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Title: Like Another Helen
Author: Horton, George
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Like Another Helen" ***

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[Illustration: Cover art]



[Frontispiece: Turning the hilt towards her father, she threw back her
head and closed her eyes]



  LIKE ANOTHER
  HELEN

  BY

  GEORGE HORTON


  ILLUSTRATED BY
  C. M. RELYEA



  "_And, like another Helen, fired another Troy_"



  INDIANAPOLIS
  _The_ BOWEN-MERRILL COMPANY
  PUBLISHERS



  COPYRIGHT 1900
  BY GEORGE HORTON

  COPYRIGHT 1901
  BY THE BOWEN-MERRILL COMPANY



  Braunworth, Munn & Barber
  Printers and Binders
  Brooklyn, N. Y.



  DEDICATED BY KIND PERMISSION TO
  HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS

  GEORGE OF GREECE

  HIGH COMMISSIONER IN CRETE



  Contents

  I
  Youthful Enthusiasm

  II
  On Friendly Shores

  III
  A Comic Opera Town

  IV
  A Dinner Of Herbs

  V
  Some Pictures and a Recitation

  VI
  The First of May

  VII
  A Demand and a Coward

  VIII
  Smoke by Day and Fire by Night

  IX
  Awaiting the Signal

  X
  War in Earnest

  XI
  An Amateur Surgeon

  XII
  "Still I Say unto you, Courage!"

  XIII
  The Brave Thing to do

  XIV
  A Critical Moment

  XV
  The Man in the Barrel

  XVI
  To No Avail

  XVII
  In the Track of War

  XVIII
  A Deserted Town

  XIX
  A Blow in the Dark

  XX
  Four Against One

  XXI
  "My life, I love you"

  XXII
  The Ambush

  XXIII
  A Friend Worth Having

  XXIV
  A Glittering Esplanade

  XXV
  Three Wives

  XXVI
  A Hopeless Prisoner

  XXVII
  A Promise of Help

  XXVIII
  Pride and its Fall

  XXIX
  Against the Common Enemy

  XXX
  A Hero and a six-inch Shell

  XXXI
  A Grateful Major

  XXXII
  A Violent Wooer

  XXXIII
  The Innocent Onlooker

  XXXIV
  Still with the Army

  XXXV
  In the Midst of Alarms

  XXXVI
  An Interrupted Rescue

  XXXVII
  Ye Who Enter Here

  XXXVIII
  The Better Part of Valor

  XXXIX
  To a Place of Safety

  XL
  A Troubled Mind

  XLI
  Romance and Prudence



LIKE ANOTHER HELEN



CHAPTER I

YOUTHFUL ENTHUSIASM

Just at sunset one day in the last week of March, 1897, a caique set
sail from the harbor of Piræus, ostensibly laden with cognac for Cairo,
but in reality carrying a small revolving cannon and a large number of
Gras rifles to the insurgents in Crete, who had risen for the hundredth
time and were fighting desperately for liberty and the Christian faith.
There were several large barrels, conspicuously marked "Koniak" in
Greek characters, on the deck, and a number of boxes that bore the
legend, "Two dozen bottles from Kambas, Athens."  The legend was not
untruthful, for one of the huge casks, at least, contained the fiery
liquid attributed to it; numberless others, in the hold, were filled
with guns, and the boxes below deck were packed with ammunition.

There were other things, too, in the caique's cargo intended for the
Cretan heroes--articles of a seemingly pacific nature, such as hams,
hardtack, flour, sausages, olives and beans.  These had been declared
contraband by the admirals of the great powers, and the whole cargo,
should it be seized by any of the warships prowling about the ancient
island, was doomed to confiscation.  The captain, a thick-set,
square-shouldered Greek, in greasy blue suit, soft woolen shirt and
felt hat, held the long tiller in his left hand and made the sign of
the cross repeatedly with his right.

"Holy Virgin be our helper," he muttered.  "St. Nicholas protect and
help us!"

A stiff breeze was blowing and the vessel leaned over, like a tall man
shouldering his way through a storm.  The three young men standing upon
her deck maintained their equilibrium by shooting one leg out straight,
as though it were the prop of a cabin built on the side of a hill; the
other being shortened to half its length by bending at the hip and knee.

A strip of canvas stretched on ropes, to keep the waves from rushing
over, ran the whole length of either side.  Stern and prow were equally
pointed, and the iron rings of the boom, that clutched the main masts
like the fingers of a closed hand, creaked monotonously.  Two jibs,
fluttering full-breasted before, seemed to pull out for the open sea,
as a pair of white doves might in old time have drawn the bark of
Aphrodite.  The waters of the bay, that lay like a rolling plain of
green meadow grass and blood-red anemones in the dying sun, was
shredded into lily-white foam by the ship's iron plowshare and hurled
carelessly into the broad road that streamed out behind.

At their right a great fleet of old-time sailing ships, many of them
painted green, lay rotting at their anchors.  These had been gallant
craft in the Viking days of Greece, faring to the coast of Russia, to
England and Spain and convertible in a week's notice from peaceful
merchants into blockade runners and ships of the line.

Two natty officers stepped to the prow of a Russian gunboat, that was
white and trim as a bride, and fixed their glasses keenly on the caique.

"Curse you!" growled the captain, involuntarily opening his hand, the
Greek sign of an imprecation.

"St. Nicholas strike you blind!  Look all you will, and again I'll
cheat you."

But the time had come to tack, and he shouted the order to the sailors.
The convenient canvas was shifted, the helm was put over, and the
caique bore straight for the narrow mouth of the harbor.

A great sail was thrown out on either side like a pair of wings.  The
vessel turned its beak to the south and swooped down the wind like a
hawk.  The three young men stood with their feet apart now, their legs
of equal length.

"By Jove, that's glorious!" shouted one of them, his accent betraying
the American--probably the Bostonian.

The sun stood on the tiptop of Salamis, saying good-night to the world.
Athens was a pillar of purple dust, shot through and through with
lances of flame.  The stately columns of the Parthenon were of liquid
amber.  The church on the summit of Mount Lycabettus caught fire and
blazed.  The mountain itself was hidden in a column of dust and the
church floated in mid-air.  Then suddenly, as if by a stroke of some
grand, celestial magic, the glow died from everything as the blood
fades from a frightened face.  The Parthenon was a pale, stately white,
the ghost of the temple of a moment ago; the church on the hill had
turned gray--ashes in place of fire.  The sun had dropped behind
Salamis.  But now came a greater wonder: Hymettus and all the hills
that surround the lovely plain of Attica took on a deep, quivering,
unearthly tint of violet.  This light was delicate, fluffy, spiritual.
You fancied it was fragrant; you imagined that all the fresh spring
violets of a hundred worlds had been plucked and poured sea deep over
the hills.

A sudden lurch of the ship threw the American against the man at his
side.

"I beg your pardon," he said, "or perhaps you do not speak English?"

"O, yes," replied the person addressed; "not perfectly, but
sufficiently to make myself understood.  Permit me to introduce myself."

Producing a large leathern pocketbook, he extracted from its recesses a
card.  The hand that presented the bit of pasteboard was large, pink
and well groomed.  The American read:

  Peter Lindbohm,
  Lieutenant de Cavalerie.


Lieutenant Lindbohm read on the card which he received in return,

  Mr. John Curtis.


"I am happy to meet you, Mr. Curtis," said the Lieutenant, politely
lifting his straw hat and then drawing it down over his ears with both
hands.  The hat was secured to the button-hole by means of a shoe
string, and had a startling habit of leaping to the end of its tether
every few moments.

"And I you, Lieutenant," replied Curtis heartily, extending his hand.

"You are going to Crete?"

"No, to Cairo," laughed the Lieutenant.

"O, we're all onto the secret, or we wouldn't be here.  And I'm mighty
glad there's somebody going along who can speak English.  I hope we'll
be good friends, and I don't see why we shouldn't be, I'm sure.  I'm
just out of college--Harvard, you know--and the governor told me to
take a trip around the world.  He believes in a year of travel to kind
of complete and round out a man's education."

"I find it an excellent idea," said the Lieutenant, grabbing for his
hat, that a sudden puff of wind had swept from his head.

"Isn't it?  It's jolly.  Well, I'm going to surprise the governor.  I'm
going to write a book--sort of prose 'Childe Harold.'  I wish I had the
knack to do it in verse.  I thought this Cretan business would make a
great chapter, so I went straight to the president of the committee and
told him I would write the struggle up from a Christian standpoint.
Nice old fellow.  Said he would do anything for an American, and put me
onto this snap.  I ought to find some good material down there.  I'm
glad the governor can't hear of this thing till I get ready to tell
him."

"That is, the governor of New York?" asked the Lieutenant.

"No.  Ha, ha, ha!  My governor--my old man--my father, you know."

"Ah, I beg pardon.  You will see that I do not know the English so
well."

The Lieutenant was forty years of age or thereabouts.  His straw hat,
extremely long gray Prince Albert coat and russet shoes combined to
give a somewhat incongruous effect to his attire.  He carried a slender
rattan cane, that was faintly suggestive of a rapier, and which he had
a habit of twirling.  This was not theatrical.  It was rather a
betrayal than an exhibition.  Blue, very light blue eyes, straw-colored
hair, a horse-shoe mustache, six feet three of stature and a slight
stoop in the shoulders--such was Lieutenant Peter Lindbohm of the
Swedish or any other army, brave fighter in the Argentine, in China, in
South Africa.  He could smell burning powder half way around the globe,
and was off at the first telegram announcing the declaration of a new
war.  He was brave as a lion, and seemingly immune from danger.  He
always offered his sword to the under dog first, and if it were
refused, gave the other side second choice.  He preferred to fight for
liberty and right, but felt it a necessity to fight somehow.  He looked
at you with innocent, inquiring eyes; his manner was gentle as a
woman's and his smile as sweet as a babe's.

"You have given me your confidence," he said.  "I will give you mine,
though there is not much to tell.  I am a soldier by profession.  I was
down among the Boers when I heard of this trouble in Crete.  I had
hoped for war there.  I was also at Majuba Hill, you see, and President
Kruger knows me.  But the English will not attack now, so I decided in
a moment.  I yust came right along, hence my straw hat."

Another leap into the air of the article in question had called the
speaker's attention to it.  Though he spoke grammatically correct
English, he mispronounced his "j's" whenever taken off his guard.

"A soldier cannot draw his sword in a better cause than in behalf of
these brave Cretans, who have won their liberty a dozen times over," he
added, drawing his cane from his left thigh as though it were a sword.

"In the name of my country, thank you," said the third of the trio, a
very young Greek, with a round face, a brilliantly tinted olive
complexion and large, liquid, chestnut eyes.  He was a small man and
excitable in his actions.  He wore a business suit, a heavy ulster and
a flat derby hat.

"May I do myself the great honor to present myself?"  He spoke stilted
English, and evidently composed his sentences before uttering them.
Curtis, fresh from Æschylus and Plato, and an excellent course of
modern Greek, had no difficulty in translating the legend on the
proffered card: "Michali Papadakes, Student in the National University
of Greece."

"I am a Cretan, and I go to fight for my country.  The Turks have
burned my father's house and his three villages.  They have cut down
his olive trees, insulted my sister and murdered our tenants.  My
family are now in Athens, refugees.  I go against my father's--what do
you call it?--command.  But had I remained at Athens I should have been
a _lâche_--a--"

"Coward," interposed the Lieutenant, seizing the young man's hand.  "It
is you who do us the honor."

"By Jove, you're the right sort!" cried Curtis.  "I'm glad to know you."

"I go to kill Turks," continued Papadakes, shaking both his clenched
fists in the air.  "They may kill me, but not till I have paid to them
the debt which I owe.  At least, I shall with my blood the tree of
liberty water."

When John Curtis suddenly flew off on a tangent to Crete from the
Puck-like circle that he was putting around the earth, he acted under
the impulse of youth and its ever present enthusiasm.  He arrived at
Athens in the midst of tremendous popular excitement.  Great throngs
were gathering daily in front of the king's palace, waving banners and
throwing their hats in the air.  Curtis could see it all plainly from
the balcony of his hotel on Constitution Square.  Occasionally some
member of the throng would mount the marble steps, and, throwing his
arms wildly about, begin to speak; but the speech was always drowned in
a hoarse roar.

Curtis at first could not understand a word that was said, but he felt
himself seized with a growing excitement.  If he started for the
Acropolis or the Garden of Plato, he forgot his intention and found
himself running, he knew not where, and longing to shout, he knew not
what; for as his ears became accustomed to the sound, he observed that
the whole city was shouting the same words, over and over again.

"What is it they are yelling all the time?" Curtis asked himself
repeatedly, "and what are they singing?  Tra-la-la, tra-la-la la!" he
was humming the tune himself.  A certain pride prevented his seeking
information from the hotel proprietor or of one of the officious
couriers.  He had been no mean Grecian at Harvard, and had read "Loukes
Laras" in the modern vernacular.  He could speak modern Greek fairly
well with the fruit men of Boston.  He would solve the mystery himself.
And he did.  It came to him like a revelation.  Three words, scrawled
or printed, began to appear on all the whitewashed fences and walls of
the city.  With some difficulty he found a copy sufficiently plain for
a foreigner to read: "_Zeto ho polemos_"--"Hurrah for War!"

Then he listened again.  Ten minutes later he was in the midst of a
swaying, struggling throng before the palace shouting "_Zeto ho
polemos!_"

At dinner he heard his waiter humming the tune that seemed on the lips
and in the heart of the whole world, and he asked, "What are you
singing?"  The boy, with eyes blazing, recited in Greek two or three
stanzas that sent a chill to the roots of Curtis' hair:

  I know thee by the lightning
    Of thy terrible swift brand;
  I know thee by the brightening
    When thy proud eyes sweep the land!

  From the blood of the Greeks upspringing
    Who died that we might be free,
  And the strength of thy strong youth bringing--
    Hail, Liberty, hail to thee!


It was the grand war hymn of Solomos, one of those songs that march
down the years, fighting like a thousand men for liberty.

Curtis was twenty-two, and imagined himself an ancient Greek or a Lord
Byron.  He would get into this thing somehow.  He went back to the
hotel and thought it over, and then he discovered that he had been
carried away by excitement.

"I'm crazy," he said; "I'd have gone anywhere with those chaps, and the
fact of the matter is, I ought to be in Jerusalem at this minute.  I've
overstayed my time here four days now."

But his enthusiasm for the Greeks and their cause would not down.
There had been another massacre of Christians in Crete and the king had
sent Colonel Vassos with an army to seize the island in the cause of
humanity.  Prince George had followed soon after with the torpedo
squadron.

"I'd be a chump to enlist as a common soldier," thought Curtis;
"besides, I couldn't do much good that way, and the governor never
would give me money enough to fit out a company with."

Then he thought of the book.

"I have it!" he cried.  "I will show up this Cretan question to the
whole civilized world.  I'll get right out among the people.  I'll
describe them as they are--their manners and customs.  I'll see some of
these villages that the Turks have burned, and I'll get a lot of
stories of outrages from the peasants themselves.  I'll touch the thing
up, too, with history and poetry."

John Curtis inherited from his father a strong will, and the sort of
courage that grows with the danger which requires it.  He had also
inherited a regulating strain of Yankee caution.  His mind was like a
pendulum, caution taking the place of the attraction of gravity.  Just
at the moment when it reached the highest point of oscillation there
was an ever present force waiting to pull it the other way.  But at
present he was only twenty-two, and the struggle between New England
prudence and youthful enthusiasm had not yet been decided.

Besides, his mother had bestowed upon his nature a tinge of
romanticism, and that impulsiveness which sometimes becomes rashness in
a man.  He was rather short in stature, with a thick neck, long arms
and sinewy hands.  His closely cropped hair was dark brown, and his
mustache was more of a promise than a fulfillment.  There was a healthy
color in his boyish cheek, neither ruddy nor pale.  The fact is that
John Curtis had been an all-around athlete at college, whose fame will
last for many a day.

As he stood now upon the deck of the caique, he looked every inch the
thing that he was, a wholesome, healthy-minded American youth--clear
grit, muscle and self-reliance.  He wore an English yachting cap and a
heavy new ulster.  Suspended from his shoulder by a strap hung a camera.

Night came on, with a fresh breeze and a sea that rose and fell like a
great carpet when wind comes in under the door.  It melted the stars of
the underworld and washed them into unstable and fantastic shapes.  But
overhead the constellations and the myriad suns bloomed with
passionate, lyric splendor; Jehovah's garden where he walks in the cool
of the day; God's swarm of golden bees, wind-drifted to their hive
beyond the thymey hills.

The three comrades--for hearts strike hands in a moment on the sea or
in the wilderness--sat silent upon the deck.  A sailor approached on
tiptoe and offered Curtis a guitar.  Without a word the American passed
it to the Greek.

"But perhaps you play and sing," said the latter, offering the
instrument to the Swede.

"My friend is right," replied the latter.  "Any language but Greek
would be profanation here."

Without further protest Michali struck a few chords of a wild, sweet
air, and commenced to sing in a low voice, a song that is known
wherever the waves of Greece plash in the sun or her nightingales lift
their voices by night in the lemon orchards.  The sailors and the
captain caught up the melody and assisted, for what Greek does not know:

  NIGHT'S FIRST STAR.

  The first of all the stars of night
    In heaven is shyly beaming.
  The waves play in their gowns of white
    While mother sea lies dreaming.

  Among the leaves on gentle wing
    A balmy zephyr flutters,
  The nightingale begins to sing
    And all love's sorrow titters.

  For you the zephyr sighs, my love,
    In passion low and tender,
  For you the little stars above
    Dispense their yearning splendor.

  For you the tiny waves, ashore
    Their garnered foam are bringing;
  For you his love song, o'er and o'er
    The nightingale is singing.

  For you from yonder mountain high
    The moon pours out her measure,
  For you all day I moan and sigh,
    My little dear, my treasure!


A moment of silence, which is, after all, the best applause, followed
the song.  Then someone ejaculated a long-drawn-out "Ah!"--a mingled
sigh of wonder, joy and admiration, followed by a chorus of "Ahs!" and
a shout of "There she comes."  Curtis and Lindbohm sprang to their feet
and looked around.  An uncouth sailor, with shaggy capote thrown over
his left shoulder, was pointing with outstretched arm at the rising
moon.  The entire crew were gazing at a great golden disc that was
slowly sliding into view from behind a mountain.  A long trail of light
fell athwart the caique, and seemed to pave the way to a group of
shadowy islands, now dimly visible.  They were sailing across a golden
road, through a shower of impalpable gold dust.  Higher and higher rose
the glorious sphere, until merely its edge rested on the mountain top;
there it clung for a moment and then swung loose into the starry sky.
In the mystic, unearthly glow, the faces of the rough sailors were
idealized.  They looked at one another in silent wonder.  Curtis
partook of the awe, the joy.  He felt as though he were in a grand
temple and the goddess had revealed herself; and so did these poor
descendants of ancient Greece, though they knew it not.  The American
had seen the moon rise before in Greece, but never on the sea and never
in the society of genuine, unspoiled children of the country.  It was a
revelation, a birth of glory, a miracle.

For several days the "Holy Mary," as the caique was called, cruised
among islands that seemed to float in an opal sea.  Some of them were
steep rocks, on which a single shepherd dwelt with his flocks.  Often
as they flitted through the shadow of a precipice that rose, high and
stern as the walls of a medieval castle, which a few scattered pines
were perilously scaling, a shaggy head would look down from the
overhanging battlement and shout some salutation in Greek.  At other
times they skirted green valleys, guarded at the shore by a band of
sentinel cypress trees, tall and straight; through these, tiny streams
came leaping and laughing down to the sea.  Arcadian villages, gleaming
white in the sun, sat peacefully on distant cliffs, or straggled down
through olive orchards toward a bit of whiter beach; old monasteries
dreamed in green and lonely nooks.

On a cloudy afternoon, when the wind was blowing fresh and fair, and
the waves that ran behind shivered blackly ere they broke into foam,
the captain set all sail and headed straight for the northern shore of
Crete.  The caique plunged like a child's rocking horse.  The three
passengers went down into the little cabin, that smelled of bilgewater
and stale goat's cheese.  A smoky lantern, hanging from a hook in the
roof, cast a flickering light on the rickety ladder, the four plank
walls and the _eikons_ of Mary and Nicholas, that peered from round
holes cut in tawdry squares of silver.  There were two bunks and a
table that, when not in use, drew up its one leg and fell back against
the wall.  Curtis and his two companions rattled about in the narrow
room like peas in a fool's gourd.  Every few moments water slopped and
sputtered on the deck and brine dripped down through the thin hatches.
When Curtis heard the spray patter over the planks he thought of the
rats that used to run over the garret floor of a farmhouse where he
sometimes slept when in America.  The Swede produced one of those
ineffable cigars that one buys in Italy by the meter, broke off a
couple of inches and offered the stick to his companions, who refused.
Soon a smell resembling burning goat's hair filled the cabin.

"Ah," sighed Lindbohm, "what a comfort is tobacco!"

Poor Michali collapsed in a spasm of coughing seasickness.

Curtis, gnashing his teeth and declaring that he would not yield,
scrambled up the ladder and butted the hatches open with his head.  The
most incongruous ideas kept running through his brain, sick as he was.
As he sprawled out upon the deck and the two trapdoors fell behind him
with a slam, he thought of a jack-in-the-box that had been given him on
his fourth Christmas.  Curtis rose cautiously erect, and threw himself
at the nearest mast.  It was not raining, but occasional faint electric
flashes revealed a lurid world full of inky waves.

"There's no danger at all in this sort of thing," he muttered, "if
these beggars understand their business."

The hatches came down again with a slam.  Michali, kneeling upon the
deck, gave vent to his sufferings in elliptical groans.  At the point
of greatest diameter they were suggestive of a strong man vainly
striving to yield up the ghost.

"Come here, old man," shouted Curtis, "the fresh air will fix you all
right in a minute."

"That tobacco," gasped Michali, "would have made me to be sick on land
or sea."

"What's going on up there?" asked the American.  The three sailors were
gathered about the captain and all were talking excitedly.  Michali
listened.  The stinging spray was whipping the sickness out of him.

"They see the signal," he replied.  "Ah, there it is!"

High up and far away flickered a ruddy flame.  No object was
distinguishable near it or anywhere else.  It simply glowed there alone
in the darkness, like a witch's candle.  Had there been any earth or
sky it would have been half way between them.

"It is our beacon," exclaimed the Greek, "we shall sail straight for
that and we come to the part of the shore where we the landing make.
They have light it far up in the mountain, that all who see may think
it a shepherd's camp."

Curtis was seized with uncontrollable excitement.  Crawling to the
cabin, he shouted down to the Swede, "Come up, Lieutenant, we're
nearing land!"

The box again flew open and this time Lindbohm was the jack that bobbed
out.

"Why, it's dark as a pocket," he said, "how can any one see whether
land is near or not?"

Curtis seized the Lieutenant's head gently with both hands and turned
it toward the signal.  The Swede whistled softly.

"Yust so," he said.

After another twenty minutes a sailor brought a lantern from the cabin
and hung it to a hook on the forward mast.  For over an hour there had
been no lightning, and now a sudden flash hissed and died as though one
had attempted to light a match in a gusty room.  There was but a moment
of light, but that was enough.  There, a quarter of a mile distant,
extended beckoningly and invitingly toward the little vessel, were the
arms of a narrow bay; and down the shore, perhaps a mile away, a
gunboat stole stealthily and slowly along.

To the left a stretch of coast, perhaps two miles in length, ended
suddenly in a towering cliff.  By turning they would have the wind
square in the sails and would be making straight for the promontory.
This expedient evidently occurred to the captain, who knew every inch
of the Cretan coast as well as he knew the deck of his own caique, for
he instantly gave the necessary orders.

"It would never have done to put into the bay," observed Lindbohm,
"they would have us like rats in a trap.  That's one of the blockading
squadron.  They're looking for yust such people as we are."

"They haven't seen us, glory to God!" cried Michali.

The three passengers had crowded about the captain, who stood at the
tiller.  The caique was now skipping from crest to crest like a flying
fish.

"To St. Nicholas and the Virgin I give equal praise," devoutly
responded the captain.

The words were hardly out of his mouth before the gunboat began to whip
the sea with her search light.  Up into the clouds shot the spreading
lash, as though spitefully wielded by a giant arm, and then, "whiz," it
struck the waters where the caique had been five minutes before.

"_Katarra!_" cried the crew in chorus, rolling the "r's."  Katarra is
the best substitute in the world for a good English "damn," which is
exactly what it means.

"What orders is he giving?" asked Curtis.

"To put on all sail," replied Michali.  "I hope he don't tip us over."

"With the wind squarely behind us there's no danger," said the Swede,
who, having Viking blood in his veins knew a sailing boat by instinct.
"If the masts and the canvas hold, we are all right, and the devil
himself can't catch us."

Again the whip fell, again and yet again.  At last it struck fairly
upon the little ship with blinding radiance.  Curtis gave vent to a
surprised "Ah!" as he had sometimes done in a theater, when the
electricity had been unexpectedly turned on after twenty minutes of
midnight murder or burglary on the stage.  A sailor was luridly
sprawling in the air, half way up the foremast, and the two others were
pulling at a rope.  The faces of the little group at the tiller looked
ghastly in the unnatural light.  The caique rose and fell with the long
striding motion of a fleet horse running close to the ground.  At
regular intervals a discharge of fine spray swept length-wise of the
deck and stung the face like handfuls of rice, flung at a wedding.

The light was now a great triangle, lying on the sea, and the caique
was flying toward its base.  The promontory seemed to slide rapidly
toward them along one of its sides.

A gun boomed in the triangle's apex.  Curtis and Michali ducked their
heads and closed their eyes tight.  The captain and crew again cried
"_Katarra_" in chorus, and Lindbohm laughed.

"Blank," he said sententiously; "that means 'lay to.'"

The promontory slid nearer.  Another gun, this time with a sharp,
coughing sound, followed by a crescendo-diminuendo scream, like the
demoniac wail of winter wind.

"A shell," explained the Swede.  "That means business.  If they're
Russians, they can't hit us.  If French, they probably won't, in this
sea.  If English, they probably will.  We must yust take our chances.
What does the captain say?"

"Here's the point," translated Michali, "once around that they will
never find us."

Curtis looked.  The steep cliff photographed itself indelibly upon his
mind.  It towered high above their heads, rude, grim, and
perpendicular, but at its base a spur of land sloped into the water,
like the foot to a mighty leg.  And as he looked, a crashing sound was
heard, and the little vessel shivered and lurched, wounded to death.

"English, by damn!" cried Lindbohm.  "Can you swim?"



CHAPTER II

ON FRIENDLY SHORES

"How shall I ever thank you for saving my life?"

"Very easily.  If you know anything about this part of the island you
can yust lead us out of here.  If we don't find something to eat to-day
we shall be sorry we didn't drown.  I'd rather drown than starve any
time.  It don't last so long, and isn't so painful."

The two speakers were Michali and the Lieutenant.  They were standing,
together with the American, beside a fire of driftwood which the vestas
in Curtis' metal matchbox had enabled them to light.  A bit of sand,
sheltered from the waves by a projecting rock, had made it easy for
them to land.  It is true that Michali's strength had soon given out,
but his friends, both being powerful swimmers, had brought him to the
shore in safety.  After scrambling for a way blindly up the side of a
hill, actuated by an instinctive, though perhaps groundless, fear of
capture, they had paused and looked down upon the sea.  There were two
of the sailors hanging to the arm of a gallows frame planted in the
sea.  The torn canvas fluttered helpless in the wind.  The captain
clung to the arm of another gallows a few feet distant, and the third
sailor was floating about over the submerged caique on the cabin roof.
The gunboat shied out into deeper water, and brought the filibusters
in.  Then the three comrades crouched behind a rock, while the
Cyclopean eye of the monster that hurls deadlier missiles than old
Homer ever dreamed of searched hill and shore.

"They'll never try to catch us," said Lindbohm, as the gunboat sailed
away.  "They couldn't if they wanted to, and they've no particular
business with us anyhow."

So they built a fire and kept themselves warm as much by the exercise
of bringing and breaking up wood as by the flames themselves.  When
morning finally peeped at the pallid sea and kissed its face to ruddy
life and laughter, the Cretan, the Swede and the American looked one
another over and took an inventory of their condition.  They were dry,
but hungry.  Curtis and Michali had lost their hats.  Michali had tied
a handkerchief about his own head in peasant fashion, and had performed
the same office for Curtis.  Lindbohm's straw had not escaped from the
tether, and he still wore it, glistening with salt and hanging down on
one side like the wing of a wounded duck.  His long coat had shrunk
until the tails parted in the middle of his back as though the space
between them had been cut out with a triangular stamp.  He alone of the
three had removed his shoes after reaching the shore.  Not being able
to put them on again, he cut away the uppers, and tied the remnant on
with strings, which he passed through the holes slashed in the sides.
A resourceful and courageous man was the Lieutenant.

"Now, we are ready," he said, to Michali; "lead on to breakfast."

"I think," replied Michali, "that we must to the sea go down, and pass
around the shore to where the caique wished to come up.  There we shall
find Greeks waiting.  _Embros!_" (forward.)

But, alas, when they arrived at the beach again they found that the
little stretch of sand which had been their salvation ended against an
abrupt wall of rock.

"We must go around the hill the other way," said Curtis.

"We may happen on a shepherd or see a village," suggested Michali,
cheerfully.  "Many people live along this northern coast of the island."

So they returned again to the bit of sandy beach where they had landed.
By this time it was ten o'clock.

"Hello!  What's this?" cried Curtis, who was walking nearer the sea
than the others.  They looked.  He was holding between his finger and
thumb a small, spherical object, that looked like a bluish-black apple,
stuck full of pins of the same color.

"Bravo!" shouted Michali.  "Bravo!  I think it will be our breakfast.
It is an _achinoos_."

"Eat that?" asked Lindbohm, regarding the object doubtfully.  "I would
yust as soon bite into a live hedgehog."

Michali produced a large pocket knife and cut the creature in two.  It
contained about a spoonful of yellow eggs and a quantity of dark, muddy
substance.  Carefully collecting the contents upon the point of his
knife, he offered the dainty morsel to Lindbohm and Curtis, who each
took a little on the tip of his finger and tasted.

"Tastes like salt mud," said the Swede.

"Nevertheless, if it will sustain life, and if more of them can be
found"--suggested the American.

Removing their shoes and arming themselves with sticks, the three
adventurers waded out a little way from shore and began to poke among
the rocks for sea urchins.

In a short time a pile of living pincushions rewarded their efforts.
The spines moved continually, as though rooted in loose skin, and
occasionally one of the queer creatures rolled slowly seaward, walking
on the tips.

"Kind of a globular centipede, with the legs sticking in all
directions, isn't he?" observed Curtis, regarding one in motion.

"You would have thought so had you on one stepped!" replied Michali;
"the spines are sometimes--what you call him, poisonous.  You would not
have put on your boot for many days."

"They are slow eating," said the Swede, sucking the contents from the
half of one noisily, as though it were a teacup.

"Nevertheless, with bread they are delicious," persisted Michali.

"Anything would be delicious with bread yust now," observed the
Lieutenant.

At the end of the sandy beach a steep, rocky hill uprose.  By the time
the three comrades reached the top of this, the sun was pouring down
his fiercest rays upon them, and the _echini_ were tormenting their
vitals with an avenging thirst.  At their right soared the majestic and
inaccessible mountains of Crete, at the left and far below stretched
the winsome sea, strewn with islands and flecked with flitting sails.
They walked for half an hour over volcanic rock, through spiteful,
thorny shrubs that clutched at their ankles and tore their clothing,
and came at last to the brink of a ravine whose walls were as
perpendicular as though they had been cut with a giant saw.  In the
bed, far below, a mountain torrent dashed eagerly to sea, making sheer
leaps over smoothly worn rocks or swirling about in hollow basins.

The three looked down on it and their thirst grew.

"I could drink it all," said Curtis.

A swallow drifted by on slanting wings, darted to the brim of the
water-fall and leaped again skyward.

"How is a bird superior to a man!" exclaimed Michali.

"The wings of a man are his mind," replied the Swede.  "The hedgehogs
are on fire inside of me.  We must reach that water to quench them.  It
would take the whole stream to put out the ones that I ate."

After another hour they came upon a goat trail that, leading from
above, ended abruptly and zigzagged from ledge to ledge down the side
of the cliff into the stream.  Michali's delight was unbounded.

"Follow this trail," he cried, "and we shall a shepherd find with
water, or may be a village, who knows?"

"How far is it?" asked Lindbohm.

"How do I know?  Perhaps one mile--perhaps ten."

"If it is two, the hedgehogs will burn through before I get there,"
replied Curtis.  "I'm going down."

"It is very dangerous," replied Michali.

"We must yust take our chances," asserted Lindbohm.

The descent was not so difficult as it appeared.  Within twelve feet of
the bottom they found themselves on the edge of a rock.  Below them the
stream gurgled enticingly between banks of snowy sand.

"And now?" asked Curtis.

"We must yust yump and take our chances," replied Lindbohm.
Instinctively seizing the tails of his coat he held them out like wings
and sprang into the air.

"Hurrah!" he cried, looking up.  "It's all right," and throwing himself
flat on his stomach, he sucked up long drafts of the cool, refreshing
water.  In a moment Michali and Curtis were lying beside him.

"How do the goats get out of here?" asked Curtis, looking at the face
of the rock down which he had just made a flying leap.

"O, a goat is like a fly; he can skip up a pane of glass," replied
Lindbohm.

"We must now follow the stream up," said Michali.  "We shall surely
find somebody.  In Greece, where there is water, men are not far away."

"But we are not in Greece," objected Lindbohm.  The Cretan's eyes
blazed.

"Do not say that when you are among my countrymen--it would not be
safe."

Lindbohm seized him by the hand.

"I beg your pardon," he cried.  "You are right.  We are in the very
heart of Greece, and we are here to shoot down anybody who says the
contrary."

For some distance up the ravine the path was over fine sand and easy.
Then they came to a long stretch tumbled full of round, smooth
bowlders.  Twice they were obliged to climb steep rocks that extended
from one wall to the other like the face of a dam.  They pulled
themselves up the end of these by means of the vines growing in the
ravine, whose sides still rose sheer above them to such a height that
they seemed almost to meet at the top.  Finally, when Michali had
clambered before the others to the top of a rocky dam, higher and
steeper than usual, he gave a loud shout of joy and pointed
dramatically upstream.  Lindbohm followed agilely, and Curtis with more
difficulty.  There, perhaps a mile away, was a white village, sitting
in an amphitheater, like an audience of an ancient stadium.  Behind and
at either side, patches of terraced vineyards lay smiling in the sun,
and a flock of goats was grazing on a mountain side, at the edge of a
pine forest.  The mountain stream, broken into half a dozen rivulets,
wandered through the streets, and then slid and leaped, like a bevy of
children, down a tremendous, steeply slanting ledge, on the edge of
which the hither houses perilously stood.

"How do you know it's not Turkish?" asked Lindbohm.

"There are no minarets," replied Michali.

"Why, of course!  Any one can tell a Greek from a Turkish village as
soon as he sees it.  Come on, then!"

Michali and the Lieutenant sprang gayly forward, but soon they stopped
and looked around.

"Are you not coming?" asked Michali.

Curtis arose and sank down again.  His companions ran back.

"What's the matter?" they asked in chorus.

"I can go no farther," replied Curtis.  "I scratched my foot on a stone
when we were gathering those sea urchins, and it's swelling up in my
shoe."

"Why didn't you say something?" asked Lindbohm.

"A man doesn't like to squeal about a scratch, you know," replied the
American.  "Pull the blamed shoe off for me, will you?  Hold on! hold
on, I tell you!  Holy Moses, how that hurts!"

"You'll just have to cut the shoe off," suggested the Lieutenant.

"I don't like to do that.  What'll I do without shoes?"

"Ah, you will wear the beautiful Cretan boots!" cried Michali
enthusiastically.  "The yellow, soft, strong boots.  There is no such
leather in the world.  Do you not know how Crete is famous for the
boots?"

"That settles it, then," exclaimed Curtis.  "I won't stand this torture
any longer.  Here, Lindbohm, old man, just slit that shoe right open,
will you?"

The foot was badly swollen, and, being released from the confining
shoe, it straightway puffed up to double the normal size.  Lindbohm and
Michali each took one of the lame man's arms, and thus they proceeded
quite rapidly.  Curtis held tightly to the shoe.

"They cost me eight dollars," he said, "and it's a shame to throw it
away."



CHAPTER III

A COMIC OPERA TOWN

It was about one o'clock in the afternoon when they arrived at the foot
of the tremendous rocky dam which they must scale to reach the village.
The sun was shining brilliantly, and the dozen or more rivulets that
were racing and leaping downward glittered like molten silver.  From
the bed of the ravine not a house was visible.  Lindbohm made a trumpet
of his hands, and, looking upward, shouted lustily, drawing out the
last syllable of the word as though it were a vocal telescope.

"Hillo!  Hillo!  Hillo!"

A girl came to the edge.  She appeared to be standing on the top of a
wall.  She was floating in sunlight; she was glorified.  Tall,
straight, deep-bosomed, she wore a skirt of blue home-spun and a short
jacket of the same material, with sleeves that were white from the
elbows down.  Her hair, that was in reality a soft brown, seemed of
gold; one massive strand fell over her bosom quite to her knees.  Her
face was oval, the features as clearly cut as those of a goddess.  Her
large brown eyes, wide apart beneath a low, broad forehead, beamed with
fearless innocence and wonder.  On her left shoulder rested a huge
earthen water jug, two-handled, bulging near the top and dwindling at
each end.  Her right hand held this in place, and her left rested on
her hip.

"What is it, strangers?" she called down, in a winning voice.

"Sphakiote," said Michali.

"What's sphakiote?" asked Lindbohm; "Greek for goddess?"

The Cretan shouted back a few words of explanation, and the maiden
disappeared.  Ten minutes later the edge was lined with the citizens of
Ambellaki; tow-headed children, women, old and young, tall
_pallikaria_, boys and maidens.  All the males, of whatever age, wore
high yellow boots, voluminous blue trousers and soft red fezzes, that
broke across the crown and fell backward, ending in a long black
tassel.  The women and girls were for the most part attired like the
maiden who had first appeared, though several of them wore
handkerchiefs tied about their heads.

"Here's the demarch," shouted a chorus.

"And Papa-Maleko," cried the rest, as though in response.

A majestic old Cretan, with two silver-mounted pistols and a long
pearl-handled knife in his belt, took his place in the middle of the
line.  He was soon joined by a priest in venerable robes and tall hat.
Curtis imagined that the inhabitants of some comic opera town had come
out on the walls to hold parley with himself and his two friends.  He
wondered what character he was, but his foot hurt so that he was unable
to make up his mind.

[Illustration: ... imagined that the inhabitants of some comic opera
town had come out on the walls to hold parley]

"What is your business with us?" asked the demarch, pompously,
remembering that he was acting in official capacity in the presence of
his entire constituency.

Michali explained at length.  His story threw the listening Cretans
into a state of great excitement.  Several of them had lighted the
beacon for the guidance of the Holy Mary.  Two or three youngsters,
letting themselves down from the edge of the natural battlement,
descended by means of shrubbery and jutting stones, sprawling in midair
like huge spiders.  On reaching the bottom, they commenced an animated
conversation with Michali, the upshot of which was that they must all
go up as the youngsters had just come down, and that it was very easy
if you had courage.  In proof of which, a boy of fifteen sprawled
skyward again, looking back every moment to laugh and shout "Enibros!"

"I can do it easily," said Michali, with pride.  "All Cretans can
climb, if some of them cannot swim.  Can you follow me?"

"I can certainly try," replied the Lieutenant.

Finally Michali and Lindbohm concluded to mount, and consult with the
citizens as to the best means of assisting Curtis to the top.

"There's some other way to get up," suggested the Cretan, "only they
are suspicious of us as yet, and will not tell."

Michali, true to his boast, climbed the face of the terrace with the
greatest ease.  Lindbohm reminded Curtis of the frog and the well in
the mental arithmetic.

"How long will it take him to reach the top," he mused, "if he stops to
rest during every seventh minute?"

He was a genius at mental arithmetic and had nearly figured out the
proposition to submit it to Lindbohm, when he heard people shouting
above.  Looking up, he perceived that they were letting down a long
rope, and that several young Cretans, accompanied by Michali, were
coming with it.

"Put it around your waist," explained the latter, "they will pull on
the other end, and so you will go up, slowly, slowly.  You can use your
hands and the good foot to help and to keep yourself away from the
stones and bushes."

Several pairs of strong hands pulled Curtis safely up the wall, and he
found himself in the public square of a picturesque little village.
White, two-story houses surrounded an open space, in the midst of which
stood an immense platane tree.  Under this latter were four rickety
tables and a dozen or so of chairs, for the accommodation of those who
chose to enjoy the beauties of nature in the open air and partake of
the mayor's coffee or masticha.  The mayor, be it observed, was
proprietor of the only refectory the town was large enough to support.
The influence of the saloon in politics is felt even in the mountains
of Crete.

Lindbohm and the priest rushed forward and assisted the American to one
of the chairs.  The mayor brought another and tenderly placed the lame
foot upon it, shouting, meanwhile, a storm of voluble orders, in a
good-natured, blustering voice.  Michali arrived and interpreted, for
which Curtis was thankful, as he did not understand the mayor's
guttural, rapid Greek.

"He bids you welcome in the name of all Ambellaki!  He has ordered you
a glass of _masticha_.  Ah!  Here it comes now.  You are to stay in the
priest's house, who will say a prayer over your foot as soon as he gets
you home."

The group was by this time surrounded by the entire population of the
town, or as much of it as was not out in the vineyards, or on the hills
with the sheep and the goats.  Curtis rose on one leg.

"Behold the human stork," he exclaimed in English, because he did not
know the Greek for "stork."

"What does he say?" asked the demarch.  Michali explained the joke at
length.  "He compares himself to a stork, because a stork usually
stands on one leg.  He, being lame, and unable to stand on both legs,
rests his entire weight on one, like a stork."

"But he does not at all resemble a stork," objected several voices.

"They say you do not resemble a stork," explained the interpreter.

"O, thanks!  But I was joking.  Don't you Cretans understand a joke?"

"He says he is joking, and he fears we do not understand a joke."

"It is a joke, my children," cried the demarch, "an American joke, and
it is the part of hospitality and politeness to laugh," whereupon he
smote the table with his mighty palm and burst into a roar of Olympian
laughter.  The constituency looked on in silent amazement.

"Laugh, you donkeys!" cried the demarch.  "Laugh, I command you.  Are
we uncivilized like the Turks?"  And he strode threateningly toward the
group, which broke in all directions and darted for cover.  They
laughed, however, long and conscientiously at first, but, ere they had
ceased, a genuine ring crept into their mirth.  The priest and the
demarch assisted Curtis to his temporary residence.  On the way
shockheaded boys looked out at him from over ruined walls of adobe and
cobblestones, and, pointing their fingers, cried, "There goes the
stork!" and girls peeping from behind doors or pushing their blooming
faces through screens of trellised vine, giggled, "How are you, Mr.
Stork?"

Curtis' name was seldom asked in the mountains of Crete.  He was known
and is to this day, as Kyrios Pelargos--Mr. Stork.  As soon as
opportunity presented he made a new head in his note book and entered
the following observation:

"Character of the modern Cretans.  First: Extraordinary sense of humor."



CHAPTER IV

A DINNER OF HERBS

The house of Papa-Maleko Nicolaides consisted of three rooms, two
downstairs and one above.  Curtis was given a seat upon an antique
couch with a wooden frame, upon whose high back was carved the date,
1855.  Papa-Maleko's father-in-law had received it in that year as part
of his wife's dowry, and had given it in turn to his own daughter.  It
was a highly prized possession.

A trunk studded with brass-headed nails, several low wooden stools and
a bureau completed the furniture of the apartment.

The priest brought a stool for Curtis' foot, and lifted the wounded
member tenderly thereon.  The windows and doors were darkened by the
wondering population.  Two or three leading citizens pushed through
into the room and commenced talking in chorus.  All gesticulated
wildly.  Lindbohm knelt down and began to remove the stocking.

"I know something of medicine," he said.  "Do I hurt you?"

"Go on," replied Curtis; "that's a mere detail."

Lindbohm poked the puffy sole here and there until his patient gave a
jump, as when the dentist finds a nerve.

"There it is," cried Curtis.  "There's something in it."

Further examination discovered the head of a black sliver, which, after
several attempts with a penknife blade and his thumbnail, the
Lieutenant succeeded in extracting.  The curiosity of the throng, that
now packed the room almost to suffocation, found expression in a storm
of volubility.  The sliver was passed from hand to hand.  Curtis
thought he detected again and again the syllables, "many, many."  He
forgot they were speaking Greek.

"Do they say there are others?" he asked.

"No," replied Michali; "they say '_kaiemene_,' which means poor fellow!"

"O, tell 'em it's nothing.  Just a sliver in my foot.  I'll be all
right in an hour."

"On the contrary, I regret to say that you a sore foot may have during
two or three weeks.  It is a spine of the _achinoos_."

"O, the sea hedgehog.  Is it poisonous?"

"Not exactly poisonous, but it will make much irritation.  You should
have spoken of him immediately, then it would not have been so bad.
Did it not hurt very bad?"

"Why, it hurt some, of course, but I thought I had scratched my foot on
a stone.  I wasn't going to delay the game for a little scratch."

"Well, by Jupiter!" cried Lindbohm, "you Americans have plenty of
gravel."

"Plenty of what?"

"Plenty of gravel.  Isn't that what you say?  I heard the expression
once."

"Perhaps you mean sand?"

"Maybe it is.  At any rate, you've got it."

At this moment a tremendous hubbub arose.  The demarch lunged through
the crowd, and, throwing his constituents to right and left, made way
for the entry of an old woman, who stabbed the ground at every step
with a long, quivering staff.  She was bent like the new moon, and her
wrinkled skin was the color of a mild cigar.  In her left hand she
held, a wisp of dried herbs.  The cries of relief and joy which her
presence evoked reminded Curtis of the arrival of a tardy fire engine.

"Who's this?" he asked.

"She is the wise woman," replied Michali.  "She will put something on
the foot that will cure him very quick."

Her orders, delivered in a shrill voice, resulted in the immediate
production of warm water, a towel and a basin.  The old woman made the
sign of the cross over the foot.  She then washed it, applied the
leaves and bound them on with rags.

"That does feel nice," said Curtis.  "How much ought I to offer her?"

"Money?" asked Michali.

"Yes, of course."

"Nothing, nothing.  She would be--what you call him?  She would suffer
in her feelings.  You are the guest of the village.  Bid me to thank
her for you."

"Sure.  Tell her she's a regular old brick.  Tell her my own mother
couldn't have done it better."

"Ah, that, yes.  I do not know what is that brick, but the mother will
make her very glad."

Michali evidently knew what to say, for she patted Curtis' head
affectionately, and tears ran down her cheeks.

"She says she had three boys, all big, strong fellows like you, and the
Turks have kill them all," explained Michali.

"Yes," replied Curtis.  "I understood the most of that myself.  She
speaks very plain."

The demarch now made a brief speech, which resulted in clearing the
house.  As the Ambellakians retired, a merry voice shouted:

"_Perastika, Kyrie Pelarge!_" (May you recover soon, Mr. Stork) and all
took up the refrain, shouting the syllables over and over, amid great
laughter.  To Michali's unbounded delight, Curtis cried "_Eucharisto!_"
(Thanks.)

"That was splendid," said Michali, when all had left except himself,
Lindbohm, the demarch and Papa-Maleko.  "How did you understand what
they have said?"

"I studied modern Greek in college and used to practice on the Greeks
in Boston.  But I understand hardly anything.  I'm disgusted with
myself.  I said "_Eucharisto_" because it was the only word I could
think of."

"O, you are too modest.  You answered exactly right.  They said, 'May
you get well soon, Mr. Stork,' and you answered, Thank you, thank you."

Curtis took from his pocket a book, badly damaged by the bath which it
had received when he had jumped for his life from the ill-fated "Holy
Mary," but still serviceable.

"This is a new method, just out," he explained, holding it up to view.
"O, I shall be talking in a day or two--I lose confidence when there
are so many people together.  They all jabber at once, and I can't
understand a word."

The demarch and the priest examined with great reverence the copy of
Rangave's excellent method.

Their ideas of books were chiefly associated with the Holy Scriptures
and the "Lives of the Saints."  The mayor crossed himself devoutly, but
the priest refrained.  He had heard that there were profane books.

Evening was now at hand, and a girl came in, bringing two lighted
candles in tall brass candlesticks.  She was the maiden whom the
shipwrecked strangers had first seen, standing on the edge of the
precipice, with the water jug on her shoulder.  Her height was rather
greater than that of the ordinary woman, her figure was both slender
and athletic.  There was something antique and statuesque in her
attitude now, as she advanced, holding the two tall candlesticks.
Papa-Maleko introduced her as his daughter and Michali explained.  She
smiled sweetly and replied with charming graciousness of manner that
the strangers were welcome.  There was no simpering nor coyness.  She
bore herself with the modest courage of innate nobility and innocence.
The false standards of so-called civilization were unknown to her.  She
was a daughter of the democracy of the mountains.  In her theory of the
world all women were virtuous, and all men, except Turks, were
gentlemen and heroes.  When Curtis heard her speak Greek, he redoubled
his resolve to perfect himself in the language without delay.  He even
framed a sentence with which to address her, but a certain shyness, the
fear of exciting laughter in those beautiful eyes through some mistake
in accent or grammar, deterred him.

Lindbohm, as soon as he comprehended that he was being presented to the
mistress of the house, brought his heels together, and, bowing low,
lifted her hand to his lips.  It was a knightly and courtier-like act,
that clothed him in dignity despite the shrunken and salt incrusted
Prince Albert and the grotesque remnants of shoes.  Panayota flushed
like a peony and looked inquiringly at Michali.

"It is the custom among the gentlemen in his country," replied the
young patriot, who had read of similar scenes in foreign romances.  "He
salutes you as though you were a queen."

"It is a beautiful custom," said the demarch.  "But is not the American
also a gentleman?" for Curtis, rising with difficulty on one leg, had
shaken Panayota cordially by the hand.

"O, the Americans are great democrats," replied Michali.  "This is a
royal salute, you know, and they know nothing about such things."

The beautiful young girl brought in a tablecloth and spread it on the
floor.  The demarch stepped to the door, and, calling a young boy from
the street, said something to him in a low tone.

A noisy but good-natured discussion immediately arose between the mayor
on the one hand and Papa-Maleko and his daughter on the other.  The
priest, darting from the door, called the boy back; the mayor, seizing
Lindbohm's cane, threatened the boy with it, and pushed the priest back
into the house.

Panayota protested laughingly, calling upon the Virgin and crossing
herself.

"What's the row, anyway?" asked Curtis, to his great disgust not being
able to catch enough words from the rapidly-spoken sentences to be
quite sure of their meaning.  Panayota's enunciation was more clear cut
and distinct than that of the others, and from what she said, he
concluded that the mayor was ordering food from his café, a proceeding
which the priest and his daughter good-naturedly resented, as a
reflection on their own hospitality.

"Seems like a quarrel between Church and State," observed Curtis.

Michali explained the remark, easily understood in Greek, and the
mayor, shouting great thunder claps of laughter, patted Curtis on the
back and cried, "Bravo! bravo!"

Panayota placed on the cloth a huge loaf of brown bread, a plate of
black olives and a jug of water.  The Sphakiotes do not take kindly to
wine.  But the feast was not yet complete; a young man entered, bearing
a large bowl of brown earthenware, filled with something that emitted a
cloud of fragrant steam; and a plate containing a large chunk of white
_halva_.  These he deposited upon the tablecloth, and Panayota, with a
graceful wave of the hand and a dazzling smile that flashed from her
white teeth and beamed in her great brown eyes, cried "_Oreeste_."  The
demarch sat down on the floor, crossing his legs under him.  The priest
laid his hand upon Lindbohm's shoulder, and pointed to the feast.  The
Swede sat down as awkwardly and as many jointedly as a camel.  The
floor seemed far away to him, and when he had finally reached it, do
what he could with his legs, his knees persisted in rising on a level
with his ears.  Curtis slid his lame foot along until he was sitting on
the floor with his back against the sofa.  The Cretans made the sign of
the cross, which corresponds with our blessing, and Panayota, who was
standing meekly by as serving maid, distributed four forks among the
five diners.  There not being enough to go around, the demarch
unsheathed a long knife whose silver-mounted handle ended broadly, with
two flaring ears, not unlike the butt of an Arab's gun.  Cutting the
bread with this, he impaled a bounteous portion and offered it to
Curtis, who took it from the point, saying "_Eucharisto, polu,
Demarche_."  (Many thanks, Mr. Mayor.)

"Bravo, bravo!" cried Michali, "you're getting on.  At this rate you
will speak Greek by to-morrow better than I do!"

"This is truly wonderful," observed the priest, and asked Curtis,
slowly and distinctly, "How many years have you been in Greece?"

"He says--" began Michali.

"Hold on, old man, I understand him," interrupted Curtis, and he
replied, slowly but correctly, in Greek:

"I have been here only two weeks."

"This is a miracle," roared the demarch.  "We shall make a Cretan of
you; but let us begin eating," and, spearing a piece of bread with his
knife, he dipped it into the soup.

"You must do as I do," said Michali, dipping his own chunk and eating
it from his fork.  "This is lenten soup--black-eyed beans cooked with
oil.  Over this was the contest between Church and State.  The mayor's
cook makes famous lenten soup and Kyr' Nikolaki wished to send for
some, but Papa-Maleko desired the dinner himself to furnish."

"_Kalo?_" asked the mayor, holding a huge chunk of dripping bread
suspended in midair over the bowl.

"He asks you is it good?" explained Michali to Lindbohm.

"_Kalo? kalo?_" repeated Kyr' Nikolaki.

"_Kalo_," replied Lindbohm.

A medium of general communication was now established.  Papa-Maleko and
Kyr' Nikolaki with nearly every bite smiled upon Curtis and Lindbohm
and asked "_Kalo?_" and they both replied, "_Kalo, kalo_."

After dinner the demarch departed, taking Michali with him, and
Panayota, made up the bed on the floor for Curtis and Lindbohm.  She
brought in a mattress from outdoors, which somewhat mystified Curtis
until he remembered that the stone stairway to the upper regions was
built on the outside of the house.  She laid a sheet on the mattress
and over that a quilt with a sheet sewed to it in such a manner that
the end was doubled over and bore the initials, beautifully
embroidered, of Panayota Nicolaides.



CHAPTER V

SOME PICTURES AND A RECITATION

Curtis was confined to his room four days with the foot, which time he
devoted assiduously to the method.

On the fifth day he was able, with the aid of a rustic crutch, to get
down to the demarch's café.  Michali assisted him as he hobbled down
the stony street, his lame foot clumsily bundled in rags and swinging
in the air.  Lindbohm strode on ahead, instinctively making sword-like
passes with the rattan cane.  The latter's appearance had been much
dignified by the assumption of a swashbuckling pair of yellow boots.
He had been repeatedly offered a Cretan fez, but he clung with
inexplicable affection to the shapeless and uneasy straw, still
tethered to his buttonhole.

"Behold!" cried Michali, as they reached a turn in the street whence
the view was unobstructed over the tops of the houses.  "Yonder is the
ravine where we came up, and there is the sea.  You will hardly find a
village in all Greece from which the sea is not visible."

The village, on this fragrant and dewy spring morning, was peaceful and
idyllic.  Curtis drew a long breath, and, closing his eyes, imagined
himself in ancient Arkadia.  On the balconies of the neatly whitewashed
houses pots of basil and begonia had been set out, and formed green
patches against the white.  Here and there an almond tree in full bloom
dispensed wide sweetness, or shook its snowy petals to the breeze.  The
site of the town was so uneven that it seemed possible to step from the
threshold of some of the dwellings on to the red-tiled roofs of others.
There was water everywhere.  Sometimes it ran through wooden troughs
and sometimes it darted down clear byways worn in the blue rock.  They
walked beside a wall, on which was an aqueduct, and they heard the
water gurgling above their heads.

The wall was overgrown with vines and a long line of poppies had leaped
atop.  Slightly bowed by the wind they seemed stooping to drink.  At
the end of the wall the rivulet poured into a round stone basin, sunk
into the ground for the convenience of animals.  A plane tree waited
patiently at the basin that the sheep and goats might drink in the
shade.  A wandering peddler with his donkey came down a tributary
street.  The animal was sandwiched between two boxes, each as large as
himself.  The street was so steep that he seemed to be walking on his
front legs.

The demarch was standing in the door of his café.  A single grape vine,
spreading out on a frame, supported by two posts and the wall, made a
canopy above his head.  The leaves were new, and were as pale green as
young frogs.  Kyrios Nikolaki was an imposing figure, and doubtless
felt his position in the community, combining as he did in one person
the important functions of mayor, grocer, saloon keeper and banker.  He
stood now, with his hairy hands crossed over his semi-spherical
stomach, watching the advent of his guests and smiling benignly.  As
Curtis glanced at the tall yellow boots, the voluminous breeches, the
double-breasted vest with woolen balls for buttons, and the rakish fez,
he thought for the first time since landing in Crete of his camera.
That had gone down with the "Holy Mary."  The demarch was clean-shaven,
with the exception of his gray mustache, and his shirtsleeves were
fresh from the iron.  His cheeks were florid with good living, and he
would have been a comely man save for the fact that his lower lids had
fallen a little, disclosing a red and raw looking spot under each eye.

"Welcome! welcome!" he cried, as the party arrived.  "How is Mr. Stork
and the Lieutenant?  And Kyr' Michali?  And where is the Church this
morning?  Why did you not bring him along, that he might take a drink
of cognac with the State?"

"I am very well," replied Curtis in Greek.  "We did not bring the
Church, because we did not see him."

Curtis had made great progress in Panayota's language.  He had found
the girl very willing to talk with him and not a little interested in
his efforts to acquire fluency in her native tongue.  He had also made
this discovery, which pleased him greatly, that the Greek of these
sturdy mountaineers was easier for him than that of Athens, as it
possessed a more archaic flavor.

"Marvelous! marvelous!" shouted the demarch.  "Your progress is
wonderful.  I observe it every day."

"Ah, this is comfortable," said Curtis, sitting on a bench with his
back against the plane tree.  "Are all the Cretan villages as pretty as
this?"

"Some are much more beautiful," cried Michali.  "That is, those which
the Turks have not destroyed.  But this village is not so easy for them
to reach.  You see how hard it is from the sea to come.  And behold, we
have all around us a circle of mountains."

"An enemy couldn't get in at all," said Lindbohm, casting an
experienced eye about.  He was striding nervously to and fro, fencing
with an imaginary opponent.

"Yes, one way.  There is, what you call it--a cut in the hill--"

"A ravine," suggested Curtis.

"Yes, I think so.  A ravine, very deep and very crooked.  But the
shepherds watch him all the time."

The conversation did not progress rapidly, because Greek politeness
demanded that Michali translate every word for the demarch, whose own
remarks, moreover, it was necessary to turn into English.

"Would you like to see the inside of my store?" asked the latter, a
lull in the conversation making him feel that he must do something for
the entertainment of his guests.  Michali had again described the
shipwreck, the English had been denounced as barbarians, worse than the
Turks, and the demarch had told a story of a famous battle in which
thirty Cretans slew two hundred Mohammedans, on which occasion he
himself had led the victorious party.  There seemed to be nothing more
to talk about.

"I have some very fine pictures inside," said the mayor.  "Come,
Lieutenant, Mr. Stork, Michali."

"Where are the pictures?" asked Curtis, when they had entered, hoping
that his host possessed a collection of Byzantine, or perhaps Venetian,
works of art.  Kyr' Nikolaki glanced about the room and waved his hand
majestically.

"They are hanging on the walls," he replied.

Borrowing Lindbohm's cane, he made the circuit of the room, pointing to
the wretched prints that were hung high up, close to the ceiling.

"This," he explained, "is Marko Botsares, a famous Greek patriot of the
war of independence.  Have you ever heard of him?"

"Heard of him!" cried Curtis.

  "At midnight in his guarded tent
    The Turk lay dreaming of the hour,
  When Greece, her knee in suppliance bent
    Should tremble at his power!"


"And this is Ali Pasha, with his head in the lap of his favorite wife,"
continued the mayor.  "He lived at Janina.  He was finally killed, as
he deserved to be.  He terrified Albania, Epirus and a part of
Macedonia, but the Suliotes he could not terrify.  Their women
preferred to die rather than submit to Turks."  Kyr' Nikolaki was
reciting, after the manner of a lecturer, one of those glorious
incidents in modern Greek history which all Greeks know by heart.

"Why do you go to Suli for an example of heroism?" cried Michali,
springing to his feet, his eyes blazing with excitement.  "He will tell
you of the deeds of the brave Suliote women, and how they blew
themselves up with their own powder, or danced, singing, over the edge
of one cliff, to save their honor.  Why shall he not tell rather of the
convent of Arkadia?"

"Ah, certainly, certainly, tell them of Arkadia," cried the demarch,
catching the name.

"It was Mustapha Pasha," continued Michali, speaking rapidly despite
his unfamiliarity with English.  His fists were clenched, and he jerked
out the words by nervously smiting the air, as though beating on an
invisible table.

"He had come with very many Turks to Retimo.  He kills, he burns.  The
women, and the small children, they cannot climb over the hills and
sleep on the rocks.  They take asylum in the monastery of Arkadia, on
south side of Mt. Ida.  The old men go, too.  Mustapha, he puts cannon
on mountains, all around and fires down from above.  By and by, he
beats down the walls, and his army rush into the court.  He say
'Yield.'  The women, the old men, the friars, they say 'No, we die!'
and they shoot from the windows.  O, they kill very many Turks.  Then
Mustapha bring in his cannon, and he commence shoot at walls of
building.  Pretty soon he will make a hole.  Father Gabriel, the
Hegoumenos, he see this.  He shout through the roar of the cannon:
'Shall we die, my children, or shall we yield?'  They say all together
'We shall die!'"

Lindbohm was striding up and down before the speaker.  The demarch
still held the rattan cane, but the Lieutenant was making home thrusts
with his closed fist.

"Father Gabriel he stretch out his arms.  They all fall on their knees,
the women, the children, the old men.  The Hegoumenos blesses them; he
say, 'Father, into thy hands I commit these souls!'  Then he goes down
cellar.  They know where he gone.  The women hug their babies tight and
begin to sing the hymn of liberty, and the men join in.  They are all
looking to the sky and chanting--" and Michali sang:

  "From the bones of the Greeks upspringing,
    Who died that we might be free,
  And the strength of thy strong youth bringing--
    Hail, Liberty, Hail to thee!

"Every moment a bullet comes through and kills somebody, but they know
nothing, now, except the song 'Hail, Liberty.'  Then the wall falls and
in rush the Turks and begin to kill, when 'boom' the powder magazine
roars like one gun, and all are dead--Greeks, Turks, all dead--ah! all
dead together!--two hundred Turks!"

But the demarch, not understanding all this, was unable to enter fully
into the enthusiasm of the others.  He was anxious to continue with his
picture gallery.

"This," he said, "is the Lordos Beeron, who, being descended from the
ancient Greeks, came over to this country to fight for his native land."

Curtis, despite his enthusiasm for Byron, did not rise.  He had seen
that woodcut before, in Athens.  It represented the youthful poet
wearing a brass cavalry helmet with a sublime plume.  This is the Byron
honored among the uneducated classes in Greece, who know him as soldier
and not as poet.  With nodding plume and warlike eye he frowns terribly
down from the dingy walls of a thousand _khans_ and wayside inns.  In
this apotheosis he no longer holds high converse with Shelley and Tom
Moore; he hobnobs with Ypsilanti, Botsares and Admiral Miaoules.

"This," continued Kyr' Nikolaki, "is the most beautiful woman in the
world.  I have never found any one who knew her name, but all agree
that she is a Greek--probably a Sphakiote."

Lindbohm and Michali gazed earnestly at the cheap engraving, but no
name was visible.  Curtis arose, and, placing his hand on the mayor's
shoulder, hopped across the room.

"An American actress, by Jove!" he exclaimed.  "She's a beauty, indeed,
but she's an American, old man."  And in Greek to the mayor: "She's an
American--ah--I can't think of the word for 'actor.'  Michali, tell him
her picture is to be found in every nook and cranny of the civilized
globe.  I can't say 'nook' and 'cranny' in Greek."



CHAPTER VI

THE FIRST OF MAY

All the morning of April thirtieth Curtis saw nothing of Panayota.  She
was gone into the fields and upon the hillsides with the other women
and the children of the village to gather flowers for the May-day
festival.  Late in the afternoon the whole town set out for
Hepta-Miloi, or Seven-Mills, the place in the mountains where, year
after year, they were accustomed to hold this innocent and beautiful
celebration, one of the most fragrant and lovely of all the
inheritances from the days of the aesthetic old gods.  Laughing,
singing, shouting merry sallies and replies, the procession scrambled
up the stony, winding street of the village, laden with baskets and
gayly colored bags filled with provisions.  Everybody, too, carried
flowers--flowers in baskets, in aprons, in the hands.  There were
donkeys and dogs innumerable.  Some of the donkeys carried tables
strapped to their backs, with the four legs sticking up into the air,
and giving the impression that, if one of the animals should keel a
somerset into a ravine, he would be sure to light upon one or the other
of his two sets of feet.  Upon others of these nodding, shambling
little animals rode such of the villagers as could not make so arduous
a journey on foot: a picturesque old man in holiday costume,
resplendent in bright, new fez, ruffled shirt and gaudy sash; here and
there an old woman who had made the same journey every year for the
last forty years; and several strings of small children, four and five
on a donkey's backbone, like monkeys on a limb or kidneys on a spit.
The demarch, in accordance with the dignity of his office, rode at the
head of the procession, side by side, when the road was not too narrow,
with Papa-Maleko, whose animal was nearly covered by his flowing black
robe, and who held an umbrella over his tall hat.  Lindbohm had refused
the luxury of a mount and strode sturdily along with his hand upon
Curtis' saddle.  Up and up they climbed beyond the last plumed outposts
of olive groves into the kingdom of the pines.  At times they walked by
the side of a deep chasm at whose bottom swirled, darted and leapt a
stream of molten silver or of ink, according as it flashed in the
setting sun or crept beneath the shadow of dank ferns or deep green
trees.  At such times Curtis' moth-eaten, blue-gray beast walked upon
the ticklish, imminent edge of destruction, loosening rocks and bits of
earth that went scurrying into the waters far below.  Entreaty,
threats, blows upon the side of the head with the rope that did service
as a bridle, were of no effect to make him walk elsewhere.

"Look here, Lindbohm," cried Curtis, "I've told you my address.  If I
plunge down yonder giddy height, write to my governor, will you?  And
don't trouble to pick up the pieces."

"What's the matter?" shouted the demarch, looking back.

"This donkey will surely fall with me."

"Bah!  Let him have his head.  He knows his business.  No donkey ever
falls."

"What if he does?  Cannot a stork fly?" asked a black-eyed, roguish
maiden, who possibly thought that the American could learn good Greek
from more than one pair of lips.  This sally evoked such an inordinate
peal of good-natured laughter that Curtis was unable to think of an
appropriate reply, and contented himself with pulling a rose from the
basket hanging at his saddle and throwing it at the saucy girl.

In the purple twilight they came in sight of the first of the seven
mills.  A tall, slanting barrel of masonry received the water that
turned the stone wheel that lay upon its face in a small building
covered with reddish brown tiles.  The miller and his wife, dusty as
moths, came out to greet the merry throng that poured into his little
plateau with much shouting and singing and strumming of guitars.  Two
or three shock-headed youngsters peeped from behind the building, and a
girl, probably three years old, clothed only in a flour sack that
reached to the middle of her stomach, ran, like a frightened chicken,
to cover in the folds of her mother's dress.  The child was glowing
with health and beautiful as an infant Dionysus from the broken arm of
a Hermes carved by Praxiteles himself.  And now they were come into a
region of rank, water-loving trees, great ferns and streams of water
that slipped smoothly and silently through square sluices of white
masonry.  The mills were close together.  At the fourth in number they
stopped and found that brave preparation had already been made.  The
plateau before the mill-house was here larger than ordinary and in its
midst grew a wide-spreading oak from a lower branch of which hung a
powerful lamp, protected from the wind by a glass cage.  At the foot of
a shielding wall of rock, several lambs were fragrantly roasting upon
long wooden spits, and by each an old man squatted, so intent upon
turning the carcass that he scarcely looked up to welcome the gay and
noisy villagers.

"How go the lambs, Barba Yanne?"

"Is it tender, think you, Barba Spiro?"

"Are they nearly done, Kosta?  Holy Virgin, what an appetite I've got!"

"And I!"

"And I!"

With a perfect babble of such exclamations, mingled with much laughter,
and many shouted orders and directions, Ambellaki took possession of
the place where it had elected to outwear the night with song and
feasting and to welcome the First of May.  The tables were unstrapped
from the backs of the donkeys and set in line.  Cloths were spread and
candles were lighted in candlesticks surmounted by protecting glass
globes.  Chairs were taken down from others of the donkeys, and two or
three long benches were produced by the miller.  A dozen pairs of
strong hands were extended to Curtis and he was assisted from the back
of his wilful beast to a comfortable seat.

"Whew!  I'm glad to get down from there," he exclaimed to Lindbohm.  "I
think I'll stay here till my foot gets well and walk back.  Looks
jolly, doesn't it?  And how good those lambs smell!  I believe I could
eat one all by myself."

Plates, bottles containing oil floating upon vinegar, decanters of
wine, great piles of crisp salad, loaves of brown bread, sardellas
arranged upon plates like the spokes of a wheel, tiny snow drifts of
country cheese--began to appear upon the table.  Lindbohm entered into
the spirit of the occasion with genial enthusiasm.  Although he could
not speak a word of Greek, he blundered everywhere, eager to assist.
He lifted the children from the donkeys, pulled plates and provisions
from the baskets, and washed the long tender lettuce at a place where
the water leapt from one conduit to another.  All this time the old men
were patiently turning the lambs.  Every now and then one of them would
dip half a lemon into a plate of melted butter and rub it over the
brown, sizzling flesh.  Beneath each of the lambs was a shallow bed of
ashes.  The coals that glowed there were not visible, for, in roasting
meat _à la palikari_, the best effects are obtained if it be slowly
done.  The proper roasting of a lamb is a matter of supreme importance.
Reputations are won thereby in a single day, and as easily lost.  The
meat must be done clear through, evenly and just to a turn--not one
turn of the spit too many nor too few; it must be so tender that it is
just ready to drop from the bone, and have that delicious flavor which
is imparted from the coals of the fragrant wild thyme, but it must not
taste smoky.  Verily a great art this, and the old men who sat squat at
the cranks of the spits had no time for social distractions.
Everything was ready now except the lambs, and a great silence fell
upon the company.  One young fellow, who offered to lay a small wager
that Barba Yanne would be the first man ready, was sternly rebuked by
the priest:

"Silence! do you not know that this is the critical moment, and you may
spoil everything by distracting their attention?"

So they waited for a seeming eternity, sniffing the delicious aroma and
watching the appetizing contest with hungry eyes.  At last the young
man of the wager broke the spell by crying:

"Na!  I should have won."  For Barba Yanne was indeed rising slowly to
his feet, painfully straightening out the hinges of his aged knees.

"Praise God!" shouted a chorus of voices.

"Do you not see that it is ready?" asked Barba Yanne reproachfully.

"O, yes!" exclaimed the demarch, "we must take it up.  If it stays one
instant over time on the fire the delicate flavor will be ruined."

Half a dozen men sprang towards the fire, but Lindbohm, comprehending
the action, was before them all.  Lifting the lamb by one end of the
spit, he advanced towards the tables, and looked inquiringly about.

"What shall I do with it?" he asked Michali.  "There is no plate big
enough, and if I lay it on the table it will spoil the cloth."

Shouts of laughter greeted the Swede's evident perplexity, and even the
bare teeth of the spitted animal seemed grinning at him in derision.

"But you do not put it on the table," cried Michali running to his
assistance.  "You stick the sharp end of the spit in the ground and
stand it up by the side of the tree.  So--that's right.  Head up."

The demarch now approached Lindbohm and laughingly offered him a Cretan
knife and a huge fork.

"He wants you to carve," explained Michali.  "It is a great honor."

"No! no!" cried the Swede, pushing the demarch playfully back.  "I do
not know how.  Besides, I am too weak from hunger.  Moreover, I haven't
the time."  And he seated himself resolutely at the table.  The demarch
therefore carved, and piled the meat upon plates which the girls held
for him.  Before he had finished, Barba Spiro brought his lamb and
solemnly stuck it up by its partly carved mate.

"Shall I cut up this one, too?" asked Kyr' Nikolaki; he had finished
with number one.  "Or shall we eat what we have first?"

"We will begin on this one," said the priest, "and I will carve the
second."  After a playful struggle he dispossessed the mayor of the
knife and fork and led him to the head of the table.  Then the good
priest reverently bent his head and made the sign of the cross, and all
of his flock followed his example.  Even Lindbohm and Curtis, watching
carefully, did as the others.  And now the feast was on in earnest,
silently at first, till the sharpest pangs of hunger were appeased,
with song and laughter later in its course.  The three guests and the
older members of the community sat at the table.  The others and the
children found seats upon the ground, in the doorway of the mill-house,
on the water troughs.  Conversation began in full-mouthed remarks as to
the quality of the lamb.

"This is marvellous!"

"A masterpiece."

"Tasty."

"A miracle.  Done just to a turn.  Neither too much nor too little."

"Bravo, Barba Yanne," said the mayor, in judicial tones, raising his
glass meanwhile.

"Barba Yanne!  Barba Yanne!" shouted the entire board, and there was a
great clinking of glasses.  The old man swelled and flushed with
pleasure.

"I ought to know how to roast a lamb," he said.  "I have done it this
thirty years."

A girl brought the head of Barba Spiro's lamb and laid it before the
demarch, who plucked out one of the eyes with a fork and passed the
morsel to Curtis, who took it and looked inquiringly at Michali.

"What am I to do with it?" he asked.

"Eat it.  It is the most delicate tid-bit of the whole lamb--sweet,
juicy, delicious."

"I've no doubt it's juicy," replied Curtis, "but I couldn't eat it to
save my life.  It looks as though it could see.  Excuse me, Kyr'
Demarche," he continued in Greek, "I do not care for the eye.  If you
will give me a little more of the meat, please--" and he passed his
plate.

"Not like the eye!" shouted everybody in astonishment.  Lindbohm took
the succulent morsel from Curtis' hand, and swallowed it with a loud
sipping sound, as though it were an oyster.

"Kalo! kalo!" he exclaimed, smacking his lips.

And so the feast wore on.  When it was not possible for anybody to eat
another mouthful, Turkish coffee was prepared over the miller's
_foufous_, two or three little portable stoves, circular and made of
sheet iron; and cigarettes were lighted.  Under the soothing influence
of the mild Cretan tobacco silence fell again, disturbed only by the
soft splashing of waters.  Through a rift in the branches of the giant
oak Curtis could see the bright, silver bow of the new moon, and, far
below, a glittering star, like the tip of an arrow shot athwart the
night.  The girls were tumbling the flowers into a pile beneath the
lamp: bright red geraniums, clusters of the fragrant heliotrope, April
roses, small, red and very sweet; aromatic basil, myrtle with its
bridal green.  Then they sat down about the heap and began to weave
garlands, using the myrtle as a background for the pied coloring of the
blossoms.  A nightingale sang somewhere among the trees behind the old
mill, the waters never ceased to murmur and gurgle in the moonlight,
and a faint breeze from the far sea brought a message of cherry trees
in bloom.  A young man sitting on the ground with his back against the
tree played a few chords upon a guitar, and sang, with much feeling,
one line of a couplet:

  "My little angel, sugar sweet, angelic honey maiden"--


That he was not improvising was evident from the fact that all the
Greeks present joined him in the second line:

  "Oh sweeter than cold water is, that angels drink in Eden!"

For several moments he strummed the strings softly and then sang:

  "If I should die at last of love, my grave with basil
        cover;"--

and again came the response,

  "And when you water it perchance you'll weep for
        your poor lover!"


The words even in Greek did not mean much, but they sounded very
beautiful to those simple peasants, for they were associated with many
such scenes as this; they carried the memories of some back to
childhood, of others perhaps to their wedding day.  They made Panayota
think of the little cottage among the Sphakiote mountains, and of her
mother singing as she paddled the white clothes at the brook.  The
words contained the untranslatable spirit of poetry, the power to move
the heart by association rather than by their meaning.

Some one proposed a dance; one by one the sturdy mountaineers took
their places in a line and soon, hands linked, they were bounding
beneath the flickering lamp in the wild Pyrrhic.  Loud calls were made
for different members of the company, famous as leaders, and these led
the line in turn, vying with one another in difficulty of steps
executed.  When Lindbohm arose from his seat and took his place at the
tail of the line, he was welcomed with shouts of "Bravo! bravo!"  He
had observed the simpler steps of the minor performers carefully, and
acquitted himself with so much credit, that the girls, their hands full
of flowers and half-finished wreaths, arose and came forward, clapping
their palms and shrieking with delight.  And when the handkerchief was
handed to him and he was motioned to the head of the line, he did not
refuse, but leapt into the air, whirled about under the arm of his
nearest neighbor, snapped his fingers in time to the music and cut
other terpsichorean pranks, to everybody's intense delight.

But dancing is hard work, and even youth will tire.  The last capable
leader had done his part, and even the girls, with much laughter and
many feminine shrieks and protests, had been pulled to their feet and
given a turn, when Michali was asked to tell again the story of the
shipwreck, as many there present had only heard it at second hand.  He
complied, and his vivid and picturesque narrative held his audience in
rapt attention.  When he had finished many were fairly carried away
with excitement, and a loud-voiced and indignant clamor arose
concerning the state of Crete, the action of the powers and matters of
like import.

"Silence! silence!" cried the mayor, rising to his feet and hammering
on the table.  "These are not matters for the May festival.  Our
village, moreover, is in no danger from the Turks.  We have always
dwelt quietly and peacefully behind our mountains, making our cheese,
harming no one, suffering no harm.  However that may be, this is not a
suitable occasion to discuss war and politics."

"True! true!" shouted his faithful constituency.

"I am to blame," said Michali, "for the manner in which I told the
story.  I will, therefore, make amends by singing a song, quite
suitable, I think, to the occasion.  Spiro, play me the accompaniment."

After the applause had died, revived, and died away several times like
flames that are brought to life by vagrant gusts of wind, Spiro, the
owner of the guitar, offered to sing.

"Mind that it's perfectly proper for the ears of the ladies," cautioned
Papa-Maleko, as the young man seated himself in a chair and prepared to
play.

"He has a fine voice," said Curtis in Greek, when Spiro had finished.

"O, Spiro is one of our most famous singers," replied the demarch.
"And now, Kyr' Yanne, it's your turn."

"He means you," said Michali in English.  "Yanne is the Greek for John.
He means to be very friendly, to show that you are one of us."

"I will sing you," replied Curtis, without the least hesitation, "a
Greek song that I have myself written," and turning to Michali, "I
can't quite explain that in Greek: it is an American college song that
I have translated into Greek.  I have read it over two or three times
to Panayota and she says she understands it.  Indeed, she has changed
it a little."  And he sang in a baritone voice of indifferent timbre,
but with great spirit, the following words to the tune of "The Man Who
Drinks His Whiskey Clear":

[Illustration: Greek song]

"Tell them," said Lindbohm to Michali, "that I cannot sing in Greek,
but that I desire to do my share and, with their permission, I will
sing a little song in my own language, appropriate, I assure you, to
the occasion."  Michali translated and there was no doubt as to the
reception of the proposition.  Lindbohm had not gone farther than the
first line before smothered "Ahs!" of admiration were heard.  He was a
singer.  His voice was mellow, pleading, tender, rich.  The song was
evidently something pathetic, for it brought tears to the eyes of the
impressionable Greeks.  The last, deep, vibrating note died upon a
couch of silence.  A long interval ensued, for to the Cretans it seemed
profane to reward such beautiful sound with a rude clatter of hands.
At length Panayota rose from her place, and walking straight up to
Lindbohm, laid a wreath of red roses and myrtle upon his brow.

They packed the mules and started home long before daylight.  The
procession wound down a rocky path and into the gray town in the silver
dawn, with a chill breeze blowing from the sea, and one great, white
star glowing in the heavens like a drop of dew.  The wreaths had been
threaded upon the roasting-spits, and the girls, two and two, carried
them.  Before sunrise a fresh wreath was hanging over the door of every
house in Ambellaki.



CHAPTER VII

A DEMAND, AND A COWARD

"Hello!" cried Lindbohm, "what's the hubbub?"

It was the morning of the second of May.  Curtis and his two friends
were sitting in the mayor's café, drinking muddy black coffee, served
in tiny cups.

Noisy voices, as of an increasing and excited throng, were audible.
Michali, the mayor and the Swede rushed to the door, but were almost
immediately swept back on the crest of an angry human wave.  Two or
three tall young shepherds, with long crooks in their left hands and
with hairy cloaks thrown over their shoulders, were flinging their
fists in the air and shouting hoarsely.  Papa-Maleko, fully as tall as
they, and looming above them by the height of his priest's hat, was
flourishing angrily a bit of letter paper, and evidently attempting to
out-yell them.  His head was thrown back and his great black beard,
jerked by his rapidly moving chin, twitched and danced upon his breast.
Every moment more men, women and children crowded into the café, until
it became thronged to suffocation.  Curtis seized the little table that
stood before him firmly with both hands and pulled it over his lame
foot.

The demarch, clambering upon a bench, shouted and gesticulated,
evidently for order.  His efforts, at first unavailing, at last
resulted in partial quiet, and he began to speak.  He finished and
stepped down.  Then one of the shepherds jumped upon the improvised
platform.  He was no orator, but with few and hesitating words, told
his story.  It was evidently a case where facts were eloquent, for his
voice was soon drowned in an inextinguishable roar, in the midst of
which Papa-Maleko sprang upon another bench and commenced to speak,
still shaking the bit of paper.  Silence again fell.  Curtis could
understand scarcely anything.  Each of the speakers talked so rapidly
that the words seemed all joined together into one word of interminable
length.  He only knew that he was listening to an outburst of wild,
crude eloquence--the eloquence of passion--the exultation of righteous
indignation.  When the priest had finished he tore the paper into
little bits, and threw them into the air with thumbs and fingers
extended like the ribs of a fan, the Greek gesture of a curse.

"Na!" he cried.

In the moment of silence, of evident perplexity, which followed, Curtis
arose, and, seizing Michali firmly by the shoulder, pulled him nearer.

"What in heaven's name is all this?" he asked.

"Bad, very bad," replied the Cretan.  "Kostakes Effendi, with two
hundred and fifty men, has two villages destroyed on other side of
mountain, and kill many people.  He write letter and say we send him
Panayota, the priest's daughter, for his harem, he go 'way.  If no, he
come through the pass, burn, kill."

Curtis sank upon the seat and stared dumbly at the broad back of the
villager just before him.  It expanded into the front of a whitewashed
cottage, with a laughing Greek girl standing beneath a porch of vines.
She had soft brown hair, large chestnut eyes and a low, broad forehead.
As he looked, a frightened expression crept into the eyes, and she
turned them upon him appealingly.

"By God, they shan't have her!" he cried aloud, smiting the table with
his fist.  Rising without thinking of his foot, he began to shout the
situation excitedly into Lindbohm's ear.  The latter listened with
apparent stolidity, but, making a thrust with the imaginary sword,
punched the broad back viciously with his fist.

Another of the shepherds mounted the bench.  Papa-Maleko surged through
the crowd and shook his fist at the speaker.  This last orator was
about forty years of age, sturdy and florid.  He had small, keen eyes
and a conciliatory manner.

"What does he say?" asked Lindbohm of Michali.

"He say, send the girl.  We have but little ammunition, few guns.
Kostakes Effendi have plenty men, plenty guns.  Better one suffer than
all.  Kostakes, he say is no genuine Turk anyway.  His mother was a
Greek--he probably marry the girl."

Then an unexpected thing happened.  The orator was having a visible
effect on a portion of his audience.  He was dispersing the patriotic
exaltation of the weaker minded, and was causing even the boldest to
feel the hopelessness of their condition.  At this critical moment the
Swede, who had grown deathly pale, gave way to frenzy.  He threw the
listening throng to right and left as easily as though he were walking
through a field of tall wheat.  Reaching the bench of the astonished
orator, he kicked it from under him.  The Cretan sprang to his feet and
drew his knife.  Lindbohm seized the uplifted wrist and twisted it
until the weapon fell to the floor.  Then he savagely hustled the
orator through the crowd, too astonished to interfere, to the door, the
entire throng surging into the open air after him.  Curtis forgot his
foot, but was sharply reminded of it, by putting it on the floor in his
eagerness to follow.  When he finally reached the door, Lindbohm was
bounding merrily after the escaping coward, beating him over the back
with his own staff.  Some of the Cretans were laughing and others were
shouting "Bravo!"

"He will go to join the Turks," said Michali to Curtis.

"That's where he ought to be," replied the American.



CHAPTER VIII

SMOKE BY DAY AND FIRE BY NIGHT

The peaceful village was transformed into a scene of tumult.  An
invisible thundercloud seemed hovering in the clear sky.  The
frightened children and the timid women, running about the streets,
reminded Curtis of the sudden motherward flurry of chickens, at the
shadow of the swooping hawk.  He was left alone in the deserted inn.
He dragged a bench to the open door and sat down.  Those rapid
preparations for defense were going on which suggest themselves
instinctively to people bred and reared in a land of strife.  A group
of sturdy mountaineers soon collected on the square, wearing
well-filled cartridge belts and carrying Gras rifles.  The throng grew,
and every new arrival was greeted affectionately by his first name,
"Bravo, Kyr' Yanne!" or "Bravo, Kyr' George!"  The demarch formed the
nucleus of the group, the red marks under his eyes blushing like new
cut slashes.

A rapid jingling of bells, and the sound as of animals running, were
heard, and a sentinel goat appeared on the edge of a distant rock.  He
cast an agitated glance back over his wethers, and slid down, his four
hoofs together, his back humped into a semicircle, his bucolic beard
thrust outward.  Others appeared and slid over, as though borne on the
crest of a torrent.  Then two tall shepherds were sketched for an
instant on a background of mountains and sky, swinging their crooked
staves.  But they, too, were caught by the invisible torrent and swept
into the town.  Boys were dispatched into the surrounding hills, and
within an hour the streets were filled with bleating flocks.  The group
of armed men grew to fifty.  Lindbohm and Michali had both been
provided with guns.  The Swede had been induced to discard the straw
hat as too conspicuous a mark, and to bind a dark handkerchief about
his head.  Curtis felt himself one of them, and yet knew that he was
not.

"If I had a gun, I might get up there among the rocks and do
something," he muttered.  "I can shoot just as well if I am lame, if I
could only get into position.  Pshaw!  What's the matter with me?  This
isn't my fight.  I'm a non-combatant, I am."

The priest came down, leading Panayota by the hand and carrying a
cross.  The girl was white, even to the lips, but there was a proud
smile on her face and her eyes were shining.  She wore a short Cretan
knife in her belt.  Papa-Maleko held aloft the cross and solemnly
blessed the waiting warriors, after which he presented the sacred
symbol to the lips of each in turn.  Lindbohm strode over to Panayota
and pulling the handkerchief from his head, bowed low, with his hand
upon his heart.

"Before they get you," he said, "they must yust take us all."

Curtis shouted "That's right!" but was not aware of the fact until the
little army turned and looked at him inquiringly.

"I'll make a fool of myself here yet," he said, sinking back on the
bench.

Michali translated Lindbohm's speech and a great shout of "Bravo!
bravo!" went up.

Lindbohm was in his element.

"There was," he understood, "no way for the enemy to get in from the
land side except through the pass.  They might approach with difficulty
from the seashore, but there was only one place where they could land.
Men were watching that, and a smoke by day or a fire by night would
warn the villagers.  Very good.  Fifty men might defend this pass
against two hundred and fifty, but they must lose no men and must make
every shot count.  How much ammunition had they?"

"Not much.  Only their belts full, and possibly as much again, curses
on the English!"

"Very well.  We must use it the more carefully.  We must not get
excited.  Kostakes Effendi cannot possibly reach the ravine before
nightfall--can he get through without a guide?"

"No," replied the demarch, "impossible."

Panayota spoke.  She said only two words, and she said them quietly,
though distinctly, but they fell like a thunderclap.

"Peter Ampates!"

This was the name of the cowardly shepherd whom Lindbohm had driven
from the town.

"Is there any way to build fires so as to light up narrow places in the
ravine?"

There were two or three such places where bonfires could be located
that would make the pass as light as day.  People standing behind the
rocks in positions of comparative safety could easily feed the flames
by tossing wood into them.

"Send out the boys and girls then to prepare these fires and to pile up
brushwood enough behind the rocks to keep them burning all night,"
commanded the Swede.  "Build one fire at the mouth of the pass--" but
here he was interrupted by a chorus of protest.  "Let the Turks get
into the pass and then we will kill them," cried his listeners.

"Very well, but see that they don't get through."

Papa-Maleko had a suggestion to make.  The Sphakiotes often got the
Turks into narrow defiles and rolled stones down upon their heads.
There were half a dozen precipitous places in the gorge where this
could be effectively done.

"Capital idea," assented Lindbohm.  "Let some more women go to those
places and pile up heaps of the biggest stones they can carry."
Lindbohm suggested that the men, who now numbered sixty, should take
their places near the mouth of the defile.  In a few brief words he
also laid the foundation of an effective commissariat.  The mayor's
brother, too old a man to fight, was instructed to superintend the
sending of food twice a day, in case the siege should be protracted,
and above all, water, which could not be found up among the rocks.
Women and boys were to act as carriers.

A messenger was sent to Korakes, an insurgent chief, who, with three
hundred men, had established his headquarters near the village of
Alikiano.

"We might be able to hold out for a week," said Lindbohm to Curtis,
"and Korakes will surely come to our aid.  At any rate, we must yust
take our chances."



CHAPTER IX

AWAITING THE SIGNAL

Curtis was left alone in the priest's house.  Papa-Maleko had gone up
the ravine.

"If one of my boys were wounded," he said, "and I were not there to
comfort him, God might forgive me, but I should never forgive myself."

The day passed very peacefully.  Curtis sat in the door of the
parsonage, with his bandaged foot upon a stool.  The children, usually
so noisy in the streets, were quiet, and the gossips were either gone
or were talking in whispers.  A woman sat in a doorway opposite holding
her babe, that squealed and shouted with delight at the familiarity of
a pet kid.  The mother smiled sadly, and then clasped the child to her
bosom, smothering it with affection.  The sudden purple twilight of the
orient fell, and a light breeze flew up from the sea, beating the
blossoms from the cherry and pear trees and scattering their faint,
delicious perfume.  The purple changed to black and the nightingales
began to sing.  The flocks had gone to sleep.  The antiphonous bleating
and the jangle of the bells were swallowed up in the darkness that was
silence, save where now and then a little lamb cried softly to its
mother across the meadows of dreamland or a bell tinkled musically.
There was a purring of many waters.

"By Jove, war's a queer thing," mused Curtis.  "It's hate and lust and
bigotry.  It's a big fiendish lie, and all the time a thousand voices
are preaching truth and love.  Here am I, sitting among the
nightingales, the cherry blossoms and the dreaming sheep, and a mile
from here all the men of the vicinity are trying to cut one another's
throats.  And I suppose I'd be with 'em if it wasn't for this blamed
foot.  These Cretans are plucky fellows.  By George, I glory in their
sand!  Had they been a lot of cowards they would have given up the
girl--but they wouldn't have got her while I could hold a gun!  Why,
she's a natural queen!  She'd grace any man's fireside, she would.
What beautiful eyes she has! what a mouth! what a carriage, and spirit,
too!  Talk about your ancient epics and your ancient heroines!  Why,
here's the Trojan war right over again, or the spirit of it.  We aren't
shy on men and women these days; we're shy on Homers.  And that girl,
that Panayota, she's as pure as snow.  She'd knife herself in a minute
before she'd allow herself to fall into the hands of the Turks.
Whatever else the boys do, I hope they'll pink that Kostakes chap.  I'd
like to pot him myself."

As the time wore on, Curtis found himself leaning forward in the
darkness, listening for the sound of distant shots.  He wondered if the
Turks would attack that night and if he could hear the shots if they
did.

He went to the door and called to an old man who was talking in a low
tone, but excitedly, to the woman across the way.  The babe had been
put to bed.  They both came running, and he asked them, framing his
sentence with much care:

"Has the fighting begun?  Can the guns be heard from here?"

They replied in concert, volubly and at great length.  Then they held a
conference and withdrew.

"That's the trouble with a foreign tongue," mused Curtis.  "You can
talk to them all right, but they talk so fast that you can't understand
what they say to you.  Now, I said it correctly," and he repeated the
sentence.

After about half an hour the old man returned, bringing some bread,
cheese, _halva_ and a glass of dark wine.  Curtis repeated the Greek
word for "thank you" half a dozen times, and then fell upon the food
voraciously.  "The more I see of these people, the better I like them,"
he muttered.  "Now, I call that thoughtful of the old man."

After he had finished eating he tried his foot, bearing his weight on
it until he could endure the pain no longer.

"I believe it's better," he soliloquized, and then cried
inconsequentially:

"By Jove!  I wonder if that old blockhead thought I was asking for
something to eat?  Panayota would have understood me in a minute.  Why,
she and I get along all right together in Greek.  But then, I mustn't
judge the rest of these people by her."

He wound up his watch at ten o'clock, and lay down upon the divan.

"There's going to be no fight to-night," he muttered.  "And, at any
rate, it wouldn't be my fight if there was."

He fell asleep, and dreamed of Panayota, gigantic in size, standing on
a cliff by a wan, heaving sea.  She was hurling jagged pieces of rock
down at a line of ant-like Turks, crawling far below.  The wind was
blowing her hair straight out from her forehead, and he could only see
her mouth and chin, but he knew it was Panayota.  He ran to help her,
when the demarch seized him to hold him back.  He awoke, and found that
an old man was shaking his arm and crying excitedly in Greek, "Fire!
fire!"

Curtis' first thought was that the house was burning.  He put his hand
on the old man's shoulder and jumped over to the door.  Half a dozen
people were standing in the moonlight, pointing toward the hills.  Two
women, one holding a very young babe in her arms, were crossing
themselves hysterically and calling on the name of the Virgin.  An old
man of eighty, whom Curtis had frequently seen bent nearly double and
walking with a cane, now stood erect, fingering the trigger of a rifle.
A stripling of twelve was shaking his fist toward a red eye of flame
that glowed among the rocks, high up and far away.



CHAPTER X

WAR IN EARNEST

That was one of Lindbohm's bonfires, sure enough.  Perhaps a battle was
going on at that moment.

"Mother of God, save my man!" cried the woman with the baby.  "Save
him, save him!"

"Mother of God, save my boy, my cypress tree, my Petro!" groaned the
old man.

"Curse the Turks!  May their fathers roast in hell!" shrieked the lad.
"Give me a gun, I'm old enough to shoot."

For three hours they stood watching the fire, as though they could
actually see what was taking place there.  At times they stood silent
for many minutes together, listening, listening for the sound of guns;
but they could hear nothing.  At last a shout was heard in the distance:

"Oo-hoo!"

"What is it?  What is it?" the watchers asked, hoarsely, looking at one
another with pale faces.

Again "Oo-hoo!  Oo-hoo!" nearer.

At last footsteps were heard, as of one running and stumbling among
loose rocks, and at length little Spiro Kaphtakes staggered up to the
group and stood panting before them.  His trousers were torn, and blood
was flowing from his legs.  The women and the old man stared at him
open-mouthed for a long minute, and then, pouncing upon him, began to
shake him.

"What is it? what news?"

"Is my Petro safe?"

"How goes it with my Yanne?"

Others ran up out of dark alleys and from the doorways of distant
houses, and soon twenty or more surrounded the poor boy, gesticulating,
screaming.  They could not wait for him to get his breath.  His tongue
lolled out like that of a Chinese idol, and he swallowed the air
instead of breathing, rolling his eyes about helplessly the while.  At
length, with a supreme effort, he gasped:

"Yanne!"

The woman with the babe reeled as though the earth were slipping from
beneath her-feet.  A neighbor caught the child and the mother fell
limply to the ground.  Then, while friends dashed water upon her face
and rubbed her hands, the boy talked rapidly, shrilly, flinging his
arms about with loose-elbowed gestures.  The woman opened her eyes and
two of the men helped her to her feet.  She tottered for a moment,
disheveling her hair with despairing hands and whispering hoarsely:

"Yanne!  Yanne!  What shall I do?  What shall I do?"

But suddenly the brave woman-soul asserted itself and her frail body
straightened, tense, defiant, ready for any effort.  Clasping the babe
to her breast she kissed it tenderly many times.  Holding it for a
moment at arm's length, she looked at it hungrily, and then turned her
eyes away.  A neighbor took the child.

"Come!" said the mother, and she ran lightly up the ravine, followed by
the boy.  The babe bleated "Mama! mama!" like a frightened lamb, but
the woman did not look back.  Hopping two or three steps from the
doorway, Curtis seized a woman by the arm.

"Killed?" he asked in Greek.

"Eh?"

"Killed?"

Unfortunately, everybody understood, and all commenced talking at once.

"I don't understand," shouted Curtis.  "Silence!  Killed? killed?"

"Silence!" cried the old man with the musket, raising his right hand in
a commanding gesture above the heads of the too-willing talkers.

"No," he replied to Curtis, slowly and distinctly, "not killed.  Badly
wounded."

"Thanks," replied the American.  "Thanks, thanks, I understand."

Just before sunrise Michali, with his leg broken, was brought in on a
donkey.



CHAPTER XI

AN AMATEUR SURGEON

They laid the wounded Cretan on the lounge in the parsonage.  He was
pale as death from loss of blood, and kept snapping at his under lip
with his teeth, but he did not groan.

"We are a pair of storks now," he said, smiling at Curtis, and then he
fainted away.  Curtis cut the trouser from the wounded leg.  A ball had
struck the shin.

"It's not badly splintered, old man," said the American, as Michali
opened his eyes again.  "I don't know anything about surgery, but I
should think the proper thing would be to wash it, support it with some
splints and bind it up tight.  Shall I try it?"

"What you need?" asked Michali.

"Some warm water, two or three straight sticks and a piece of cloth
that I can tear up into strips."

The wounded man called for the necessary articles and they were soon
brought.  Curtis washed the blood away carefully.

The end of a piece of bone pushed against the skin from beneath and
made a sharp protuberance.

"I'm awfully sorry, old man, but I've got to hurt you--like the devil,
I'm afraid."

"All right, my friend," replied Michali, "only do not be long."

"No, only a minute.  Here, lie on your back.  That's right.  Now take
hold of the sides of the lounge and hang on tight.  That'll help you.
I know it from having teeth filled.  Now, tell this old man to take
hold of your ankle so, with both hands, and pull, slowly, carefully,
till I say 'stop,' and not to commence pulling till I say 'now.'  You'd
better explain--your Greek is some better than mine."

Michali explained.

"Does he understand?"

"Perfectly."

Curtis put his hand about the broken shin in such a way that he could
push the fragment of bone into place.

"This can't be wrong," he reflected.  "At any rate, there's nothing
else to do."

Looking at the old man he nodded.

"Jesus!  Jesus!  Jesus!" gurgled Michali, as though the words were
being pulled from his throat with a hook.  There was so much agony in
them, they meant so much more than the screams of a weaker person would
have meant, that the amateur surgeon felt sick at his stomach and it
cost him a tremendous effort to see through a sort of blindness that
settled like a cloud before his eyes.  But the two ends of the bone
came together and he resolutely pushed the splinter into place.

Still holding the leg tightly he looked at Michali.  Great drops of
sweat were standing on the Cretan's face and his underlip was bleeding,
but he smiled bravely.

"All over," said Curtis.  "Now for the sticks and the strips."

Fortunately for the success of the operation the boy who had led the
mule was outside, giving an account of the progress of the battle.  He
proved a greater attraction even than the broken leg.  Curtis, finding
himself alone with his patient, shut and locked the door.

"Does it hurt you very much, old man?" he asked.  "I suppose the proper
thing now would be to give you something to put you to sleep.  Don't
you think you could sleep a little while anyway?"

"No, no, I cannot sleep.  It hurts me some, but not much--not too much."

Curtis sat quietly for some time in the semi-darkness of the room,
listening to the chatter of the boy outside, punctuated by the excited
exclamations of the listeners.  He glanced at the drawn face of
Michali, which had a ghastly hue in the wan light.  The wounded man's
eyes were open, but he made no sound.

"He's a plucky beggar," thought Curtis.  "I wonder if it would do him
any harm to talk?  I say, Michali," he asked aloud, "how is it going?
What are they doing up there?"

"They tried to come through about eleven o'clock--but how can I tell
you, since you do not the ravine know?  It begins wide on the other
side--a deep, steep valley, with many pine trees, and paths along the
sides.  Near the top of the mountain the ravine becomes narrow, between
walls of rock, what you call it?--perpendicular.  If the Turk ever gets
over the summit we are lost.  Very well--that devil Ampates!  Lindbohm
should have killed him!"

"Why, what did he do?"

"Without him the Turk never could have found the best path.  Well, we
have men on all the paths with dogs--good dogs, hear half a mile,
bark--O, like the devil!  We stay high up, most of us, where ravine is
narrow, so not to scatter out too much.  We hide behind the rocks on
both sides of the ravine, on the other side the mountain.  We listen
and listen, O, how we listen!  Nothing.  The wind in the pine trees.
For hours we listen.  My ears get very wide awake.  I think I hear the
wind among the stars.  Then, all at once, we sit up very straight,
holding our guns ready.  'Boo! boo! woo!'  It is old Spire's dog, down
below.  We sit very still.  Perhaps the dog made a mistake.  Perhaps he
bark at the moon.  But no.  'Bang!' goes old Spiro's gun.  Then we
know.  That was the signal--Ah, mother of God!"

No Greek can talk without violent gesticulations, that frequently bring
all the muscles of his body into play.  Michali forgot the leg in his
excitement, and gave a little jump that wrenched it slightly.

"Never mind, old man.  Don't talk any more--you'd better lie quiet,"
said Curtis.  "You drove 'em back, did you?"

"Twenty men went down to the mouth of the pass.  We stayed back the
narrow part to guard, high up, behind the rocks.  Pretty soon they
commence shooting and yelling.  It was moonlight there, you see, but
dark like--like--"

"Like a pocket," suggested Curtis.

"Like a pocket in the ravine, where we were.  They keep
shooting--'biff, bang, biff, bang'--then all at once--'r-r-r-r-r!' more
than a hundred guns at once.  'That's the Turks,' said Lindbohm.  'By
damn! they must not get through.  Michali, twenty men must come down
with me, twenty stay here.'  I pick out twenty, and down we go, and
hide.  Then the women light the fire.  Whoof! the light jumps up and
slashes open the ravine.  There they come, there come the Turks,
running, running.  The boys keep shooting from above, 'ping! ping!' but
they not hit much, straight down so.  One, two, three drop, but the
rest keep coming.  We lay our rifles across the rocks and take aim.
Lindbohm, he keep saying, very low, 'Not yet, not yet, steady, boys,
steady--'"

"Steady, boys, steady!" cried Curtis; "that's old Lindbohm--yes, yes?"

"My God!  I think the Turks get right on top of us, when 'bang!'
Lindbohm shoot right by my ear and blow a hole through a Turk.  Then we
all shoot, shoot, shoot, but every time one Turk die, two new ones come
around the corner.  And I think they get through, but the women pry off
big piece of rock.  O, most as big as this house, and it kill two
Turks.  Then the Turks turn and run--"

"Hurrah!" sobbed Curtis.

"Hurrah!" echoed Michali.  "We killed thirty-four damned Turks!"

"How many men did you lose?" asked Curtis.

"One, shoot through the head.  He high up and fall down into the
ravine.  Turks laugh very loud.  Another here, through the stomach.  He
die pretty soon--he with us.  His name Yanne.  And me, I get this
little wound in the leg.  How they hit my leg, I don't know."

As they were talking the church bell began to ring.



CHAPTER XII

"STILL I SAY UNTO YOU, COURAGE"

"Hello!  What's that for?" asked Curtis.

Michali shrugged his shoulders.  "Who knows?" he replied.

Curtis hopped to the door, unlocked it and looked out.  The church
stood across the road on the top of a big, flat rock.  Though small, it
boasted a Byzantine dome.  The bell hung in a frame erected over the
porch, and the rope was tied about a wooden pillar, to prevent its
being blown out of reach by the wind.

"Why, it's Papa-Maleko himself," cried the American.

The priest gave the rope two or three more decisive jerks, and then,
leaving the end dangling, started for the house.  His stately black
robe was rent down the front, and the wind blew the pieces out behind,
exposing his voluminous Cretan breeches and his yellow boots.  His long
hair had writhed loose from its fastenings and had fallen down his
back.  It was beautiful and reminded Curtis of Panayota.  His tall hat
was battered at the side, so that the roof looked as though it were
slipping off.  He spoke a few words to Michali, and then, opening the
trunk studded with brass nails, he took out and donned his sacerdotal
vestments, a sleeveless cloak with a cross in the middle of the back
and a richly embroidered stole.  Running his fingers through his long,
glossy hair and shaking it out as a lion shakes his mane, he strode
back to the little church, into which the people were already excitedly
pouring.

"It looks bad," said Michali; "he is about to ask for God's help."

"I'm going across," said Curtis.

"Can you walk so far?" asked Michali.

"O, yes; with this crutch I can get over there all right."

Though the church was crowded, there was absolute, solemn silence.
These simple people believed that they were in the very presence of
God.  Kindly hands seized Curtis and assisted him into one of the
high-backed, narrow seats ranged along the walls.  Two tall candles
threw a flickering light on a crude St. George and the Dragon, of
mammoth size, painted on the screen.  Every new comer kissed the face
of a florid virgin that looked up out of a gaudy frame, reposing on the
slanting top of a tall stand near the door.  Numerous _eikons_ in
gilded frames hung about the wall, and a silent throng of forgotten
saints, painted on the dome above, peered dimly down upon the
worshippers.  The windows were narrow, but enough sunlight straggled in
to give a ghostly look to the candles, lighted here and there.
Papa-Maleko's voice was musical and tender.  He commenced chanting in a
low, pleading tone, but as the glorious words of the litany gradually
took possession of his soul, the melodious, full-voweled Greek
syllables rolled more and more confidently from his tongue.  The poor,
frightened mothers and children of his flock raised their faces and
sniffed the wholesome incense that now pervaded the building.  The
spirit of the scene carried Curtis away.  He was awed and mysteriously
refreshed, as one who, in a noisome cavern, feels the cool, sweet air
blowing upon him from the darkness.  He found himself beating the arm
of his seat and chanting inaudibly, again and again, the sublime words,
"_Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott._"

"Ah, yes, God will protect us!  He is our very present help in time of
trouble."

And now, Papa-Maleko is blessing his flock, one by one.  Down the aisle
he passes, holding a little cross to the eager lips, speaking words of
comfort.

"Courage, courage, my children," he says; "when God is with us who can
be against us?  Christ is fighting for us and the Holy Virgin and all
the saints.  Courage, courage."

They seized his hand and kissed it.  Women sobbed in an exaltation of
faith.  Mothers pressed the cross to the lips and foreheads of their
wondering babes.

"The Virgin is our helper," they said.

"Christ and the Virgin be with you," responded the priest.

So he stood, his left hand lifted in blessing, his right extending the
cross; stately in his flowing robes, calm in the dignity of his exalted
message.

"Have courage, my children," he repeated, smiling benignly.  "It came
to me there in the mountains, like a voice from God.  'Ye are
Christians; why do ye not call upon the God of hosts?'"

"Papa-Maleko!"

In an instant the whole congregation had turned and were looking
towards the door.  There stood a tall shepherd with a rifle in his
hand.  His face was blackened with powder and he seemed covered with
blood.

"What is it? what is it?" shrieked a dozen voices.

"There is a terrible fight.  Loukas and Spiro are killed--"

The words of the priest rang out clear and strong:

"Our God is a very present help--courage, my children!"

"My left arm is broken.  The Turks got on top of the hill, where the
girls were, but the girls all jumped off, laughing.  All killed,
Paraskeve, Elene, Maria--"

The speaker's voice was drowned in a pandemonium of shrieks and sobs.

But again the priest was heard, reverently, distinctly, firmly, like
the voice of Christ calming the waters.

"They are with Christ in paradise.  Still I say unto you, courage.
Since God is with us who shall stand against us?"

"Panayota was with them, but her dress caught in a thorn bush, and
before she could tear herself loose the Turks had her."

Every eye in the church was riveted upon the priest.  The cross rattled
to the floor, and his arm dropped to his side.  His lips were white and
there was a terrible look in the large brown eyes.

"Panayota!  Panayota!" he called hoarsely.  His voice sounded far away
now.  Suddenly he tore off his sacred vestments and flung them in a
heap on the floor.  Striding to the wounded shepherd, he snatched the
gun from his hand.  Looking from the window, Curtis saw him running
toward the hills, his long hair streaming on the wind.  The flock
poured out after him and the American was sitting in the deserted house
of God, gazing at a pile of sacred robes and muttering stupidly:

"Panayota!  Panayota!"



CHAPTER XIII

THE BRAVE THING TO DO

"Hark!" said Curtis, who was sitting in the door of the parsonage.
"What's that?"

"I didn't hear anything," replied Michali.

"I did.  I believe it was a gun.  It was a faint throb in the air.
There it goes again.  There they go!"

No mistake was possible this time.

"They're coming through," said Michali, rising upon his elbow.  "The
Turks will be here pretty quick, now, I think."

"Hello," cried Curtis, "there comes the demarch.  There he goes into
that house.  Now he comes out--there he goes into another--what's up, I
wonder?  Here he comes!"

Kyr' Nikolaki looked in at the door.  His face was flabby with fatigue
and his under lids had drooped perceptibly, enlarging the red pits
beneath his eyes into semicircles.

"What is it? what is it?" asked Curtis, who had not clearly understood
the few hurried words addressed by the demarch to Michali.

"They're nearly out of cartridges.  They can't hold the pass over an
hour longer.  They're going to send the flocks and the women and
children down to the sea.  The village owns a lot of caiques there.
Then the men will retreat last, fighting, shooting all the time."

"But what are you quarreling about?"

"O, nothing.  Nothing at all."

It did not take the Ambellakians long to pack up.  The most treasured
belongings were thrown into blankets, which were rolled into bundles,
and then, away for the ravine and the sea!

A mother dashed by the house with a babe under her left arm and a
bundle over her right shoulder.  Another dragged two frightened
children along the stony street, clutching tight a tiny wrist with each
hand.  An aged couple doddered by, the man with feeble and palsied hand
striving to support the woman, who clung to a frame containing two
bridal wreaths.  From amid the faded orange blossoms smiled the
youthful eyes of a shy mountain girl and a stout _pallikari_--man's
work lasts so much better than man himself.

The confusion grew to frenzy.  A parrot-like chatter and screaming of
women filled the air.  A florid housewife stumbled and wheezed down the
street, carrying a pair of long-handled coffee stew pans.  She did not
know what they were, but had seized them through force of habit.
Another bore a cheap chromo, representing skin-clad hunters thrusting
spears into a number of colossal polar bears.  She fell and jabbed her
knee through the picture, but picked up the frame and ran on with that.
Scrips, or bags of pied and brightly-colored wool, of which two or more
are to be found in every Cretan peasant's house, were hanging from the
arms and shoulders of many of the fugitives.

At a burst of firing, seemingly more distinct and nearer than anything
that had preceded it, an old woman stopped, and fumblingly extracted a
silver mounted _eikon_ from her scrip.  After kissing it and making the
sign of the cross several times, she replaced it, and hurried on again.
A babe was laughing and clutching with glee at the disheveled locks of
its fleeing mother.  A girl of six hugged to imminent suffocation a
shapeless and wrinkled pup.

The demarch came in again, accompanied by Lindbohm and a stalwart
mountaineer.  The Swede had a gun in his left hand.  In the grime of
his powder-blackened face his eyes looked unnaturally blue.  But they
were no longer childlike.  It was rather the blue of an angry sea.

"Panayota's taken," he said to Curtis.

"I know it."

"There's nothing to be done now except to rally the men and rescue
her."  The Swede did not talk like a man in despair.  He seemed, on the
contrary, exalted by a great resolve.

"We will get together and fall upon Kostakes like a thunderbolt.  We'll
not let him go far.  And if he harms a hair of her head--"  He doubled
his ponderous fist and shook it.  Then he whirled about briskly and
gazed at Michali.

"We'll take you somehow," he said.  "We'll be as careful as we can.
They'll kill you if you stay here."

"I not go," replied Michali.  "I have said it to the demarch.  Take two
strong men to carry me.  They better be fighting.  Leave a gun with me.
When they find me I will kill two, three Turks.  Ha!  By God, I
surprise them!  So I die!"

"Come, no more of this foolishness," said Lindbohm.  "I take him on my
back, and the shepherd here take you," turning to Curtis.

But Curtis had been thinking very fast, and the bright image of his
beautiful and high-spirited hostess in the hands of the Turks had
sharpened his wits to an extraordinary degree.

"Look here, Lindbohm," he said, speaking very rapidly, "I'll stay here
and look out for Panayota.  They won't kill me, I'm a non-combatant,
and the Turks won't be so apt to abuse the girl when there's a
foreigner amongst them.  Help me to the wine cave.  I'll hide there
till the right moment and then I'll give myself up."

Lindbohm saluted.

"I would not have asked it," he said, "but it is the brave thing to do.
Ah, tell the officer you're a newspaper correspondent.  That's the
safest thing."

The firing had ceased entirely for several minutes.  Now rapid
footsteps were heard.  Looking toward the door Curtis saw a Cretan
shepherd fling by.  He was running low to the ground, carrying his gun
horizontally, like a man hunting--or being hunted.  Another and another
passed.

"We have five minutes now," said Lindbohm, holding out his arms to
Michali.  "They have given up the pass.  Come!  Must I take you, or
will you come on my back?"

"I come," replied Michali, "to the wine cave."

Lindbohm kneeled by the divan and Michali put his arms about his neck.
The Swede arose, wrenching from the Cretan's throat a groan that ended
in a low, sharp shriek.

Lindbohm strode from the door, followed by the demarch and the
shepherd, the last mentioned carrying Curtis.

Five or six shots, followed by a persistent fusillade, were heard.

"Now I think they come through," muttered Lindbohm, breaking into a
run.  Michali was breathing in tremulous, faint groans between set
teeth.  Then, mercifully, he fainted, and remained unconscious until
the Swede, panting with exertion, bounded through the arbor into the
dim café.

The demarch ran to his wine barrels, and, pulling an empty one around
parallel with the wall, smashed in its end with the butt of a musket,
using the weapon as though it were a battering ram.  Michali was shoved
into the barrel as tenderly as possible and the broken pieces were laid
in beside him.  Then they pushed the tun back into place, with the open
end against the wall.

"And you?" said Lindbohm, turning to Curtis, who was sitting upon the
table where the shepherd had dropped him.

"Save yourselves!" cried the American, pointing to the door.  A
shepherd, standing behind the platane tree, was aiming at something
above him.  He fired, and jerking the empty shell from his smoking
piece, reloaded.  Three Cretans darted to the rear of the café,
trailing blue ropes of smoke from the muzzles of their guns.  The man
behind the tree started after them, but stopped at a crash of musketry
and dropped his gun with a "ching" among the rocks.  His legs broke at
the knees as though some one had playfully jabbed them from behind.  As
he instinctively threw forward his arms to save himself from falling,
his elbows collapsed and his hands fell flopping at the wrist, like
penguin's wings.  He was dead before his body reached the ground.

Lindbohm snatched his musket from the table and ran from the café,
followed by the demarch and the shepherd.  Curtis slipped into a
corner, behind the huge oil crock.  The sound of the firing continued,
but no one came into the café.  Ten minutes, twenty minutes passed.
They seemed hours to the American.  Occasionally he heard a sput, sput
against the outside of the soft wall.  Once a "ftha," like the hissing
of a cat, was followed by a humming sound, as a bullet, slightly
flattened by the sand, sang in through the open door.

It did not occur to him that these things were dangerous.

"I must see what they are doing," he said.  "It's a good fight!  It's a
good fight!"

He slid around the smooth, cool crock and leaned out from his hiding
place.  He could see nothing but a strip of the open door and a huge
vine, sturdy as the trunk of a tree.  He jumped back just in time to
save himself.  The café was poured full of Turks, bringing Panayota and
her father.  An officer, young, slender and very handsome, dropped into
a chair and laid his unsheathed sword before him on the table.  The
soldiers fell respectfully back, leaving the girl and the priest
standing facing the officer.  Ampates slunk in the background with
Panayota's Cretan knife in his hand.  It was he who had led the way to
the women, by a round-about path.

A long conversation ensued, in which Kostakes spoke with insinuating
sweetness, smiling continually and occasionally twirling the ends of
his small, dark mustache.  His intentions with reference to Panayota
were honorable, he said.  The priest began his reply in a pleading tone
but ended with a fiery denunciation.  Once or twice a soldier stepped
threateningly towards him, but Kostakes waved the would-be murderer
back with a slight gesture or an almost imperceptible movement of the
head.  Panayota was magnificent.  She seemed at no moment to have any
doubt of herself.  She stood erect, pale, calm, contemptuous, until
near the end of the interview when, with an incredibly quick movement,
she snatched the sword from the table, and, turning the hilt towards
her father, threw back her head and closed her eyes.  The officer with
a loud cry sprang to his feet, tipping over the table, and a soldier
knocked the weapon harmlessly into the air.  All the Turks in the room
leaped upon Papa-Maleko, who fought like a cornered cat, wounding one,
two, three of his assailants.  The Turks did not dare shoot, for fear
of killing their officer or the girl.  Curtis came from his hiding
place, crying hoarsely in English:

"Panayota!  For God's sake!  For God's sake!  Panayota!" and then
"Don't shoot!  Don't shoot!  You'll kill Panayota!"

But it was no part of Kostakes' plan to kill Panayota's father in her
presence.  A Turk, cooler than the rest, reaching over the heads of his
comrades, dropped the butt of a rifle on the man's skull and he sank to
the ground.  Panayota fell on her knees beside him, fumbling in his
hair and sobbing, "Papa! papa!"

The heart has a little vocabulary of its own, which it has spoken from
the beginning of the world, the same for all peoples, unchanged in the
confusion of tongues.  Curtis was not noticed in the tumult until he
had forced his way into the officer's very presence, where he stood,
shaking his fist and shouting, still in his own tongue:

"This is a shame!  Do you hear me?  You're a scurvy blackguard to treat
a girl in that way.  If I had you alone about five minutes I'd show you
what I think of you!"

Two or three soldiers sprang forward, and a petty officer half drew his
sword, but Kostakes, astonished at hearing a language which he did not
understand, but which he surmised to be either German or English,
motioned them back.

"_Qui êtes vous, Monsieur, et que faites vous ici?_" he asked in the
French which he had learned at the high school at Canea.

"_Je suis Américan, correspondant du--du--_ New York Age," replied
Curtis.

"_Ah, charmé! charmé!  Comment dites vous en Anglais?_  Welcome.  _Je
suis Kostakes, Capitaine de Cavalerie, à votre service!_"



CHAPTER XIV

A CRITICAL MOMENT

Curtis did not find it easy to express his feelings in French to this
smiling officer with the straight, large nose, dazzling white teeth and
cordial manner, who wore an inverted red flower pot for a hat.  French
is no language for a self-respecting man to swear in, any way.
Besides, one does not, in Ollendorf, learn a vocabulary suitable to
critical occasions.  All Curtis could think of was "_lâche_," "_sacré
bleu_" and "_caramba_."  The first did not seem appropriate, the second
lost its force by translating itself in his mind into English and he
was not certain whether the last was French, Spanish or Italian, so he
asked:

"Is this lady a prisoner of war?"  And Kostakes answered:

"Monsieur is as gallant as he is brave.  I give you my word of honor
that neither the lady nor her father shall come to any harm.  Is that
sufficient?"

It had to be, so Curtis, being anything but a fool, replied:

"A gentleman's word of honor is always sufficient."

"And now," continued Kostakes, "being a non-combatant, you are at
perfect liberty to follow your own wishes.  Will you remain here or go
with us?  We shall be charmed, I assure you, charmed to have your
society."

"How long will you stay here?"

"About an hour.  Just long enough to collect any spoils of war and burn
the town."

"Burn the town?"

"Certainly, this is war, and war, even for a nation as highly civilized
as Turkey, consists in doing your enemy as much harm as possible."

Curtis glanced uneasily at the row of barrels in the cave.  Here was a
new dilemma.  Should he give up the brave Cretan and appeal to
Kostakes' manliness and chivalry?  He looked at the Turk shrewdly.
Somehow he did not have confidence in him.

Besides, Michali could understand French.  If he were conscious, he
could call out and give himself up, if he thought it were safe.

"I would stay here," thought Curtis, "and ask him to leave me the café
as a shelter.  But there's Panayota, I mustn't desert her."

The firing had ceased and the looting had begun.  Turks darted by the
door in the abandoned glee of destruction, or passed more slowly,
dragging bedticks, doors, pieces of furniture and other inflammable
articles, which they were casting upon a great bonfire in the square.
A wave of ribald laughter, that started somewhere in the distance and
ran nearer and louder, splashed into the open door.  A soldier danced
in with an _eikon_ of the Holy Virgin, and held it up for the guard to
spit upon.  Then he tossed it into the fire.  The priest, who was
sitting on the floor, supported by the kneeling Panayota, covered his
eyes with his hands and shuddered with horror.  The trellis for the
demarch's grape arbor came down with a crash and was wrenched loose
from the grip of the despairing vines.  The benches whereon the gossip
shepherds had sat and sipped their coffee, bore company in the fire
with the only rocking chair in the village, in which a very old lady
used to sway to and fro and sing lullabies of her forgotten childhood.
A soldier seized one of the tables within the café and tossed it
through the open door.  Then he dragged out a long bench, that scraped
and spluttered on the floor of hard beaten earth.  Two others braced
themselves between the wall and the oil crock.  An inspiration flashed
through Curtis' mind.

"Stop! stop!" he shouted.  "It is full of oil--the lady on the floor."

"_Mais, certainement_," cried Kostakes, and he sent the soldiers from
the room.

"The same argument will apply to the wine barrels," reflected Curtis.
"They would have been at them in a minute more."

"Does Monsieur elect to stay with us, or with the Greeks?" asked the
Captain.  "We must leave here immediately, before the Greeks return
with reinforcement and seize the ravine."

"If I might be permitted to go with you?  But I am lame; I have hurt my
foot."

"I regret greatly to hear it.  Not seriously, I hope?"

"No, I stepped on a--a--thorn," he did not know the French word for sea
urchin.

"I will give a horse--my own, if necessary.  I shall be charmed,
charmed.  And now, perhaps you will excuse me one moment while I
marshal the force?  Perhaps, also, you will look at the priest's head.
I regret that our surgeon was killed in the attack."

Rising, he said a few words in Greek to Panayota, bending deferentially
with his hand on his heart.  His tones were musical and earnest and
Curtis understood him almost perfectly.  He spoke high Greek very
distinctly.  He expressed regret for Papa-Maleko's hurt, and assured
the girl of his undying love.

"You are the cause of all this ruin, fair creature," he murmured
earnestly.  "My love for you brought me here.  Have no fears.  You
shall be treated like a queen.  Not a hair of your head nor of your
father's shall be harmed.  All I ask is a little love in return."

She made no reply.  She did not even look up.  Curtis felt a great
spasm of rage contract his heart, and a queer sickness swoop down upon
him.  He wanted to kill Kostakes, he did not know exactly why.  The man
certainly had a right to love the girl; it is any man's inalienable
right, established from the beginning of the world, to love any girl;
and the protestations of protection were exactly what Curtis wanted,
but somehow they made him sick and mad.  In the midst of all this
killing, why couldn't he do a little for himself?  Then Kostakes bent
lower, and attempted to lift Panayota's hands to his lips.  She threw
his arm from her with horror, and, shrinking back, with doubled fists,
looked at him with such an ague of open-mouthed, staring disgust as no
Duse or Bernhardt ever dreamed of.  Curtis felt almost friendly toward
Kostakes, who bowed solemnly, with hand upon heart, and strode from the
room.  Two sentinels took their places just inside the open door, and
closed the entrance with crossed bayonets.



CHAPTER XV

THE MAN IN THE BARREL

Curtis parted the long hair carefully on Papa-Maleko's head with his
fingers and looked for the wound.

"I ought to have been a doctor," he said to Panayota.

She smiled, a little, fleeting smile that was sadder than tears.  Her
hair, that had been wound into a great coil at the back of her head,
had slipped partly loose.  Even as she looked up at Curtis, the glossy
rope writhed like a living thing, and a massive loop dropped down upon
her temple.  Though her cheeks were pale, her lips were still
red--Curtis had never noticed until now how red and velvety they were.

"Is he badly hurt?" she asked.

Papa-Maleko's hair was clotted with blood, but Curtis made absolutely
sure that the skull was not fractured.

"No," he replied, "it is not broken."

"Thank God! thank God!" cried Panayota.

The priest put his hand on his daughter's shoulder and shuffled to his
feet.  He staggered a little and caught his head in his hands.

"O papa! papa!" cried the girl, throwing her arms about his neck.

"Bah!  I'm all right.  I was a little dizzy, that's all."

"Nothing broken.  Nothing broken," reiterated Curtis.  "The blood is
from the--" he did not know the word for skin, so he lifted up a little
tent on the back of his left hand with the finger and thumb of his
right.

"Nothing, nothing at all," said the priest.  Panayota turned her eyes
toward the smoky and cobwebbed rafters and crossed herself.  The steel
cross in the door leaped to a parallel of presented muskets, and
Kostakes Effendi reappeared.  Twirling his mustache, he gazed
perplexedly at the group within the café, but recovered himself in a
moment and advanced smiling.

"So his reverence is quite well again!  I am glad to see it, very glad.
I feared that his skull was fractured.  A musket butt is no plaything."

The Turk assisted Curtis to the door, and into a cavalry saddle on the
back of a respectable looking horse.

"It is the horse of my sous-lieutenant," explained Kostakes, "who
really prefers to walk--Lieutenant Gadben, Monsieur--but I have not the
honor of knowing your name."

"Curtis--"

"John Curtis, American journalist."

Half an inch of saber cut disfigured the lieutenant's left temple.
Curtis wondered at first glance how far it extended under the flower
pot hat.  The possessor of the cut was a grizzled man of fifty, with a
short pointed beard and a mustache, into the left side of which
cigarettes had burned a semicircular hole.  The Turkish troops were
drawn up in marching order, dirty, dust-stained, faded, some of them
shoeless, but there was something about them, something in the attitude
of the bodies and the obedient expectancy of the countenances, that
suggested the soldier.

Curtis was amazed at the amount of desolation which had been
accomplished in so short a time.  The ruffian hand of war had wrecked
the peaceful and idyllic town as a discontented child smites a
playhouse of blocks.  Everything combustible had been set on fire, and
even from the stone houses smoke was pouring.  Doors had been torn from
the hinges, windows smashed in, arbors pulled down.  The fire in the
square filled the nostrils with the familiar odor of burning olive oil.
The houses with their denuded window holes reminded Curtis of men whose
eyes had been ruthlessly gouged out.

Lieutenant Gadben brought the hilt of his sword to his forehead and
said something to the Captain in Turkish.  The latter glanced at his
little army and Curtis followed his eye.  The men involuntarily
straightened up, stiff as posts.

Turning in his saddle Curtis cast a furtive glance at Panayota.  She
was sitting on a mule, looking sadly to earth.  One white hand rested
caressingly on the wrist of her father, who stood by, holding to the
pommel of her high pack-saddle.  She had tied a handkerchief about his
wound.  He was a manly and appealing, albeit extraordinary figure, as
he stood there erect, his dark eyes flashing scorn and defiance.  His
billowy, spade-shaped beard covered his entire breast.  He wore no coat
and the enormous Cretan breeches and yellow boots seemed to take on
added proportions for that reason.  An empty cartridge belt, passed
under his right arm and over his left shoulder, bore strange
comradeship with the cross that hung from his neck.  His dark brown
hair, that any woman might have envied, fell quite to his waist and
rippled in the breeze.  Even as Curtis looked, Panayota gathered it in
her hands and hastily twisted it into a knot.  The Captain said a few
words to the Lieutenant, who, turning to the ranks, pointed to four of
the men nearest him and transmitted the order to them.  They saluted,
and stacking their muskets, ran into the café.  Instantly the huge oil
crock fell across the door, and breaking, gave up its inoffensive
golden contents.

"Monsieur, you will destroy the café!" cried Curtis in alarm.

Over went the bar with a sound of smashing glass.

"It will take but a moment," replied the Captain, apologetically.  The
tables and benches were now going into the pile in the middle of the
floor.

"The rascals should have saved the oil to pour on their bonfire,"
remarked Kostakes judicially.  The sound of dull blows caused the
Captain to bend and look in at the door.

"Hey! hey!" he shouted, and gave an order.  "I told them not to spill
the wine, but to roll the full barrels close to the fire," he explained
to Curtis.  "There is sure to be one or two of them filled with brandy,
and their loud explosion does more execution than half a dozen axes."

Michali's barrel was fourth from this end.

"Why the devil wasn't I born with some brains in my head?" groaned
Curtis, inwardly.  "Why can't you think of something, blockhead?"  He
was seized with an almost uncontrollable desire to butt his skull
against the stone wall of the café.  He knew that a happy thought would
save poor Michali, and he realized also that undue excitement on his
part would betray everything.  The picture of his friend being dragged
from his hiding place by his broken leg and thrust through with
bayonets, leaped before his imagination.

"Monsieur," he said, "I beg grace for the café.  Stop the soldiers one
moment and I will explain."

Kostakes called to the four vandals and they desisted.

"I beg of you," he said inquiringly to Curtis, "but pray be brief."

"I am the correspondent of the New York Age.  I am neither Greek nor
Turk, I assure you.  I wish to write glowing accounts of your
heroism--and your magnanimity.  I have a sentiment connected with the
café.  It is so beautiful.  I have written a little poem about it.  It
begins thus:

  "The Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold,
  And his cohorts were gleaming with purple and gold."


Curtis beat off the waltz time of the meter with great energy.

"It sounds very beautiful.  What a pity that I do not understand
English!  Monsieur's sentiment shall be respected.  He shall write for
his paper that Kostakes Effendi is not only a magnanimous soldier, but
a patron of letters."

The four vandals took their places again in the ranks.  Kostakes,
waving his sword theatrically, gave the order to march, and they were
off up the rocky, winding street, with the little army pattering
behind.  As they passed the parsonage Curtis noticed that it was in
ruins, but the festal wreath of yesterday hung brave and bright above
the blackened door.



CHAPTER XVI

TO NO AVAIL

The priest strode by his daughter's side, his hand still lying upon
hers.  As the cavalcade started he shuddered, and, looking at Panayota,
sobbed:

"Oh, my daughter!  Would to God you were in your grave beside your
mother!"

She put out her white arm, and laid it around his neck.

"I am my mother's child," she replied, piously, "I shall find death
somehow sooner than dishonor."

An occasional corpse lay in their path.  Curtis observed with pleasure
that red, woolen flower pots were beside two of the bodies, but a wave
of indignation and pity passed over him as his horse shied from a
corpulent body, bent horribly over a sharp backbone of rock.  The head
lolled downward, and the pupils of the eyes were rolled upward out of
sight.  There were two red pits beneath the eyes, that made the whites
look doubly ghastly.

Curtis lifted his hat.

"Why do you do that?" asked the Captain.

"Because he died like a brave man," replied the American, shuddering as
he thought of the jolly and hospitable demarch, who, like an heroic
captain of a sinking ship, had remained at his post of duty until
escape became impossible.

"I fear you like the Greeks better than you do the Turks," observed
Kostakes.  "You do not know us yet.  You will like us better when you
have been with us a few days."

Curtis was determined to be politic.  Only thus, he foresaw, could he
hope to be of any help to Panayota.

"He stayed behind to fight, when he might have escaped.  Had he been a
Turk, I should have taken off my hat just the same."

They were about to enter the ravine.  From their elevated position the
whole town was visible.  The American turned in his saddle and cast a
glance backward.  The smoke from a score of fires tumbled heavenward
until, commingling, it formed a somber roof above the town, supported
by trembling and bending pillars.  There was the distant sea--the very
spot where the "Holy Mary" had been sunk.  The little stream, whose
course they had followed to the ill-fated town, looked no larger than a
silver thread.  There was the square, ending in the ledge upon which he
had first seen Panayota with the water jug upon her shoulder.  It had
been but a short time ago, a few hours comparatively, and here she was
now, a captive being led away in all probability to a shameful fate.
Curtis seemed to have lived ages in the past few days, and yet their
whole history flashed through his mind during the brief moment of this
parting glance.  There was the girl, beautiful, desolate, defiant, pure
as snow; her hand rested on the shoulder of her father, in one of those
pitiful, yet sublime feminine caresses that cry "courage" when, even
God Himself seems to fail.  She was a Christian, the father a Christian
priest, and this was the nineteenth century of our blessed Lord, and
there, but a few miles away, lay the great battleships of the Christian
powers of Europe, defending the integrity of the Turkish empire!

Curtis gave such a violent start that he nearly fell out of his saddle.
Great heavens, was not that the café on fire?  The café, where he had
left hidden his comrade and friend, Michali, the brave, the boyish, the
noble-minded!

"Monsieur!" he cried, "the café!  It is burning!"

"Oh, I think not," replied Kostakes.

"But it is.  I can see it plainly; you must send people back to put it
out."

Kostakes took a pair of field glasses from the hands of an orderly,
and, calmly adjusting the focus, looked down the hill, while the little
army, escorting Panayota and her father, marched rapidly past, and were
swallowed up in the ravine.

"You are right," he said, "it is indeed the café."

"But you are not sending anybody back to put it out!"

"Monsieur could hardly ask me to do that much for sentiment.  Some of
my rascals must have eluded my vigilance.  They shall be punished."

Curtis whirled his horse around, urging it with his fists and his sound
foot, and started back toward the town.  But the way was steep and
rough, and the animal had not gone ten paces before two soldiers sprang
to its head and seized the bridle on each side.  Curtis kicked and
struck at them, and, suddenly overcome with a paroxysm of rage, swore
at them, but all to no avail.  They turned the horse around and led it
back to Kostakes.

"Monsieur's sentiment must be very strong," said the Captain, smiling
sweetly.

"There's a wounded man in that building.  A wounded man, I tell you,
and he'll burn up alive!"

Kostakes shrugged his shoulders.

"It cannot be helped," he replied, "in war, what is a man more or less?
But we must not delay.  _Allons_, Monsieur."

And he spurred his horse to a brisk walk, while a stout Turk, throwing
the bridle rein of Curtis' animal over his shoulder, trotted along
after.

The American looked back.

"I'll slip off and run to the café," he thought, "foot or no foot--damn
the foot, anyway!"  But another soldier with a loaded musket was
following close behind.  In his despair, the thought of his passport
occurred to him.  He pulled it from his pocket with feverish haste.  It
was badly damaged by water, but it held together and the big seal was
still there.  Urging his horse forward, he flourished the document in
Kostakes' face and shouted:

"I am an American citizen.  Do you see that?  Voilà!  If you do not let
me go you suffer for it."

But all to no avail.  He was hustled along by order of the smiling and
affable Kostakes, and the last thing his eyes rested upon as he plunged
into the ravine was a cloud of smoke pouring from the front door of the
demarch's café.



CHAPTER XVII

IN THE TRACK OF WAR

It did not require a trained eye to see that the Greeks had defended
themselves stubbornly and had inflicted much more injury than they had
suffered.  Curtis counted twenty-five dead Turks in the defile.  The
continual dread that his horse should step on them kept him in a state
of nervousness.  But the animal evidently was possessed of as keen
sensibilities as his temporary master, for he avoided the corpses with
the most patent aversion.  At a turn in the pass, behind a jutting
rock, lay two Greeks.  Curtis fancied this must have been the place
where Michali had received his wound.  It was evident that a
well-organized and desperate stand had been made here, because in the
narrowest part of the pass, only a few yards distant, lay seven Turks
in a heap.  Glancing back at the two dead Greeks, under the impression
that he recognized one of them, the American beheld a sight at once
noble and disgusting.  The priest had lingered and was leaning toward
his slain compatriots, making the sign of the cross with solemn
gestures, the while he cried in tones sorrowful and defiant.

"I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he
were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me
shall never die."

Panayota, her glorious eyes streaming with tears, her white hands
clasped to her bosom, was looking to heaven and silently praying.
Curtis felt his soul uplifted.  The narrow walls of the ravine changed
to the dim aisle of a cathedral; he seemed to hear a grand organ
pealing forth a funeral march.

"Death is swallowed up in victory.  O death, where is thy sting?  O
grave, where is thy victory?"

When he opened his eyes he found himself in hell.  Two or three Turks,
grinning with diabolical hate and derision, were spitting at the dead
Cretans.  The soldier directly behind Papa-Maleko was jabbing him in
the back viciously with the butt of his musket, while another touched
him playfully between the shoulders with the point of a bayonet.  The
priest shrank from the steel with a gasp of pain, but turned back as he
stumbled along chanting:

"Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through Jesus Christ,
our Lord, amen!"

A little farther on they came upon a sight which made Curtis reel in
his saddle--the bodies of the seven peasant girls who had leaped over
the cliff: Four lay together in a heap.  Of the remaining three, one
had fallen face down upon a rock, and her long hair, shaken loose,
rippled earthward from the white nape of her neck.  Another was
sleeping the last sleep peacefully, her head upon her outstretched arm,
a smile upon her lips; and still a third lay upon her back.  This one
seemed to have suffered, for there was a look of terror in the staring
eyes.  Again the priest lifted his voice.

"I am the resurrection and the life," but the solemn chant was this
time interrupted by a shriek from Panayota.  Curtis, who had resolutely
turned his face from the scene of fascinating horror, looked back
quickly at the sound.  A slender young girl had arisen upon her elbow,
and was stretching her hand imploringly toward the priest.  The hand
was brown and chubby, but the arm from which the flowing sleeve had
slipped away, was very white and shapely.  She was dying even then, but
the blessed words of her mother's faith and her mother's tongue had
pierced her swooning ears and she had paused at the very threshold of
death for the priest's benediction.  A Turkish soldier thrust her
through the neck with his bayonet, and her head dropped softly upon the
bosom of a dead fellow.

"But this is barbarous," cried Curtis.  "The civilized world shall know
of this.  Barbarous, I say, uncivilized--you an officer?  A gentleman?
Bah!"

"But Monsieur is too violent and hasty," replied Kostakes.
"Irregularities happen in all armies.  The man shall be punished."

"If he is to be shot," said the American, "please put me in the firing
squad!"

Emerging from the pass, they came to a steep, wooded ravine, and their
path led through an aisle of tall pine trees.  The feet of the soldiers
made no noise on the carpet of fallen spines.  They found four more
dead Turks and picked up two that were wounded.  After about an hour of
forced marching the ravine spread out into a beautiful sunlit valley,
whereon the new plowed ground lay in patches of rich brown, terra-cotta
and black loam.  The vines were just putting forth their pale green
sprouts.  The laborers had been surprised in the act of heaping conical
mounds about the roots, and an occasional discarded mattock betokened
hasty flight.  Poppies lifted everywhere their slender-stemmed, scarlet
beakers--such glasses in shape as are fit to hold the vintage of the
Rhine.  The little slopes were set thick with candelabras of the
ghostly asphodel, whose clusters of pale-pinkish, waxen flowers seemed
indeed to belong to regions where the dear sun is but a memory.
Scattering fruit trees, in the full revel and glory of their snowy
bloom called to each other with perfume.

It was some time after noon now, but they stopped neither to eat nor
rest.  Curtis' foot began to pain him fearfully, but he made no sign.
In the midst of such desolation, he felt pain to be a trivial thing.
The vines were here, but where were the toilers?  The pear trees were
in bloom, but where were the laughing children, the wives and maidens
with wine and bread for the midday feast?  Once they passed a
shock-headed boy of fourteen, or possibly younger, lying dead in a
vineyard, with his mattock beside him, and later in the day they came
upon a plow in the unfinished furrow.  One of the oxen was dead, and
the other great beast had struggled to his feet and stood patiently
beside the body of his mate.

After that their path led for a way through a field of half-grown
wheat.  Around nearly every shoot the sweet wild-pea had twined its
graceful spiral, bravely lifting the pretty blue of the flowers among
the pale green of the grain.  When the wind swept over the field it
looked like changeable silk.

Toward sunset they came within seeing distance of a white village on a
mountain side.  A vast olive orchard surrounded it and a dozen or more
dark green cypress trees pointed heavenward among the houses, like
spires.

"_Voilà_, Monsieur," cried Kostakes, gaily.  "There we shall rest
to-night, and shall find time to eat.  Are you hungry?"



CHAPTER XVIII

A DESERTED TOWN

An air of indescribable sadness hangs over a deserted town.  Any one
who has ever passed through a shepherd village, from which the
inhabitants have gone for the summer, expecting to return again when
the first snows of autumn drive them down from the mountains, has
experienced this feeling.  Here is the fountain, where the slender,
merry maidens met at sundown, to gossip and fill their water jars; here
is the café, where the old men gathered together under the platane tree
and smoked and dreamed of the long ago; here is a secret nook, guarded
by sweet poverty vines, where lovers held tryst in the fragrant
twilight.  But all is lonely, lonely.

The waters splash with a melancholy sound, the tables and chairs are
gone from under the platane tree and the lovers--let us hope they are
fled together.  The spirit of loneliness dwells where man has been and
is not--in a tenantless house, in the chamber of death, by the embers
of a camp fire in a vast wilderness.  As you follow the streets of a
deserted town you hear nothing but the splash, splash of the waters of
the fountain or the enquiring twitter of some little bird.  Perhaps a
cat, tamed more by solitude than by hunger, tiptoes to meet you,
purring with diplomatic fervor.  But these sounds do not break the
silence, they are its foil, its background.

Galata was deserted because its inhabitants had fled two days before
from the terrible Turk.  Thanks to a timely warning, most of the people
had succeeded in getting away, though an occasional corpse proved how
narrow had been the escape of the entire population from sudden death.

Kostakes and his little troop now marched through an olive orchard,
whose gnarled and venerable trunks had perhaps witnessed the cruelties
of the only oppressors worse than the Turk--the haughty, treacherous
and inhuman Venetians; they climbed a flight of steps cut in the
natural rock and followed a street paved with cobblestones from the
walls of partly ruined houses to the village square.

Here the men stacked arms and dispersed among the houses, looking for
temporary quarters.  Curtis could not help admiring the soldierly way
in which everything was done.  In ten minutes after their arrival the
square looked like a little Indian village filled with wigwams of
muskets, and sentries were pacing patiently up and down at all possible
places of approach.  This was evidently a town of considerable
importance, as some of the houses facing the square were two-storied,
and in one or two instances the projecting beams supporting the
balconies were of carved marble.  The fountain, too, that stood beneath
a disheveled willow, whose roots drank at the overflowing waters, was
of marble.

Three carven swans, the successive wonder of as many generations of
unkempt children, swam full-breasted from a square pedestal, each
hissing a clear, thin stream into a circular stone basin.  An
inscription informed posterity that the marble hero who sat atop of the
inevitable column was Petros Nikolaides, former mayor of Galata,--an
_euergetes_ of imperishable memory.  Mr. Nikolaides, with white goggle
eyes, looked over the house tops, the olives and cypresses and away to
the distant purple hills.  His chin was small and cloven with a deep
dimple and one side of his drooping mustache had been stoned away
twenty years ago by mischievous boys.

Panayota and her father were led to a respectable looking stone house
facing the fountain and two sentries were stationed before the door.

"Ah, well," said Kostakes amiably to Curtis, "we shall be quite
comfortable here, eh?  Will you do me the honor to dine with me?"

"I shall be delighted," replied the American.  "It is I who shall
receive the honor."

"No, no!  I protest, Monsieur.  It's quite the other way.  We'll have a
table set here under this tree.  Ah, we shall be very cozy.  _Voilà_!
I shall be able to offer you some fresh cheese.  If there's anything
left, trust to my rascals for finding it!"

A soldier was dragging a stuffed goat-skin from the door of a grocery.
At a sign from Kostakes, he set it on end, and ripped open the top with
his knife, disclosing the snowy contents.

"_Voilà_, Monsieur!  And no doubt we shall be able to find you some
excellent wine, though you must excuse me from joining you in that.
Mohammedans do not drink wine."

Kostakes leaped lightly to the ground, and gave his horse to an
orderly.  Kostakes was a handsome young fellow, almost boyish, and yet
with an insolent, aristocratic air.  His features seemed to combine
sensualism and cruelty with a certain refinement.  His lips were too
thick and too red, and his chin was square.  It was evident at a glance
that his under front teeth closed even with the uppers.  His nose was
his cruel, sensitive feature.  It came down straight from his forehead,
thin as a knifeblade, and the nostrils had a way of trembling when he
talked.  Curtis threw his good leg over the horse's mane, and sat,
woman fashion, eyeing the Turk.  He could not, somehow, reconcile this
gentlemanly, smiling young officer with the nightmare that continually
haunted him--Michali in the burning building, wounded and screaming
vainly for help.  There was a sort of ghostly relief in the reflection
that the poor fellow must have been over his sufferings long ago.  But
to burn to death!  Ugh!  How long does it take a man to burn to death?

"Does your foot pain you?" asked Kostakes, with genuine solicitude.
"If those barbarian Greeks had not shot my surgeon--very cruel people
the Greeks, especially the Cretan Greeks.  When you know them better
you will find that they are not half-civilized."

"If you will let one of your men help me dismount," said Curtis, "I
will take a wash.  I am glad to see that dinner is so nearly ready.  I
assure you I am half famished."

"One of my soldiers, Monsieur!  I would never permit such a thing.  I
will help you myself.  So--so!  Ah!  How is the foot?"

The American placed the wounded member on the ground and attempted to
bear his weight upon it.  To his surprise, it seemed much better.  But
a happy thought, an inspiration, took possession of him.  He seized the
leg tightly with his hands above the knee and sank upon the edge of the
water basin.

"I--I believe it's worse!" he groaned.

"Allah forbid!" cried the Turk.  "It is from the long ride.  When you
have rested it will be better.  Now let us wash and eat something--a
soldier's frugal meal."

Curtis attacked the repast with the zest of a ravenous appetite.  The
salt cheese, the brown bread and the country wine seemed to him viands
fit for the gods.  The orderly brought several heads of long Italian
lettuce, which he washed at the fountain and cut lengthwise.  They ate
it like asparagus or celery, dipping it in salt.  The American thought
it delicious, and rightly.  He would never again be able to relish the
pale, tasteless chips sold in America for lettuce at brigand prices.
He saw that Panayota and her father were also eating.

"Sensible girl," thought Curtis; "means to keep her strength up.  We'll
outwit these Turks yet."

He touched glasses with Kostakes, who was disposed to be convivial,
albeit in water.

"Do you know, Monsieur le Capitaine," Curtis said, "I cannot decide
which is the greater sensation--the pleasure of eating or the pain of
my foot.  Do you think, if blood poisoning should set in, you have
anybody here who could amputate it?"

"Now, Allah forbid!" cried the Turk again.  "By day after to-morrow we
shall reach a Mohammedan village, and there we shall find a doctor."



CHAPTER XIX

A BLOW IN THE DARK

Curtis shared the quarters of his amiable host, Kostakes Effendi, in
the front room of the grocery.  Panayota and her father slept next
door.  The American's bed consisted of blankets laid upon two tables,
placed side by side.  As the blankets had been prodigally bestowed he
found the couch sufficiently comfortable.  He lay on his back with his
arms under his head, gazing out into the moonlit square.  Despite the
fatigue and excitement of the day, he was not in the least sleepy.  The
Cretan night was too intense.  The moonlight, wherever it fell, was
passionately white, and the shadows of things were as black and
distinct as though sketched in charcoal.  Rows of soldiers wrapped in
their blankets were sleeping in the square.  Occasionally one sat up,
looked about, and then lay down again.  Once, when he was about to
drowse off, he was roused to consciousness by a faint mewing overhead,
and called softly:

"Kitty! kitty!"

The mewing ceased, for oriental cats are summoned by means of a whistle
between the teeth, similar to the sound made by a peanut roaster.

"That's the grocer's cat," mused Curtis.  "Poor animal, she doesn't
know what's happened.  She was asking me as plain as day, 'Do you know
where my folks are?'  Now, the dog probably went with the old man, but
cats are different--the cat and the mortgage stick to the old
homestead.  I must make a note of that.  Let's see.  How do the Greeks
call their felines?  'Ps-whs-whs.'  That's it.  Ps-whs-whs!"

A scrambling overhead, and a bolder "meouw!" rewarded the effort.
Pussy was between the tile roof and a covering of reeds that, nailed to
the rafters, answered the purpose of lath and plaster.

"Ps-whs-whs!"

"Meouw!" still more confidently, and the sound of cautious feet on dry
reeds.  Kostakes sat up on his table and rubbed his eyes.

"Are you awake, too, Monsieur?"

"Meouw!" said pussy again.

"Ah, the cat keeps you awake.  If I were a Greek, now, I should order
it killed, but we Turks are very merciful.  I will order the sentry to
drive it away."

"No, no, I beg of you.  I was holding a little conversation with it.  I
cannot sleep, my leg pains me so.  I fear that gangrene is setting in."

"Allah forbid!  It is from the fatigue.  We shall have a surgeon soon."
Kostakes was too good a soldier to keep awake.

"Good night again, Monsieur," he said, and turned over.

Outside the nightingales were calling each other from far, tremulous
distances.  The waters of the fountain splashed and gurgled
unceasingly.  Curtis' senses became more and more acute.  Sounds that
he could not hear a moment ago became audible now, without growing
louder.  He heard the plying of axes, and once the sound of a hammer,
followed by laughter.

"What the deuce are they up to?" he muttered.  "Are they building a
fortification of any kind?  I've got to do some tall thinking in the
morning.  Somehow or other I must get away with that girl.  But how?
how?  I'll make Kostakes believe I'm lamer than I really am, and he
won't watch me so close.  But I must have an opportunity.  No man can
do anything without an opportunity--and that isn't so bad, either.  I
must make a note of that in the morning.  Let's see, what's that other
thing I thought of?  H'm--hang it, I've forgotten it."

"Meouw!" said kitty.

"That's it, by Jove!  Cats and mortgages."

For fully an hour the American invented and discarded schemes for
escaping with Panayota.  He tried to think of passages in novels
describing the rescue of captive maidens by heroes like himself, but
fairy tales of enchanted carpets and wishing caps persisted in running
through his head, to the exclusion of more practical methods.

"I must watch for an opportunity," he exclaimed, aloud, bringing his
fist down upon the table.  "If I can't do any better I'll stick to
Kostakes till we get to Canea, and then I'll put the matter in the
hands of the English consul.  Hello!  What's that!"

He was sure he heard a dull, crushing blow, followed by a moan and the
sound of some one falling.  He listened for a long time, but heard
nothing more, and yet he was conscious of a sense of horror, as though
he had just awakened from a nightmare.  He rubbed his eyes and pinched
himself.

"I'm awake," he thought, "and yet I feel as though a murder had been
committed.  Lord, but I'm all haired up!  If this keeps on I shall turn
spiritualistic medium.  I wonder if I can see the folks at home?"  And
he shut his eyes and fixed his mind upon his father and mother.

"Let's see, now, what time of day is it in Boston?"

He was awakened from his reverie by the voice of Panayota, violent and
pleading, by turns; one moment mingled with sobs and the next angry.
She was demanding "Where is my father?" and asking for Kostakes.  The
latter sat up and listened for a moment.  Then hastily buckling on his
belt and throwing his cloak over his shoulders, he went out.  Curtis,
who was not undressed, followed him.  As he passed through the door,
one of the guards seized him, but he struck viciously at the soldier
and cried so angrily, "Let go of me or I'll punch you!" that the
Captain looked around and spoke two or three words sharply to the
guard, who released him.  Suddenly remembering that he was very lame,
he sat down upon the edge of the fountain.  Panayota was standing in
the door of her lodging, in the full moonlight.  Her attitude, her
voice, her face, were eloquent of terror and despair.  As soon as she
saw Kostakes she stretched her arms towards him and cried:

"Don't let them kill my father.  Bring him back to me, please, please!"

"Why, certainly, my own Panayota, You know that I would not harm you
nor any one belonging to you.  But where is your father?"

"He asked the guard to bring him a drink of water, and the guard told
him to come out and get it.  And he hasn't come back, I tell you; he
hasn't come back.  O, Mother of God, help! help!  Don't let them kill
him."

"I see it all," cried Kostakes; "he has escaped," and he questioned the
bystanding soldiers in Turkish.

"Yes, my Panayota.  He has taken advantage of my kindness.  I ordered
that he be not bound and that he be treated with every
consideration--for your sake, dear Panayota!"  Here his voice became
low and tender and he moved nearer.  The Turk was, indeed, a gallant
figure in the moonlight, leaning gracefully on his sword, the cape of
his long military cloak thrown back over his shoulder.

"You hear the men; they say that he darted away and that they ran after
him, but could not catch him.  Had it been anybody else, they would
have shot him down.  But I had ordered them not to injure him under any
circumstances.  This I did for you, my Panayota, because I love you.
It is you who--"

"Murderer!" screamed Panayota, leaning toward him with a look of pale
hate, the while she fixed him with a long accusing finger.
"Murderer--Oh, don't deny it!  Coward!  Liar!  You come to me red with
my father's blood and talk to me of love.  Apostate!  Renegade!  Where
is my father, eh?  You perjured Greek, where is my father?"

Stepping down from the door, majestic as a goddess, she advanced toward
Kostakes with arm extended.

He shrank slightly from her and looked uneasily to right and left, to
avoid her eye.

"But, my dear Panayota, you shouldn't give way to your temper like
that.  You wrong me, really you do.  I assure you, your good father has
escaped."

She dropped her arm heavily to her side.

"Yes," she replied, solemnly, "escaped from a world of murderers and
liars.  Gone where there is no more killing and burning; where there
are no Turks and no renegades--gone, Kostakes Effendi, where you must
meet him again, with the brand of Cain upon your brow!"

Turning, she walked back to the house, but stopped in the door and said:

"Do you know how those are punished in hell who renounce the religion
of Christ and become Turks?  And what torture awaits you, renegade and
murderer of a Christian priest?  Kill, kill, give up your life to deeds
of blood.  Never think of forgiveness.  There is no forgiveness for
such as you.  Your place in hell is already chosen.  They are even now
preparing the torments for you.  O God," and she raised her hands as
one praying, "may this man's deeds find him out, in this world and in
the next.  May he be haunted night and day for the rest of his life.
May he die a violent and shameful death, and his memory be held in
disgust.  May his soul go to the place of torment, and be tortured
forever.  For he has renounced the Son of God, and has slain his holy
minister!"

She disappeared within the house, and Curtis heard her sobbing in the
darkness, "Papa!  Papa!"

Kostakes filled the cup which hung from the pillar of the fountain by a
chain, and took a long drink.  He was trembling so that the tin vessel
rattled against his teeth.

"_Mon Dieu!_" he exclaimed, observing Curtis.  "Did you ever see
anything so unreasonable as a woman?  Here is her father run away, and
she accuses me of killing him, and consigns me to eternal torment.
Really, she has made me quite nervous.  If I were not innocent, I
should really fear her curses."  And he took another drink of the cool
water.

Curtis thought of the dull, crushing blow and the groan that he had
heard, and he involuntarily moved a little away from the handsome and
affable Kostakes, who had sat down by him on the rim of the basin.

"What do you keep the girl for, anyway?" he made bold to ask.  "You
surely would not force her to join your--your harem, against her
consent?"

Kostakes sighed.

"Monsieur," he said, "is a poet.  He will understand and sympathize
with me.  I love Panayota.  I would make her my sole wife in honorable
marriage.  I desire no other woman but her.  Bah!  What are other women
compared to her?  Is she not magnificent?  I could not help loving her,
even just now, when she was cursing me.  It is true that I am part
Greek by extraction, and that I was baptized into the Greek church, and
that I have become a Turk.  But what is religion compared with love?
Panayota is all the heaven I want.  I am willing to turn Greek again
and have a Christian wedding, if she would take me."

"Aren't you conducting your courtship in rather a violent manner?"
asked the American.  "In my country your conduct would be thought, to
say the least, irregular."

"Have you in English the proverb, 'All things are fair in love and
war?'"

"Certainly."

"Well, you see this is both love and war.  I have possession of
Panayota, and I mean to treat her so well that she shall love me.  Not
a hair of her head shall be touched until she marries me of her own
free will."

"But your wives?" asked Curtis.  "How many have you of them?"

The Captain shrugged his shoulders.

"Three," he replied.  "Dumpy, silly creatures.  A Mohammedan has not
much difficulty in getting rid of his wives."

Curtis arose.

"If you will help me to the house," he said, "I will try to get a
little sleep."

Kostakes sprang to his feet.

"Lean on my shoulder," he said.  "So, so, how is the leg?"

"Bad, very bad.  I'm really worried about it.  Do I bear down on you
too heavily?"



CHAPTER XX

FOUR AGAINST ONE

The sound of a reveille awoke Curtis, and he looked out into the dim,
dewy morning.  The wigwams of muskets had disappeared, and the little
army had already fallen in.  Several horses, saddled and bridled, stood
by the village fountain.  One, a young and sleek charger, was
impatiently pawing the earth and another was drinking.  Kostakes was
sitting at a table, giving some orders to his second in command, the
veteran with the scar.  A sword attached to a leather belt kept company
on the cloth with a pile of eggs, a loaf of bread and a pot of steaming
coffee.

"_Bon jour_," cried the Captain gaily, springing to his feet, as he
espied the American.  "How have you slept, and how is the foot?"

"I got a little sleep, despite the pain, but the foot seems no better.
I am getting very anxious to see that doctor of yours."

"To-morrow, I promise you without fail.  And now for breakfast, as we
must be off."

The Captain and his Lieutenant ran to the American, who put an arm
about the neck of each and hopped to the table, groaning
ostentatiously.  After the hurried breakfast, Panayota was summoned.
She came forth, pale as death, a beautiful, living statue of despair.
Kostakes offered to help her, but she repulsed him with loathing, and
climbed into her saddle as a refuge from his attentions.  There were
dark circles under her swollen eyes.  As she looked about her, as
though in hopeless search for the missing dear one, her features
trembled on the verge of tears.  Groaning:

"Ach, my God!"  She clasped her hands tightly in her lap and stared
into vacancy.  Her beautiful hair was disheveled and her long white
cuffs were wrinkled and soiled.  The chivalry in Curtis' nature
prompted him to speak and comfort her, although the words sounded
hollow and false to his own ear.

"Take comfort," he said, "your father is surely alive.  Believe me, he
has escaped."

She smiled sadly.

"You do not know the Turks," she replied.

"Did I not tell you, my darling?" cried Kostakes eagerly, "of course he
has escaped."

She did not even look at him, but murmured:

"Murderer! perjurer!"

Kostakes shrugged his shoulders, as who would say, "See!" and turning
to Curtis cried:

"But Monsieur speaks Greek famously!"

"Only a few words and those with much difficulty."

"_Mais non_!  On the contrary I find your Greek very perfect.  And now
_allons_!"

They pushed briskly up the narrow street, through a scene of utter
desolation.  The whirlwind of war had struck the town and wrecked it.
As they turned a corner a long-legged, half-grown fowl broke for cover
and tilted away, balancing its haste with awkward, half-fledged wings.
They came unexpectedly upon a little Orthodox church and a putrid odor
assailed Curtis' nostrils.  Their path led them around to the front
door.

"My God!" he gasped.  A sight had met his eyes that was destined to
thrill him with sickness and horror to the latest day of his life, as
often as the black phantom of its recollection should arise in his
mind.  The village priest, an old, gray-bearded man, had died about a
month before and had been buried in his robes.  There was the body,
hanging to its own church door, like the skin of a great black bat.
Nails had been driven through the clothing at the shoulders, and the
weight of the carcass, sinking down into the loose garment, had left it
pulled up above the head into the semblance of joints in a vampire's
wings.

From a bonfire of bones, half-decayed corpses and sacred _eikons_--the
last named gathered from the houses and the church--a disgusting odor
arose and filled the air.  The Turks broke forth in derisive laughter
as their eyes fell upon the horrid spectacle.

"My rascals have eluded my vigilance, I see," observed Kostakes, "and
have been having a little fun in their own way."

"Different nations have different ideas about a joke," gasped Curtis
through his handkerchief.

Emerging from the town, they picked their way through a large patch of
freshly felled olive trees.  The sound of the nocturnal chopping was
now explained.  About eleven o'clock they stopped for dinner in a
small, deserted hamlet.  During the progress of the meal a wounded
Bashi Bazouk rode into the town and up to the table where Curtis and
Kostakes were sitting.  The man wore a red turban, which gave to his
pallid face a tint similar to that of the underside of a toadstool.
His soft shirt had sagged into a little bagful of blood, that dripped
out like the whey from a sack of cottage cheese, upon his yellow sash
and blue breeches.  He said a few words with mouth wide open, as though
his under jaw had suddenly grown heavy, and then, reeling, was caught
by two soldiers, dragged from the saddle and carried into a hut.

"I must ask you to excuse me for several hours," said Kostakes, rising.
"My Bashi Bazouks, whom I left with certain commissions to execute, are
being defeated at Reveni, about an hour's march from here.  How fifty
Bashi Bazouks can find any difficulty with a little place like Reveni
is more than I can understand!  But I shall soon put a new face on
affairs when I arrive!"

"God help the poor people," prayed Curtis, inaudibly.

"I shall leave three of my men behind to look after your wants and
those of the young lady.  I shall explain to the one I leave with you
that he is your servant--that he must bring you anything you ask for.
He speaks Greek, so you will be able to get along with him."

Five minutes afterward Kostakes was riding away at the head of his
troop.  He turned once in the saddle and waved his hand to Curtis.  The
American picked up his hat from the table and swung it in the air.

"_Au revoir_, Kostakes," he cried.  "The devil confound you and your
whole crew of cutthroats--I wonder if this beggar speaks English?"

He glanced suspiciously at the tall, sallow-faced Turk who stood a
short distance away, leaning upon his musket.

"No, I guess not.  He'd give some sign if he did."

Two other Turks, with musket on shoulder, were pacing back and forth
before the door of the hut where Panayota was imprisoned.  Curtis could
feel his heart thumping against his breast.  He struck the place with
his doubled fist.

"Keep still, curse you," he muttered, "and let me think.  Here is the
opportunity--but how? how?"

The army was crawling along a white road that streamed like a ribbon
athwart the foot of a hill.  The ribbon fluttered as the dust rose in
the wind.  The bayonets twinkled in a dun cloud.

"Four against one," mused Curtis.  "Four Turks against one Yankee
trick--but how?"

Kostakes plunged into the hill and disappeared, and the blazing
bayonets, line after line, were extinguished in a billow of green
thyme.  The American looked back over his shoulder at the door of a
stone hut--the one into which the wounded Bashi Bazouk had been carried.

"Hey!" he called, "you there, hey!"

The Turk left ostensibly as Curtis' servant, but actually as his guard,
stepped briskly forward, and, taking in his own the American's extended
hand, pulled him to his feet.

"Help me into the house," said Curtis.  "Now bring me that bench."

The man complied, after which he went to the door, and, leaning against
the jamb, looked wistfully at his fellows.  At one end of the room was
a fireplace, filled with ashes and charred pieces of log.  It was a
primitive concern, the only vent for smoke being a hole in the roof
directly overhead.  Board platforms on each side the fireplace served
as couches for the family.  On one of these, flat on his back, lay the
wounded man.

"I wonder how badly he's hurt," mused Curtis.  "There isn't strength
enough left in him to put up a fight, but there's enough left to pull a
trigger if I tackle the other chap.  Hello, he's got the hiccoughs;
why, that's queer."

The man became quiet, and again Curtis relapsed into thought, to be
disturbed a second time by the sound of knocking on boards.  Looking
around, his eyes fell directly upon the eyes of the Bashi Bazouk, and
he felt as though he heard some one crying for help when no help was
near.  The man was resting upon his back and both elbows.  For a moment
those bloodshot, praying, awful eyes were fixed upon Curtis; then they
swept the dingy hut and went out like panes of glass when the light is
extinguished in a room.  The man fell backward, fluttered on the hard
planks and was still.  Curtis shuddered.

"That wasn't nice," he muttered, "but this is no time for sentiment."

The other Turk stood by the body of his dead comrade, looking down at
the ghastly, upturned face.  Curtis pinched the muscles of his own
right arm with the fingers and thumb of his left hand, and moved his
doubled fist tentatively up and down.

"Where shall I hit him?" he mused.  "In the chin or back of the ear?
He must never know what struck him."

Bending over, he untied the long strip of cloth about his foot and
unwound it.  Taking it in his hands he pulled several times on it, to
test its strength.

"Strong as a hemp rope.  You could hang a man with that."

It was Panayota's blue homespun.

"Hey!" he called to the Turk.  "You there.  Say, look at this foot of
mine, will you, and see what you think of it."

The man kneeled.  Curtis drew back his arm, but realized that he could
not get sufficient swing in a sitting posture.

"O, hold on a minute.  Let me try the foot on the ground and see how it
goes."

They rose to their feet together, and the unsuspecting soldier reeled
backward, stunned by a vicious punch on the temple.  But he did not
fall, and Curtis, maddened by a great fear lest he bungle his
opportunity, sprang forward and delivered a swinging, sledgehammer-like
blow upon his victim's ear, throwing into it the entire strength of his
body.  The Turk dropped like an ox under the butcher's hammer.  Then
Curtis hastily bound him, hand and foot, with Panayota's bandage, and,
tearing the lining from the man's coat, stuffed it down his throat.
Pulling up a plank from the platform by the fireplace, he thrust the
limp form out of sight and closed up the opening.

"I hope I didn't kill you," he muttered; "but, as old Lindbohm says,
'you must yust take your chances!'"

He walked once or twice the length of the hut.  The foot gave him
considerable pain, but it was possible to step on it.

"What'll I do with the other two?" he mused.

He picked up the gun lying on the floor and examined it.  It was a
Mauser and charged with five shells.  He peeped cautiously through the
doorway at Panayota's prison, concealing his body.  The two guards
appeared at the corner and looked curiously in his direction.

"Bah!  What a fool I am!" he thought, and hopped boldly into sight,
holding up his lame leg by passing his hand under it while he leaned
against the jamb.  The guards faced about and disappeared, putting the
house between themselves and Curtis on their backward march to the
other end of their beat.

"I could pot one of them, and then--but no, I might miss, and then I'd
be in a pretty mess.  And even if I did hit one, the other would have
me at a disadvantage."

There was a sound of kicking against the boards at the fireplace.  He
sprang to the spot, rifle in hand, and tore up the plank.  The man was
lying upon his back with his eyes open.  A great light broke in upon
Curtis--an inspiration.  He had thrust the Turk out of sight through
instinct.

"Pshaw!" he exclaimed, "they can't both leave Panayota.  If I call to
them, may be one will come out of curiosity, and I'll do this thing
right over again.  But what'll I tie him with?"

He cast his eyes about the room.  The inevitable chest, studded with
brass nails stood against the wall.  He opened it.

"Cleaned out, by Jove!"

He went again to his victim, and taking a large jackknife from his
pocket, deliberately opened it.  The man turned as white as veal, his
jaws worked convulsively on the gag as he made a vain effort to plead
for mercy, and a pitiful noise, a sort of gurgling bleat, sounded in
his throat.

"What the devil ails you?" asked Curtis.  "O--I see," and he added in
Greek:

"No kill.  Cut your clothes--see?"

[Illustration: The American thought of the Turk, and looked out]

And stooping, he slitted the Turk's sleeve from wrist to shoulder.
Following the seam around with the blade, he pulled away the large
rectangular piece of cloth.  Seizing the other sleeve, he was about to
slash into it, when he thought he heard footsteps among the stones and
gravel outside the hut.

"My God!" he cried, in a hoarse whisper, and jumped into the corner
beside the door, just as one of the other two Turks walked boldly into
the room.  Without a moment's thought Curtis brought the barrel of his
rifle down upon the man's head, who dropped his own gun and pitched
sprawling upon his face.  For fully a minute, which seemed an hour, the
American stood motionless, breathless, in the attitude which had
followed the blow.  Every muscle was set to knotted hardness; he held
the rifle in both hands, ready to throw it suddenly to his shoulder.
He did not breathe, and he listened so intently that he could hear his
own heart beating, and the breathing of the man at the fireplace.
Suddenly his muscles relaxed like an escaping spring, and he looked
nervously about for the detached sleeve.  Picking it up, he stooped
over the second Turk, when the latter moved his left arm several times
with the palm of the hand down, feebly suggesting an effort to rise.
Then the arm dropped and the hand beat a faint tattoo on the earthen
floor.  There was a great shiver of the whole body, a twitching of the
muscles, a queer rattle in the throat, and--silence.  Curtis stared
with open mouth and dilated eyes, and a great, inexplicable horror came
over him.  "Ah!" he gasped, and, dropping upon his knees, he ran his
fingers over the skull.  The hair was matted with blood, and a deep,
ragged-edged dent bore witness to the terrible force with which the
rifle barrel had fallen.

"I've killed a man," he whispered, in an awestruck voice, rising to his
feet.  Staring fixedly at the silent thing lying there before him, he
repeated the sentence over and over again:

"I've killed a man--I've killed a man!"

Then all at once a great change came over him, the joy and fierceness
of the lust for blood, and he laughed hysterically, gloating over the
dead man before him, as the victorious heroes used to do in the old
barbaric ages.

He thought of the other Turk, and looked out of the door just in time
to see him turn at the hither corner and disappear as he walked back on
his beat.  Curtis made a dash for an olive tree about eight rods
distant, and, skulking behind it, peeped between the high gnarled
roots.  When the guard had again appeared and turned back, he ran to a
rock and threw himself down behind it, instinctively using tactics by
which he had sometimes crept up on a diving duck.  He was now within
listening distance.  The next run brought him to the side of the house,
and he had just time to throw his gun to his shoulder when the guard
stepped into view.  He might have taken him prisoner, but the thought
did not occur to him.  He had tasted blood.  Panayota came to the door
and looked wonderingly out.  The American ran to her with the smoking
musket in his hand and seized her by the wrist.  It was the natural act
of the savage who has won his woman in fight.

"Come, Panayota!" he cried, "you are free.  They are all dead!"

And he started down the hill, pulling the girl with him.  She came
without a word.



CHAPTER XXI

"MY LIFE, I LOVE YOU"

Tied to a tree was one of those large black and tan mules that are
stronger than any horse and tough as steel.  This one, a pack animal,
had been left behind in charge of the three guards.  Curtis picked up
the clumsy pack saddle which lay near and threw it upon the beast's
back.  In his excitement he bungled the unfamiliar straps, but Panayota
assisted with nimble and experienced fingers.  He helped her to mount,
and was about to climb up, when he happened to think of the dead Turks'
ammunition.  Bringing a supply from the hut, he climbed up behind the
girl.  So they rode away, the fair Cretan sitting sidewise in the
saddle, the American astride behind her.  He passed an arm around her
waist to steady them both, and accelerated the animal's speed by
digging the butt of his musket into its side.  He could not use his
heels, because one foot was bare and still somewhat lame.  Panayota
guided the mule by flipping in its eyes, first on one side of the head
and then on the other, the end of the rope that was tied about its
neck.  As Curtis felt beneath his arm the firm but yielding form; as
the warm, strong heart throbbed against his hand, his madness became
complete.  He had killed two men for this girl, and she was worth it.
He was ferociously happy.  The very touch of her thrilled him.  He knew
now why he had killed the men--for the same reason that David had slain
Uriah.  Woman, gentle, refining, softening woman will, in an instant,
blot two thousand years of civilization out of a man's nature and turn
him back into a primitive savage.  He held her very tight, and she made
no resistance.  What trifles shape our destinies!  In the giddy
happiness of the moment he could not have framed an original Greek
sentence to save his soul, but as he leaned forward with his lips close
to the girl's ear, with his face partly buried in her hair, the refrain
of Byron's "Maid of Athens" sang itself in his brain, and he whispered
again and again, "_Zoe mou, sas agapo, zoe mou, sas agapo_."  She
shivered slightly the first time that he repeated the sentence, but she
did not repulse him.  At last, that first keen madness of contact with
her passed away, and he chattered excitedly as he urged on the ambling
mule: "Don't be afraid, Panayota; they'll never catch us.  I've got you
now, not Kostakes.  My life, I love you!  Go on, you dromedary, or I'll
punch a rib out of you!  They must kill me before they take you again."

After they had been about an hour on the road, they began to feel
uneasy.

"They must have got back by this time," thought Curtis.  "I wish I had
killed that other Turk, then they would have thought we were rescued,"
and he looked anxiously back over his shoulder.  The idea came to
Curtis of turning off sharply from the path and hiding in the hills,
but the mountains that enclosed the long valley looked forbidding.
They would certainly lose their way and perish of hunger.  Besides
there were Greeks ahead of them somewhere.  As they began to ascend
toward Galata, they could see for a long distance over the lovely plain
now stretched out before them in the rays of the afternoon sun.

"It'll be time to make a break for the woods," mused Curtis, "when I
see them coming."  Once a cloud of dust arose far behind and he caught
Panayota's arm.

"Look!" he cried.  "They're coming!"  But she replied:

"No, 'tis a whirlwind."

Curtis did not understand the word, but there was no mistaking the
speaking gesture which accompanied it.  The mule becoming tired,
Panayota slid to the ground, and, throwing the rope over her shoulder,
trotted on ahead.

"There's Galata!" she cried, pointing with level arm to the distant
village.

"How many hours?" asked Curtis.

"About two more."

"We shall get there after dark, then?"

"Certainly."

The sun was just setting behind a mountain, as it always does in the
interior of Crete.  Curtis turned in the saddle and took one last long
look.  The white road lay very plain on the side of the low ridge over
which they had come.  It was in shape like a giant letter S, one end of
which ended at the summit and the other among the green vineyards,
climbing half way up the slope.  The trees, and the deep water-ways and
castles of rock on the side of the hill were indistinguishable at that
distance, all blending into a general effect of soft color, but the top
of the hill was sketched against the sky as distinctly as a crayon
line, and on it every tree, nay, every shrub stood magnified in the
parting light.  There was something unnatural about this row of trees,
rope-walking on a curved line swaying in the sky.  As Curtis gazed at
the weird effect two giant horsemen balanced on the aerial rope for an
instant, and then lunged headforemost into the purple glow on the
hither side.  They were followed by row after row of mounted men, four
abreast, that appeared and disappeared in rapid succession.

"Look, Panayota," said Curtis quietly.  The girl went deadly white and
crossed herself.

"My little Virgin, help us," she prayed.  "The Bashi Bazouks!"

"They haven't got us yet.  How far away are they?"

"An hour, may be an hour and a half."

"We'll turn off into the hills when it's a little darker.  Can they see
us?"

"I think not," replied Panayota.  "We are now among the trees.  But
we'd better wait a little before we turn."

The Turkish troops had now become a long, dark quadrangle, sliding
slowly down the giant S.  The sun dropped behind the mountain, the
white letter became black, and the quadrangle disappeared.  The fleeing
man and woman were in the world's amethyst shadow.

"Shall we turn now, Panayota?" asked Curtis.  "I care not where, so we
go together."

For answer she turned and held up her hand.  He listened, but heard
nothing.

"Voices," said the girl, "and footsteps.  But I hear no more.  They are
moving stealthily."

"Is it more Turks, coming from in front?"

"God knows, but I think not."

She led the mule some distance to the side of the road into a clump of
green oleander.  Curtis slid to the ground and looked carefully to his
rifle.

"Panayota," he whispered, hurriedly, "they shall not take us while I
live.  I love you.  We may have but a few moments together.  Let me
take one kiss, the first, perhaps the last."

He put his arm about her, but she placed her hand against his breast
and pushed him from her, with a cautious "hist!"

The footsteps of many men could be heard plainly, not far up the road
now.

"If they would only speak," she muttered.

The words were hardly out of her mouth ere some one uttered a sharp and
hurried command in a suppressed tone.

"They are Greeks!" exclaimed the girl.  "Now Christ and the Virgin--"

But Curtis put his hand gently over her mouth, whispering:

"Hush!  Perhaps it is a ruse."

The moon had not yet arisen, and the darkness was like ink.  Some one
stumbled, and a musket fell "ching!" among the rocks.

"Take care!" said an imperious voice in Greek.

"That's Kyrios Lindbohm," whispered Panayota.  "I know his voice."

"Lindbohm don't know any Greek," replied her companion.

"He could not be in Crete one day without learning the word for 'take
care!'  I tell you it's Lindbohm.  Who that has ever heard that voice
could forget it?  I should know it," murmured the girl, "if I heard it
in my grave."

Curtis was too excited to take note of the singular remark.

The men were now passing them quite close and several of them were
conversing in low tones.  The girl leaned forward, listening.  Then
suddenly she called in a loud voice:

"_Patriotai_, where are you?"

Utter silence for several moments, broken at last by an inquiring "Eh?"
and the clicking of rifle locks.

"Lindbohm!"

"Curtis, by damn!  It's all right; come out!"

The American sprang eagerly forward, but stepped on a stone.  Then he
leaped on to the back of the mule and Panayota led the animal out into
the highway and into the midst of a goodly company of armed insurgents,
who forgot all discipline, and broke forth into a volley of questions.

The American and the Lieutenant were shaking each other by the hand
through it all.

"I saved her!" cried Curtis.  "I killed two Turks and did up another.
Then we ran away on this mule.  I cracked one of 'em on the head and
shot another.  I smashed one with my fist and took his gun away from
him.  Then I--"

"So you saved Panayota?"

"Yes, I saved her, I tell you.  I--"

"Thank God! thank God!" cried Lindbohm, throwing his arms about Curtis'
neck.

"Where is my father?" asked Panayota, in a shrill voice that pierced
the bubble of questions, suddenly, awkwardly.

"Her father is dead," said the Lieutenant huskily.  "We found his body.
She must not know.  Poor girl!  Poor girl!"

"I blew a hole right through the last one and then we departed.  We got
here just in time, old man, for they're right behind us--the whole
shooting-match."

"How many?"

"All the Bashi Bazouks--about fifty of 'em."

"Good," cried Lindbohm, "we'll ambush 'em.  We'll give 'em hell!"

"We'll settle 'em, Lindbohm.  We'll lick 'em out of their boots.  How
many men have you got?"

"Thirty."

"Why, it's a cinch.  We sha'n't let one of them get away alive.  We'll
shoot down the Bashi Bazouks and ride away on their horses."

When, half an hour later, the great, tranquil, yellow moon looked down
upon the town of Galata from a neighboring mountain top, all was
seemingly peaceful in its desolate streets.  Save the dreadful figure
nailed to the church door, not a human form was to be seen.  And yet
death and hate crouched there in the shadows, for Lindbohm and his
thirty men lurked in the ruined houses that surrounded the square, and
whosoever looked closely might have seen here and there the dull gleam
of a rifle barrel; but even then he would have suspected nothing, for
the moonlight plays strange and fantastic tricks.  Curtis and Lindbohm
kneeled side by side at the same window, and Panayota sat on the floor
in a dark corner, clasping her knees with her hands and moaning gently,
"O, my father, my little father!"



CHAPTER XXII

THE AMBUSH

Interminably they waited, listening for the sound of galloping horses.
Curtis' extreme tension passed away, and the situation suddenly assumed
an unreal aspect in his thoughts.  His knees began to feel bruised on
the hard floor.  He was strongly tempted to rise up and ease them.

"Pshaw!" he said to Lindbohm, "I don't believe they're coming, after
all.  I guess I'll go out and take a look."

"Keep still!" replied the Swede.  "Don't you stir on your life, and
don't you speak a word aloud," and a moment after he added more
pleasantly:

"They may send scouts on foot."

Panayota had fallen asleep.  They could hear her deep but troubled
breathing, as her frame continued to vibrate with the sorrow that for
the moment she had mercifully forgotten.

"Michali was burned alive," said Curtis, in a low tone, after another
stretch of waiting, during which his knees had become the most
important portions of his entire anatomy.

"I tried to save him, but Kostakes--"

Lindbohm seized him impatiently by the arm and whispered:

"Tst, be quiet, can't you?  Do you want to spoil the whole thing?  No,
we rescued Michali."

Curtis worked himself to his feet, and sat upon his heels.  The
nightingales were singing in full chorus, and he wondered how anybody
could hear anything in that infernal racket.  The water in the fountain
of Petros Nikolaides hissed and gurgled, and crashed like the waters of
Lodore.

Curtis' new attitude became more painful than a spiked chair, and he
slid back on his knees again.  He sat down for awhile, but the desire
to peep over the window sill was irresistible.  Finally, just as his
knees had become boils, the Swede touched him upon the shoulder, and he
forgot them.  The screeching of the nightingales, the hurtling of the
fountain, were swallowed up in the dull and distant pounding of horses'
hoofs.

"They're yust coming right into it," said Lindbohm, in his natural
tone.  "Kostakes, he's too mad to be careful.  Have you got a bayonet?"

"No, I forgot to take it.  He was wearing it for a sword."

"Here, take this Gras and give me the Mauser.  You'll yust get all
tangled up with that.  The Gras is simpler, and the bayonet, in the
hands of a man who doesn't know how to use it, is a terrible weapon.
Give me your ammunition.  Thanks.  Here's my cartridge belt."

Lindbohm was gay, with the gaiety of a child.  He was about to play his
favorite game, to indulge the innocent impulse of boys and of untutored
men.  The clatter came nearer, grew louder.

"Do you know the orders?" he asked.

"No."

"Each man is to pick out his mark and aim, but nobody is to shoot until
I do.  I shall take Kostakes."

"I, too, to make sure of him.  He needs killing."

"All right--now, ready!"

The galloping changed into the chug! chug! chug! of men sitting upon
trotting horses.  The moon had risen and had filled the trees and about
half of the square with its silver snow.  The battered features of
Petros Nikolaides, the benefactor, were those of a frozen corpse.  The
horses could now be heard plainly staggering through the narrow, stony
street.  Now was the time when Lindbohm was cool.  No detail escaped
him.

"Your gun is already cocked," he whispered.  "Aim just above the
saddle--shoot when I say 'three.'"

"I'll hit him," replied Curtis.  "I'm an old squirrel hunter, I am."

Kostakes trotted into the square, and, jerking his horse nearly to its
haunches, whirled about to face his Lieutenant and the Bashi Bazouks
who debouched from the mouth of the street in twos and threes--a wild,
motley, terrible throng.  Curtis aimed first at the Captain's breast
and then at his head.  The intended victim was evidently in a vile
temper, for he kept twitching viciously at the bridle rein, causing his
tired animal to rear and throw its head in the air.  The American was
one moment aiming at the horse's neck and then at the marble corpse of
Petros Nikolaides.

"Will Lindbohm never shoot?" he asked himself every time that the
Turk's form swung squarely in line with his gun.  The Bashi Bazouks
continued to pour into the square, sitting very straight, resting their
short guns over their shoulders or on the necks of their horses.

"Hup!" cried Kostakes, flourishing his sword in the moonlight, and
giving an order in Turkish.  The men began to fall into line, eight
abreast.

"One!" whispered Lindbohm.  Curtis glued his cheek to the rifle barrel,
and aimed full at the breast of Kostakes, who was now sitting quietly
upon his horse.

"I've got you, I've got you," he said in thought.

"Two!" he tightened his finger on the trigger, when "bang!" went the
gun of an impatient Greek on the other side of the square, and one of
the Bashi Bazouks pitched from his saddle.  Lindbohm sprang to his
feet, with a roar of rage that was cut in two by the terrific clatter
of the rifles that were now spitting fire from more than a dozen doors
and windows.  One sound had wailed out between the first shot and the
volley, as vivid as a lightning flash between thunder claps,--Panayota,
fatigued beyond human endurance, had fallen asleep as soon as she found
herself again in the hands of her friends, and the sound of the gun,
breaking in upon her overwrought nerves, had drawn from her a long
piercing shriek.

There was now a maelstrom of horses in the square, and a pandemonium of
yelling men.  Curtis could not distinguish Kostakes.  He had, in fact,
forgotten all about him.  He stood in the door laughing and swearing
and shooting into the whirling, plunging, snorting, yelling, scrambling
mêlée.  But the maelstrom period was brief, for there were three
streets that gave into the square, and the outside horses broke for
safety.  They were hurled like mud from a wagon wheel into these exits,
and went clattering away, with or without their riders, until at last
only one maddened beast was left, dragging over the ground a Turk whose
foot was caught in the stirrup.  The terror of the animal was something
pitiful to see.  He ran blindly into a house.  He plunged into the
fountain, slipped, fell and scrambled to his feet again.  His master's
clothing caught on a sharp rock, and he left the saddle behind, with
the dead Turk still attached.  Then he found the opening of a street,
and disappeared with a mad clatter of hoofs.  The Greeks darted from
the houses and scurried after the Turks, loading and firing as they
ran.  Curtis shot into a last tangle of horses, wedged together at the
mouth of a lane.  They slipped loose and plunged through, scraping off
one of the Bashi Bazouks, who bounded to his feet uninjured, and,
whipping out a long, curved sword, came toward Curtis.  He was a big
man, bare-headed and hairy as an ape.  Curtis threw the Gras to his
shoulder and pulled the trigger.  He had forgotten to reload it.  The
Turk laughed.  Curtis lowered the gun, and, presenting the bayonet,
tiptoed about his foe in a semi-circle.  The Turk revolved as on a
pivot, squat, alert, weapon deftly advanced.  Suddenly, to Curtis'
surprise, his enemy turned and ran.  The American bounded after, and
then, for the first time during the fray, he remembered that he had a
sore foot, and that that foot was bare.  Panayota came to him.  She
carried a rifle that she had picked up in the square.

"Bravo!  Panayota!" said Curtis.  "Two to one frightened him away.  But
why didn't you shoot?"

"I wanted to get close and make sure," replied the girl, "and then,
when he ran, you were in the way."

Slipping a fresh shell into his Gras, Curtis picked his way through the
stones toward a distant spot where he heard continued firing.  Panayota
attempted to follow, but he stopped her with a wave of the hand.

"I'll be right back," he shouted, "as soon as I get another shot.
You're safe here."

He left her standing in the deserted square, among the dead Turks.  The
moon shone full upon her there, leaning toward him, holding her gun by
the extreme muzzle, the butt trailing behind on the ground.  Her hair
blew into her eyes, and she tossed a great brush of it over her
shoulder.  A wounded horse rose to its haunches near her and threw its
fore feet dangerously about.  Then it pitched over on its side with a
groan.

Curtis had gone some distance up the narrow street, when he heard again
the clatter of horses' hoofs.  He stepped behind a tree that grew close
against a wall and waited.  A Greek ran by and darted under a house.
He was followed by the Bashi Bazouk, who had run from Panayota's rifle.
He was trotting by the side of a mounted comrade, holding to the
stirrup-strap.  One, two, three, four, five, horsemen followed.  The
firing continued in the outskirts of the town.

"My God!  Panayota!"  It flashed over Curtis in a moment.  The Greeks
had scattered too much and the Turks, getting together in small
parties, were returning to the attack.  While he was still in the
crooked lane, making frantic haste toward Panayota, he heard a shot in
the square.  His heart stood still for one moment with terror, which
instantly gave way to fury.  A woman's scream, mingled with brutal
laughter, told him that the girl had again been made a prisoner.  When
he at last reached the square, the six Bashi Bazouks had gone, taking
her with them.



CHAPTER XXIII

A FRIEND WORTH HAVING

Curtis sat down upon the edge of the fountain.  There was a faint smell
of powder in the air.  He heard a shot now and again in the distance.
A bugle sounded.  Fortunately no more of the Bashi Bazouks passed
through the square.

"Gone!" said Curtis; "gone!"

The Greeks began to come in, talking excitedly and gesticulating like
madmen.  They seemed to be in high spirits.  They gathered about
Curtis, and, pointing at the dead bodies, all talked at once.  They
enraged him.  He could hardly resist the desire to jump up and lay
about among them with the butt of his musket.  Lindbohm pushed his way
through the crowd.  Holding his gun in his left hand, he brought the
right to his forehead, saluting gaily with the imaginary sword.

"Well, my friend, we had a little fun with them, didn't we?  The
ambush, however, would have been more of a success had the men obeyed
my orders.  If I had my way I would yust shoot a soldier who disobeyed
orders.  Still, we taught them a lesson.  We have killed, let me see
how many, one two, three--

"Hell!" interrupted Curtis, rising suddenly.

"What!" said Lindbohm, turning upon him, "what's the matter?"

"She's gone."

Lindbohm clutched at the shoulder of a bystanding insurgent.

"Panayota!" he gasped.

"Huh!  Where were you?  Eh?  Where were you?  Here they came, six of
'em, right down here, and the girl and I all alone.  What could I do,
one against six?  You're a healthy soldier, you are--scatter all over
the country!  Lindbohm, you're to blame for this.  You've got to answer
to me--somebody's got to settle for this."  Flinging his rifle down
among the stones, he turned his back contemptuously and limped toward
one of the houses.  A kindly insurgent sprang to his assistance.

"Right up through there they went, carrying her with them.  Four men
could have stopped 'em.  Where were you, damn you?" and, pushing the
insurgent from him, he shook his fist in his face.  "Get out of my
sight, get out!" he cried.

Lindbohm was sitting on the side of the basin, his face buried in his
hands.  He was sobbing and talking to himself in Swedish.  Those who
stood near heard the word "Panayota."  Reason returned to Curtis as
speedily as he had lost it.  His blind rage passed away, and in its
place came a resolve to recover Panayota and to settle with Kostakes
according to the present debt and all that might accrue.  The spirit of
Crete had taken thorough possession of him.  He had been wronged by the
Turk, he lived only for vengeance.  His eye fell upon a Cretan in the
act of pulling a boot from a dead Turk's foot.  He was tugging with all
his might.  All at once he flew over backwards with the boot in his
hands.  His comrades broke into laughter.  Lindbohm did not look up.

"They don't feel this thing about Panayota as badly as Lindbohm and I
do," soliloquized Curtis.  "Poor old Lindbohm!  I'll tell him I'm in
love with Panayota, and then he'll see how foolish it is for him to
take on so.  He ought to stand it if I can."

The insurgent detached the other boot and brought the pair to him.

"Will those fit?" he asked.  "Good boots."

Curtis took the boots and went over to the drinking fountain.  He
patted Lindbohm on the back.  "Cheer up, old man," he said.  "They
can't get away from us.  There's another day coming."

It was impossible to get the boot upon the sore foot, so one of the
insurgents cut it off at the ankle and slit it down nearly to the toe.
Then he punched a number of holes, and Curtis was able, by means of a
string, to lace on this improvised shoe.  As the leather was soft, it
proved very comfortable.  Lindbohm staggered to his feet, stretched
himself like a man awakening from sleep, and ran his finger through his
blonde pompadour.

"That's right, old man," said Curtis; "we must brace up.  Of course,
you feel bad because we sort of fumbled the thing.  But consider what
my feelings must be.  Lindbohm, I love that girl."

The Swede started violently.

"You have made court to her?" he asked.

"Why, I told her that I loved her--yes, yes, several times."

"And, pardon me, she said that she loved you?"

"Now that you ask me, I don't believe she did.  No, she didn't.  But I
didn't have much time, you see."

Lindbohm held out his big, soft hand, and, as Curtis grasped it, said:

"We will not turn back; we will find Panayota.  And if Kostakes has
insulted her we will punish him, though he flee to the ends of the
earth."

"Old man, you're a friend worth having," cried Curtis, wringing the
hand which he held.  "I'll never forget this till the last day of my
life."

One of the insurgents, a former resident of Canea, spoke some French.
It was through the medium of this man that Lindbohm had communicated
with his troop thus far.  He called him now and told him to get the men
together, as they must march.  He feared lest Kostakes, surmising the
smallness of their numbers, might return to the attack.

So they set forth in the moonlight, taking with them the arms and other
spoils of the dead Turks, of whom the number proved to be eight.  Their
plan was to conceal themselves somewhere in the fields and get some
sleep.  But half a mile out of Galata they encountered a band of fifty
Cretan insurgents, young men of the region, armed to the teeth, and
thirsting for vengeance.  These, learning that Lindbohm was a foreign
officer of approved mettle, put themselves also under his leadership.
Thus reinforced he returned and camped in Galata.  The next morning he
pushed on vigorously after Kostakes--a pursuit that was destined to
last several weeks, and that was prosecuted with a continually
increasing band.  Several encounters took place, and three Turkish
villages were destroyed, by way of reprisal.  They did not succeed in
capturing Kostakes, but two wounded Turks that fell into their hands at
different times, told them that Panayota was in his camp.



CHAPTER XXIV

A GLITTERING ESPLANADE

Europeanism, that bubbles up in the tailor shops of Regent Street, and
pours its thin coating of dull color on the heels of the ever advancing
British musket, has not yet washed over the island of Crete.  The
Akoond of Swat has donned a sack-coated suit of blue serge and a straw
hat; the cousins of native princes go down to the government offices
with brown linen on their backs and Buddha in their hearts; Fuzzy-Wuzzy
is cutting his hair--his Samson locks--and buying cork helmets.  And
the missionary is picking his way through the corpses left in the trail
of the machine gun, bringing Christ and calico to the survivors.  They
are putting pantaloons on the bronze statues of the desert, and are
sending the piquant apples of the Tree of Knowledge wrapped up in
bundles of mother hubbards, to the naked maidens of the South Sea Isles.

But Crete, beautiful Crete, is the one corner of the globe which the
dull, tame wave of European fashion has not yet touched and commonized.
The esplanade of Canea to-day, fronting the harbor, is the most
picturesque, fantastic, kaleidoscopic spot on earth.  Here commingle,
swarm, interweave, huddle, scatter, pass and repass, costumes from the
Greek islands, from the provinces of Asia Minor, from the oases and
nomad tents of Africa, from Persia and the farthest East.  The
traveler's first view of Canea, from the rowboat that takes him ashore,
is a half moon of white houses, splashed with red, terra cotta, yellow
and striped awnings, and beneath, a squirming, ever-changing mass of
bright turbans and sashes, fluttering black and yellow robes, naked
limbs and chests--and donkeys; moth-eaten donkeys laden with sacks,
goatskins of honey and cheese, huge panniers of green vegetables.
There on the right, in letters that can be read a mile away, is the
name of a café dedicated "Au Concert Européen."  This is a bait for the
foreigners attached to the half-dozen steel hulks floating out yonder
in the sea, pointing ever shoreward their great guns that seem to
whisper:

"Be good.  Don't kill each other, or we'll kill you all."

All Europeans are supposed to speak French.  Several of the cafés
announce their business in more than one tongue: Greek, Turkish,
English, Italian.  Under the awning of one sits a group of elderly
Mohammedans, smoking their bubbling narghiles and reading the tiny
local sheet; these are stout gentlemen in fezzes, pillars of Islam,
faithful husbands of harems.  They have kindly faces and are really
good-hearted men whom no provocation, save that of religion, could
induce to cut your throat.  You sit down and a bare-legged waiter,
whose fez and braid-trimmed jacket are sadly faded, "zigzags" among the
chairs, like a fly through raindrops, and stands at your side, the very
incarnation of silent and respectful inquiry.  You are tired and you
say:

"Some cognac and brown soda."  The waiter looks distressed, puzzled.

"Cognac," you repeat, "cognac and cold water, then."

He casts his eye over the group of pillars, and one of them, the
fattest and most benevolent appearing, carefully wipes the mouthpiece
of his narghile and hands the tube to his nearest neighbor.  The latter
accepts the trust with a grave bow; it is his duty now to give the pipe
an occasional pull, that it may not go out during his friend's absence.

The proprietor of the café, for it is he, approaches you.  He bends
low, with a sign as though pressing his hand upon the earth, then,
straightening, he touches his heart, his lips, his forehead.  It is a
most graceful and courteous salutation; it is the greeting of the very
heart of the East--the salaam.

"We have no cognac nor any intoxicating liquor," he explains in
tolerable French.  "This is a Mohammedan café.  You can get spirituous
drinks yonder at the Greek café."

"Ah, but we have no desire to change.  We are thirsty.  Surely he has
something to quench thirst?"

"Certainly, many things, as for instance, cherry water, lemonade,
almond water.  A cup of Turkish coffee or a piece of _loukoumi_ with a
glass of cold spring water, are also good things to quench the thirst."

You decide upon cherry water, an excellent drink made from stirring a
quantity of preserved sour cherries into a glass of cold water, and
mine host returns to his narghile.

The kaleidoscope keeps turning, presenting new combinations, new
colors, new effects.  At times the whole square is crowded, and again
the mass of humanity breaks up and drifts away, as sometimes happens to
a dense cloud.  Then some grotesque or sublime figure or group of
figures is sure to straggle across the rift.  You sip your cooling
drink and look up.  There go two Greek priests, in flowing dark robes
and high, black hats.  They are tall men with red, swarthy cheeks and
luxuriant beards.  They wear their hair long, neatly done up in Psyche
knots.  They walk with dignified strides, their hands crossed upon
their stomachs and hidden in voluminous sleeves.  They both carry
strings of large beads of polished wood.  The crowd closes in behind
them, to open out again good-naturedly, as a Cretan in soft red fez,
shirt sleeves, blue breeches with a seat that drags upon the ground and
high, yellow boots, swings a long crook to right and left and shouts
frantically to his flock of scurrying turkeys.  The birds dart in and
out among the throng with an action that reminds one of a woman lifting
her skirts and stepping through the mud.  He is assisted by a boy of
ten, an exact reproduction of himself in miniature.

A priest of Islam passes; he, too, in a graceful robe that falls to the
ground from his shoulders.  A thick turban encircles his brow.  He is
tall and slender one moment, corpulent the next, according as the wind
inflates his robe or escapes and allows it to collapse.

What a feast of color!  And you notice that somehow these changing
combinations always result in harmonies.  One feels the same effect as
though he were listening to a clash of barbarous instruments in a
sweet, wild melody of the desert.

There goes a chocolate-colored Nubian, in a terra cotta tunic, carrying
a shining copper kettle under each arm.  His glistening feet and legs
are bare.

That bronze-skinned Arab yonder in the white turban must be a very old
man, for his beard and hair are as white as the wool on a sheep that is
newly washed and ready for the shearer; yet he is straight and lithe as
a figure on a French clock, and his skin is exactly the same color.  He
wears a bright red sash about his waist and walks with a staff as tall
as himself.  Red fezzes everywhere and turbans of all bright hues.

But we must have another cherry water--_vicinada_--and move into the
shade.

Now, who are these somber-looking creatures, coming across the square?
If there were any such thing on earth they would be agents of the
Spanish Inquisition.  But that horror does not exist even in Turkey.
Through the warm yellow sun they move, slowly, silently, muffled all in
black, with black umbrellas above their heads--shapeless, sepulchral
figures.  On the black veil that covers each face are painted white
eyes, a nose and a mouth; or a palm tree or other device.  They stroll
by us talking in whispers, but a silvery girlish laugh, stifled almost
in its birth, betrays them.  Ah, sweet demons, we know you now!  These
are nuns of love, houris of the harem.  Who knows what sweet faces,
merry eyes, red lips, warm and yielding forms masquerade in those
forbidding garments?  We know you now; not all the disguises ever
invented by fanaticism and jealousy can cover the roguish features of
love.  That one little, stifled laugh conjured up more poetry and
romance than could be read in a summer's holiday--the Arabian Nights,
Don Juan, and the vision of Dudu; the song of the bulbul in old
gardens, dangerous trystings in the shadow of the cypress trees; Tom
Moore in a city office, dreaming of camel bells and the minarets of
Ispahan.

Donkeys.  Out from under the low stone arches they come, or down the
straggling narrow street, slipping and staggering over the greasy
cobblestones, yet never falling.  There is one driven by a Cretan boy,
another by a jet black Nubian, with thick lips and shell-white teeth,
another by a shuffling Greek monk in dirty robe.  Each in his own
outlandish way curses and threatens his animal, but the stick falls
with the same rattling thwack on the bony ribs, whether wielded by
Christian or Turk.  Look at the loads which the donkeys bear in their
immense, squeaking baskets, and you will gain some idea of the
fertility of this garden spot of the world, harried though it be by
oppression and bloodshed.  We see borne by or arranged in heaps yonder
on the pavement, great quantities of cucumbers, artichokes, beans,
cauliflower, garlic, tomatoes, courgets, eggplant, medlars, apricots,
cherries, and those various wild greens which are so delicious, but
which cannot be bought in the cities of America for love or money.  If
you ask the price of any of these crisp, tender vegetables or fruits
dewy fresh, you will find that one penny will go as far as twenty-five
would among the stale, withered and niggardly exhibits of Chicago--the
emporium of the great Mississippi valley and the hub of a hundred
railroads.  But there is no cabbage trust in Crete, and the donkey
route has no board of directors to fix the price of freight.

It is evident that the sea is no less prodigal of her riches here than
the land, for ragged urchins dart by every few moments carrying fine
catches of fish, strung upon strands of tenacious reed; mullets that
gleam like gold in the sun, silvery mackerel, still quivering with life
and glittering with dripping brine, baskets of white-bait, leaping upon
a bed of green sea-grass; _echini_ and huge lobsters without claws.

But alas! this seeming plenty is naught more than the crumbs from
nature's table--harpy war has seized the feast.  Above all the hum of
tongues, the braying of donkeys, the rattle of shod feet on the
cobbles, rings out at intervals the bugle's wakening call.  Turkish
soldiers lounge about the streets, squat, greasy, ungroomed, cruel.
There is a slight smell of smoke in the air, as the wind drifts over
from the smouldering ruins of the Christian quarter, burned during the
latest outbreak.  Possibly there is a charred body or two among the
cinders, but pshaw! you cannot smell that.  It is only imagination.
And here comes a foreign military demonstration.  They are Italians,
immaculate in brown linen, with tufts of long blue feathers rustling
spitefully in their Garibaldi hats.  Down the street they swing at
double quick, and through the crowded quay they plunge, while the lazy
Orientals scramble out of the way.  How these Italians glitter!  There
is a bugle corps in front, with shining instruments, and an Adonis of
an officer at the side with flashing, drawn sword; a bayonet slants
skyward from every shoulder in the squad, dancing and blazing in the
tropic sun.  They are gone and the throng closes in again, like water
in the wake of a ship.

Such is Canea, below its many colored awnings.  Cast your eye above
them and you see the square white houses of a Greek town.  Look higher
up, and there is the Grecian sky, the same sky that looked down upon
the birth of Jove and the giving of Cretan law, upon the flitting sail
that brought the yearly tribute of youths and maidens from Athens, upon
the knightly vengeance of Theseus, striding down the labyrinth, all
clad in ringing mail.  Centuries of oppression may drag their slow
length along, the children of the desert may come and go as they will,
but that chaste sweet sky is patiently waiting above.  And beneath it
is Greece.



CHAPTER XXV

THREE WIVES

A Turkish woman, closely veiled and carrying a black umbrella, was
walking along the Spladjia, or principal street of Canea.  A
nondescript urchin, bare-footed, with a tuft of black hair shooting
straight up through a rent in his straw hat, followed with a string of
red mullets and a sheaf of Italian lettuce.  As the mysterious woman
passed the little group of men sitting under the awnings, they turned
their heads discreetly to one side, not even casting a furtive glance
at the dainty, embroidered slippers, that now and then peeped out from
under the black robe.  Turning down a narrow street, she tiptoed along
beneath the projecting upper stories of the houses, with that motion
peculiar to women whose slippers are so constructed that they fall off
if the toe is not shoved into them at each successive step.  Stopping
for a moment, she drew a handkerchief from her bosom, and, passing it
under her veil, wiped her face.

"Whew!" she said, "it's hot."  Then, raising her head, she sniffed the
air sharply, eagerly.

"Allah be praised!" she exclaimed.  "I believe that Ayesha is roasting
coffee."

The thought accelerated her footsteps to such an extent that the rapid
sliding of her slippers on the path sounded like the preparatory steps
of a jig dancer in the sand box.

"Yes, that's from our court, surely.  I do hope it's nearly ready to
grind.  What's so delicious as a cup of fresh coffee and a glass of
cold water when one is hot and thirsty?"

The aroma certainly proceeded from a garden which the Turkish woman was
now approaching, and as she arrived at the massive gate in the high
adobe wall the sound of a coffee roaster in motion could plainly be
heard within.  Souleima gave the boy a penny, whereupon he set up such
a loud and voluble protest that she was obliged to give him five
paradhes more, with a threat to open the gate and let out an imaginary
dog of fearful biting powers if he did not instantly depart.  The boy
out of the way, Souleima knocked upon the gate and cried.

"Ayesha, Ferende! let me in!"

"Go open the gate, it's Souleima," said a voice within.

"Go yourself.  When did I become a door opener?"

"Bah!  Don't you see I can't leave the coffee?  It'll burn."

The sound of a rattling chain, and a woman peeped out, holding a black
veil over the lower part of her face.  Souleima entered, shutting and
locking the gate after her.

"Whew!" she exclaimed, pulling off her veil with the finger and thumb
of the hand that now held the sheaf of lettuce.

"It's hot outside.  You two ought to be thankful to me, running around
in the sun for you, while you sit here in the cool shade."

"Very cool it is here by this fire," retorted Ayesha.  "It's Ferende
who is the lady these days.  Never mind, my girl, when Panayota comes
to her senses you will have to work like your betters.  You're getting
fat, too, and Kostakes is tired of fat women.  Isn't she getting fat,
my Souleima?"

The lady appealed to made no reply, but, going over to the water faucet
that projected from a marble slab built into one side of the wall, hung
the string of fish from the iron cock, laid the lettuce in the stone
basin beneath, and turned on a thin stream of cold water.

Ayesha and Souleima are about of an age--thirty.  They are both fat,
dark and greasy, with black eyes and black hair.  Their lips are thick
and their teeth not too good.  Their complexions are muddy and their
faces somewhat pimpled.  Ferende is a strapping Albanian girl, about
Panayota's age, though of coarser build.  Like the beautiful Greek who
is under lock and key upstairs, she has soft brown hair and brown eyes,
set wide apart in her head.

It is easy to see that things are not running smoothly in Kostakes'
harem, and the reason is this: Until recently Ferende has been the
favorite, and the two elder wives have been little more than her
servants.  The appearance of Panayota has led them to believe that a
new mistress will soon be established in the household, and they are
looking forward with great delight to the degradation of Ferende.  The
latter, fearing her own downfall, has not openly declared war against
her two associates, but is racking her brain night and day in search of
some method by which to enlist them with her against Panayota.

Ayesha now sits with her bare feet crossed under her, upon a rug spread
on the earthen floor of the court.  Before her is a charcoal fire,
suspended over which on two crotches driven into the ground is a thing
like a section of stove pipe, closed at the ends.  An iron rod, running
lengthwise of this contrivance, rests upon the crotches and is bent at
one extremity into a crank.

Souleima removes her outer garments and appears arrayed like her
sisters, in baggy breeches drawn tight about the ankle, and a loose
fitting shirt.  She kicks off her slippers and walks in her stockinged
feet to the coffee roaster.

"Is it ready yet, Ayesha?" she asks, opening a little door in one side
of the cylinder, and letting out a black cloud of aroma.

"Can I take out enough for one little cup?"

"You might find enough for two while you are about it."

"Yes, even for three.  Poor Ferende, she will soon have to grind her
own coffee, and Panayota's, too."

Souleima produced a wooden spoon from the drawer of a pine table
standing beneath the garden's one mulberry tree, and dipped a quantity
of the brown smoking berries into one of those cylindrical brass mills
which are sold by wandering gypsies to the housewives of the orient.
Sitting on the table's edge, she grasped the mill with her left hand
and firmly embedded one end of it in the fat of her corpulent stomach,
while she turned the tiny crank with her right.

The ladies of Kostakes' household could converse or carry on their
domestic vocations without fear of intruding eyes.  The wall was very
high, and the one house near enough to overlook it had no windows on
that side.  A pleasant place was that enclosure, albeit two long,
shallow, rectangular tubs leaned against the wall of the house, taking
the place of the legendary guitar.  They were washtubs, and upon them
Ayesha and Souleima from time to time played the stern music of
necessity.  A huge copper kettle, with a very black bottom, stood near,
another adjunct of the home laundry.  In the middle of the court was a
stone basin, into which water ran through a tiny channel from the
hydrant in the wall.

"Na!" said Souleima, unscrewing the top of the mill and looking inside,
"that will be enough, I think.  We'll have a cup of coffee first, and
then some dinner, out here under the tree.  Look at those fish.  Did
you ever see finer _barbounia_?  What do you think I paid an _oke_ for
them?"

"Ninety _paradhes_," suggested Ayesha.

"Only eighty.  I bought them of a Greek.  Ferende, clean them, that's a
good girl, while I make a cup of coffee."

"Clean them yourself.  I shall tell the Effendi of these insults when
he comes, and he will make you suffer for them."

"Poor Ferende!" cackled Souleima.  "He will take off those silk
trousers and put them on Panayota.  But you shouldn't complain now that
your turn has come.  Better people than you have been through the same
thing."

"If you ever went through it," snapped Ferende, "it was so long ago you
can't remember it," and rising disdainfully, she walked into the house.
Souleima raised the coffee mill as though to hurl it after her, and
then thinking better of the act, let her hand fall to her side.

"Maybe she'll be able to warm Kostakes over again," she reflected aloud.

"I don't believe it," replied Ayesha.  "He's crazy about this Greek.  I
never saw him like this before."

"Then why does he----"

"I don't know.  Perhaps he wants the girl to love him."

"Bah!  She'll love him fast enough after he breaks her spirit."

Souleima filled a long-handled brass dipper from the hydrant and put
into the water the coffee, ground fine as dust, together with four
teaspoonfuls of sugar.  Then, screening her face with her left hand,
she kneeled in front of the fire and held the dipper in the coals until
its contents boiled over.  Ayesha lifted the smoking cylinder from the
crotches and, shaking it violently for a moment, set it up against the
side of the house.

"Shall I bring two cups or three?" she called from the door of the
kitchen.

"Only two.  Let Ferende make her own coffee."

"Hadn't I better call her?"

"You'll only get insulted if you do.  The nasty cat!"



CHAPTER XXVI

A HOPELESS PRISONER

Panayota was walking to and fro in a room whose one window looked
straight against the blank wall of a house not ten feet distant.  A
grating of iron bars prevented her escape in that direction and the
door was locked.  She was very pale and there were deep circles under
her eyes.  She was muttering as one distracted.  Occasionally she
raised her eyes and hands to heaven.

"Dear little Virgin, all Holy One, save me from this infamy, from the
pollution of the Turk.  Save me in any way, help me to escape or to
die!"

After each prayer she stood listening, as though waiting for an
immediate response--some miraculous intervention in her behalf.  Often
seized by utter despair, she sank her fingers deep into her thick brown
locks, and cried:

"No help, no help, O God!  O God!"

At every sound of a footstep without, or of any commotion in the court
below, her pale face grew paler, and she trembled with fear and
revulsion.  She was expecting Kostakes.  For a week now the girl had
been shut up in this manner.  Kostakes had left her in the care of his
harem, with stern commands that she be kindly treated and all her wants
supplied.  Ayesha and Souleima had derived much pleasure from attending
upon Panayota, as though she were indeed a member of the harem and
their lord's favorite; for thus they caused Ferende, whom they
cordially hated, much unhappiness.  It seemed to Panayota that she had
been in captivity an age.  For the first three or four days she had
hoped for a rescue by Lindbohm and Curtis and their band of insurgents.
Time and again the wild scenes which she had witnessed passed through
her mind as she stood with hands clasped and eyes half closed in the
middle of the floor.  She saw again the impetuous Swede chasing Ampates
out of town because the scoundrel had wished to give her up; she saw
Curtis standing before her with his smoking rifle, while the fallen
Turk, his features still twitching in the death agony, lay at her feet.

But as the days passed and no help came, her keen hope faded into the
blackness of despair.

"They cannot find me," she moaned; "perhaps they're dead.  Perhaps they
think I have yielded to the Turk, and they despise me.  Do they not
know that I would die first?"  Whenever she thought of death, her mind
involuntarily sought for some method by which she could accomplish it,
if worst came to worst.  To hold her breath, to plunge her head against
the side of the wall, to strangle herself with a strip torn from her
bed clothing,--all these ideas suggested themselves.  And as often as
she thought of self-destruction, there rose to memory a slender white
shaft that had frequently been pointed out to her in childhood.  For
there had once been a suicide in her native village, and the body had
been buried in a lonely place on a hill, far away from the holy
comradeship, the blessed crosses and the benediction of God's acre.
This isolated tomb had made a great impression on her childish mind.
She and the other children had always crossed themselves when they saw
it, and they never mentioned the dead man's name.  It seemed a terrible
thing not to be buried in consecrated ground.



CHAPTER XXVII

A PROMISE OF HELP

"I wonder if that Greek will come to her senses and supplant me?" mused
Ferende.  "If she keeps on at her present rate Kostakes will soon get
over his infatuation.  Lord!  But she's growing ugly, with that sallow
complexion and those big black marks under her eyes.  She never saw the
day she was half as beautiful as I am."

Going to Panayota's room, she took down the key that was hanging
outside the door and went in.  Locking the door on the inside she stood
for a moment looking at the girl, who sat on the side of the bed, her
face buried in her hands.  Panayota glanced up when Ferende first
entered and then took no further notice of her visitor.  She knew that
this was the favorite, although Ferende, consulting her dignity, had
had little to say to her.

"Panayota," very sweetly, "I am your friend.  I, too, am a Greek, and
was brought up in the Greek religion, but the Turks killed my father
and mother and took me away when I was very young.  I cannot help being
what I am, but if I were in your place, I would let them kill me before
they should turn me into a Turk.  And you a priest's daughter, too!"

A sudden wild hope thrilled Panayota's bosom.  She sprang to her feet
and ran toward Ferende with arms outstretched.

"The Holy Virgin bless you!  So you have come to set me free?"

Now Ferende could not do this, however much she would have liked.
Could Ayesha and Souleima once fix upon her the blame of having
disobeyed a command of their common husband, no subsequent wiles could
save her from complete degradation.

"O, I dare not set you free now," she faltered, somewhat embarrassed by
the suddenness of the demand, "but--"

"Then save me, Holy Virgin!" cried Panayota, the bright gleam of hope
dying within her, leaving her soul darker than before.  "There is no
other help for me.  Aren't you ashamed, coming here to mock me?  What
else do I want except to get out of this place.  You say you are a
Greek, and I believe you are.  But what could I expect from you?  You
are worse than a Turk, for their women believe at least that they are
honestly married.  But you--you are a common thing."

Ferende winced under this torrent of abuse, but there was a certain
point which she wished to make sure.

"You talk very bravely now, my lady," she replied.  "Many Greek girls
have talked like that before.  It's easy for a girl to remain Christian
as long as she can save her honor, but after that is gone the
Christians are more cruel than the Turks.  Then the only way to remain
respectable is to turn Turk."

"I swear to you by the soul of my father, whom Kostakes murdered, that
I will die before I will yield!" cried Panayota.

Ferende with difficulty suppressed an exclamation of joy.  Simulating
sorrow, she laid her hand on Panayota's shoulder and murmured:

"Did Kostakes kill your father?  Forgive me, Panayota, for speaking so
harshly, but you were very hard on me.  Now we can sympathize with each
other, indeed.  Both my parents were murdered by the Turks.  I must go
now, but remember I am your friend.  Hold out against Kostakes and I
will find some way to help you."

She turned to leave the room, but Panayota caught her by the sleeve.

"Help me to escape from here," she sobbed.  "I beg of you in the name
of your Christian mother, and I will pray the Virgin every night to
bless you."

Ferende locked the door behind her and hung up the key.

"Kostakes will have a sorry time with her," she soliloquized, and she
went down stairs humming a popular Greek song.

Finding Ayesha and Souleima still in the court, exchanging gallant
confidences, she strolled up to them with the insolent air of a queen.

"Get up, you women," she said, "and prepare dinner."

Poor Ayesha and Souleima looked inquiringly into each other's eyes.
Thus was Ferende wont to act after some special mark of Kostakes' favor
had inflated her confidence.  They arose slowly.  The favorite jerked
away the rug and spread it in the shade of the mulberry tree.  Sitting
upon it, she removed her gold embroidered slippers and crossed her
stockinged feet beneath her.  As the two older wives glanced at her,
their hearts sank within them.  She certainly did not have the
appearance of a deposed queen.  Her eyes, recently treated with
belladonna, had a melting, lustrous look.  The little dash of henna
under the lower fringe of lashes added a touch of abandon.  Her
trousers of magenta silk, and her sleeveless purple jacket embroidered
with gold thread, were immaculate, save for a loose hair or two, or a
speck of dust, which she removed with dainty finger tips.  Twisted
carelessly about her waist, with the knotted ends hanging loosely at
one side, was a broad sash with yellow and magenta stripes.  Passing
her hand beneath this, she extracted a silver cigarette case.  Putting
a brown cigarette no larger in diameter than a slate pencil, into her
mouth, she called out lazily between her closed teeth:

"Ayesha, bring a match and light my cigarette," and Ayesha, with a
muttered Moslem imprecation, obeyed.



CHAPTER XXVIII

PRIDE AND ITS FALL

Alas, for human greatness!  A horseman trotting along the stony street
drew up in front of the gate with a sudden cessation of the jingling of
a saber and the rattling of trappings.  Two musket butts struck the
ground simultaneously, as the two sentries at the gate finished their
salute.  Ayesha dropped the fish which she was cleaning at the hydrant,
wiped her hands upon her dirty apron and tore it from her waist.
Souleima set a little pile of dishes upon the table and tried to pat
her straggling hair into place.  A heavy hand, supplemented by a
cavalry boot, shook the gate till the fastenings rattled.

"Merciful Allah, the Effendi!" screamed Ayesha and Souleima under the
breath, and they both rushed to the gate, but they were too good Turks
to open without inquiring sweetly:

"Who is it?"

"It's I, Kostakes.  Open the gate before I kick it down."

"He's angry!" whispered Souleima, undoing the fastenings.

Kostakes paid no attention to the low salaams of his two wives.  He
strode into the middle of the garden and, plucking off his sword, cried
fiercely:

"Here!  Some of you lazy women, take my sword.  Ayesha, bring me a
chair.  Souleima, fetch my slippers."

He sank into the proffered chair with a sigh of satisfaction.  The
Effendi had been riding hard and was evidently tired.  He was
uncomfortable too, and needed a bath and grooming.  A prickly black
beard had grown upon his square chin, and perspiration had made little
water courses in the dust upon his dark brown cheeks.  He laid his
right foot upon his left knee, slapped his hands side by side upon the
high boot tops, and swept the court with inquiring eye.

"_Barbounia_, eh?" he inquired of Ayesha, as his glance fell upon the
string of half cleaned mullets.

"Yes, Effendi."

"Are they fresh, eh?  Are they fresh?"

"Fresh, Effendi?  They are alive."

"Brava, brava!"  There was a softer note to his voice.  "Well, get 'em
ready; I haven't had anything to eat in twelve hours."

"Yes, Effendi; immediately, Effendi."

Ayesha trotted over to the hydrant and began scaling the mullets with
commendable zeal.

Kostakes seized the heel and toe of his boot and gave an ineffectual
tug.  Then he glanced about the court again.  Souleima had not yet
returned with the slippers.

Ayesha was scratching away at the fish as though she were trying to
break a record.  The Effendi glanced sharply at Ferende!  From mere
force of habit he had not ordered her to do anything.  In the stress of
fatigue and immediate necessity, he had turned naturally to the two old
wheel-horses of his harem.  Ferende was holding her cigarette between
two fingers of her left hand, and was gazing up into the mulberry tree
with affected unconcern.  Her lips were slightly parted and a little
red spot glowed angrily in each cheek.  At another time Kostakes might
have thought her beautiful, but a new idol had been set up in his
heart, crowding poor Ferende into the stale limbo of ex-favorites.

"Here, you," he called harshly, "come and pull off my boots."

Ayesha glanced over her shoulder at her lord and master.  He was
plainly not looking at her.  She turned her face to the wall and
chuckled.

"Do you hear?" shouted Kostakes.  "Throw away that cigarette and come
here."

Ferende turned as pale as death, but called to Ayesha, sweetly:

"Don't you hear the Effendi, Ayesha?  Run!"

Kostakes sprang to his feet, and strode toward Ferende with uplifted
riding whip.

"None of that, you lazy drab!  Who is master in this house, you or I?
Come and pull off my boots or I'll cut blood out of you!"

[Illustration: Come and pull off my boots or I'll lash you]

Ferende obeyed, with a half counterfeit of a smile upon her pale lips,
and revenge in her heart.

"How long before dinner will be ready?" Kostakes called to Ayesha.

"About twenty minutes, Effendi."

"Call me as soon as it is ready.  I shall be up in Panayota's room."

Then an idea came to Ferende.  She threw away her cigarette, crossed
the court and disappeared in the house.  Souleima ran after, and hiding
behind the wall, peeped within.  She saw Ferende step out of her
slippers and tiptoe up the stairs towards the room into which Kostakes
had just disappeared.  Souleima waited until she was out of sight and
then followed.

Ayesha, overcome by woman's curiosity, that passion which fears neither
death nor shame, clapped the fish, now ready for the pan, into a drawer
of the table.

"I must know what's going on," she muttered, as she stole into the
house.



CHAPTER XXIX

AGAINST THE COMMON ENEMY

Panayota was lying face down upon the bed, but when she heard heavy
footsteps in the hall and the scratching of the key upon the door, as
some one outside fumbled at the lock, she sprang to her feet and backed
to the wall at the farther side of the room.  She cast her eyes about
the bare, dim room, as though there must be some way of escape,
moaning, meanwhile:

"Little Virgin, save me!  O, my God, what shall I do?"

When Kostakes entered he found her thus, her fists clenched, her lips
white.  She was looking at him, with great eyes of fear and horror, and
she scarcely seemed to breathe.  There was in her attitude the
alertness of a hunted cat, that hopes to make a sudden dash for liberty
and to escape even at the last moment.

"In the name of Allah, Panayota," he said tenderly, "why are you so
frightened?  Have I not told you I would not touch a hair of your head?"

She made no reply, but slid along the wall, with her eyes fixed on the
open door.  He turned with an exclamation of impatience, shut it with a
slam, locked it and put the key in his pocket.

"Na!" he said, "don't think of escaping.  Try to fix your mind on what
I am going to say to you.  In the first place, I swear to you by my
hopes of salvation that I mean you no harm.  Now listen to me!--I love
you, Panayota."

"Is that why you murdered my father?"

"Why do you say that I murdered your father?"

"Bring him to me alive, and then I shall know that you did not."

"You ask an impossible thing, Panayota.  He is probably among the
Sphakiote mountains by this time, and you know there aren't troops
enough in all Turkey to get him out."

"Then I'll tell you what you do," cried Panayota eagerly, advancing a
step or two.  "Let me go and find him.  I'll return here to Canea with
him.  Honestly I will, honestly--and you shall come and talk to me all
you like."

Kostakes gave his mustache an impatient twist.

"To let you go, after all the trouble I've had getting you?  O, no,
Panayota.  You're mine, by Allah! and whoever takes you away from me
must kill me first.  You don't know how I love you, I could never tell
you.  Listen.  There isn't a drop of Turkish blood in me.  My
grandfather became a Turk because--because of circumstances, to save
his life.  I am the son of a Greek mother and she used to sing Greek
lullabies to me in my cradle."  He was talking very fast now.  "I have
always said I would turn Christian some time, and when I saw you, I
made up my mind to do it right away.  I have heard great news.
Everybody says that the powers have decided to give the island to the
king of Greece.  Then there will be no more Turks here.  They will
either go away or become Orthodox.  Say you'll marry me, Panayota, and
I'll get rid of my harem, and we'll go before the priest--"

"Will you murder your wives as you did my father?" asked the girl.
Kostakes stared at her, deprived for the moment of the power of speech.
In his enthusiasm, he had talked himself into the feeling that his
dreams were already realized.  Panayota's voice, hard, sneering, cold
with hate, shocked him like a sudden blow in the face with a whip.
Then rage surged up in his veins and knocked at his temples.  His
hands, that he had extended pleadingly, trembled, and he gnashed his
teeth.  Kostakes was not beautiful at that moment.  Panayota laughed.

"O, you Turk," she cried, "you cowardly Turk!  You needn't grind your
teeth at me.  I'm not afraid of death.  It's only your vile love that I
fear."

Kostakes raised his doubled fists above his head and brought them down
with such violence that an involuntary "Ah!" escaped him.

"By God, girl, you would drive a saint crazy," he cried.  "Here I am
offering to change my religion and put away my harem, and all for you,
and I get nothing out of you but an insult.  Don't you know that you
are in my power, and I can do with you what I please?  No cursed
foreigner will rescue you this time.  He did not know enough to keep
you when he had you, and I'll see that he doesn't get another chance.
I want you to love me as I love you.  Panayota, I've made an honorable
offer.  I leave you to think it over.  But make up your mind to
this--you're mine, and I'll never give you up while I live."

When Kostakes stepped into the court again, Souleima was blowing up the
coals in a little charcoal stove, home-made from an American petroleum
can.  Ayesha, standing by the table, called out in a stage whisper,
plainly audible throughout the enclosure:

"The Effendi comes," and pulled the fish from the drawer.

"Isn't dinner ready yet?" he snarled; "what have you lazy women been
doing?"

"All ready, Effendi," replied Ayesha.  "We couldn't fry the _barbounia_
till you came.  They are better hot.  Souleima, bring the olive oil and
the salt.  In two minutes, Effendi."

"Got any wine?" asked Kostakes, as the platter of steaming fish was set
before him.

"Wine, Effendi, in a Turkish house?"

"Yes, wine; if you've got any, bring it on, I am tired and thirsty."

"I think Ferende has some," suggested Souleima.  "She drinks like a
fish."

"Umph!  And I don't suppose you help her?"

"Effendi, I swear--" commenced Souleima.

"I don't even know the taste of it," protested Ayesha.

"Silence, silence! and bring me some.  And look here," as the decanter
was set before him, "if I ever hear a lisp about my wine drinking I'll
wring the necks of both of you--cackling old hens that you are.  And
now send Ferende to wait on me, and get out of my sight, the two of
you.  You take my appetite away.  She at least is not a greasy old
slattern."

After the Effendi had eaten he betook himself to his chamber in search
of much needed rest.  Ferende followed him, but he pushed her from him,
saying in a querulous and disgusted tone:

"Get away from me, can't you?  Darken the room and go.  Shut the door,
and if any of you women make a noise--eh, there, listen!"

"Yes, Effendi."  Ferende had nearly closed the door, but she opened it
a little way and thrust her face back into the room.

"Don't take Panayota up those cold fish.  Fry her some hot ones, and
give her some wine."

The ex-favorite found the two elder wives whispering together in the
garden.

She walked straight up to them.

"Let's be friends," she said.  "We're all in the same boat, and must
work together.  In fact, you are worse off than I am, for I am younger
and better looking than either of you!"

This was not conciliatory language, but it accorded so well with what
the two women had just been saying to each other, that they could make
no reply.  Each looked inquiringly at the other for a moment, and then
Souleima asked:

"Do you think he is in earnest?"

"Absolutely.  He would have no reason to parley with the girl, else.
She is in his power."

"We shall all be turned into the street," said Ayesha.

"He would never dare," cried Souleima.  "He has nothing against us.  We
are faithful, honest wives.  It would make too great a scandal."

"He will find a way," replied Ferende, coolly.

"What shall we do?  O, what shall we do?" sobbed the two elder wives.
Poor things!  They had no Virgin to take refuge with.

"If she should fall ill and die!" suggested Souleima.

Ferende started violently and turned pale.  "No!" she cried, so loud
that all three of them glanced apprehensively at the windows.  Then
lowering her voice:

"Don't ever think of such a thing again.  It's too dangerous.  She must
escape."

"But the Effendi would kill us even for that."

"It must be done in such a way that he will never suspect us."



CHAPTER XXX

A HERO AND A SIX-INCH SHELL

"We must yust take our chances," said Lindbohm.  "How far is it from
here to the blockhouse?"

Curtis was lying on his stomach behind a rock, with his rifle beside
him.

"About sixty or seventy rods," he replied.

"Rods?  What is a rod?" asked Lindbohm.

The Yankee laughed.

"The fort is--let me see, between three hundred and four hundred yards
from here."

There was a puff of smoke from a window of the square, gray building,
followed a moment later by a distant report, and the humming of a
guitar string in the air above their heads.  Curtis lay down again.

"Damn bad shot," observed his companion.  "Makes me sick after being in
South Africa.  If that had been a Boer now, he would have hit you.  But
these Turks cannot shoot.  So we will make a rush.  We will have our
best shots crawl in close and fire on the doors and windows.  Then I
take a detachment and run in.  When the Turks appear we drop down, and
our men fire another volley.  Then we yump up and make another dash.
So we take it."

The blockhouse was a little above them, on a rocky eminence that
commanded the gleaming sheet of Suda Bay, in shape like a written
capital V.  Four warships, two Englishmen, a Frenchman and a German,
lay resting at anchor, thin columns of smoke bending from their funnels
and drifting away amicably together.  Something over a mile and a half
away, those great floating engines of death and terror looked as
innocent as a toy fleet on a duck pond.  Entrenched in the rocks all
about Lindbohm was an armed band, one hundred and fifty in number,
consisting of Cretan insurgents, youthful Italian enthusiasts and Greek
Turcophobes.  Behind them rose the tremendous piles of Ida and the
White mountains, and below them lay the bright, smiling valleys of the
coast and the lower slopes, where an occasional white village gleamed
among its olive orchards.

"How many are there of 'em?" asked Curtis.  Lindbohm smiled, and
raising his big pink hand to his blonde mustache, gave it a playful
pull.

"That's yust what we're going to find out," he replied.  Calling an
insurgent to him who spoke French, he explained the plan for the
assault.  He himself selected the men who were to accompany him,
twenty-five in number, and such as possessed bayonets proceeded to fix
them to their rifles.  The places from which the shooting was to be
done were selected, and the men began to get to them as rapidly as
possible.  Lindbohm and Curtis, at the head of their little band,
worked down toward the open spot across which the rush must be made.
These movements caused more or less exposure and drew repeated
fusillades from the blockhouse.  Most of the bullets passed over the
heads of the attackers, but occasionally one slapped against the soft
face of a rock, or scurried through the gravel.  One glanced near
Curtis' head and hummed like a musical top.  He turned and looked
curiously in the direction of the sound.

"It takes yust one good, big battle to break a man of that," observed
the Lieutenant.

"Of what?"

"Looking after the bullets.  They sing all sorts of tunes, and
sometimes they only whisper, but they always say the same thing--death,
death."

The attacking party spread out into a line with distances of ten feet
or more between the men.  Lindbohm held out his hand to Curtis.

"_Au revoir_, my friend," he said, fixing his innocent blue eyes upon
the American.  "You better stay here.  This is a little dangerous, and
you got a mother, you know."

The men were lying upon their stomachs; Lindbohm's left elbow rested
upon the ground, his chin supported by the left hand.  As he spoke, he
pushed out his right arm toward Curtis and the two men clasped hands.
The American was thrilled by a great revelation of affection for the
Swede--his eyes were so childlike, his voice so tender, and his smile
so sad and sweet; he had lost the handkerchief that had been tied about
his head, and his pompadour had fallen down in spots, like a wheat
field upon which fragments of wind have dropped here and there.  He was
very much in earnest now, as nervously he swept one end of his great
blonde mustache between his teeth with the tip of his tongue, and
inquired:

"Eh?  Is it not so?  We must remember the little mother."

"Do you think I'd go back on a friend in a time like this?" asked
Curtis indignantly.  "But, see here, Lindbohm, since you're uneasy
about me, you'll find my address in my pocket.  If anything happens to
me, write to my folks.  And--and, about Panayota--"

Lindbohm dropped the hand that he was holding, and the color faded out
from beneath the dust and grime upon his face.

"About Panayota?"

"Tell her I meant what I said to her that day, every word of it.
I--I--, she'll understand."

Lindbohm made no reply, but still resting upon his left elbow, he slid
his face down into his great soft hand, and remained silent for so long
a time that an Italian called impatiently from a little distance:

"_Parati, signor!_"

Then he looked up suddenly and again seized Curtis by the hand.

"You are not going," he said sternly.  "I am in command here, and I
order you to stay back."

Before the American had a chance to reply half a dozen guns roared from
a covert near by, a dozen more followed as rapidly as the sound of a
boy trailing a stick along a picket fence, and then for a full moment
the firing continued as capriciously as the explosions of a bunch of
fire crackers.  It ceased, and Lindbohm, bending low, was running
toward the blockhouse.  He had not got more than ten yards away before
the others were darting after him.

"O, damn his orders!" muttered Curtis and scrambling to his feet, he
ran so rapidly forward that he passed two or three of the Italians, and
had nearly reached Lindbohm's side when he heard a sound as though the
man behind him had stepped on a bundle of dry twigs.  Turning, he saw
the poor fellow lying upon his side, bent like a bow.  He was clutching
the calf of his left leg with both hands and grinning.  His shin had
been shattered by a ball.  Somebody fell upon Curtis and bore him to
earth, and immediately there was a crash and rattle of rifles behind
and all around him.  The man at his side took deliberate aim at
somebody and fired.  Curtis followed his example and shot at one of the
windows of the blockhouse.  There was a lull and they dashed forward
again.  Curtis kept his eye on Lindbohm this time, and pitched forward
upon his face when he saw the Swede do likewise.  They ran but a short
distance each time, but the third spurt brought them half way to their
destination.  Lindbohm now kept straight on, stopping every moment to
aim and fire.  The others followed his example and they were able thus
to keep advancing, and none the less to maintain a fusillade against
the doors and windows of the Turkish stronghold.  They were still ten
or twelve rods away, when a white flag appeared on the roof.  Lindbohm
turned and motioned to his companions, who gathered about him.  They
walked fearlessly through the open door, into the front room of a
square stone building.  A thin-faced, gray-haired officer in a faded
fez, came forward to meet them.  Twenty Turks in ragged uniforms were
huddled together in a corner.  The place was dim and sulphurous with
smoke.

"To whom have I the honor of surrendering?" asked the Turkish officer
in French, unbuckling his sword.

"To me, Monsieur," replied Lindbohm, bringing his heels together with a
"click," and saluting with great dignity.

"I surrender to save bloodshed," said the Turk.  "I see that you are
not a Cretan and I therefore, with perfect confidence, turn these men
over to you as prisoners of war."

"They shall give up their arms and suffer no harm.  Monsieur will do me
the honor of retaining his sword."

The remaining Cretans were now come up and many of them had crowded
into the room.  Lindbohm ordered them out and put two stout fellows at
the door.

"Now, Monsieur, if you will kindly tell your men to give up their guns."

The officer said a few words to his little band, and one by one, as a
sergeant called their names, they stepped forward and handed their
weapons to Curtis, who passed them to a man outside the door.  The last
gun had scarcely been given up when a sudden commotion broke out among
the Cretans and half a dozen burly insurgents, forcing their way past
the guard, burst into the room.  The commotion now swelled to a hoarse
uproar, and Curtis caught the words, "Kill! kill!" and "No! no!"
Lindbohm did not realize the gravity of the situation.  He was raging
because his orders had been disobeyed, and thought that the whole band,
actuated by curiosity, were about to swarm in.  He therefore leaped to
the door with leveled bayonet, and threatened the crowd so fiercely
that they all shrank back.  Meanwhile a thing happened that fairly
froze Curtis with horror.  The half dozen insurgents raised their guns
to their shoulders and deliberately pointed them at the body of unarmed
Turks, who, seized with panic, assumed all the attitudes of fear.  Some
crouched against the wall, as though they would shrink through it; some
fell upon the earthen floor; others squatted and doubled their arms in
front of their faces.  Several tried to seize their companions and hold
them before their own bodies.

A dreadful laugh, mingled with foul and insulting words, broke from the
insurgents' throats.  The Turkish officer stepped quietly in front of
his men, and, crossing his arms over his chest, regarded the Cretans
with a look of high scorn.  His thin face and gray beard added
sublimity to the dauntless soul that spoke in his attitude.  He had the
beak and eyes of an eagle.

Curtis was completely carried away with revulsion and horror.  The
words, "In the name of God!  In the name of God!" beat in his brain
with the regular strokes of a triphammer, and he fancied that he heard
someone shouting them.  An insurgent threatened him with a bayonet and
another, with an outburst of expostulation, seized the threatener's
gun.  Then a third Cretan leaped upon him, and attempted to push him to
one side of the room.  Curtis, now completely crazed with rage, dropped
the gun which he was unable to use at such close quarters, and snarling
an oath, exclaimed, "I'll choke the life out of you!" as he danced with
hooked hands at his adversary's throat.  Strong as a gorilla, he had
nothing to fear.  He dodged between the sinewy arms of his opponent,
and, arching his back against the python embrace which now tightened
upon him, felt for the Cretan's throat, when--there was a great
crunching and trembling sound, and in the air, that had suddenly turned
milky and pungent, Cretans and Turks were leaping like imps.  Curtis
stood for a moment in stupid wonder, his mouth open, his hands still
convulsively twitching.  He was gazing at a great heap of debris and a
triangle of wall with one ragged side.  Men were scrambling over the
rubbish, working their arms as though they were trying to fly.
Something like an electric shock--it was fear--smote the American, and
his stomach swooped as when one goes down in a swing.  He leaped among
the fleeing crowd and gained the open.  Without looking to see where he
was going, he struck out instinctively for the hills.  Once or twice he
fell down, but was on his feet again in an instant.  As he ran, his
fear grew.  Some one shouted to him in a familiar voice, but he did not
stop.  Lindbohm seized him firmly by the arm and held him.  Curtis
struggled for a moment, and then he felt weak.  He could run no
farther.  He tried to speak several times, but was entirely out of
breath.  At last he managed to gasp:

"What?  What?  What?"

The Swede was standing on a little eminence, with one hand in his
pocket; hair, face and clothing were dusted miller-white with powdered
lime.  He was gazing toward the sea, and there was the ghost of a smile
in his childlike blue eyes.

"Six-inch shell," he replied.  Curtis looked.  There was a spurt of
flame from one of the toy ships in the duck pond, followed by a muffled
detonation, and a sound such as the wind sometimes makes at sea.  An
explosion threw up a great cloud of dust about thirty yards beyond the
blockhouse--or what remained of it.

"French!" said Lindbohm.

Another flash, again the sound of the wind, again the explosion--this
time about twenty yards short.

"German, I think.  They lowered too much, because the others fired
high."

The third shell from yet another ship clipped away the white flag that
was still standing on the corner of the building.

"English!  That's great work!"  Lindbohm's interest was entirely
professional and impersonal.



CHAPTER XXXI

A GRATEFUL MAJOR

Men, still running, were disappearing into the distant hills.  The
Swede and the American were entirely alone.  The toy ships continued to
launch their polyphemian missiles.

"Are they firing at us?" gasped Curtis.

"Yudging from appearances, I should say they were," replied his
companion.

Four Cretans had turned back and were running toward the ruined
blockhouse.  One was the color bearer of Lindbohm's company, and he was
carrying the Greek flag.  Straight up to the house he ran, and, handing
the standard to one of his companions, he climbed upon the wall.  As he
stood there a shell dropped so near that he was for a moment obscured
in a cloud of dust.  When the air became again clear he was jamming the
flagpole into the soft mortar.  Then he jumped down and ran away,
together with his comrades.  Another shell exploded thirty feet from
the four Cretans, and only three ran on.

"What killed him?" asked Curtis.

"A flying piece of rock, probably," replied Lindbohm.  "When it is
raining six-inch shells a man must yust take his chances."

The bombardment did not last much longer.  The Greek flag was also
brought down by a shot which elicited unbounded admiration from the
Swede, a shell striking the corner of the house where it was planted.

Curtis realized now for the first time the peculiar sensations of a
soldier of fortune.  He had been risking his life for that flag, yet he
saw it fired upon without the thrill of horror and rage which would
have surged through his heart had it been the American emblem.

"They are shooting at the flag!" he exclaimed, noticing that the ships
in the bay had become silent.

"Yust so," observed Lindbohm; "and that is why they commenced in the
first place.  They mistook the Turkish officer's shirt for the Greek
flag.  But here he comes now."

Hassan Bey was powdered as white as a great moth.  He advanced with a
sprightly step, the scabbard of his sword jingling among the
cobblestones.  Greeting Lindbohm respectfully with a military salute,
he turned to Curtis and bowed low, his hand upon his heart.  He spoke
as one who had hastily prepared an address.

"Monsieur, in my own behalf and in that of my little band, I thank you
for saving our lives.  Your heroism and magnanimity do credit to the
nation which you represent.  I beg of you to accept this sword as a
pledge of my undying gratitude."  And he grasped with both hands his
curved simitar in its richly mounted case and held it impulsively
toward the American, who looked amazedly at Lindbohm.

"Better take it," said the latter.  "Needlessly offend a brave man if
you don't."

"But what for?  Why the deuce should he give me his sword?"

"Very graceful act, seeing you yumped in front of the Cretan guns and
saved his life."

"Did I do that?  I don't remember anything about it."

"Better take it," repeated Lindbohm.  "He is beginning to feel
embarrassed."

Curtis accepted the simitar, but could not find appropriate words.  The
occasion seemed to demand a set speech.

"_Merci!  Merci!_" he stammered.  "My father will be glad to get this.
He is fond of this sort of thing.  He already has a pair of pistols and
an old Turkish gun."

And he fell to examining the hilt, which was embossed with silver, and
the scabbard, adorned with flowers and various animals.  An awkward
silence ensued, broken at last by Hassan Bey, who addressed himself to
Lindbohm:

"And now, if Monsieur does not consider me a prisoner of war, I will
take my leave."

Again saluting Lindbohm and salaaming to Curtis, he turned and walked
away.

"What'll we do now?" asked Curtis.  "Get the band together again?"

"To hell with the band!" exploded Lindbohm.  "I'm sick of them.  They
fight all right, but there's no way to enforce discipline.  I think
I'll go to America.  There should be some beautiful fighting between
the Americans and Spaniards," and he looked dreamily across the sea.

"We weren't fighting Kostakes, after all," mused Curtis.

Lindbohm came to earth with a start and glanced sharply after the
slender, erect figure of the departing Turk, whose body was now cut off
below the arms by a ledge of rock.

"Monsieur!" shouted the Swede, and started in pursuit.  The Turk turned
slowly and waited.

"Monsieur will pardon me," said Lindbohm, when he had overtaken Hassan
Bey.  "I wish to ask a question on behalf of my friend here, which you
will use your own discretion in answering."

Hassan bowed gravely.

"My friend is interested in a young Cretan girl, Panayota Nicolaides,
whom Kostakes Effendi has abducted.  We have been following Kostakes,
but he has disappeared.  Do you know anything of him or the girl?"

"I know it all.  He and the Bashi Bazouks passed by here with the girl,
who is now locked up in Kostakes' harem at Canea.  He has gone wild
over her.  That is why he was not here to-day with his band to support
the blockhouse as he promised.  He cannot be depended on.  He passes
half his time laying siege to the affections of a girl who is already
in his power.  Bah!  Kostakes is no good.  He is only half a man--he is
half Greek."

Hassan had grown suddenly voluble.  Kostakes, with his incomprehensible
doings, was evidently a thorn in his flesh.  Rage, indignation, pity,
swooped down upon Curtis like a flood, now hot, now cold, as he thought
of Panayota, restrained in the house of that square-jawed, cruel,
supercilious Turk, subject to his vile solicitations.

"You do not think he would dare to do her violence?" he cried, as the
thought that he knew where Panayota was and might yet save her, seemed
almost to lift him from the ground.

"And why not?" demanded Hassan.  "But, bah!  It is the Christian blood
in him, I tell you.  He wants her to love him--bah!"

Curtis' face was flushed and he was trembling with eagerness.
Lindbohm, pale as death, was leaning against a rock, biting his lip.  A
bugle sang out sweet and clear, in the distance.

"It is the Cretan trumpeter," remarked the Turk.  "So, once more _au
revoir_, and a thousand, thousand thanks."

"I am done with the troop," said Lindbohm.  "I cannot control them, and
I am a soldier.  I will not fight where discipline is impossible.  My
friend and I wish to go to Canea.  We--we--desire to take ship and
leave the island."

"Then, come with me," cried Hassan gaily.  "I will pass you through the
lines, and I may be able in some way to prove my gratitude to this
gentleman who has saved my life.  _Voilà_, we are comrades!" and,
stepping between Curtis and Lindbohm, he grasped each by the arm.
Again the bugle sounded.

"They can fight," mused the Swede sadly, stooping and looking back over
his shoulder, "but no discipline, no discipline!  _Allons_, Monsieur!"



CHAPTER XXXII

A VIOLENT WOOER

Kostakes had something of importance to say to Panayota--something
unpleasant, to judge from his perturbed appearance.  The door to her
room failed to open at the first turning of the key; the lock was old
and worn and the bolt did not always respond.  But Kostakes did not
calmly try again.  He threw his weight pettishly against the unyielding
barrier and kicked noisily at the panels.  Having thus given vent in a
slight degree to his boiling passion, he again tried the key, swearing
to himself meanwhile in Greek--that language being in every way more
satisfactory than Turkish in a crisis demanding profanity.  Almost
falling into the room, he brought himself up with a jerk and stood
glaring at the unhappy girl.  To Panayota, who had always seen him
hitherto in a gentle and persuasive mood, he was as a man who had put
off a mask.  Somehow he did not frighten her, for his looks now
corresponded with her idea of his real character; that scowling brow,
those glaring eyes, that protruding under jaw trembling with rage, well
befitted the murderer of her father and the despoiler of her home.  If
Kostakes should come into her room some time when he was drunk!  But
now he was only angry, seemingly speechless with rage.  She had been
peering through the grating of her window watching a rat that was
running to and fro in the sunless court below; he was so fat and his
legs were so short that he seemed to be sliding over the pavement like
a toy mouse.  When she first heard Kostakes' key in the lock she
grasped the iron bars to keep herself from falling and, leaning against
the wall, stood looking at the door.  And thus she stood now, a smile
of scorn faintly curling her pale lip.  Kostakes strode across the room
and, seizing her wrist wrenched her hand loose from the iron bar.

"You won't marry me, eh?" he said.  "I'm not good enough for you, eh?
I suppose I'm old or ugly or you prefer somebody else?  Is that it, eh?
Well, now I'm going to tame you.  You wouldn't have me as a Christian,
you shall have me as a Turk.  There aren't going to be any more
Christians, do you hear?  Eh?  Do you hear?  We're going to kill the
whole cursed brood of them, English, French, Italians, Cretans!  There
won't be one left.  Islam is aroused.  We'll cut their throats--" he
shouted, flinging her wrist from him, and making an imaginary slash at
his own neck.  "The streets will run blood.  Every dog of an unbeliever
in Crete must die, men, women and children--except you."

The blood of the Turkish father had prevailed, and Kostakes was
overwhelmed with that form of religious mania which cries for blood.
He had joined a band of young Turks, who had planned a grand coup, to
save Crete, and his Christian love for Panayota was fast turning into
Turkish love.  It needed but a riot of blood and rapine to make the
change complete.

"You would not have me as a Christian," he repeated, with his hand on
the door knob; "then you shall take me as a Turk," and he went out.

Panayota, being left alone again, was frightened, and it is proof of
the girl's nobility of soul that she thought not of herself, but of her
fellow Christians, whom she believed to be in imminent danger.  If she
could only escape and give them warning!  But she dismissed that
thought, for she had tried every possible means again and again.  She
might stand at the window and scream, but she had already done that,
with no effect.  Kostakes' house was right in the center of the Turkish
quarter, and the screams of an hysterical or angry woman attracted
little attention.  A girl shouting in Greek for help was a time-honored
legend of Turkish rule; as old as Islam and as natural as murder.  So,
as a last resort, she fell upon her knees and besought the Virgin to
help and save the people, to pity the mothers and the little children
and to turn away from them this danger.  Now, while she was praying, a
conflict had been taking place within the breast of Kostakes, of which
he felt the effects, but of which he was entirely unconscious.  The
blood of his Greek mother had been making a last stand against that of
his Mohammedan father, and while he was even yet breathing out curses
against the Christians and muttering, "She shall have me as a Turk," he
turned about automatically, as it were, and retraced his steps to
Panayota's room.  The girl rose from her knees.

"I am praying the Holy Virgin to save my people," she said in a solemn
tone.  Her eyes were streaming with tears.  Kostakes shuddered, and
involuntarily raised his arm, restraining himself with difficulty from
making the sign of the cross.  This Virgin of his mother could be a
very terrible being when angry.

"Panayota," he said, "I--I--was too rough with you just now.  But you
are very obstinate.  Listen, I tell you the truth.  The young Turks
have planned a grand coup, and I have joined them.  But I would do
anything for you if you would only let me.  Say that you will marry me,
and I will give the foreign officers warning, and the Christians will
be saved.  I will then turn Christian--O, Panayota, won't you marry me?"

But the Virgin had comforted Panayota and given her courage.  She
pointed superbly to the door.

"Go," she cried, "God will save His people without that sacrifice."



CHAPTER XXXIII

THE INNOCENT ONLOOKER

Kostakes went to the bazaar of his friend Mehemet Effendi.  Mehemet was
about of an age with the Captain, and had attended school with him.  He
was young and handsome, with red cheeks, thin, large nose, and thick
lips.  He affected European costume, but, being a full-blooded Turk,
was a sincere worshiper of the prophet, and an enthusiastic member of
that society of youths who believed that Islam was about to be
rejuvenated and purified, after which it would rise and overwhelm the
unbeliever in a series of victories greater than when it swept Asia and
the isles of the sea with the besom of fanaticism and carried its one
star to the gates of Vienna.  Mehemet's partner was a black-bearded,
pale-faced Persian, forty years of age, who wore a blue vest, blue
trousers that were full about the hips and tight at the ankles, carpet
slippers and a red fez.  Hassan Ben Sabbath was a Mohammedan by
profession, but his belief was colored and weakened by the secret
influence of an ancient religion.  His soul was haunted by the
unrecognizable ghosts of the dead gods of Mardonis and Masistius.  He
was prudent in business and mildly deprecatory in speech.  The bazaar
into which Kostakes now walked was a tiny room, fronting upon the
kaleidoscopic square.  The greater portion of its stock was piled in
the capacious windows,--brass candlesticks, Cretan knives and
revolvers, Byzantine silver jewelry, antique earthenware, Turkish and
Persian embroideries.  The only furniture consisted of a round-topped
wooden table, inlaid with mother-of-pearl, that stood in the middle of
the floor; a divan and two chairs.  Side by side upon the wall, in
cheap frames, hung the sad, cruel, blasé faces of Abdul Hamid and the
latest successor of Xerxes.

Mehemet was standing under his awning watching the shifting throng, and
occasionally casting expectant glances at the bay.  His eyes were
bright and his face was pale from nervousness.

"Any news, Kosta?  Any news?" he demanded in a cautious tone.  Kostakes
made no reply, but flinging himself into one of the chairs, began to
beat a lively tattoo with his riding whip on the top of his boot.  Ben
Sabbath, who had been pretending to sleep on the divan, rose to a
sitting position and yawned.

"Don't betray your feelings so," said Mehemet; "the hour when the
faithful shall triumph is almost at hand.  Be patient."

"I'm sick of the whole cursed spawning of Christians," cried Kostakes,
making the whip crack on his boot top like a pistol shot.  "I want to
see the throats of the last one of them slit.  I--"

"Now, Kosta, Kosta, in the name of Allah," protested Ben Sabbath,
springing to the door and looking to right and left.

Mehemet patted the excited man on the shoulder soothingly.

"He cannot help it," he explained.  "It is Islam rising.  Patience,
Kosta, but a little longer, and you shall have your fill of slitting.
We shall spare no one, eh?  No Christian dogs to breed more litters of
Christians; no babes to grow up into Christians!"

"Merciful Allah!  If you should be heard!" whispered Ben Sabbath in an
ague of fear.

"You can't make anything out of a Christian, try how you will,"
continued Kostakes.  "They don't appreciate kindness.  Now, take that
girl of mine, Panayota--"

"You are not trifling with her yet?"

"I have treated her with the greatest kindness, I have humbled myself
to her, but she despises me, she abhors me--me!"

And rising to his full height he smote his expanded chest.

"Never mind, never mind," said Mehemet.

"I've offered to make her the head of my harem, to--to--do everything
in fact, but still she is obstinate.  O, I am through with kindness
now.  This is a fine state of society when it is possible for a
Christian hussy to despise a Turkish gentleman and an officer to boot!"

Under ordinary circumstances some of Mehemet's Christian neighbors
would have heard Kostakes' raving from afar, and would have stolen
near.  At the present moment, however, the entire population of the
square was surging down to the water's edge watching an English ship
that was rapidly and noiselessly sliding into the harbor.  Evidently it
had been expected, and its mission on this occasion was supposedly
favorable to the Christians, for they were noisily jubilant and
addressed many facetious but insulting remarks to their Mohammedan
neighbors.  The latter remained silent and gazed with scowling brows at
the approaching vessel.

"Here it comes!" cried Ben Sabbath from the door, as the masts and
funnels of the "Hazard" suddenly drifted into the background, above the
heads of the throng.  Mehemet grabbed Kostakes by the arm and dragged
him to the door.

"See there!" he cried, forgetting all restraint.  "There comes the
disgrace of Islam, my brother--they have come to enslave us.  Those
English are Christians, and they hate us.  But your time has come,
dogs, your time has come!" and he shook his fist toward the ship.

"But in the name of Allah!" expostulated Ben Sabbath.  "These English
are our best customers.  Only yesterday I sold a piece of Rhodes
embroidery to an English lieutenant for four times its value.  And we
can't fight the English; they take the most terrible revenge.  Look
at--"

"Bah!  Look at nothing!  Look at our most glorious Sultan, the light of
the world and the defender of the faith.  Has he not been keeping all
Europe at bay for the last ten years?  There is no God but God, and
Mohammed is his prophet!"

"We must not interfere with the English, I tell you," protested Ben
Sabbath, in great alarm.

"A Christian is a Christian--all dogs--froth of the spittle of dogs.
Kostakes, they have come to install the new Christian officials and to
collect the tax.  The money of the faithful goes into Christian hands.
Your old enemy, Platonides, is to be made deputy collector.  How do you
like that?"

"Curse his Virgin!" growled Kostakes, again resorting to Greek.  "But
he won't live long to enjoy it.  I'll see to that--despise me!"

"Now you're talking sensibly," interposed Ben Sabbath, admiringly.
"There's a way and a time to do all things, of course.  But to oppose
the English by force--it's the veriest madness."

The metallic burr of the chain, paying out rapidly as the "Hazard's"
anchor plunged, came to their ears with startling distinctness.
Mehemet groaned.

"Our slavery dates from this moment, unless we nip this tyranny in the
bud, unless we strike a terrible blow.  They will be coming into our
houses next and taking our Christian wives away from us."

"Not into mine while I have two hundred Bashi Bazouks at my back!"
cried Kostakes.  "Curse the Christians!"

"Have they not given them the privilege of trading in the town?  Have
they not denied to Mohammedans the right to go out and visit their
farms and gardens?  You will see what their next move will be."

The sharp, clear tones of an English officer could be heard, and the
rattle of oars as they were unshipped and boated by the crew of a
man-of-war's boat.  The crowd at the wharf surged back with groans and
cheers.  But the wharf was not destined to be the chief center of
attraction.  The scrannel drone of a bagpipe sounded faintly in the
distance, and grew rapidly more distinct, a waving thread of sound that
led the measured tread of many feet, marching to quickstep, out of the
silence and nearer, nearer.  The three Mohammedans fixed their eyes
upon the opening of a street that gave, not far away, into the square.
The bagpipe turned the corner, and its defiant wail came straight to
their ears.  The throng at the wharf turned and looked, then turned
back again, like the distracted spectator at a modern circus, where the
prodigality of attractions prevents the enjoyment of any.  But they
were not long in doubt as to the principal attraction, for the street
ejected from its mouth at that moment the most devil-may-care,
picturesque, obstreperous, robust, business-like compound of wailing
wind and true courage on earth--a Scotch bagpiper.  Tamas Macmillan
flung across the square, looking neither to right nor left.  His hair
was red, and his face flamed in the tropic sun.  Every time that he
puffed his cheeks full his head shook with the effort, and the
streamers of his Scotch cap leaped on the breeze.  He was a tall,
gaunt, awkward Scot, whose projecting kneecaps played in front of the
sinewy knees like round shields.  On he fared, with chest thrust out
and face thrust up, squeezing the bag beneath his brawny arm and
letting out its protesting squeals in the notes of "Bonnie Prince
Charlie."  Behind him at a distance came a small body of Seaforth
Highlanders and a few bluejackets, bound straight for the custom house.
The throng scrambled out of the way to right and left, as though from a
bayonet charge.  In fact, the natives did not wait for the troops, but
melted away before the flaming countenance of Tamas Macmillan.

One of Kostakes' Bashi Bazouks, a great, splendid fellow, with a blue
and yellow turban about his head and a gaudy sash about his waist,
appeared beneath Mehemet's awning and salaamed.

"Your men are going up to the custom house," he said.

Kostakes was fretting to and fro in the shop like a big lion in a small
cage, gnawing his upper lip, twitching at his mustache.  Every moment
his passion grew, and the snorts of indignation became more and more
frequent.

"Doesn't want me, eh?  What does she want?  Wouldn't have me on any
terms?  Ha, ha!  We'll see about that!"

"Effendi," said the man, in a louder voice.

The Captain whirled about with a jerk and glared at the speaker.

"Well, what do you want?"

The man retreated a step.  Kostakes' face was purple and his eyes
looked uncanny in the half light, like a cat's.

"Your men, I said, are going to the custom house."

"Bah!  Tell them to go to the devil!"

The Bashi Bazouk salaamed and started away, but Mehemet caught him by
the arm.

"The Effendi is in a terrible rage about Platonides.  Tell the men to
go up in twos and threes, and--and--to keep out of mischief."

"We are not armed, Effendi," replied the man, smiling grimly, and
laying his hand upon the butt of one of the large, old-fashioned
pistols in his belt.  Besides these weapons, he carried a long Cretan
knife in a leathern sheath, tipped with silver.

"We are not armed," he repeated, "except for dress."

"There will surely be trouble," whined Ben Sabbath, "and these
foreigners are our best customers."

"What are the Christians doing now?" sneered Kostakes, standing in the
door.  He had passed into one of those periods of calm which manifest
themselves after violent ebullitions of rage, like the fearful silences
between thunderclaps.

Mehemet pointed.  The British troops and the marines were drawn up in
front of the custom house.  Red jackets and gleaming helmet tips on one
side; bare knees in a row, kilts and little caps with frisking tails on
the other.  Numerous Bashi Bazouks were seen standing among the throng,
several of them upon its outer edge.  Kostakes caught sight of the
hated Platonides in company with a British officer.  The guard saluted,
and the Cretan raised his hat, as though the military courtesy were
intended for him.

"If there is a row," chuckled Kostakes, "my men will attend to you.
They'll install you!"

And he started briskly across the square, accompanied by Mehemet.

Ben Sabbath retired into the shop, trembling with fear.

"Our best customers," he muttered, "and they never forgive nor forget!"
But he could not restrain his curiosity, and so, after another moment,
he peeped from the door again.  Everything was proceeding quietly and
in order.

"Bah!  There will be no trouble, with all those English there."

He tiptoed across the open space in front of the door, ready to scurry
back at the least symptom of alarm.  He reached the edge of the throng,
and forgetting his fear, in the midst of so many friends and neighbors,
pushed boldly through, arriving at the farther edge just in time to
receive a bullet in his breast.  Clutching at the air, he staggered a
few steps into the open and fell dead, with one loud cry to Allah for
help.  Like many another peaceful and inoffensive man he had fallen the
first victim in a scene of violence.



CHAPTER XXXIV

STILL WITH THE ARMY

Kostakes himself had been the indirect cause of Ben Sabbath's death.
This is what had happened: He and the impetuous Mehemet were standing
close to one end of the line of Highlanders, making insulting remarks
in Greek for the benefit of Platonides and their Christian neighbors.
Stung beyond endurance, the excitable Greek pulled the English
officer's sleeve and pointed to his tormentors with raised arm.
Kostakes stepped boldly forward and shook his fist in the direction of
his enemy, whereupon one of the statues in kilts came to life and
dropped the butt of his musket on the Turk's toe.  The latter sprang
back with a cry of pain and the exclamation in Turkish:

"Death to the Christians!"

A Bashi Bazouk, enraged at the insult suffered by his commanding
officer, and taking the exclamation for a command, drew his knife and
plunged it to the handle into the Highlander's back.  As the
unfortunate man fell his gun was discharged, causing the death of
Hassan Ben Sabbath and awakening the demon of massacre that now for
many years had lurked in the towns and villages of Crete, feverishly
and fitfully sleeping.  And what an inconceivably horrible demon it is!
Here is the sweetly wimpling sea, with the Grecian sky above; here are
vineyards and pastures on the hillsides and the ancient pipe of the
shepherd boy; here are white villages that should hear no sound save
such as harmonize with the vesper chime of some monastery bell,
drifting across the waters, or the choiring of the Cretan nightingales.
And yet, nowhere on earth has hate, irresponsible and pitiless, found
so congenial a home as among these idyllic scenes.  Mehemet whipped an
English navy revolver from beneath his coat and shouting "_Allah il
Allah!_" fired point blank at the Lieutenant in charge of the guard,
who sank to the earth, gasping:

"Steady, boys, steady."

Kostakes' Bashi Bazouks came plunging through the press from all
directions, gathering about their master.  Knives twirled in the sun
and flashed above the heads of the people--horrible knives with concave
edges, made for the cutting of throats.  And now, from windows and from
the roofs of houses, commenced a sporadic sputtering of guns against
that gallant body of men standing in front of the custom house, statues
yet, save when now and then one sank to earth--brought to life by
death.  Their officer lay dead at their feet, and his last words had
been, "Steady, boys, steady!"

The beardless boy who stood there now in command, a trifle pale, but
firm as a stripling oak, was for one moment at his wit's end.  He could
not give the order to fire into the crowd, killing Turk and Christian
alike.  That certainly would not be obeying the last command of the man
whom he had loved, who had been his model soldier and gentleman.  At
any rate, he could die bravely; he was not in doubt about that part of
it for a single moment.  But his hesitation did not last long.  A gun
boomed out in the bay louder than all the pandemonium on shore, and a
shell dropped on the roof of a house from which several Turks had been
firing at the British.  He would get his men to the wharf, as close
under shelter of the guns as possible.

They arrived at the wharf just as the steam launch from the "Hazard"
drew up to take them off, and two sailors held her fast with grappling
poles.  Other boats were creeping across the narrow strip of sea, their
oars moving rapidly, like the legs of frightened centipedes.  The
little sub-lieutenant drew up his company facing the rioters.  He then
detached a squad to put the wounded into the launch.  The fall of the
first two or three shells had caused a momentary panic in the town,
during which the British succeeded in getting into the boats, save one
wounded man, who had been overlooked somehow in the excitement.

"Shove off!" cried the little sub-lieutenant, standing in the stern of
one of the boats, whither he had leapt last of all that gallant company.

"Shove off!" repeated the middy in charge; and the boat drifted a foot
or so from the wharf, as the grappling poles were lifted.  But at that
moment the little "sub." saw the wounded Highlander, lying helpless
upon the cobblestones.  Even as he looked, the man rose to his knees,
swayed a moment and fell over upon his side, a bundle of bright tartan
on the gray cobblestones.  It was Tamas the piper.  Without a moment's
hesitation, the sub-lieutenant sprang to the wharf and ran to the
rescue.  The place was clear, as the rioters had drawn back from the
threatening guns of the British, and were pouring a galling fire into
the boats from windows and corners of houses.  As the young hero
advanced, all these rifles were turned upon him, and he was aware of a
continual "zip! zip!" of bullets about his ears.  His own men now,
assisted by the marines, were answering the fire, shooting at the Turks
as they stepped slyly out from the shelter of buildings, or arose at
the edge of roofs to take aim.  Tamas was clutching one of the pipes of
his musical instrument with an unloosable grip.  His rescuer vainly
attempted to open the bony hand.  Seeing that the effort was useless,
he knelt by Tamas, and seizing his two wrists, drew the fainting man's
arms about his neck; rising to his feet, he staggered toward the wharf,
with the Scotchman upon his shoulders.  The bagpipe dangled like the
limp body of some animal.  Strong arms lifted Tamas into the boat, and
again the little sub-lieutenant leaped in and cried "Shove off!"  The
sheath of his sword was badly bent by the impact of a bullet and a spot
of blood appeared near his groin, and rapidly grew larger.

"My God, sir, you're wounded!" almost sobbed a burly Scot.  But the
sub-lieutenant was young and familiarity is the death of authority.

"Be silent, Ferguson!" he said, sternly, without deigning to look at
the flesh wound in his side, which was beginning to smart like a great
burn.

"Did you bring off my bagpipe?" asked Tamas Macmillan, wounded to the
death.  "'Tis the sweetest instrument in a' Scotland."

A laugh of derision greeted the question, and even the little
sub-lieutenant smiled as he fainted away in the arms of Ferguson, who
muttered fiercely, "If they don't give him the Victoria cross for this
I'll desert."

Mr. Ferguson is still with the army.



CHAPTER XXXV

IN THE MIDST OF ALARMS

The report soon spread among the Turks that the English had been driven
into the sea.  Islam, that always believes in final universal triumph
and the death of all unbelievers, was drunk with victory.  The
Mohammedans of Canea did not stop to think how few they were.  It
seemed to them that the vengeance of Allah was at hand, and that the
whole world of the faithful had arisen.  A band of howling demons
poured down the streets of the Christian quarter, shooting into the
windows and doors of the houses, hacking down with their long knives
all who were not able to get out of sight.  The shells which the
"Hazard" continued to drop into the town in hopes of quelling the
uprising only added to the terror of the victims and the fury of the
murderers.  The Mohammedan has no fear of death when he is on God's
business.  Kostakes' terrible Bashi Bazouks were everywhere.  These are
the irregulars who furnish their own arms and equipment.  They or their
families have suffered in some previous conflict with the Christians,
and they kill for revenge and the true faith.

Some resistance was made and guns barked from half-closed window
shutters into the faces of the marauders.  But whenever this happened
it only hastened the fate of those within.  The Christian quarter
swarmed with Turks.  They crowded the streets, leaped over the garden
walls, pried open the doors of the houses.  Those who were not there
out of pure thirst for blood came from love of plunder.

Kostakes, with his friend Mehemet and a half dozen of the Bashi
Bazouks, did terrible execution.  The Captain, as with drawn sword he
drove his victims to bay in their gardens or into angles of the wall,
imagined he was still talking to Panayota.

"There'll be no more Christians," he shouted again and again as he
thrust home with his sword, or as some form writhed on the bayonet that
pinned it to the adobe wall.

"We're going to kill them all."

For hours murder, rapine and plunder ran riot in the streets of Canea.
When the moon came up that night eight hundred dead bodies were lying
stark and ghastly in the beautiful gardens.

At the first sound of distant firing, the women of Kostakes' harem were
not greatly terrified.  Another slaughter of Christians did not mean
danger to them.  Thoroughly ignorant, they believed that all the kings
and potentates of the world were vassals of the Sultan, who was able to
enforce submission whenever he chose.  They had heard from earliest
childhood that some day there would be a grand killing of Christians
and other unbelievers, after which the earth would be inhabited by
Turks alone.  No doubt the prophecy was even now coming to pass.

"They are killing all the Christians," said Souleima, peeping through
the gate.  "All the Christians in Canea."

"Aren't you sorry for them?"

"Bah! why should I be?  It's their own fault if they are Christians."

"I am sorry for the little children," said Ayesha with a shudder,
thinking of her own little boy, that had died in infancy.

Souleima looked slyly at Ferende, who was sitting on the stone steps at
the outer side of the court, her fingers in her ears.  The sound of the
guns made the ex-favorite nervous, and she wanted to think.  She
believed that a crisis had arrived in her life.  The terrible Turk had
been the bogey man of her infancy.  Surely he was now conquering the
world.  Who would be queen of the domestic kingdom which Kostakes would
rear, when he should return, covered with blood and glory?  Would
Panayota remain a Greek when all her countrymen were killed?
Alone,--the only Greek in the world?

Ferende laughed scornfully at the thought.

The boom of cannon was heard.  It sounded very clear and distinct and
seemed to cause a slight tremor of the earth where they stood.  They
looked at each other with startled and wondering eyes.  The sound was
repeated.  Then, in a moment, the Turkish quarter, which had been
hushed to whispering silence, broke forth into a babel of feminine
screams, cries of children and the noise of many frightened women, all
chattering at once.

"What is it?  O, what is it?" shrieked Ayesha and Souleima, in a
breath.  They looked toward Ferende, but she was gone.  Again that
dreadful "boom," and now shrieks are heard in the streets, and the
sound of flying footsteps.  Ayesha and Souleima pull the gate open and
look out.  They behold a panic.  Women clutching their offspring
however they can, or dragging them through the street by the arm; old
men doddering with long staffs, or holding to the garments of their
flying daughters; children darting after their elders, screaming,
"Mama! mama!"  Some of the Turkish women, in their terror, had not
covered their faces.  Others instinctively held handkerchiefs, or even
bare hands, before their mouths as they ran.  From all that shrill
uproar an occasional word or syllable detached itself; cries to "Allah"
and the "Virgin," supplications for present help to any god or saint
that happened to be uppermost in the mind.  And every time that
terrible "boom" was heard out in the bay the tumult swelled like a wave
rising to its crest.  Ayesha and Souleima waited for no explanation,
but, adding their voices to the general tumult, plunged into the throng
and were swept along with it toward the nearest gate of the city.

Ferende had gone to free Panayota.  Bounding up the dark narrow stairs,
she muttered to herself:

"It's my only chance.  I'll be a drudge all my life else."

She did not stop to reason concerning Kostakes' anger or his possible
vengeance.  There would be time enough to devise some story.  The thing
that was certain, the situation that she must face, was "the Christians
are all being killed, and even the girl upstairs will see that
Mohammedanism is triumphant.  If I get rid of her, I shall live like a
queen the rest of my days."

Panayota was lying on the bed with her face in the pillow, shuddering
and whispering to the Virgin.  At the first sound of the guns, nature
had given way, and she had fallen fainting to the floor.

Recovering consciousness, she had found herself too weak to rise, and
had crept to her couch, where she lay, moaning.

Sometimes there would be a few moments of quiet, when she would raise
her head and listen, hoping against hope that something had happened,
and that the dreadful sound had ceased forever.  But no, they always
commenced again; one report, another, and then several following in
quick succession, or else a general crash, and she would again bury her
head in the pillow.

Thus Ferende found her, and, shaking her by the shoulders, cried:

"Quick, Panayota, run, run!  They are killing all the Christians in the
world!"

"I want to die," cried the Cretan.

"They won't kill you--Kostakes' woman.  And he may be here any minute."

[Illustration: She wondered if she would be able to run that gauntlet
of eyes without being discovered]

Panayota ran into the hall.  Hope, that is always living where it seems
most dead, thrilled her breast with a sudden ecstasy.  If there was any
opportunity of escaping from the filthy Turk and his pollution, why,
then, she did not want to die.  Before her was the open door of a
bedroom, and upon the bed lay the black garment and veil in which
Mohammedan women bundle themselves when about to walk or ride out.  She
pounced upon these and literally scrambled into them.  Then she stepped
to a window and looked down into the street.  It was nearly deserted,
save for the groups of women peeping from windows and half-opened
garden gates.  She wondered if she would be able to run that gauntlet
of eyes without being questioned, discovered.  At that very moment the
situation was solved for her.  The sound of a cannon was heard and the
flight from the Turkish quarter began.  When she reached the garden the
gate was open, and the street was full of frightened women and
children, all running in one direction.  There was another roar, louder
and fuller than the spiteful chatter of the rifles.  It was like a
giant shouting in a yard full of children, and it was followed by a
general shriek from the rabble of fleeing non-combatants.  Panayota had
heard cannon before, they were simply one of the voices of war--in this
case a mere phase of the riot of blood which had broken forth upon
earth.  But she was going to flee from it all.  In that brief moment
that she stood in the gate the great, faithful righteous mountains rose
before her mind; they seemed to call and beckon her.  Often had she
dreamed of them in the days and nights of her captivity, but then they
were far away.  Now they had moved nearer, the mountains of God--her
refuge.  Crossing herself, she, too, plunged into the stream of
humanity, was swallowed up and swept along by it.

Kostakes came back to his home; came back covered with Christian blood,
and longing, like a Turk, for the Christian maiden whom he had locked
up in his harem; came back cursing the Mother of God and gloating over
the deed which he had resolved to do.  But he found his house rent in
twain, and his garden filled with a great heap of smoking rubbish.  He
looked into the cleft rooms as spectators at a theater behold the
interior of a house, and there was no sign of any live thing save
himself in all the street.  There was Panayota's room, with the bed
standing in the corner and her Cretan jacket hanging to a nail in the
wall.  But she was gone.  Then a great fear seized Kostakes, and his
mother's blood awoke in his heart and surged through his veins again.
Trembling in every limb, and with pale face, from which the flush of
passion had fled, he unconsciously crossed himself, muttering hoarsely:
"It is the vengeance of the Virgin!  I am accursed!"



CHAPTER XXXVI

AN INTERRUPTED RESCUE

"Ah, the shade is so delicious!" said the Turkish Major, stepping under
a pine and removing his fez.  Lindbohm dragged the handkerchief, tied
turban-fashion, from his brow, and wiped his face with it.  The cloth
was black with powder-smoke and grimy with dust from previous contact
with his features.

"It is always cool in the shade in this country," he observed, running
his fingers through his damp pompadour, "no matter how white hot it is
in the sun."

They were following a path that wound like the thread of a screw
athwart the face of a hill that had been terraced with infinite pains
and labor.  Plateaus, from four to twenty feet in width, supported by
walls of cobblestones, rose one above the other like steps of a wide
stairway.

After the terraces came a forest of small pines, cool and fragrant.  It
was now nearing the middle of the afternoon and the locusts were at
work, plying their sleepy rasps, infinitely numerous and monotonous.
They emerged from the grove into a narrow path on the edge of a steep
incline.  The soldiers ran to a point a little farther on, where a pear
tree, growing close by the side of a precipice, served as a ladder.
They scrambled down its branches into the garden that surrounded a
farmhouse not far distant.

"Was this a Turkish or a Christian house?" asked Lindbohm.  The windows
and doors were broken, and a pile of smashed furniture lay in the
middle of the floor.  A clematis vine, that had once carried its
fragrant snow up to the tiny balcony, lay upon the ground, among the
ruins of its trellis.

The Major shrugged his shoulders.

"Who knows?" he replied.  "Whichever it was, the results are the same.
If we look around, perhaps we may find a body somewhere."

"No, no," said the Swede; "I have no curiosity.  Let us be going."

He furtively stooped and picked from the tangled clematis a crude rag
doll, and slipped it into the tail pocket of the long coat.  His little
blue-eyed sister at home had once possessed such a doll, and this
ruined house touched a very tender spot in his heart.  The Turkish
Major, white-haired, erect and slender, was strolling away through the
stumps of what had been a pear orchard before the ax of the vandal had
laid it low.  Curtis was following, holding the crooked simitar
clumsily away from his hip.  Lindbohm wiped a tear from the corner of
his eye with the back of his big pink hand.

"It's nice to have a wife and children," he mused, "to love them and
bring them up.  I'll help him find her, and then--America!"

They came to a broad white road cutting in twain the level greenness of
an interminable vineyard.  The vines along the highway were powdered
white with dust and the dusty little grapes, green and hard, gave small
comfort to the thirsty wayfarer.  The three pedestrians cast their eyes
down the long, shining stretch, over which the heat quivered visibly.
They were standing beneath an olive tree at the edge of the rocky and
wooded tract through which they had come.  The only other shade visible
for at least a mile was that made by a solitary brush watch-tower, far
out in mid-field.  The Turk sat down upon a rock, and, removing his
fez, fanned with it his scanty gray locks.

"Do you know?" he asked, smiling sweetly at his companions, "the
proverb of this country concerning people who walk in the sun?"

They said they had not heard it.

"It is 'Only fools and Englishmen walk in the sun.'"

"Ah," said Curtis, laughing.  "I remember now that I have heard it, but
it was not exactly like that.  It was 'fools and foreigners' when I
heard it.  Now I understand why you Turks are called the 'French of the
orient.'  It is because of your politeness."

Hassan Bey protested feebly and drowsily.  Sleep, more powerful in the
orient even than politeness, was overcoming him.  He settled himself
comfortably against the trunk of the olive tree; his head lolled to one
side and his mouth dropped open.

"It would be a pity to wake him," said Curtis.  The relaxed features
looked tired and old.  "He's not a bad sort, as Turks go, and he does
look done up."

"He's a brave man," said Lindbohm.  "Let him sleep for a little while,"
and the Swede, sitting down upon a flat rock, with his face between his
palms, gazed at a little patch of sea, glittering far away, like a lake
among mountains.

Curtis lay down upon his back, with his fingers interlocked behind his
head, and watched the innumerable twinkling of the pale green olive
leaves above him.

"I've been in this island so long," he mused, "that I don't believe I
shall be able to go around the world.  Shame, too, as the governor had
sort of set his heart on it.  I haven't spent much money in Crete, it's
true, but I promised to be back and take hold in the office."

Closing his eyes, he could see the great shoe factory, as plainly as
though it were there before him, the neatly fenced enclosure and the
path by which the small army of employees came and went every day.
There was the office, a one-story building painted white, that stood
near the gate.  He looked into the front room, and there, on high
stools, writing in great ledgers, sat his father's clerks, an old man
and four younger ones.  And in the little private office was his
father.  There he sat tilted back in his swing-chair, a young appearing
man, cheerful, prosperous, shrewd; not an educated man, but his son's
most intimate companion.  Curtis laughed as he thought of the "Trilby
Club" of which his father was president.  They made Welsh Rabbits,
played penny ante and sang rollicking songs.  There was a club house
where they met in summer and ate fish dinners.

Then his mind reverted to Panayota.  He always saw her in thought with
a jug upon her shoulder, standing on the edge of a precipice.

"I wonder what the governor will think of Panayota?" he muttered.  His
father was the high priest of common sense in the Curtis household.
From infancy he had respected his father's judgment and feared his
good-natured ridicule.  John Curtis had been brought up as an
exemplification of the motto, "My son will never make a fool of
himself," and, so far, he had been the pride of his father's heart.

"Come to dress Panayota in European costume," he mused, "and she would
make a sensation in America.  But lord, wouldn't she be queer!  She's
grand here in her native mountains, but you can't lug a mountain around
with a girl.  It would take about four years of education to fit her
for Boston, or even for Lynn.  I wonder if she'd give up crossing
herself.  My mother would have seven kinds of fits if she ever saw the
girl cross herself."

Mrs. Curtis represented the religious responsibilities of the family.
A tall, angular, bespectacled New England woman, brought up strictly in
the Presbyterian faith, she regarded all foreigners as heathen, pining
to be converted to the doctrine of infant damnation; and a taint of
papacy was to her as a taint of leprosy.  That this woman had eloped
with William Curtis when he was a penniless drummer for a shoe house,
was no indication that she would countenance similar conduct in her son.

"If I could manage in some way to have Panayota educated for a couple
of years," he mused, "and then bring mother and the governor over here
to see her--they've long been talking about taking a trip abroad.  The
first thing is to get her away from Kostakes."  But here a thought
occurred to him of a more serious nature than any that had yet passed
through his mind in connection with Panayota.

"I wonder if Americans wouldn't look askance at a woman who had lived
in a Turkish harem?  Wouldn't she bring a taint of suspicion with her,
no matter how pure she might be?  Of course, if I caught anybody--"

His reflections were interrupted by Lindbohm exclaiming:

"Hello!  What's that?"

The Turk sprang to his feet and looked away toward Canea, as he
realized that a cannon had been fired.  It was the first gun of the
"Hazard."

"Perhaps Yanne has set up his flag on the blockhouse again," commented
Curtis.  "The Greek flag seems to act on those English like a red rag
on a bull."

"It is not in that direction," said Lindbohm; "it is toward Canea, is
it not, Monsieur?"

"Exactly," replied the Turk.  "Perhaps it is a salute of some ship just
arrived."  For, even as he spoke, the sound was heard again.

"Possibly," assented the Swede, "and yet the interval did not seem
exactly right--no, by damn!  It is a bombardment!"  Two guns had spoken
almost together.

"Could they be bombarding Canea?" asked Curtis.

"Let me see," replied the Swede.  "Well, it is not probable, but
possible.  Suppose there was one grand uprising and one party had
seized the forts and fired on the town.  Then they might reduce the
forts.  Suppose there was one grand massacre--Turks kill all the
Christians, or Christians kill all the Turks, or both kill each other;
then they might drop a few shells yust to scare them."

"But might not some innocent persons be killed by the shells?"

"In times of massacre and war, innocent persons must yust take their
chances."

The sounds continued, irregular but frequent.  Lindbohm stood gazing in
the direction from whence they came, a dreamy look in his blue eyes.
The dull detonations seemed to come from half way round the world.
They were the heart-beats of war, throbbing fiercely in the far jungles
of Cuba.  He pulled the handkerchief from his brow and picked clumsily
at the knot.

"Let 'em yust go it," he muttered; "shoot, kill, burn, and then blow
the island off the earth.  It's too mixed up for me."

Curtis was tired.  He sat down beside the Major and listened.  The
Lieutenant stood looking at the sea, tying and untying the
handkerchief, and, as the vision of scientific maneuvers, artillery
duels and bayonet charges, took shape in his mind, the flush of
excitement flooded the stubble on his unshaven cheek.

"I will join the Americans," he mused.  "I will draw my sword for
liberty and progress," and again the imaginary sword leaped from the
scabbard and his pliable wrist moved nervously in unison with his
thoughts.  Then, of a sudden, the flush fled from his cheek and he
started bareheaded down the white road.

"Hello!" cried Curtis, leaping to his feet, "what's the matter, old
man?  Wait for a chap, can't you?" and he ran after him.

"My God!" said Lindbohm, "have we forgotten that she is there?  It may
be Canea!"

"Gentlemen," expostulated the Turk, as he came up out of breath.  "I
assure you that this is madness in this hot sun.  I was about to
propose that we wait for two or three hours in the shade, and walk the
rest of the way in the cool of the evening.  See, your head even is
uncovered," and taking the handkerchief which was hanging by one corner
from Lindbohm's hand, he twisted it dexterously about the Swede's brow.

"It did not till this moment strike me forcibly that they may be
bombarding Canea," explained Lindbohm, "and even now it does not seem
possible to me."  He talked as one apologizing partly to himself and
partly to another, for a serious offense.  "But the young lady in whom
my friend here is--ah--interested, is in that city.  We must go to her
rescue."  Emphasizing the remark with a violent thrust, he again
hurried forward.  The sun beat down with fearful intensity, but the
tall Swede forged along the dusty road with doubled fists and a
swinging stride.  Curtis wondered afterward that the curious figure had
not impressed him as ludicrous; with the long tails of the shrunken
coat falling apart, the pompadour standing erect in the encircling
handkerchief, like a field of ripe wheat in a fence, the huge fists
striking at the trickling beads of sweat, as though they were living
things.  But no, old Lindbohm was never ridiculous, and Curtis struck
out after him, his arm aching with the heavy saber, that would fall
between his legs the moment he let it go.

"Lindbohm was right, of course.  Poor Panayota, what a fright she must
be in!"

In utter silence they strode ahead.  The Turk said nothing, although he
marveled and suffered greatly.  He owed his life to these foreigners,
and he had determined to see them safely into Canea.  If they chose to
go there in the broiling sun, and into a storm of cannon balls, and all
for a unit in the tribe of women who are as the blades of grass--all
alike, why it was "kismet."  The four soldiers followed because he was
their officer, and a Turkish soldier always goes stupidly wherever his
officer goes, whether to a massacre of Christian babes or a hell of
belching cannon.  So, for a full hour they walked, till at last they
came into a region of gardens, fenced in with high stone walls, and
suddenly, from around a corner came a man, carrying a small child and
holding a woman by the hand.  The couple stopped and looked about them
in a perplexity of terror.  Then the woman leaped up and seizing the
top of the wall, bristling as it was with broken glass, scrambled over
like a cat.  The man tossed the baby after her and followed.  Curtis
and Lindbohm both turned and looked inquiringly at the Turk.

"They are Christians," he explained.  "Who knows what has happened?"  A
tall, bare-headed Cretan, holding a little girl under each arm like
water jugs, appeared, stopped and stared irresolute.  A half-dressed
woman with a new-born babe at her breast, and a girl of twelve clinging
to her skirts, followed him.  The woman, with a shriek of terror, slid
to her knees, beside the man.  It was a painting of fear, a Christian
family in the Coliseum awaiting the wild beasts.

"Back! back!" cried the father hoarsely, pushing the woman with his
knee.  Clutching wildly at his clothing, she pulled herself to her
feet, and they all disappeared as they had come.  Curtis ran down to
the corner, just in time to see them dart into another lane, between
two other gardens.  These were but the forerunners of a long stream of
terrified Christians, who, at the first sound of the firing at the
custom house, had fled from the town.  Lindbohm and the Turks came up,
at sight of whom the fugitives were thrown into the greatest
consternation.  Curtis and Lindbohm, determined to learn what in truth
had happened, walked briskly forward, and the motley, gibbering,
Dantesque throng blew backward as though struck by a wind, with much
looking over the shoulder and many pitiful shrieks.  As they streamed
in the other direction, the weaker and those bearing the greater
burdens dropped behind in a thin line; aged women, the halt and the
lame, frail mothers carrying their children.  And now, in all that
scene of despair and horror, there flashed out a spark of beauty,
inspiring as a lone star on a dark night.  A stripling--he could not
have been over twelve--lingered behind, retreating slowly and
threatening the oncomers with an antique gun.  He was slender, this
boy, bareheaded and coatless, in blue breeches of Cretan make and high,
untanned boots.  He held his long rifle featly, and as he stepped
backward, shaking the yellow hair from his eyes, Lindbohm could not
restrain a cry of admiration.

"Stop," he said, laying his hand on Curtis' shoulder, "that boy would
yust as leave shoot as not.  But what in the name of--ach, my God!"

As if in answer to the unfinished question, a woman, completely crazed
with fear and grief, came stumbling along the stony road, bearing upon
her back a lad nearly as large as herself, holding him by the wrists.
His throat had been cut, and the head fell back horribly, lolling from
side to side, pumping out the blood that had soaked her dress to the
hips and her long hair that dabbled in the gash.

Lindbohm caught her by the arm and shouted to her in English:

"What is the matter, woman?  What has happened in Canea?"

She looked at him with vacant eyes, and then staggered on with her
awful burden.

"Come on, little Yanne; come on, my cypress tree.  Hurry!  Hurry!
Mother will save him from the Turks!"

The Major stepped up to Lindbohm and Curtis and said firmly:

"Gentlemen, I see that a general massacre of Christians is taking place
in Canea.  If you go there, you will surely be killed.  I beg of you to
come with me to my country place near here, where I will protect you
till the danger is over."

"Never!" cried the Swede.  "We go to the rescue of a lady."

"You can do nothing," replied the Major, impatiently.  "If she has not
already escaped, it is too late, and our own position here is becoming
dangerous, for I and my men are unarmed, and a band of armed Christians
may appear at any moment.  Join your voice with mine, Monsieur,"
turning to Curtis.  "I assure you, on the honor of a Turk, you will
never even get to the city alive."

Curtis hesitated.

"Doubtless the lady is at the English consul's?" hazarded the Major.

"No; she is in the most fearful danger.  She is a Cretan in the house
of a Turk."

"Ah, I remember.  But then she is not in danger.  At present she
couldn't be in a safer place.  Whatever her position is, it will remain
the same, and you can find her later on.  While if you go and get
killed--"  He shrugged his shoulders and snapped his fingers.

"By Jove, he's right, old man," cried Curtis.  "He's right.  Panayota's
safe enough, and we'd only get her into trouble by going now.  Of
course, if you go, I'm with you, but he's right, by Jove, he's right."

Lindbohm who had been impatiently fencing with his invisible enemy,
looked absent-mindedly away towards Canea the while he rammed the
imaginary sword home into its sheath.

"Adieu, Monsieur," he said, sweetly, "and if I do not see you again,
_merci bien_."

"All right, old man, I'm with you," shouted Curtis, grasping the sheath
of the heavy simitar and starting after.  At a motion from the Major,
his four soldiers fell upon Lindbohm, and, after a mighty struggle,
held him fast.  The Turkish officer ran to Curtis.

"'Monsieur, as a friend, I do this.  It is the only chance to save your
lives!  To advance is certain death!"

So they bore Lindbohm away to a little vine-clad stone tower in a
garden; bore him away cursing in three languages, and sputtering vain
Berserker froth from his white lips.  And Curtis ran at his side
shouting:

"But, listen, old man, damn it, listen a minute.  The Turk is right,
don't you see that he's right?"



CHAPTER XXXVII

YE WHO ENTER HERE

Panayota was part of the flight and of the panic, but she was not, even
in the moment of her greatest fear, a part of the Turks.  Her one
thought as she repeated the name of the Virgin beneath her yashmak and
crossed herself with her hands hidden within the loose black robe, was
to get away from the Mohammedans.  Let the heavens fall and the earth
yawn, so she escape from Kostakes and his kin!  The ever-increasing
stream of humanity ran, scrambled, and, as it grew denser, fought its
way on to the city gate, through which it poured into the dusty road
beyond.  Once outside the city a momentary feeling of relief possessed
the throng, as though they had arrived at a place of safety.  They did
not cease to run, but there was a lull in the frightened chatter.  A
woman seized Panayota by the arm and addressed to her a voluble
question in Turkish, between gasps for breath and hysteric sobs.  The
Cretan, not understanding a word, plucked away her sleeve and struggled
toward the edge of the human stream.  The woman, following, again
seized her by the arm and repeated the question in a voice of shrill
querulousness.  In the midst of Panayota's new terror--that of
betrayal--sounded the boom of another gun and the crash of near-by
walls.  Her tormentor screamed and clutched both hands into the back of
a tall Turk, in whom fear had proved a stronger passion than lust or
fanaticism, and who was fighting a way to safety through his weaker
neighbors.  Panayota, suddenly released, fell clear of the human stream
against the corner of a hut that stood by the roadside.  She ran to the
end of the building and looked back.  It was absolutely certain that no
one of all that hysterical, panic-stricken flock of human sheep saw
her.  She stepped behind the building and reeled for a moment against
the rough mud wall, hands upon it high up, face between them.  She felt
faint, but the Virgin answered her prayers with strength.  An opening
in a hedge of aloes invited her.  Through this she stepped and,
stooping, ran for a long distance, keeping the hedge between her and
the fleeing Turks.  She came at last to a little building, long and
low, standing by the side of a cross road.  She pushed the door open
and gave a cry of joy.  The tall stand, with its circular top, covered
with spikes for holding candles, the curtained recess at the farther
end of the room, the crude earthen censer in the window--all told her
that she had taken refuge in a Christian church, which, strange to say,
had neither been damaged nor defiled.  On the wall beside the curtain
was a tiny shelf, and upon this stood a bit of board about four inches
square, bearing on its hither surface the dim resemblance of an
oval-faced woman and chubby, naked child.

"Ah, the dear Panayeia!" cried Panayota, transported with delight.
Tearing her Turkish garments from her, she threw them to the earth with
a "Na!" and spat upon them.  Then she turned to kiss the _eikon_, but
ere she did so it occurred to her that the place was defiled by the
clothing which she had just removed.  She therefore gathered the pile
up and peeped from the door.  Seeing no one, she hid the clothing in
the hedge and returned to light one of the yellow candles which she
found upon the stand.  She took it as a good omen that half a dozen
matches, evidently left by a previous worshiper, were scattered about
among the candles.  Panayota had no money with her, not a _lepton_, not
a _para_, so she took a thin gold ring from her finger, once given her
by her father, kissed it and laid it among the few copper coins on the
stand.  Wonderful peace and comfort came to her.  The sanctuary of the
Most High seemed pervaded by the divine presence.  Save for the flicker
of the beeswax candle, she was almost in darkness.  It was nearly
sunset and the only light of day that entered came through a narrow
slit in the thick wall.  She went to the door frequently and listened,
whenever she heard excited voices and footsteps of people hurrying
along the road, but all the passers-by were Turks.  The world seemed
full of Turks.

Just at dusk three men stopped opposite the door and fell into a
dispute.  After wrangling for a few moments they came directly toward
the church.  Panayota ran to the curtain and then drew back in
superstitious terror.  Should she enter the Holy of Holies, even to
save her life?  A hoarse laugh at the very door decided her.  The men
entered.  She heard their exclamation of surprise at the burning
candle, though she could not understand what they said.  She looked
about her, impotent with terror, her white lips moving mechanically in
prayer.  In the end of the church above her head was a narrow slit to
admit the light.  Even as she stared a swallow flitted in and out.
Fainting with fear, she seemed to feel herself dragged by rough hands
from her hiding place, as she stood there with closed eyes behind the
thin curtain.  A fearful scream, the scream of a woman in the last
extreme of fright and horror, did not at first arouse her.  It seemed
perfectly natural for a woman to be screaming.  Then, all at once, the
consciousness that she was saved flashed upon her--saved through
another's misfortune, but saved.  She pulled the curtain back and
peeped out.  The stand had been kicked over, the candle was out, but
the room was empty.  Still those dreadful screams continued, mixed with
bestial chuckling and laughter.  A Christian girl was hysterically
shrieking for mercy.  Suddenly the shrieks ceased, and then broke forth
again at a greater distance, as though some ruffian were holding his
hand over the poor girl's mouth as she was being dragged away.
Panayota turned sick with pity and terror--pity for the unknown and
unseen victim, and terror at her own narrow escape.  A long period of
silence ensued, at the end of which Panayota plucked up courage to pull
the door open a trifle and peep out.  It was now nearly dark.  She
heard distant voices, but could see no one.  The church had become to
her an abode of fear.  Mohammedans might enter it at any moment to
commit sacrilege.  The hedge was near by.  If she could only reach that
unobserved she could flit along in its shadow toward the open country.
Then she could run all night.  Several times she nerved herself for the
start, but found her courage insufficient.  Once, when she had really
pushed the door open wide enough to let herself out, she heard men's
footsteps.  She drew back, and again suffered that dreadful
apprehension that they were coming into the church.  They were two
Turkish soldiers, and they went right on.  As soon as their footsteps
had died away in the night, Panayota crossed herself, and, stooping
low, ran to the hedge.  She stole by it for some distance until it was
cut in two by a gray streak of road that dimly threaded the darkness.

"I cannot follow the hedge all night," she reasoned.  "If I get out
into the country, it must be by the road."

Again commending herself to the Virgin, she started down the highway,
walking as quietly as possible and stopping every few minutes to
listen.  She had not gone far before she became aware of gruff voices
and she stole a little way into the field and crouched among the vines.

"Perhaps they are Christians," she mused, and the mere possibility
thrilled her with pleasure.  So greatly did she wish it to be so, that
she actually fancied that she heard Greek words.  Resting upon one
knee, with her hands pressed tight to her fluttering heart, she leaned
forward in the darkness, a smile flickering upon her lips.  She was
almost ready in her confidence to cry out:

"Eh, fellow countrymen!" when the voices undeceived her.

"O, Mother of God!" she moaned, "are there, then, no more Christians in
thy world?"

More cautiously than before she stole along the faint, slate-colored
ribbon of road that unfolded before her, a few feet at a time in the
dimness of the great stars; and at last she beheld a light that
flickered and went out several times and then burned feebly but
steadily.

As she stole along, undecided whether to make a wide detour or to trust
to the darkness and pass by near the light, two men seemed to rise from
the very ground at her feet.  Panayota saw them first and managed to
slip by them, but her foot hit a stone and sent it rolling down the
bank.  One of the men called after her in Turkish.  She did not dare to
run, but, lifting her skirts, tiptoed away with long steps.  The men
made a sudden rush for her, and she flew down the road on the wings of
fear, screaming once, "Help!  Help!  _Panayeia!_"

As her pursuers heard the feminine voice and the Greek, they shouted
"Ho!  Ho!  A Greek pullet!" and came stumbling after; but Panayota was
a Sphakiote maiden and not so easily caught.  On, on, she ran, with the
sound of those heavy footsteps and that satyr laughter ever in her
ears, and, as it seemed to her, nearer, nearer.  She came to a place
where the roads forked, and, by some instinct, followed the right
branch toward that tiny, flickering beacon that seemed to beckon her in
the darkness.  All at once her pursuers stopped, burst into a hoarse
guffaw and went back.  Panayota could not for the moment believe it.
She feared they were simply torturing her; that they would turn again
in a moment and resume the chase.  She staggered on, too faint, almost,
to stand, yet not daring to stop.  She was passing a row of small
houses.  They were square patches of bluish gray, and the doors were
long holes where the dark came through.  Here was absolute silence, as
though it were the city of the dead, and the walls of the dwellings
were giant tombstones.  But here at last was the house of the light.
Panayota stood on the opposite side of the road and looked into the
open door.

"A Christian at last!" she cried.  "Now God be praised!"

A bare little room she beheld, with a floor of beaten earth, and
containing only a couple of chairs and a pair of barangas, or platforms
of plank on each side of the fireplace.  Upon the wall hung an _eikon_
of the dear, blessed Virgin, and upon a shelf beneath sat a tumbler of
olive oil upon whose surface floated a burning wick.  A woman stood
before the _eikon_, crossing herself rhythmically and praying with a
silent motion of the lips.

But while Panayota stood in the door, before she could open her mouth
to speak, her fleeting joy gave place to the old terror.  This was but
a woman, after all, with whom she was about to take refuge, and the
Turks were just behind her and all about.

Panayota seized the door jamb to keep herself from falling, and her
head drooped against her arm.

"Woman," she gasped, "are you not crazy?  Why do you not run?  The
Turks!  The Turks!"

The woman looked around.  She was young and comely, with an oval face
from which the black hair was neatly brushed back, low down over the
ears.  Her eyes were large--unnaturally large and dark--and there was
in them an expression which awed Panayota.  Their utter fearlessness
was uncanny at such a time, and back of it was a depth of accepted
despair that has tasted all grief and hence knows no further fear.

"You are in no danger from the Turks here," said the woman.  Her voice
was infinitely calm.  It came into Panayota's world of fire, massacre,
outrage, like a voice from another sphere.

Then all at once light seemed to break in upon Panayota's mind as she
stood there bewildered.

"She is dazed with fear or some great misfortune," she thought.  "She
is losing her mind," and, springing forward, she seized the woman by
the arm, crying in her ear:

"Come away, sister--the Turks! the Turks!"

But the woman shook her off and shrank from her and motioned her back
with outstretched arms and uplifted palms, saying:

"Do not touch me!"

"But the Turks are upon you!"

"We who live in this village are not afraid of the Turks.  Who comes
here runs a greater danger than that of the knife."

"Yes, I know.  Violence," whispered Panayota, turning her face toward
the door and listening.

"Who would offer violence to a leper?"

If there is any horror in a Cretan girl's mind equal to that of
dishonor it is the horror of leprosy--that hideous sore on the body of
the loveliest siren isle that floats in any sea.  Panayota, in her
vigorous and life-giving mountain home, had heard leprosy spoken of as
a curse of God.  She had always classed it with the punishments of
hell--something to be shuddered at even when mentioned; but the
possibility of coming into contact with it had never entered her mind.

She turned to flee again into the darkness, when she heard in the
street, almost before the door, the sound of footsteps, and husky,
gargling voices talking Turkish.  Panayota sank to the floor senseless.
Two Mohammedan lepers, who lived farther down the street, passed by on
their way home.  They did not look in because Aglaia, stepping quietly
over the prostrate form, had closed the door.



CHAPTER XXXVIII

THE BETTER PART OF VALOR

Aglaia stood irresolute, looking at the woman, who lay as quietly as
though she were sleeping, upon the floor of hard-beaten earth.  Her
first impulse was to pick her up and drag her to one of the platforms
at the fireplace, for her heart forgot its own bitterness for the
moment, and was filled with pity for the Christian maiden who had taken
refuge in her horrid home.

"No, no, I will not touch her," she murmured at last, "for so it is
most frequently given and caught."

So she drew up a chair and sat watching Panayota.  She did not have
long to wait, for the young, vigorous constitution soon asserted
itself.  Panayota opened her eyes and stared straight up at the
ceiling; then the light caught them and she looked at the _eikon_,
murmuring, "Panayeia, save me!"  She sat up and looked deep into
Aglaia's large and mournful eyes.  The latter said nothing, but she saw
complete consciousness and recollection dawning in her guest's
countenance.

"Do not be so frightened," said Aglaia.  "I will not touch you nor come
near you, and it is only by contact that one catches the--leprosy.  The
Virgin will shield you."

Panayota rose to her feet.  She was a priest's daughter, and religion
was her ever-present comfort.  "She has saved me thus far in a
wonderful manner," she replied, and, going over to the _eikon_, she
prayed that the Panayeia would protect her from the horrible disease
and help her to escape to the mountains and her own people.  Aglaia
brought bread, olives and cheese and set them upon the table.

"Na!" she said, "eat and gain strength, and we will devise some means
for you to get away from here."

Panayota felt as though the very food were contaminated, but she
managed to eat some of the bread, pulling morsels from the center of
the loaf.  Once again she heard voices from without, and started from
her seat, whispering:

"The Turks are coming!"

"Fear nothing here," said Aglaia, in that calm, uncaring voice; "you
are as safe here as if you were in your grave--safer, for the Turks
sometimes exhume the bones of Christians, but they never disturb us.
We are all dead in this village, dead to the hate of the world, to its
love, to its friendship."

Panayota could make no reply.  Human sympathy seemed a mockery in the
face of such sorrow as this.  She stepped to the door and looked out.
All was silent in the narrow street.  The lepers are not a gay folk,
and sleep is to them God's greatest boon.

"They do not even fear the Turks!" she muttered.  "My God!  Suppose I
should catch it!  I must get away from here."

Turning, she looked keenly at Aglaia, who sat with hands clasped in her
lap, rocking gently forward and back.

"But you do not seem to be sick, my sister.  Why do you think you have
leprosy?  You look as well as I do."

Aglaia laughed bitterly.  Rising, she struck her left leg with her
doubled fist, and stamped upon the ground.

"Numb, numb," she said.  "No feeling.  I am only one-fourth dead now,
but it will creep on, on, over my whole body.  Come here a few years
from now, when it gets into my face, and you will know whether I am a
leper or not."

Panayota stood for a long time looking out into the darkness.  She was
weary to very faintness, but it seemed safer to stand there, turning
her face to the night, breathing the cool air.  Besides, she could not
talk with this woman.  She did not know what to say to her.  At last
Aglaia spoke again:

"Forgive me," she said, with a sob in her voice.  "I have no one to
talk to, and I sit here and brood over it.  And it will be for
years--for years.  But you must be very tired, and you must rest so as
to go on with your journey.  Come and lie down on the _barangitza_.  I
will not come near you."

Panayota lay down upon the hard planks and made a pillow of her arm.

"I cannot offer you the bed-clothing," said Aglaia.  "It might not be
safe."

So weary was Panayota that she dropped off into a doze, only to be
awakened after a few moments by the sound of low sobbing.  Listening,
she heard the words:

"O, my God, I am an outcast, a thing accursed.  I am poison to the
touch.  Holy Virgin, save my children, save my little ones."

Panayota sat up on the bench.

"I cannot sleep, sister Aglaia," she said, "I am so sorry for you.  If
my father were here he would know what to say to you.  He was killed by
the Turks.  I am an orphan."

She spoke of her own grief instinctively, feeling that the sympathy of
the prosperous is not a comfort to those in sorrow.

"My father was a good man, sister Aglaia.  He was a priest, and
everybody loved him.  My mother died when I was a little girl and left
me to his care.  He never said an unkind word to me in all his life.
He used often to talk to me about mama, and his voice was very, very
tender.  And he used to put his arm around me there in the door of our
little parsonage, at night, before we went to bed, and, pointing to the
stars, he would say: 'When we all get together up there, you will tell
mama that I was good to you, won't you, Panayota?'  And I used to say
to him: 'Oh, papa, I ask the Virgin every night to tell her.'  But mama
knows, sister Aglaia, she knows it all now."

"Oh, but your mother is dead and in heaven," replied Aglaia, "and you
can cherish her memory and plant flowers upon her grave.  But suppose
she had been a leper, accursed of God, would you not have thought of
her with--with horror?  As she grew more and more repulsive, would you
not have shuddered even at the thought of her?"

"No, no, indeed.  I should have, thought always of her beautiful soul.
Her misfortune would have made my love greater.  That is the way any
child would feel toward its mother."

"Do you really think so?" cried Aglaia.  "O, it does me so much good to
hear you, say so.  I have a husband and two children--a girl and a boy.
That is why you saw me praying when you came in.  I pray all the time
to the Virgin to save them from the curse.  I never pray for myself.  I
am past all help.  But I pray, pray night and day for my children."

"But there is another world," said Panayota, solemnly.  "Do you never
ask for happiness in that?"

Aglaia laughed bitterly.

"Listen," she replied.  "My children never come here.  I would not
allow it.  But sometimes I go down to the bank by the roadside, where
the other lepers go to beg, and my husband brings them, and stands afar
off, and I look at them and stretch my arms toward them.  Is there any
greater hell than that?  When you're a mother you will know."

"But," interrupted Panayota, who had entirely forgotten her own
troubles in the presence of such great sorrow, "are you not afraid for
their safety, over there in Canea?"

"No, praise God!  My husband is captain of a caique.  He has gone to
Athens and taken the two children with him.  Before he went away he
brought them down to see me.  And the baby laughed and shouted, 'Na,
mama; come here, mama!'  My baby has red cheeks and curly hair, but
Yanne doesn't know how to fix her hair."

She sat for some time in thought, and Panayota heard her mutter, "Na,
mama; come here, mama."  And later: "When my face changes I shan't go
down to see them any more.  I shall never let them see me like that."

Panayota went to the door and gazed at the sky through a mist of tears.
What a dreadful place this was, where there was grief that not even the
Virgin could assuage!  A cool breeze from the sea was abroad over the
land, and one star glittered like a drop of dew on a spray of lilac.
Yonder were the hills to which she longed to flee--gray giants, moving
toward her out of the darkness.

The whole earth was swallowed in silence, and the beautiful valley that
spread out before her seemed wrapped in the slumber of peace.  But
alas! if she looked to the right, a few slender columns of smoke rising
from Canea bore witness to the dark deeds of yester-eve and last night.
Panayota's momentary joy at the coming of day forsook her at sight of
that smoke.  The light was cheering, but it did not help her to see any
escape from her perilous position.

An hour passed away, and the sun rose.  Aglaia made some coffee, which
Panayota drank without revulsion.  Everything about the little hut was
spotlessly clean, and the stricken woman herself had not yet fallen
into those careless ways which come to the leper when all pride is
extinguished.

"How shall I be able to go on my journey?" asked Panayota.

"God will show a way.  He has not deserted you as he has me."

"Perhaps He has deserted all Christians.  Perhaps the whole world has
turned Turk.  If so, I'd rather stay here and be a leper."

"Never believe it.  Yanne, my husband, who is a great traveler, says
that the English will one day kill all the Turks in the world, and give
Crete back to Greece.  And the English are in some respects like
Christians.  At any rate, they do not believe in Mohammed."

The lepers began to bestir themselves.  A patriarchal-looking man with
a tuft of white hair above each ear, a snowy beard and a dirty
mustache, shuffled by the door, carrying a water jug.  Seeing the two
women, he stopped and peered into the hut, saying:

"Good-morning, sister Aglaia," and "Good-morning, sister----"

"Pa--Paraskeve," stammered Panayota.

"Where are you from, sister, and how long have you been afflicted?"

Aglaia answered glibly.  Her guest was from a little village far away.
God only knows how she had got leprosy, and she had only come last
night.  The old man wore a priest's frock, shiny and ragged, and
reaching to his feet.  His woolen shirt was open in front, disclosing
two or three tawny stains.  His face was unnaturally red, far up onto
his bald brow, and was streaked with angry-looking, vein-like lines.
He had no eyebrows.

"Hum," he said.  "Adio!  Adio!" and he shuffled away, muttering:

"God have mercy!  God have mercy!"

"That's Papa-Spiro," explained Aglaia.  "He is a priest.  They say that
it is a judgment on him--that he made love to one of his congregation."

A wretched being who wore enormous blue goggles over his eyes and who
directed his footsteps by tapping the ground in front of him with a
long staff, held in hands curiously twisted and deformed, looked in at
the door.

"What is it?  What is it?" asked the blind man, with that feverish
impatience which the smallest events excite in isolated communities.

"'Tis the new leper.  She is very beautiful," replied voices.

"I'm not a leper," cried Panayota.  "God save me and protect me, and
keep the evil eye from me!"

"Hush!" whispered Aglaia.  "Do not betray yourself."

"Describe her to me, my brother."

"She has beautiful hair and eyes and----"

But the remainder of the description was drowned in the many
questionings of new arrivals.  The gossip priest had told several
acquaintances of Panayota's advent, and the news was spreading through
the whole village.  The group grew to a dozen--to twenty.  They moved
closer to the door and stood looking silently in--such as possessed
eyes.  Fear, horror and anger surged through Panayota's heart at the
time; afterwards she could never think of those pitiable, outraged
wrecks of the image of God without tears.

A burly form parted the throng and a face looked in--a face infinitely
disgusting and infinitely terrible, and that somehow reminded Panayota
of a lion--she could not tell why.

"Take them away!  Take them away!" moaned Panayota, covering her face
with her hands and retreating behind Aglaia.  And suddenly her
overwrought nerves found vent in tears, and she began to sob violently.
Aglaia, but little better accustomed to the horrid spectacle than her
guest, found her voice with difficulty.

"Go away," she said, "for your souls' sakes!  Do you not see that you
are frightening the poor thing to death?"

"Perhaps she doesn't think I am beautiful," said the Face, with a
laugh.  "I had come to ask her to marry me."

"Are you Christians or Turks?" asked Aglaia, remembering that nearly
all the members of the colony were Greeks.

"Go away and come at another time.  In God's name, go away!"

She could not shut the door, as two or three of the lepers had crowded
into the opening.

"Doesn't like our looks, eh?" said another.  "Never mind, brothers;
she'll look like the rest of us soon enough--and you, too, for that
matter, Madam Aglaia.  There's nothing in the world like leprosy as a
cure for pride."

Thanks to Panayota's sobs, she did not hear the remark, but Aglaia did,
and felt all of its cruel force.  She could make no reply, except:

"True, true.  God have mercy!"  Thus she stood, helpless, when of a
sudden the hideous faces were all turned away from the door together.

"Silence!" cried one of the lepers, for a military quickstep could be
heard in the distance.

"Allah be praised!" said one of the Turks.  "It is the Sultan's army
going forth to conquer the island."

[Illustration: ... she covered her lace with her hands and shrank back
into the lepers' hut]

The insistent, eager notes of martial music caught Panayota's ear.  A
moment she stood listening, and then turned deadly pale.

"Kostakes!" she gasped.  "Kostakes and the Bashi Bazouks!" and again
she caught at the door jamb to keep herself from falling.

"Hark!" cried Aglaia, "that is not Turkish music, neither is it Greek.
It is foreign music.  This should mean great news.  You wait here a few
moments and I will go find out."

Aglaia hastened down the road and Panayota stood in the door, waiting
and listening.  The sound of the music grew louder, came nearer.  The
body of troops was passing down the line of the fork that formed the
opposite boundary of the lepers' village.  Aglaia had been right.  That
was not Turkish music; the tune was foreign to Panayota, but it
thrilled her somehow.  She loosed her fingers from the door jamb, her
hands dropped by her side and she stood erect.

As she listened thus and looked down the road, anxiously waiting the
return of Aglaia, a man approached her.  The first intimation that she
had of his presence was the sound of crunching footfalls.
Instinctively she covered her face with her hand and shrank back into
the house.  Mother of God!  Was this person, too, about to inflict
himself on her?  Whoever it was, he had evidently stopped outside,
before the house--was waiting there.  Perhaps some face, more hideous
than anything she had yet seen, would appear at the door.

"Will he never go?" she muttered, her teeth chattering.  "I must get
away from here--away into God's clean, free mountains.  No!  I believe
he is going away.  Praise God!" for the crunch, crunch of footsteps in
the coarse gravel was renewed--grew fainter in the distance.  Panayota
was about to peep from the door again when she heard other footsteps,
of people walking rapidly.  These passed by without stopping.  She
heard a man call as though shouting to some one far away, and then
there was silence for so long that she once more ventured to look out.

It had been Hassan Bey calling to Curtis, and begging him to walk more
slowly.  What trifles affect our destinies!  Had Lindbohm lifted up his
voice as he was on the point of doing, this story might possibly have a
different ending.

Panayota saw only Aglaia coming down the road, waving her arms.  She
lost all fear and ran to meet her.

"It's the English," cried the woman.  "They are arresting Turks right
and left.  They are throwing the leaders into prison and taking the
guns away from the Bashi Bazouks."

"Now God be praised!" laughed Panayota.

"The Turks are hiding like hares.  Not one dare show his head.
Papa-Spiro says that all the principal Turks will be hanged and the
rest driven into the sea."

Panayota's eyes blazed and she held her head high as she marched back
to the leper's hut, unconsciously keeping step to the tune of "Tommy
Atkins."



CHAPTER XXXIX

TO A PLACE OF SAFETY

"I will walk with you to the other end of the village," said Aglaia.
Papa-Spiro had returned also from the roadside.  He had talked with a
young man from Canea.  The English were thoroughly angry because their
soldiers had been killed.  They were going to send over a great army.

"O yes, it would be perfectly safe for a Christian to go anywhere now.
Not a Turk would dare peep."

Panayota had long ago formed her plans, when she had dreamed of escape
in the house of Kostakes.  Her mother's brother, Kyrios Kurmulidhes,
lived at Asprochori, a little village about twenty miles from Canea.
She had often heard her father speak of him as a godly man, and now
Papa-Spiro said that Asprochori had not fallen into the hands of the
Turks.  In the early days of the insurrection the Cretans had held that
region, and since the arrival of Colonel Vassos from Greece the
Mohammedans had not been able to get out there at all.  It was still
early morning; she would be able to reach the place before nightfall.

She talked excitedly as she set forth, carrying the cotton bag into
which Aglaia had put a half loaf of bread and some cheese.

"O yes, this is a glorious thing for Crete.  God was long suffering,
but everything came right in the end."

Aglaia's enthusiasm passed away as suddenly as it had come.  Her leg
felt lamer than usual and she had great difficulty in keeping up with
the strong, healthy young woman who was going out into a world of light
and joy.  They were passing a row of square, white huts, each
containing but one room.  The first half dozen that they passed were
vacant; their occupants had gone to hear the music, and had remained by
the roadside to beg.

They passed the little graveyard, at the farther end of the town.
Several humble tombstones standing among the tall grass and a black
cross or two marked the last resting place of lepers who have gone to
the comfort prepared for those who do not get their good things in this
lifetime.

"Now good-bye, and God bless you!" said Panayota.

"Why, where are you going?" asked Papa-Spiro.

"She is not a leper," explained Aglaia.  "She came to me last night for
refuge, and I took her in."

"Not a leper!" exclaimed the priest.  "Now pray God that she has not
caught it."

"Christ and the Virgin save me!  Christ and the Virgin!" cried
Panayota, crossing herself.

"Amen!  Amen!" said Aglaia.  "Do not even speak of it, Papa-Spiro."

"Adio!" said Panayota, moving away.  "Adio, and God be with you!"  The
old priest with the bloated face and the white beard extended his hands.

"Before you go, daughter," he said, "take the blessing of a poor old
leper, who still believes in the mercy of God."

Panayota bowed her head.

"God be with this Thine handmaiden," said the priest, solemnly; "bless
her and keep her and bring her to a place of safety.  In the name of
the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, amen."

Once out of the leper village, Panayota walked very rapidly, once or
twice actually breaking into a run.  The great hills, upon whose lower
slopes lived her mother's brother, looked so near that she fancied
herself able to climb to the top in half an hour.  But she soon lost
breath and was obliged to stop and rest beneath a tree.  She had no
doubt of her welcome by Kyrios Kurmulidhes.  He had often written to
her father--poor papa!--and had expressed the greatest wish to see his
sister's daughter.

"I must not tire myself all out at the start," she reasoned.  "It is
much farther away than it seems."

So she struck out again in the bright sun at a strong, steady gait.
Once she heard the clatter of horses' hoofs in the distance, rapidly
growing louder as they came near, and she fancied herself pursued, and
looked about for some hiding place.  Then, turning around, she saw half
a dozen red-cheeked, light-haired foreigners upon horseback, and at
their head a mere boy, with a face like a girl, but who, nevertheless,
sat very straight and took himself quite seriously.  She felt the earth
shake with the beating of hoofs, and stepped to the side of the road to
see them pound by in a whirl of dust.  But they had not gone far before
the young officer threw his arm in the air and called out a single
syllable in a clear, sharp tone, and the horses stopped so suddenly
that they reared on their haunches.  The officer spoke a few words
hurriedly, and one of the troopers fell out and rode back toward her.
She must have exhibited evidences of fright, for the man called out in
Greek, laughing merrily:

"Don't be afraid, stupid.  We are friends."

"What is it?  What is it, fellow countryman?" cried Panayota,
delightedly.  What a change had come over the earth!  But yesterday you
met only Turks, heard only Turkish, and now the whole world was
speaking Greek.

"Are you from Canea?" asked the trooper.

"No, I am a Sphakiote maiden.  I was taken prisoner by the Turks, but
now, thank God, I am escaping."

"You wouldn't happen to know Yussuf Effendi by sight, then?"

"No."

"Did any old Turk with a white beard pass here on a mule?"

"Not a soul; but I've only been on the road about half an hour.  Why,
who are you?  What has Yussuf done?  Where does he----"

"We're arresting the ringleaders in the massacre.  Yussuf is one of
them.  I'm an interpreter with the English army.  You can go back to
Canea or anywhere you wish, sister, in perfect safety.  It isn't
healthy to be a Turk these days.  Adio, and many thanks."

"Adio."

They were gone, and Panayota resumed her way.  After an hour's walk
through gardens and vineyards inclosed in low mud fences overgrown with
vines, she came to the foot of a tiny hill.  Climbing this, she saw
plainly the triangular little village of the lepers, with its suburb of
tombs--houses for the dying and the dead.  The huts were all neatly
whitewashed, and looked very peaceful and pretty against the foreground
of green trees and vines.  Farther away were the round Turkish mosques,
the Christian bell towers of Canea, and the tops of high buildings
rising above the gray walls.  Two or three thin columns of smoke rose
to a great height and bent lazily landwards.

Toward noon Panayota came to a mountain stream, beside which grew
several fig trees.  She climbed into one of these that forked near the
ground and succeeded in finding half a dozen purple figs among the cool
green leaves.  Then she washed her face and hands in the brook and took
the bread from the bag.

"Poor Aglaia!  Poor Aglaia!" she said, shuddering.  "Heavenly Virgin
comfort her!"

She pulled the crust off the bread and threw it away, together with the
sack and the cheese.  "The first thing I shall do when I get to Uncle
Petro's," she resolved, "will be to ask him for some clothes.  Then I
will burn these--uh!"

Much refreshed with the bread and figs and a drink of the cool mountain
water, Panayota again set out briskly on her journey, her heart full of
hope.  Indeed, she seemed to be under the Virgin's special care, for
just as she had come to a place where there were two roads, and was in
doubt as to which one she ought to take, a venerable priest came
trotting around a corner, seated sidewise upon a very small,
bluish-gray donkey.

"Yes, the road to the right led to Asprochori, about ten miles
distant," he replied, removing his tall hat and wiping his brow with a
red bandanna handkerchief.  "O yes, he knew Kyrios Kurmulidhes very
well indeed, a godly and a just man--be quiet there!"

The last remark was addressed to a pair of young goats, hung to the
saddle in a sack and covered by the father's long black robe.  He had
already heard of the arrival of the English, and was in hopes, by the
grace of God, to, sell them these two kids at twice their value.  So he
trotted away, bobbing up and down on his little donkey, not looking at
all grotesque to Panayota, in his tall hat with eaves, his gray chignon
and his long, wind-lifted robe.

And as Panayota fared onward, she had ever in her mind that she was
coming into the country of the Cretan insurgents, and she muttered
again and again:

"Perhaps I shall hear something of him.  Perhaps he will be there!"

In this new, bright world everything seemed possible.



CHAPTER XL

A TROUBLED MIND

"Pity!  Pity!" whined the lepers, exposing their hideousness with all
the skill of subtle and experienced merchants.  They were all there by
the roadside leading into Canea, and had commenced business for the
day.  Curtis stared at them, unable to remove his eyes from the
dreadful spectacle.

Lindbohm, fumbling nervously in his pockets, with averted face, and
producing two or three coppers, tossed them to the afflicted group.

"Come, away," he said, pulling Curtis along.  "I cannot bear to look at
them."

The Turk had been telling them of the leper colony, and they were not
totally unprepared for this sight; yet the reality far exceeded the
description.

"But you should see those who are not able to come down here and beg,"
exclaimed the Major; "these are comparatively well yet, you know."

"I hope I may never see them," said Lindbohm.  "I hope I may never see
these again."

The Swede bore the Turk no ill-will for the enforced detainment.  It
had not lasted for long, and the Major had shown his guests every
attention, and had explained again and again that he had carried
Lindbohm off to save his life.

"But those who are no longer able to beg," asked the Lieutenant, "do
they starve?"

"O no, indeed!  They are living monuments to the tender-heartedness of
my august master, the Sultan.  Each of the lepers is furnished one loaf
of bread a day."

"O, I see," said Lindbohm.

Curtis took no part in the conversation.  He did not even hear what the
others were saying, but walked on beside them with his eyes fixed upon
the ground, like a man in a trance.  Every now and then he ejaculated
"Good God!" with the accent on the "good."

At last he stopped so abruptly that the Turk, who was directly behind,
nearly knocked him over.

"I say!" said Curtis, whirling around and choking a stream of fluent
apologies with a vehement question:

"Do people who are not lepers ever go into that village?  To see their
friends, you know, or to stop over night, or anything of that sort?"

"Impossible.  You have seen the disease.  Do you think any one would
run the risk of catching it?"

Curtis strode on and became again immersed in thought, vaguely hearing
the Major's explanation of the fact that nearly all the lepers of Crete
were Greeks.

At each side of the gate of Canea stood an English marine, in red
jacket and cork helmet.  A business-like "Halt!" woke Curtis from his
abstraction.

"I am Peter Lindbohm, Lieutenant of cavalry in the Swedish army," said
Lindbohm in English, pulling an immense portfolio from the breast
pocket of the Prince Albert.  "Here is my card."

One of the marines took the proffered pasteboard, glanced at it
solemnly, and saluted.

"And here's mine," said Curtis.  "I'm an American.  And this gentleman
is a Turkish officer.  We were coming across the country on foot, and
he said we were in danger of being massacred, so he took us to his
house and kept us there till the English landed, and here--here's my
passport, too, if you can manage to read it.  It's been in the water."

"What do you want to do now, sir?"

"We have friends inside," replied Lindbohm, "and we wish to find out
whether they are safe or not.  We wish to go in."

"Very sorry, gentlemen, but we 'ave strict horders to admit no one for
the present."

"But we two are not Turks--nor Cretans.  I am a Swede, and my friend
here is an American."

"Very sorry, gentlemen----"

"But this may be a matter of life and death!  A Christian lady, the
betrothed of this young gentleman, is in the hands of the Turks----"

"Very sorry, gentlemen.  Move away from the gate, please."

Lindbohm was too good a soldier not to know what that meant.  So they
went to a house near by, belonging to a friend of the Major, and waited
two whole days, during the most of which time the Swede and the
American had the place to themselves, for the Major and his friend were
arrested and carried off before the end of the first day.  They went
repeatedly to the gate, demanding admittance, and were refused as often
by the sentinels, until the third morning, when they were greeted with
a smile and a "Hit's hall right now, gentlemen; you may henter--'im
givin' hup 'is sword, which will be restored to 'im at 'eadquarters."

Lindbohm raised his hand in military salute to his red bandanna and
passed under the ancient archway.  Curtis handed over the simitar and
followed.

"D'yever see two such guys?" asked one red jacket of the other.
"Never'n me loife.  But the tall one's a soldier, all right.  D'ye see
'im s'loot?"

[Illustration: ... had they entered any other town in the world, their
grotesque appearance would have excited attention]

Now, had two men attired as were Curtis and Lindbohm at that moment
entered any other town in the world, their grotesque appearance would
have excited attention, not to say jeers, and a crowd of small boys
would have been following at their heels.  The gray Prince Albert was
wrinkled and faded, and so badly shrunken that it caused Lindbohm's
arms to fall a trifle akimbo.  Altogether, it was a garment very
inharmonious with the tall yellow boots into which his trousers were
tucked, and the gaudy handkerchief which, twisted about his brow, did
service for a hat.  He had picked up a slender stick, which took the
place of the bamboo cane, and with which he occasionally warded off an
imaginary thrust, as he strode up the street, looking eagerly about
him.  Curtis' once natty business suit had been torn in several places.
He also wore Cretan boots, and his costume was completed by a Turkish
fez provided by the hospitable Major, who had managed, in addition, to
afford his two guests a bath, and an opportunity to shave.

Lindbohm was quite voluble.

"Bear up, my friend," he said; "we shall surely find her.  Remember
that she was in a Turkish house, the very safest place she could be in."

Curtis continued to be silent and preoccupied, a condition which the
Swede attributed to the fear that something had happened to Panayota,
and that their long search would be rendered vain at the very end.  Yet
he could not understand the American's seeming listlessness, mingled
with absorption and perplexity.

"He acts like a man who has been hit on the head with a musket butt,"
thought the Swede, glancing shrewdly at his companion.  "Great heavens,
can it be that he has a presentiment of evil?"

Then aloud:

"We must go straight to the military authorities--to the English.  We
will tell them all about Panayota, and if Kostakes has her yet they
will yust make him give her right up--eh, my friend?"

"Ye-es," replied Curtis.  "Yes, O yes; certainly."

The Turks whom they met looked sullen.  The foreign troops were
everywhere, marching in small bodies through the streets.  If two or
three Mohammedans stopped to talk together an English redcoat was sure
to step up to them with:

"G'an now, move on!"  Not much damage had been done to the part of the
town through which they were now passing.  There was a sprightly
gossiping of bugles, hailing and replying from distant points, and the
frequent clatter of shod hoofs as some orderly galloped across an
intersecting street.  And all the noise and bustle was threaded by a
continual tune, not sung loudly, but insistently, like the motif of an
opera.

The Cretans whom they met, whether jubilant or sad of face, seemed to
be humming it--some joyously, others revengefully.

"Do you hear that?" cried Lindbohm, "Panayota will be singing the hymn
of liberty herself to-day.  We must make her sing it all through for
us.  I wish I could understand the words."

And he beat time with his cane as a tall Cretan strode by, humming very
distinctly:

  "We can tell you by the lightning
    Of your terrible swift brand,
  And we know you by the brightening
    When your proud eyes sweep the land!"


"Panayota will be singing that at this very moment, eh?" cried
Lindbohm, laying his hand upon Curtis' shoulder; but the latter made no
reply.

From the narrow street they passed into a place of smoldering ruins and
roofless, ragged walls.  Here a party of marines were at work, assisted
by townspeople, throwing water on fires that were still burning, or in
digging bodies out of the debris.  A cart stood near, and an awestruck,
silent throng lingered by, ready to identify the remains of possible
relatives or friends.  The air was full of powdered lime and smoke, and
had a queer, pungent smell.

"Come on," said Lindbohm, "before they find a body.  I don't like to
see such things, and don't let this affect you, my friend.  Panayota,
you know, is in the Turkish quarter."

Lindbohm urged this cheering assurance with the insistent frequency of
a man who is trying to water his own hopes.

On the edge of the ruined quarter was a pile of rubbish which had once
been a cottage.  Three of the walls had fallen down, but the one facing
the street was still standing.  A young and beautiful Cretan woman
looked in through one of the holes where the windows had been, watching
a man who was clearing away debris with a shovel and lifting blocks of
stone to one side.  The woman's face was drawn with agony, and she
stared at the man, great eyed and silent, like a tortured dumb
creature.  Every time that he lifted a rock, she gave some sign of a
fiercer wrench of pain, as when the executioner gives another twist to
the rack; sometimes she thrust one hand against the window sill and
swung part way around, as though about to fall; sometimes she clasped
her hands to her heart and gasped for breath.  Once she covered her
eyes for a long time as though fearful of seeing the very thing she was
waiting for.  And when at last the man lifted a little charred body
from the crumbled lime, she broke into a series of dreadful screams,
shrieking "No!  No!  No!" until her voice died into a hoarse whisper.
The husband tore off his jacket, wrapped it around the tiny body and
came into the street, his own grief eclipsed by the greater solicitude
for the young wife.  And when the woman took the pitiful burden,
rocking it on her heart and talking baby talk to it, he walked by her
side, patted her disheveled hair, and tried to call her back from the
brink of insanity with endearing terms.  As they passed through the
throng of waiting Cretans, every man removed his head-covering, hat,
fez or handkerchief, and made the sign of the cross.

"Come away," said Lindbohm, choking, "the poor little baby."

"I want to get out of this damned place," shouted Curtis with sudden
vehemence, shaking his fist.  "It's a hell of horrors and I'm sick of
it!"

"Courage, courage," said Lindbohm, "the more horrible it is the more
haste we must make to find Panayota.  Poor Panayota!  She is no horror,
eh, my friend?"

They came into the public square, where the shells from the "Hazard"
had fallen thickest, for here the Bashi Bazouks had fired on the
British soldiers, and yonder, rising precipitously to a height of
thirty feet, was the fortified stronghold from which the Turkish guard
had poured a rain of bullets upon the town.  English sentries were now
pacing to and fro up there.  But the chief attraction was a sort of
booth in the center of the square, for all the world like a Punch and
Judy booth, and in it were hanging by the neck seven figures with black
caps over their heads, with their hands bound behind them and their
feet tied together.

"By George, they've been hanging the ringleaders, hanging them higher
than Haman!" cried Lindbohm.

Curtis could not realize that those were the bodies of human beings,
there was something so theatrical about their appearance; they hung so
neatly in a row, and the heads all lolled one way, like heads of
Brownies in an advertisement.

"Maybe they have hanged them in effigy," he suggested.

Lindbohm laughed.

"Might as well be now," he replied.  "But let us ask the guard where we
will find the commandant.  Then we shall learn something about Kostakes
and Panayota."

"You go," said Curtis; "I'll wait for you here."  He shrank from the
ingenuous explanation that Panayota was his betrothed.  The very
thought made him shudder.

"I can't tell him," he muttered, as he watched Lindbohm forcing his way
through the throng.  "I must get away from him some way.  By Jove, I'll
run off and leave him, if I can't do any better.  Good God, what an
escape I've had!"

"Hi!" shouted Lindbohm, so that every soul in the square turned and
looked at him.  He was standing on tiptoe and Curtis could see the
ruddy face with its red bandanna halo floating on a sea of heads.
"Hi!" called the Swede again, waving his stick in air.  "Come here,
quick!  I've found Kostakes."

"Now, what the devil do I want of Kostakes?" muttered Curtis, plunging
reluctantly into the press.  When he had reached Lindbohm's side, the
Swede gripped him by the arm and pointed a long finger at one of the
pantomimists in the Punch and Judy booth.

A board hung, suspended from the neck of each, with a name and crime
inscribed thereon in Turkish and English.  Curtis read:

  KOSTAKES EFFENDI.
  Captain of Bashi Bazouks,
  Murder and Arson.


"It is hard for a soldier to die thus," said the Swede sadly.  "But a
soldier who disgraces his calling, deserves such a death.  Well, my
friend," turning to Curtis, "half our work has been done for us, eh?
Now the rest will be easy.  Is it not so?"

Curtis could not take his eyes from the hooded form before him, nor
move from the spot where he stood.  As long as he stared at the head,
covered with its black cloth, he was impressed with a sense of
unreality; so might a row of wax inquisitors be shown in the Eden Musee
at New York.  And that pitiful, limp tilting of the head was not at all
suggestive of Kostakes, who was ever wont to hold his neck stiff and
stand upright with a certain jaunty insolence.  But when Curtis' eyes
traveled downward, the unreality vanished.  The long row of buttons,
the dark blue trousers tucked into the tops of the highly polished
boots, the spurs, the backward bulging of the thick calf of the
leg--all these things brought back to him a flood of reminiscences.  He
remembered the fight at Ambellaki, and the long ride across country.
He could see those very legs clasping the side of a horse, and he
wondered once more how their owner managed to keep the boots so
spotless.  Then he saw Panayota again, the most splendid creature he
had ever seen, denouncing the Turk for the murder of her father, and he
felt once more the old thrill of admiration and chivalrous purpose.
Ah!  She had touched the Turk, she had made him wince, brave girl,
despite those insolent eyes, and that square, protruding under jaw.
Any one could see that by the way in which he stopped twirling the end
of the little black mustache and began nibbling it.  The long chase
after Kostakes, with those turbulent Cretans, the night in the square
when Curtis had fired point blank at him and missed him--all these
things passed through his mind like scenes on a moving panorama, as he
gaped at those dark blue breeches and the well-polished boots with
their long spurs; but when he raised his eyes again to the black-hooded
head, tipped to one side like a man with a stiff neck, the whole
incident seemed ended; this life in Crete, became a fantastic dream and
took on the unreality of those faceless puppets, hanging all in a row,
gently oscillating in the breeze.

"Move on!" said a stern voice, sharply.

"They mean us," said Lindbohm, pulling Curtis away, "it seems they
allow no loitering here.  Well, the next thing is to see the commandant
and make some inquiries about Panayota, eh?"

"Lindbohm!" cried Curtis, pettishly, "I don't want to go to the
commandant.  See here, old man, there's something I want to tell you.
Something I must tell you.  I can't stand this any longer."

They had passed the crowd and were alone now.  The Swede stopped and
looked steadily at his companion.  Curtis glanced up furtively.  There
was nothing but inquiry in those brave, honest blue eyes.

"I say, old man," he stammered, "don't you think we ought to go and get
some hats and things before we go to the commandant?  I don't want to
offend you, but you--but we look like the very devil!"



CHAPTER XLI

ROMANCE AND PRUDENCE

The Lieutenant found no difficulty in buying another straw hat, as the
booths of the town were all open again; and another shoe-string was
easily obtainable by which he tethered it to his button-hole.

An enterprising Jew produced a stock of ready-made clothing from
Vienna, and Curtis endeavored to persuade Lindbohm to join him in the
purchase of a complete new outfit.

"The first thing is to find Panayota," said the Swede.  "We must not
waste a moment.  Ah, my friend, you mistake that girl!  She will be so
glad to see you that she will not look at your clothes."

Clapping a straw hat upon the head of Curtis, he dragged him away.
They found the commandant's quarters with little difficulty, as every
man, woman and child in Canea was able to direct them.  It was an
oriental house with a garden.  Two sentinels stood at the gate.
Lindbohm sent in his card, and a youthful officer in fatigue uniform
came out, who stared with evident surprise, and then gazed curiously at
the two callers.

Lindbohm brought the heels of the yellow boots together and saluted.

"Pardon our appearance," he explained, "but the fact of the matter is
we have been fighting with the insurgents for the last three months,
and we have not yet had an opportunity to purchase clothing."

The Englishman laughed and held out his hand cordially.

"Come in, Lieutenant," he said, "and your friend here."  They entered
the court.  "Take a seat here in the shade.  Shall I order you some
coffee, Turkish style--or perhaps you'd prefer some whisky and soda."

"I'd like a Christian drink!" cried Curtis with great animation.
"Something to take the taste out of my mouth."

"O, yust bring me some whisky, thank you," said the Swede, sitting on
the edge of a chair, impatient to go on with the business that had
brought him there.

"My name is Jones," said the Englishman, "Lieutenant Alfred Jones, at
your service."

"Let me present my friend, Mr. Curtis, Mr. John Curtis.  And now,
Lieutenant, we wish to inquire about a Cretan lady, Panayota
Nicolaides, whom Kostakes Effendi captured and carried off from her
friends.  She--"

"She was the daughter of some friends of ours," broke in Curtis,
volubly, as Lindbohm waved his hand toward him.  "Her father, a priest,
befriended us.  We were shipwrecked and I stepped on some sort of a
damned thing, a kind of sea-pincushion stuck full of pins, and it
poisoned me.  And the priest took me in and took care of me, and the
Turks swooped down on the village and murdered half the inhabitants and
carried the girl and her father off.  Then they killed the old man.
This Kostakes--"

"That must have been one of the chaps that we hanged last night,"
interrupted Lieutenant Jones.

"Yust so," said Lindbohm, "and now we want to know what has become of
Panayota.  My friend here--"

"The fact is we feel very grateful and we want to know what has become
of the girl," interrupted Curtis, determined at all hazards to head off
Lindbohm's explanation to this civilized Englishman, who might be
inclined to smile at a tale of romance.

"The commandant is out, but I think I am the very man you want to see,"
said the Englishman.  "This gentleman, Kostakes, it seems, had three
wives, two Turkish ladies besides the Greek--"

"The Greek was not his wife!" interrupted Lindbohm, with dignity.

"Well, however that may be, they all came back to the ruins of his
house--it seems his house got in the way of one of our shells and there
wasn't much left of it.  Well, there they all stood, the two houris,
wringing their hands and howling and the Greek quiet enough, but
looking sort of dazed.  I was out with a squad and came across them
myself.  Well, to make a long story short, we're assisting all the
Turks to emigrate from here that feel so disposed, and we sent off the
three women this morning."

"My God--where to?" asked Lindbohm.

"Why, the Greek, it seems, had some friends in Athens.  She has had
enough of Mohammedanism, and wanted to be put off there.  So we gave
her a pass to Athens.  The other two go on to Constantinople."

"When does the next boat go to Athens?" asked Curtis, looking up
suddenly.

"There's an Austrian Lloyd to-morrow morning at ten which stops at
Athens."

"For--?"

"Trieste."

The Englishman accompanied his two callers to the gate.

"I'd like to hear the story of your adventures with the insurgents," he
said.  "You must have had some lively experiences.  Good day,
gentlemen."

"By the way," cried Lindbohm, turning back, "lest there be any mistake,
was this Greek girl very beautiful?"

"Ye-es, yes, I should call her a very fine woman."

"What was the color of her hair?  Brown?"

"I don't remember exactly.  I believe it was."

"Tall, slender, oval face, big, fine eyes?"

"Well, you see, I only saw her for a moment.  She certainly was tall
and slender, and--and--a fine, handsome woman.  Held her head back and
threw her chest out, and had a sort of independent air about her."

Lindbohm had no further doubts; he was not aware of Ferende's existence.

Preparations for departure on the morrow were begun at once.  Curtis
had no difficulty in raising some money at Cook's on his letter of
credit.  His passport and two or three letters from home were
sufficient identification.

"How are you off for money, old man?" he asked Lindbohm.  The
Lieutenant drew from the recesses of the ancient, water-warped
pocketbook a five pound note, badly faded and stained.  It came in two
at one of the creases as he held it up.

"I will paste this together," he said, "and it will be yust as good as
ever.  I have plenty more in Athens."

"All right, then," replied Curtis, "I'll get the tickets--"

"But I have plenty."

"We must buy some clothes.  I'll get the tickets."

Lindbohm assented, so far as the tickets were concerned, but he
positively refused to buy clothing till he got to Athens.  He took a
stroll about the town to see what military preparations were going on,
while Curtis arrayed himself in a cheap, ill-fitting suit and a new
pair of tan shoes, for all of which he paid a high price.  He also
bought a leather traveling bag, into which he put a supply of underwear
and other necessities.  The Cretan boots and the simitar he tied to the
handle of the bag as souvenirs.

So the next morning Curtis and Lindbohm walked briskly through the
kaleidoscopic square to the wharf and embarked in a rowboat for the
steamer waiting out in the bay.

Curtis looked back at the town.  The colored awnings were all up, the
square was a moving, shifting mass of bright costumes, through which
trotted, to and fro, the patient, useful and immemorial ass.  The Punch
and Judy booth, with its row of pantomimists, had been removed and
apparently forgotten.  A group of dignified old gentlemen in fezzes sat
at a café, smoking narghiles.  It takes an oriental town but half an
hour to recover from a massacre or a bombardment.  The eternal languor
of the East flows over and engulfs any outburst of passion, as the sea
swings to rest over a submarine eruption.  A sentinel in red jacket and
white helmet paced along the rampart wall.  A bugle sounded faint and
far and a man-o'-war's boat flew by, the petty officer in the stern
bending and straightening to the rhythmical splash and rattle of the
oars.

"There will be no difficulty in finding her in Athens," said Lindbohm
as the two stood at last on the deck of the steamer.

"Tickets, gentlemen!"

The waiting employee glanced at the two tickets and then handed them
back, one to Curtis and one to Lindbohm.

"Here," said the latter; "he made a mistake.  I've got your ticket,
'John Curtis, Tri--'  What does this mean?  Why are you going to
Trieste?"

"Lindbohm," said Curtis, laying his hand on the Swede's arm, "Panayota
isn't in Athens."

"Is she in Trieste?  Why are you fooling me?"

"I'm not fooling you.  I couldn't tell you because I thought you'd want
me to go and see her, and bid her good-bye.  And I couldn't do it.  I
just couldn't.  It would be too painful for both of us, and it wouldn't
do any good."

"Why shouldn't you go and see her?  And why should you bid her
good-bye?  I don't understand."

"You will understand when I tell you.  She's a leper.  I saw her
myself, with my own eyes, as we passed through their village.  She
isn't like those other horrible creatures yet, of course, but she will
be in time.  My God, Lindbohm, think of what an escape I've had!  I was
so wrapped up in the girl that I actually thought of marrying
her--after a while.  Suppose I had done so, and it had broken out on
her afterward!"

The Lieutenant was very pale.  When he spoke his voice was low and
unnaturally distinct, and he divided his sentence into groups of two
and three words, like a man who is making a superhuman effort to
control himself.

"And what about--this young woman--who went to Athens?"

"O, she's somebody else.  I couldn't be mistaken in Panayota--I tell
you I saw her, man.  Why, I was as close to her as from here to that
mast yonder."

"But perhaps there's some mistake in the reason for her being there.
Perhaps----"

"Why didn't she come out, then, when she saw me?  She clapped her hands
in front of her face and shrank away.  My first impulse was to go in,
and then it flashed over me in a minute.  Besides, you heard what
Hassan Bey said--that the lepers are nearly all Cretans."

"Do you mean to say you're yust going away without going back to
comfort her or say a word to her?"

"But since she showed plainly that she wanted to avoid me?  I tell you,
old man, I'm doing the kindest thing for both of us.  It's incurable,
you know, and even if it wasn't, my mother and my governor would never
consent.  I should have had a circus with them, anyway."

Lindbohm walked to the taffrail and looked dreamily away toward Canea.
There was an unexpected roar of a great whistle--a boat's whistle is
always unexpected--and the anchor chain began to rattle and click.

"It takes a long time to get the anchor up, doesn't it?" asked Curtis.

Lindbohm made no reply, but when the chain finally ceased to rattle, he
asked in a low tone, and without looking at his companion:

"So you give her up, eh?"

"Why, of course, old man.  Seems to me I've made that plain enough!"

The ringing of a bell seemed to awaken the sleeping ship.  She
shuddered as the machinery started.  There was a patter of hastening
feet on the deck and a great churning, as the wheel made its first
revolutions in the water.  Shore boats were cast off, with much
shouting and gesticulating of picturesque Cretans, standing erect in
their tiny craft, violently rocked by the agitated sea.  As the ship
moved majestically away, a few boats clung to her side like whiffets to
a stately stag.  One by one they dropped off and drifted astern.
Lindbohm turned and looked about the deck.  Spying his satchel, he
picked it up and walked to the ladder, at the foot of which one boat
was still tied.  Curtis ran to him and seized him by the shoulder.

"Where are you going, old man?"

"To Panayota."

"But this is madness.  You can't do anything.  I tell you the girl is a
leper."

The Swede, muttering "I'll yust take my chances," continued down the
steps and took his seat in the boat.

Curtis stood watching him as he was rowed away, hoping against hope
that he would turn around and wave his hand or make some sign.  But no,
he sat up very straight, his arms hanging a little out from his body,
the back of his neck looking very broad and red.  The straw hat leaped
from his head.  He caught it in midair, jammed it back and held it in
place with one big hand.

And so Peter Lindbohm went back to his love--Peter Lindbohm, true
knight and noble gentleman, with the heart of a lion and the soul of a
child.  As friend he was stanch even to his own seeming undoing, and
made no moan; as lover, he was great enough to be faithful unto more
than death, and for such there is a full reward.  No sacrifice awaited
him, but a long lifetime of peaceful joys.  If Peter Lindbohm ever goes
to war again, it will be in defense of wife and children.

And John Curtis, to whose romantic and brave nature there was attached
an automatic brake of New England prudence, sailed away to his own
land.  And the last sound that he heard from Crete was the voice of the
Swede's boatman singing:

  From the bones of the Greeks upspringing.
    Who died that we might be free,
  And the strength of thy strong youth bringing,--
    Hail, Liberty, hail to thee!


He stood for a long time leaning over the rail, watching the receding
isle.

As the land became more distant, it grew more beautiful.  The purple
haze of Greece settled upon the mountains.  Curtis thought of Panayota
as of a lovely Greek whom he had met in his dreams; he sighed and
murmured:

  I enter thy garden of roses,
  Beloved and fair Haidee!


A steward touched him on the shoulder and said in German: "Lunch is
ready."

Curtis turned briskly around, and followed the man half the length of
the deck, struggling to drag a sentence from the unfrequented German
corner of his brain.  At last it came:

"I am ready, too.  This sea air makes one hungry."

He was glad to see there were genuine Frankfurters for lunch.  He
ordered a bottle of Rhine wine and talked German with the Captain.
When he came up on deck to smoke his cigar, the ship was purring
through a placid, opalescent sea, and Crete was a faint outline
sketched against a gray-blue sky.



THE END.





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