his year's
beating from me any way, and I forbade him to show his face in this
neighbourhood again. I told him I would give him to the police if
he did!"

The old man had risen from his chair and his blind eyes were wide
open and staring.

"You.... You ... hurt the lad!" he burst out wildly. "You drove him
away! You.... You...."

But his sentence was never finished.

At that moment there was a patter of running feet at the entrance
of the narrow street, a sudden flash of something white in the sun,
and Solon, taking a flying leap from Aleko's arms, made a bee line
for his master.

There was a bewildered cry of,--"Solon!" and then a mingling of shrill
barks of joy and of broken words:--

"Why, the poor little dog! Why, Solon! My poor one!"

In the meantime Aleko went straight up to the old schoolmaster.

"Kyr Themistocli," he began, "your coffee is all spilt. It fell from
my hand and the bag burst, but this afternoon...."

But the blind man did not wait to hear what was to happen that
afternoon, his arms groped for the boy and finding him, clung about
his neck, and the old head fell forward on Aleko's shoulder.

"I thought I had lost you.... I thought that you would never come
back! My boy!... My son!..."

The banker looked from the old man to the boy, with bewildered eyes.

"Why?" he gasped, "I never knew.... Is he yours?"

"Mine? Makari!" exclaimed Kyr Themistocli.

Now when a real Greek says "Makari," it means so many things that no
single word in any other language can translate it. It means, "If only
it could be so!" it means, "I could wish for nothing better!" it means,
"It is too good to come true!" it means, "Such a thing would be perfect
happiness!" It means all this and much more. Some think the word a
corruption of "makarios," meaning blessed, some believe it was taken
from old Italian. It is not a dictionary word, but it expresses so
much that the old schoolmaster dropped into common speech and said
"Makari," with all his heart.

"But then ..." said Nico Spinotti looking from one to the other,
"I do not understand. How came the dog here? Is this the boy...?"

Kyr Themistocli left his hand on Aleko's shoulder, and drew himself
up to his full height.

"Yes," he said, "this is the boy you ill-treated, whom you called a
thief; and it is he, I am sure, who has saved your dog and brought
him back to you. Tell us, Aleko--what happened?"

"I saw the 'boya,'" related Aleko, "pick up the dog. It was while
Anneza, who never knows what is being done around her, was in the shop;
I ran after him but he drove me off with his big whip; so I took the
street car to make more haste, and went down to the Central Police
Station; there, a boy told me where the 'boya' takes all the dogs after
they are counted, far down the Piræus Road, to a 'room that kills.' So
I went there and found the place and waited for the cart. When it
came I told the man that the dog was his ..." pointing to Spinotti,
"and that he would pay him well, but he would not listen. I asked
him to bring it up himself if he did not believe me, or, to wait till
noon or even for an hour ... and he ... he ... jeered at me."

"And did you not call some one of the police?" asked Kyr Themistocli.

"No," said Aleko, and he laughed a little, "I remembered what the
gentleman at the Parnassos told us: that if you have the science and
the other has not, you need not fear one twice your size, so I gave
him the straight blow from the shoulder under the chin, the one that
makes you see stars."

Nico Spinotti laughed out delightedly.

"Bravo! And did he see them?"

"Yes," said Aleko quietly, "because afterwards, he lay in the dust
and saw nothing."

"And then?"

"Then I opened the cart and let all the dogs out."

"What ... all?"

"Of course. Since it had happened that I was there, it was for the
good luck of all the poor creatures. The boys who were there helped
me; we held open the door at the top of the cage; the big dogs jumped
out alone, and we lifted the little ones. I took Solon, and if the
'boya' wants the rest again, he will have another day's run for them!"

"And what became of the man?"

"Do I know?" said Aleko with sublime indifference.

Then the banker came a step nearer to Aleko.

"If I were to speak till to-morrow, my boy, I could not tell you how
indebted I am to you; and I am terribly ashamed to think that you,
whom I accused of being a thief, and ill treated only last night,
should have saved my dog for me to-day."

"It was not for you that I did it," answered the boy shortly,
"it was the dog for whom I was sorry."

"I understand that. Still you knew that he was mine, and another boy
might have let the dog be killed, to be revenged on me."

"What you did," said Aleko, averting his eyes, "was not the dog's
fault. Why should he suffer?"

"You have saved me also from great suffering; greater, perhaps,
than the dog's would have been. I thank you with all my heart, also
I ... I ask your forgiveness." And he held out his hand.

Aleko frowned. At that moment for some inexplicable reason, Solon
sat up on his hind legs and began energetically sawing the air with
his forepaws as though pleading for his master.

Aleko looked at him and his face relaxed a little. Then he wiped
his hand carefully on his clothes and laid it in the banker's,
saying gravely:--

"You are forgiven."

"And now, will you tell me what I may do for you to show my gratitude?"

"May I bring the newspapers to your house again?" asked Aleko, his
eyes brightening.

The banker laughed.

"Do you like to sell newspapers?"

"It is my work," answered Aleko.

"Is there nothing else you would prefer to do?"

"He wants to study, Nico," cried the old man, "he wants it as none
of you, my old pupils, ever wished it, and he cannot, because he
must work all day to keep himself, and to help his mother and his
little sisters."

The banker gathered his eyebrows together thoughtfully.

"What are your earnings, a year, do you know?" he asked Aleko.

"The 'big one' sends one hundred and fifty drachmæ to my mother;
he feeds me, and I give him all I earn."

"What would you do if you were free?"

"I want to learn."

"To learn what?"

"To learn many things."

"And out of the many," said the old schoolmaster, "will grow the
one; the one that fills the life of a man. It is well. Let him learn
'many things.'"

"If," said the banker slowly, "if I were to send three hundred drachmæ
every year to your family, and if you were to go to school all day and
live with Kyr Themistocli here, who should have three hundred more
to keep you and help you with your lessons when you returned from
school in the evenings, would you be pleased for the present? Later
on we shall see again."

But it was the old man who thanked and blessed Nico Spinotti, who
stretched out tremulous hands to him, while tears of joy filled his
sightless eyes.

Aleko stood still with wide open eyes. His wildest day dreams were
coming true, and the magnitude of the joy suddenly made him feel
faint. His heart seemed to be beating up in his throat, and he felt
as though the throbs would choke him. His hands grew moist, his knees
trembled and speech failed him utterly.

To the hard work that lay before him, he gave never a thought; the
daily discipline to which his free and untrammeled boyhood must bend
seemed a necessary trifle. Nothing mattered any more! He only knew
that the smiling faces of the two men beside him seemed quivering
in a golden mist, he only knew that the words he had just heard were
making music in his brain; for the lad in whose veins ran the blood
of the old scholars of Greece, had come into his inheritance.



NOTES


NOTES FOR "MATTINA"

No. 1, Kyra. A title of respect or a prefix before the name,
used to old women of the people. You would say "Kyra Sophoula" or
"Kyra Calliope" if the women were old or elderly, instead of plain
"Sophoula" or "Calliope." It corresponds I fancy to "Dame" which was
used in England in the middle ages, or even I think they sometimes used
"Goody."

Kyr is the masculine equivalent for old men. Sometimes "Barba" meaning
"uncle" colloquially is instead, as it is with you in the South I
think for old negroes.

Kyria is simply "Mrs." or "Madame" and is used either before the name
as, "Kyria Dragoumis" for instance; or alone if you do not use the
name as, "Yes, Kyria" for "Oui, Madame."

No. 2, Monastery Road. The Monastery on the hills in Poros is an old
one of the Byzantine epoch restored about a hundred years ago. It
has a beautiful little chapel with a wonderfully carved wooden
"templon" (the screen which separates the altar from the body of the
church). There are a few old monks left but not many.

No. 3, Sponge-divers. Some Greeks earn their living by diving for
sponges. The best sponges in Greece are found in Hydra, but the
sponge-captains often take their divers to the north coast of Africa.

No. 4, The Naval School of Poros is for sailors, not for officers (the
Naval School for the latter is quite near Piræus). The sailors come
to the School in Poros for the first six months of their service,
and after they are well drilled they are drafted on to the war
ships. There is a high grade officer as Director of the School,
and younger officers are in residence to drill the men.

No. 5, The "Great Week" means the Holy Week before Easter.

No. 6, Methana. A little village on the sea (Saronic Gulf) known for
its natural sulphur springs. People suffering from rheumatism and
eczema, etc., go there for baths.

No. 7, Ægina. The well-known island sixteen miles from Athens in the
Gulf of Ægina. It was a very celebrated place in the ancient days
of Greece. The population now of 10,000 was then 600,000. Ægina
contributed thirty warships to the battle of Salamis against the
Persians. There are the ruins now of a temple to Venus and those of
one to the Pentelic Jupiter.

No. 8, Piræus. The port of Athens: population about 27,000: five
miles to the southwest of the city, to which it used to be joined in
antiquity by the famous Long Walls built by Themistocles and Pericles.

No. 9, Phalerum. One of the three ports of ancient Athens, about three
miles from the city; it is now a much frequented seaside resort,
with hotels, and private villas. In the hot summer days, people go
down from Athens, morning and evening, for sea baths.

No. 10, The Theseum. A temple consecrated in 470 B. C. in Athens, to
Theseus, the national hero of Attica. In ancient days it often served
as a sanctuary for slaves. It is situated on a low hill, northeast of
the Acropolis, and is a fine monument in very good preservation. It
is a peripteric, hexastyle temple, in Pentelic marble. Any children
wanting to know more about Theseus, have only to read "The Minotaur,"
in Hawthorne's Tanglewood Tales.

No. 11, Monastiraki. One of the stations of the Athens Piræus
railway line.

No. 12, Drachma. Worth one franc; about 20 cents in American money.

No. 13, Oke. A measure of weight equal in English weight to 2 lbs.,
12 oz.

No. 14, Lepton. The one-hundredth part of the drachma: one centime. The
smallest coin in Greek money is of five lepta.

No. 15, Kiphissia. A country place about half an hour by train from
Athens: takes its name from the ancient river Kephissos or Kiphissos:
a very wooded, pretty, green place full of hotels and country
houses, much cooler than Athens in the summer, and consequently
much frequented.

No. 16, The Kolonaki. A small square in Athens, behind the Kiphissia
Road; the little bootblacks congregate there a good deal.

No. 17, The Zappion. A large handsome building in the ancient style
of architecture, built originally for exhibition purposes by two
rich brothers called Zappa (hence its name), situated on a height,
and commanding perhaps the most beautiful view in the whole world,
certainly in Europe. It comprises the columns of the temple of Olympic
Jupiter in the foreground, the Acropolis to the right, the Stadium
to the left, and in the distance Phalerum, the sea, and Salamis. The
Zappion terrace and gardens are a very favorite walking place for
children, babies, and their nurses.

No. 18, Acropolis. The immortal Rock bearing the Parthenon, the
Propylæa, the Erechtheum,--It is an isolated rock of oval form,
inaccessible except from the west. It is entered to-day by the famous
"Porte Beulé". There is too much to be said about the Acropolis,
I can only quote Rennell Rodd, that perfect modern singer of Greece:--


       "Here wrought the strong creator and he laid
        The marble on the limestone in the crag,
        Morticed the sure foundations line to line
        And arc to arc repeating as it grew;
        Veiling the secret of its strength in grace,
        Till like a marble flower in blue Greek air
        Perfect it rose, an afterworld's despair."


No. 19, Stadium. The stadium was in ancient days the oblong foot-race
course of the length of one stadium (equivalent to about 606 English
feet), hence its name. The present Stadium in Athens was restored in
marble for the Olympic Games of 1896.

No. 20, The Plaka. A populous quarter in Athens inhabited mostly by
the poorer classes.

No. 21, Aubergines. An aubergine is a vegetable belonging to the
family of cucumbers and vegetable marrows. It is of a rich dark purple
colour when ripe. "Aubergine" is the English name for this vegetable,
and is always used by cooks and greengrocers in England. In America
it is called egg-plant.

No. 22, Moussaka. This is a dish made of slices of aubergines,
mincemeat, butter, eggs, etc.

No. 23, Pastas. Rich cakes, or portions of cake, made of almond
paste, or of sponge cake sandwiched with jam, or cream, and iced
over with chocolate, or with various coloured icings. They are sold
at all confectioners, and often eaten at the shops between meals,
or bought to serve as a dessert course. They are like the French
"petits fours," only larger.

No. 24, Nauplia. Sea town of Argolis in the Peloponnesus: about 10,000
inhabitants. It was the capital of modern Greece until 1834.

No. 25, The Palamidi. A large prison at Nauplia.

No. 26, "Manitsa" means "little mother." A diminutive of "Mana"
which means "mother" in peasant Greek.

No. 27, Loukoumi. A kind of sweetmeat made of starch and sugar,
which in England they call "Turkish delight." It is principally made
in Constantinople, and in Syra.

No. 28, Caique. A long narrow boat.

No. 29, Touloumi means really a skin-bag; so that "touloumi" cheese
is a sort of white Greek cheese, so called because it is transported
in bags of skin from place to place.



NOTES FOR "THE FINDING OF THE CAVE."

No. 1, Missolonghi. A maritime town of central Greece; it is
principally celebrated for the part it played in the War of
Independence of 1821. It was three times besieged by the Turks,
in 1822, 1823, and 1825. In 1822 it resisted successfully against
Rechid-Pasha and Omer-Pasha. In 1823 it was fortified on the instance,
and by the advice, of Lord Byron (who died there in 1824), and bravely
defended by Botzaris; it was besieged by the terrible Omer-Vrioni,
and relieved by Mavrocordato. In April, 1825, Rechid-Pasha reappeared
with 35,000 men before Missolonghi, which at the time had only 4,000
defenders. Protected by the Turkish fleet, and afterwards helped
by Ibrahim Pasha's army, Rechid-Pasha after a long siege brought
the defenders to their last extremity, and rather than fall into
the hands of the Turks, they blew themselves up with gun-powder,
with their women and children.

The war of 1821 was the war of independence, in which Greece threw
off the Turkish yoke.

No. 2, Botzaris or Botzari. One of the greatest heroes of the War of
Independence, born in 1788, died in 1823.

Palamas, Pappaloukas, Tricoupis, Razikotsikas, Kapsalis, all brave
fighters and defenders of Missolonghi.

"Zamana" is an imaginary name.

No. 3, Pilaf. A national Turkish dish much eaten in Greece: it is
made with rice, butter, and tomatoes. It is a popular saying that
"pilaf" is the only good thing we ever got from the Turks.

No. 4, Keftedes. Flat, round, meat cakes made of mince-meat, eggs,
etc., and fried in butter.

No. 5, Acropolis. See notes for "Mattina" No. 18.

No. 6, Hermes. Otherwise Mercury; the son of Jupiter, messenger of the
gods, and god himself of Eloquence and Commerce. Nathaniel Hawthorne
in his delightful Tanglewood Tales, talks of him often, calling him
"Quicksilver."

No. 7, Yaourti. A sort of curd, or thick, sour milk: much eaten
in Greece, and of late years introduced into France, and I believe
into England, under the name of "Lait Bulgare" and much recommended
by doctors.

No. 8, Louki Laras. An interesting book on the life of a young boy,
in the Greek War of Independence, written by Demetrius Vikelas. It
has been translated into French and I believe other languages.

No. 9, Halva. A sweet, made of flour, butter, milk, and honey.

No. 10, The King's Summer House. A little summer residence or lodge
belonging to the King, situated just inside the Piræus harbour.

No. 11, Themistocles. The great Athenian general, born about 525
B. C. At the time of the invasion of Greece by the Persians, he
commanded the Athenian fleet. It was he who persuaded the Greeks
to give battle at Salamis. The Spartan Eurybiades, general of the
confederate forces of Greece, being of the contrary opinion to
Themistocles, raised his rod of commander as though to strike him,
and it was then that Themistocles calmly answered the furious Spartan
by the famous words: "Strike but listen!"

No. 12, Salamis. An island ten miles to the west of Athens, celebrated
for the naval victory which the united fleet of Greece gained over
the Persians in 486 B. C.

No. 13, Tettix. A sort of cricket which in hot weather chirps all
day long, in trees and bushes.

No. 14, Batti. The afternoon breeze which comes from the open sea.

No. 15, The Seven Mills. A place on the heights, opposite Poros, on
the Peloponnesus, so called because seven water mills were placed at
intervals up to the top of the hill.

No. 16, Miaoulis (Andreas). Greek admiral, born in Euboea, in 1768,
died in Athens in 1835. Between the years 1822 and 1827 he had the
supreme command of the naval forces of the country in the War of
Independence.

No. 17, Galata. Small village of the Peloponnesus, opposite the island
of Poros.

No. 18, Trata. The dragging the sea by a big net which gathers in all
the small fish. The net is cast from boats and then the men stand in
two lines on the shore and drag it in. I rather fancy this is called
a seine-net and seine-fishing in English.

No. 19, Foustanella. The short linen pleated kilt reaching to the
knees, which is part of the national Greek and Albanian costume. It
is worn by the Royal Guards and by certain troops called the "Evzones."

No. 20, Glitsa. A tall crook used by shepherds; it very often has a
carved handle.

No. 21, Tagari. A woolen bag, generally bright-coloured, carried by
peasants to transport fruit, or nuts, or any small objects.

No. 22, Stania. A sheep fold, generally on the hills.

No. 23, Ouzo. A strong spirit which is drunk mostly by the poorer
classes and peasants.

No. 24, Skaltsounia. A sort of almond cakes made principally in the
islands; something like German marzipan.

No. 25, Yatagan. A Turkish or Arabic curved sword.



NOTES FOR "ALEXANDER THE SON OF PHILIP"

No. 1, Baklava. A kind of sweet made with pounded almonds between
very thin layers of paste soaked in honey.

No. 2, The Twenty-fifth of March. The Anniversary of Greek
Independence.

No. 3, Boya. A Turkish word meaning "executioner"; generally applied
in Athens to the man who seizes stray dogs in hot weather and takes
them away in his cart to the pound.

No. 4, Loustro. Literally "a shiner"; applied to shoeblacks originally
and now used for all newspaper sellers, errand boys, etc.

No. 5, Alexander the Great. Born 356 B. C., died in Babylon, 323
B. C. The most famous warrior and captain of antiquity. His father,
Philip II of Macedonia, confided his education to Aristotle, the
greatest philosopher of that age. Alexander, after his father's
death, succeeded in making himself general-in-chief of the Hellenes at
Corinth, in 335 B. C., where he was surrounded by the most illustrious
men of the nation. He crossed the Hellespont to penetrate into Asia
with an army of 30,000 foot and 5,000 horse soldiers. He crossed the
Taurus, penetrated into Syria, crushed the innumerable army of Darius,
treating the vanquished king and his family with noble clemency. His
many conquests would take far too long to enumerate. He always
endeavoured to consolidate his conquests by good and wise treatment of
the conquered provinces. At Babylon he received ambassadors from all
points of the then known world. He was in the midst of new projects
of conquest and exploration when he died in a few days of a fever
(June, 323 B. C).

No. 6, Kanaris (Constantine). Hero of the War of Independence; born
in 1790, died in 1877. He was captain of a merchant ship when Greece
rose against the Turks. In the night of the 18th to to the 19th of
June, 1822, helped by a companion, he burned two Turkish vessels. In
the following November he burned the admiral's ship of the Turkish
fleet in the port of Tenedos. He continued his work of destruction,
always at the extreme peril of his life and the lives of his brave
companions, at Samos and Mytilene, and during all the duration of
the war fought valiantly at the side of Miaoulis. He is the hero of
one of Victor Hugo's celebrated "Orientales."

No. 7, Souli or Suli. Site in the province of Jannina in Epirus;
celebrated in the War of Independence for the heroism of its
inhabitants and for the death-dance of its women who, on the approach
of the Turks, danced for the last time their national dance on the
plateau of the mountain of Zalongos, and then, one by one, flung
themselves and their children over the precipice. Rennell Rodd in
The Violet Crown has a beautiful poem about this episode called
"Zalongos. The last fight of Suli." The last words, as far as I
remember, are:--


               "... thus beneath Zalongos side
                The mothers and the children died
                That Suli ne'er might breed again
                A race of less heroic men."


The word "Suliote" is almost synonymous in Greece with hero or
heroine. If anyone is asked to undertake any very daring or desperate
deed, the answer often is, "Do you think I am a Suliote?"

No. 8, Diakos (Athanasius). A Greek hero before the War of
Independence. Born 1788, died 1820. He led several successful attacks
against the Turks but was at last taken prisoner by them and put to
death by impalement.

No. 9, Oristé. Literally "Command me," used in the sense of, "Yes, at
once. At your service!"

No. 10, Tsourekia. Cakes, made principally for Easter, of flour,
eggs, butter and sugar.

No. 11, Ephialtes. The traitor who guided the Persians to the Pass
of Thermopylæ.

No. 12, Antipater. The betrayer of Demosthenes.

No. 13, Paul Melas. A young officer in the Greek army, of one of the
best families in Athens, who left wife and children and career, a few
years ago, to go to Macedonia and with a handful of brave men protect
the helpless villages against Turkish tyranny and cruelty. He was
killed at Siatista in Macedonia in the month of October, 1904, and his
name has remained as that of one of the pioneers of Macedonian liberty.

No. 14, Mount Lycabettus. A rock rising in the middle of the plain of
Athens, from which there is a beautiful view of all the town below. On
the summit is a small chapel of St. George.

No. 15, Homonoia. "Concord," in Greek. It is the name of one of the
principal squares near the Piræus Road.



FOOTNOTES


[1] Kyra means Dame, or Goody: thus, Goody Kanella was Mattina's
aunt. At the end of the book there are notes marked 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.,
explaining the meaning of the Greek words used, and describing briefly
certain events in Greek history.





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