John Davis Batchelder Collection (Library of Congr.

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IN THE PASHA'S GARDEN



beneath the horse-chestnut trees, and
thought how happy a man he was to
have a fountain of the period of Sul-
tan Ahmed III, and a garden so full
of April freshness, and a view of the
bright Bosphorus and the opposite
hills of Europe, and the firing West.
How definitely he thought it I cannot
say, for the pasha was not greatly
given to thought. Why should he be,
as he possessed without that trouble a'
goodly share of what men acquire by
taking thought? If he had been lapped
in ease and security all his days, they
numbered many more, did those days,
than the pasha would have chosen.
Still, they had touched him but lightly,
merely increasing the dignity of his
handsome presence and taking away
nothing of his power to enjoy his little
walled world.

So he sat there, breathing in the air
of the place and the hour, while gar-
deners came and went with their water-
ing-pots, and birds twittered among
the branches, and the fountain plashed
beside him, until Shaban reappeared
carrying a glass of water and a cup of
coffee in a swinging tray.

* Eh, Shaban ! It is not your business
to carry coffee!' protested the pasha,
reaching for a stand that stood near
him. . V

'What is your business is my busi-
ness, pasha 'm. Have I not eaten your
bread and your father's for thirty
years?'

*No! Is it as long as that? We are
getting old, Shaban.'

*We are getting old,' assented the
Albanian simply.

The pasha thought, as he took out
his silver cigarette-case, of another
pasha who had complimented him that
afternoon on his youthfulness. And,
choosing a cigarette, he handed the
case to his gatekeeper. Shaban accept-
ed the cigarette and produced matches
from his gay girdle.



'How long is it since you have been
to your country, Shaban?'

The pasha, lifting his little cup with
its silver zarf^ realized that he would not
have sipped his coffee quite so noisily
had his French wife been sitting with
him under the horse-chestnut trees.
But with his old Shaban he could still
be a Turk.

'Eighteen months, my pasha.'

'And when are you going again?'

'In Ramazan, if God wills. Or per-
haps next Ramazan. We shall see.'

' Allah, Allah ! How many times have
I told you to bring your people here,
Shaban? We have plenty of room to
build you a house somewhere, and you
could see your wife and children every
day instead of once in two or three
years.'

'Wives, wives! A man will not die
if he does not see them every day.
Besides, it would not be good for the
children. In Constantinople they be-
come rascals. There are too many
Christians.' And he added hastily, 'It
is better for a boy to grow up in the
mountains.'

'But we have a mountain here, be-
hind the house,' laughed the pasha.

'Your mountain is not like our
mountains,' objected Shaban gravely,
hunting in his mind for the difference
he felt but could not express.

'And that new wife of yours,' went
on the pasha. 'Is it good to leave a
young woman like that? Are you not
afraid?'

'No, my pasha. I am not afraid.
We all live together, you know. My
brothers watch, and the other women.
She is safer than yours. Besides, in my
country it is not as it is here.'

' I don't know why I have never been
to see this wonderful country of yours,
Shaban. I have so long intended to,
and I never have been. But I must
climb my mountain or they will think
that I have become a rascal too.' And,



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IN THE PASHA'S GARDEN



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rising from his chair, he gave the Al-
banian a friendly pat.

'Shall I come too, my pasha? Ziim-
biil Agha sent word — *

'Ziimbiil Agha!' interrupted the pa-
sha irritably. *No, you need n't come.
I will explain to Ziimbiil Agha.'

With which he left Shaban to pick
up the empty coffee cup.

n

From the upper terrace a bridge led
across the public road to the wood. If
it was not a wood it was at all events
a good-sized grove, climbing the steep
hillside very much as it chose. Every
sort and size of tree was there, but the
greater number of them were of a kind
to be sparsely trimmed in April with a
delicate green, and among them were
so many twisted Judas trees as to tinge
whole patches of the slope with their
deep rose bloom. The road that the
pasha slowly climbed, swinging his
amber beads behind him as he walked,
zigzagged so leisurely back and forth
among the trees that a carriage could
have driven up it. In that way, indeed,
the pasha had more than once moimted
to the kiosque, in the days when his
mother used to spend a good part of
her summer up there, and when he was
married to his first wife. The memory
of the two, and of their old-fashioned
ways, entered not too bitterly into his
general feeling of well-being, minis-
tered to by the budding trees and the
spring air and the sunset view. Every
now and then an enormous plane tree
invited him to stop and look at it, or a
semi-circle of cypresses.

So at last he came to the top of the
hill, where in a grassy clearing a small
house looked down on the valley of the
Bosphorus through a row of great
stone pines. The door of the kiosque
was open, but his wife was not visible.

The pasha stopped a moment, as he



had done a thousand times before, and
looked back. He was not the man to be
insensible to what he saw between the
columnar trunks of the pines, where
European hilb traced a dark curve
against the fading sky, and where the
sinuous waterway far below still re-
flected a last glamour of the day. The
beauty of it, and the sharp sweetness
of the April air, and the infinitesimal
sounds of the wood, and the half-con-
scious memories involved with it all,
made him sigh. He turned and mount-
ed the steps of the porch.

The kiosque looked very dark and
unfamiliar as the pasha entered it. He
wondered what had become of H^l^ne
— if by any chance he had passed her
on the way. He wanted her. She was
the expression of what the evening rous-
ed in him. He heard nothing, however,
but the splash of water from a half-
invisible fountain. It reminded him
for an instant, of the other fountain,
below, and of Shaban. His steps re-
sounded hollowly on the marble pave-
ment as he walked into the dim old
saloon, shaped like a T, with the cross
longer than the leg. It was still light
enough for him to make out the glim-
mer of windows on three sides and the
sqpiare of the fountain in the centre,
but the painted domes above were lost
in shadow.

The spaces on either side of the bay
by which he entered, completing the
rectangle of the kiosque, were filled
by two little rooms opening into the
cross of the T. He went into the left-
hand one, where H61fene usually sat —
because there were no lattices. The
room was empty.

The place seemed so strange and
still in the twilight that a sort of ap-
prehension began to grow in him, and
he half wished he had brought up
Shaban. He turned back to the second,
the latticed room — the harem, as they
called it. Curiously enpugh it was



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IN THE PASHA'S GARDEN



H61dne who would never let him
Europeanize it» in spite of the lattices.
Every now and then he found out that
she liked some Turkish things better
than he did. As soon as he opened the
door he saw her sitting on the divan
opposite. He knew her profile against
the checkered pallor of the lattice. But
she neither moved nor greeted him.
It was Ziimbiil Agha who did 80» start-
ling him by suddenly rising beside the
door and saying in his high voice, —

* Pleasant be your coming, my pasha.*
The pasha had forgotten about

Ziimbiil Agha; and it seemed strange
to him that H61^ne continued to sit
silent and motionless on her sofa.

' Grood evening,' he said at last. ' You
are sitting very quietly here in the dark.
Are there no lights in this place?'

It was again Ziimbiil Agha who
spoke, turning one question by an-
other: —

*Did Shaban come with you?'

* No,' replied the pasha shortly. * He
said he had had a message, but I told
him not to come.'

'A-ahl' ejaculated the eunuch in his
high drawl. *But it does not matter —
with the two of us.'

The pasha grew more and more
puzzled, for this was not the scene he
had imagined to himself as he came up
through the park in response to his
wife's message. Nor did he grow less
puzzled when the eunuch turned to her
and said in another tone, —

*Now will you give me that key?'

The French woman took no more
notice of this question than she had of
the pasha's entrance.

'What do you mean, Ziimbiil Agha?'
demanded the Pasha sharply. 'That is
not the way to speak to your mistress.'

*I mean this, my pasha,' retorted
the eimuch, 'that some one is hiding
in this chest and that madama keeps
the key.'

That was what the pasha heard, and



in the absurd treble of the black man,
in the darkening room. He looked down
and made out, beside the tall figure of
the eunuch, the chest on which he had
been sitting. Then he looked across at
H61dne, who still sat silent in front of
the lattice.

'What are you talking about?' he
asked at last, more stupefied than
anything else. 'Who is it? A thief?
Has any one — ?' He left the vague
question unformulated, even in his
mind.

'Ah, that I don't know. You must
ask madama. Probably it is one of
her Christian friends. But at least if
it were a woman she would not be so
unwilling to unlock her chest for us!'

The silence that followed, while the
pasha looked dumbly at the chest, and
at Ziimbiil Agha, and at his wife, was
filled for him with a stranger confusion
of feelings than he had ever experi-
enced before. Nevertheless he was sur-
prisingly cool, he found; his pulse
quickened very little. He told himself
that it was n't true and that he really
must get rid of old Ziimbiil after all,
if he went on making such preposter-
ous go^eB and setting them all by the
ears. How could anything so baroque
happen to him, the pasha, who owed
what he was to honorable fathers and
who had passed his life honorably and
peaceably until this moment? Yet he
had had an impression, walking into
the dark old kiosque and finding no-
body until he found these two sitting
here in this extraordinary way — as if
he had walked out of his familiar gar-
den, that he knew like his hand, into
a country he knew nothing about,
where anything might be true. And
he wished, he almost passionately wish-
ed, that Hel^ne would say something,
would cry out against Ziimbiil Agha,
would lie even, rather than sit there
so still and removed and different from
other women.



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IN THE PASHA'S GARDEN



149



Then he began to be aware that if
it were true — if! — he ought to do
something. He ought to make a noise.
He ought to kill somebody. That was
what they always did. That was what
his father would have done» or certainly
his grandfather. But he also told him-
self that it was no longer possible for
him to do what his father and grand-
father had done. He had been unlearn-
ing their wa3rs too long. Besides, he
was too old.

A sudden sting of jealousy pierced
him at the thought of how old he was»
and how young H61dne. Even if he
lived to be seventy or eighty she would
still have a life left when he died. Yes,
it was as Shaban said. They were
getting old. He had never really felt
the humiliation of it before. And Sha-
ban had said, strangely, something else
— that his own wife was safer than
the pasha's. Still he felt an odd com-
passion for H^l^ne, too, — because she
was young, and it was Judas-tree time,
and she was married to gray hairs. And
although he was a pasha, descended
from great pashas, and she was only
a little French girl quelconque^ he felt
more afraid than ever of making a fool
of himself before her — when he had
promised her that she should be as free
as any other European woman, that
she should live her life. Besides, what
had the black man to do with their
private affairs?

'Ziimbiil Agha,' he suddenly heard
himself harshly saying, 'is this your
house or mine? I have told you a hun-
dred times that you are not to trouble
the madama, or follow her about, or
so much as guess where she is and what
she is doing. I have kept you in the
house because my father brought you
into it; but if I ever hear of your speak-
ing to madama again, or spying on her,
I will send you into the street. Do you
hear? Now get out 1*

*Aman, my pashal I beg youl' en-



treated the eunuch. There was some-
thing ludicrous in his voice, coming as
it did from his height.

The pasha wondered if he had been
too long a person of importance in the
family to realize the change in his po-
sition, or whether he really —

All of a sudden a checkering of lamp-
light flickered through the dark win-
dow, touched the Negro's black face
for a moment, traveled up the wall.
Silence fell again in the little room —
a silence into which the fountain
dropped its silver patter. Then steps
mounted the porch and echoed in the
other room, which lighted in tium, and
a man came in sight, peering this way
and that, with a big white accordeon
lantern in his hand. Behind the man
two other servants appeared, carry-
ing on their heads'round wooden trays
covered by figured silks, and a boy
tugging a huge basket. When they dis-
covered the three in the little room
they salaamed respectfully.

* Where shall we set the table?' asked
the man with the lantern.

For the pasha the lantern seemed to
make the world more like the place
he had always known. He turned to
his wife apologetically.

'I told them to send dinner up here.
It has been such a long time since we
came. But I forgot about the table. I
don't believe there is one here.'

*No,' uttered H61ene from her sofa,
sitting with her head on her hand.

It was the first word she had spoken.
But, little as it was, it reassured him,
like the lantern.

'There is the chest,' hazarded Ziim-
bul Agha.

The interruption of the servants had
for the moment distracted them all.
But the pasha now turned on him so
vehemently that the eunuch salaamed
in haste and went away.

*Why not?' asked Helfene, when he
was gone. 'We can sit on cushions.'



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IN THE PASHA'S GARDEN



* Why not ? ' echoed the pasha. Grate-
ful as he was for the interruprtion, he
found himself wishing, secretly, that
Hel^ne had discouraged his idea of a
picnic dinner. And he could not help
feeling a certain constraint as he gave
the necessary orders and watched the
servants put down their paraphernalia
and pull the chest into the middle of the
room. There was something unreal and
stage-like about the scene, in the uncer-
tain light of the lantern. Obviously
the chest was not light. It was an old
cypress-wood chest that they had al-
ways used in the summer, to keep
things in, polished a bright brown, with
a little inlaid pattern of dark brown
and cream color running around the
edge of each surface, and a more com-
plicated design ornamenting the centre
of the cover. He vaguely associated
his mother with it. He felt a distinct
relief when the men spread the cloth.
He felt as if they had covered up more
things than he could name. And when
they produced candlesticks and can-
dles, and set them on the improvised
table and in the niches beside the door,
he seemed to come back again into th^
comfortable light of common sense.

'This is the way we used to do when
I was a boy,' he said with a smile, when
he and Helene established themselves
on sofa cu^ions on opposite sides of
the chest. 'Only then we had little
tables six inches high, instead of big
ones like this.'

*It is rather a pity that we have
spoiled all that,' she said. * Are we any
happier for perching on chairs around
great scaffoldings and piling the scaf-
foldings with so many kinds of porce-
lain and metal? After all, they knew
how to live — the people who were
capable of imagining a place like this.
And they had the good taste not to fill
a room with things. Your grandfather,
was it?*

He had had a dread that she Vould



not say anything, that she would re-
main silent and impenetrable, as she
had been before Ziimbiil Agha, as if
the chest between them were a barrier
that nothing could surmount. His heart
lightened when he heard her speak.
Was it not quite her natural voice?

*It was my great-grandfather, the
grand vizier. They say he did know
how to live — in his way. He built the
kiosque for a beautiful slave of his, a
Greek, whom he called Pomegranate/

'Madame Pomegranate! What a
charming name! And that is why her
cipher is everywhere. See?' She point-
ed to the series of cupboards and niches
on either side of the door, dimly paint-
ed with pomegranate blossoms, and to
the plaster reliefs around the hooded
fireplace, and to the cluster of pome-
granates that made a centre to the
gilt and painted lattice-work of the
ceiling. 'One could be very happy in
such a little house. It has an air —
of being meant for moments. And you
feel as if they had something to do
with the wonderful way it has faded.'
She looked as if she had meant to
say something else, which she did not.
But after a moment she added, 'Will
you ask them to turn off the water in
the fountain? It is a little chilly, now
that the sun has gone, and it soimds
like rain — or tears.'

The dinner went, on the whole, not
so badly. There were dishes to be
passed back and forth. There were
questions to be asked or comments to
be made. There were the servants to
be spoken to. Yet, more and more,
the pasha could not help wondering.
When a silence fell, too, he could not
help listening. And least of all could he
help looking at Helene. He looked at*
her, trying not to look at her, with an
intense curiosity, as if he had never
seen her before, asking himself if there
were anything new in her face, and how
she would look if — Would she be like



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IN THE PASHA'S 6ABDEN



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this? She made no attempt to keep
up a flow of words, as if to distract his
attention. She was not soft either; she
was not trying to seduce him, and she
made no show of gratitude toward him
for having sent Ziimbiil Agha away.
Neither did she by so much as an in-
flection try to insinuate or excuse or
explain. She was what she always was,
perfect — and evidently a little tired.
She was indeed more than perfect,
she was prodigious, when he asked her
once what she was thinking about and
she said Pandora, tapping the chest
between them. He had never heard
the story of that Greek girl and her
box, and she told him gravely about
all the calamities that came out of it,
and the one gift of hope that remained
behind.

'But I cannot be a Turkish woman
long!' she added inconsequently with
a smile. 'My legs are asleep. I really
must walk about a little.*

When he had helped her t& her feet
she led the way into the other room.
They had their coffee and cigarettes
there. H^l^ne walked slowly up and
down the length of the room, stopping
every now and then to look into the
square pool of the fountain and to pat
her hair.

The pasha sat down on the long low
divan that ran under the windows.
He could watch her more easily now.
And the detachment with which he had
begun to look at her grew in spite of
him into the feeling that he was looking
at a stranger. After all, what did he
know about her? Who was she? What
had happened to her, during all the
years that he had not known her, in
that strange free European life which
he had tried to imitate, and which at
heart he secretly distrusted? What
had she ever really told him, and what
had he ever really divined of her? For
perhaps the first time in his life he re-
alized how little one person may know



of another, and particularly a man of
a woman. And he remembered Shaban
again, and that phrase about his wife
being safer than Hel^ne. Had Shaban
really meant anything? Was H61^ne
* safe' ? He acknowledged to himself at
last that the question was there in his
,mind, waiting to be answered.

H61dne did not help him. She had
been standing for some time at an odd
angle to the pool, looking into it. He
could see her face there, with the eyes
turned away from him.

'How mysterious a reflection is!' she
said. 'It is so real that you can't be-
lieve it disappears for good. How often
Madame Pomegranate must have look-
ed into this pool, and yet I can't find
her in it. But I feel she is really there,
all the same — and who knows who



'They say mirrors do not flatter,' the
pasha did not keep himself from re-
joining, 'but they are very discreet.
They tell no tales!'

H61ine raised her eyes. In the lit-
tle room the servants had cleared the
improvised table and had packed up
everything again except the candles.

'I have been up here a long time,'
she said, 'and I am rather tired. It is a
little cold, too. If you do not mind I
think I will go down to the house now,
with the servants. You will hardly
care to go so soon, for Ziimbiil Agha
has not finished what he has to say to
you.'

'Ziimbiil Agha!' exclaimed the pa-
sha. 'I sent him away.'

'Ah, but you must know him well
enough to be sure he would not go.
Let us see.' She clapped her hands.
The servant of the lantern immedi-
ately came out to her. 'Will you ask
Ziimbiil Agha to come here?' she said.
'He is on the porch.'

The man went to the door, looked
out, and said a word. Then he stood
aside with a respectful salaam, and



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IN THE PASHA'S GABDEN



the eunuch entered. He negligently re-
turned the salute and walked forward
until his air of importance changed to
one of humility at sight of the pasha.
Salaaming in turn, he stood with his
hands folded in front of him.

'I will go down with you/ said the
pasha to his wife» rising. 'It is too late
for you to go through the woods in the
dark.'

'Nonsense!' She gave him a look
that had more in it than the tone in
which she added, 'Please do not. I
shall be perfectly safe with four serv-
ants. You can tell them not to let me
run away.' Coming nearer, she put
her hand into the bosom of her dress,
then stretched out the hand toward
him. *Here is the key — the key of
which Ziimbiil Agha spoke — the key
of Pandora's box. Will you keep it for
me please? Au revoir,*

And making a sign to the servants
she walked out of the kiosque.

Ill

The pasha was too surprised, at
first, to move — and too conscious of
the eyes of servants, too uncertain of
what he should do, too fearfid of doing
the wrong, the un-European, thing. .
And afterwards it was too late. He
stood watching imtil the flicker of the
lantern disappeared among the dark
trees. Then his eyes met the eunuch's.

*Why don't you go down too?' sug-
gested Ziimbiil Agha. The variable cli-
mate of a great house had made him
too perfect an opportunist not to take
the line of being in favor again. 'It
might be better. Give me the key and
I will do what there is to do. But you
might send up Shaban.'

Why not, the pasha secretly asked
himself? Might it not be the best way
out? At the same time he experienced
a certain revulsion of feeling, now that
H61^e was gone, in the way she had



gone. She really was prodigious! And
with the vanishing of the lantern that
had brought him a measiu^ of reas-
surance he felt the weight of an un-
cleared situation, fantastic but crucial,
heavy upon him. And the Negro an-
noyed hun intensely.

'Thank you, Ziimbiil Agha,' he re-
plied, 'but I am not the nurse of ma-
dama, and I will not give you the key.'

If he only might, though, he thought
to himself again!

'You believe her, this Frank woman
whom you had never seen five years
ago, and you do not believe me who
have lived in your house longer than
you can remember!'

The eunuch said it so bitterly that
the pasha was touched in spite of him-
self. He had never been one to think
very much about minor personal re-
lations, but even at such a moment he
coidd see — was it partly because he
wanted more time to make up his
mind? — that he had never liked Ziim-
biil Agha as he liked Shaban, for in-
stance. Yet more honor had been due,
in the old family tradition, to the for*
mer. And he had been associated even
longer with the history of the house.

'My poor Ziimbiil,' he uttered mus-
ingly, 'you have never forgiven me for
marrying her.*

'My pasha, you are not the first to
marry an unbeliever, nor the last. But
such a marriage should be to the glory
of Islam, and not to its discredit. Who
can trust her? She is still a Christian.
And she is too young. She has turned



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