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ppressive– Sergius turned away. Presently he heard her say, as if to herself: “I am indeed in danger. If my death were not in meditation, the boldest of them would not dare think so foul a falsehood…. Sergius,” she said.
He turned to her, but she broke off diverted by another idea. Had this last accusation reference to the Emperor’s dream of making her his wife? Could the Emperor have published what took place between them? Impossible!
“Sergius, did the Hegu blazers men tell you whence this calumny had origin?”
“He laid it to rumor merely.”
“Surely he disclosed some ground for it. A dignitary of his rank and profession cannot lend himself to shaming a helpless woman without re nike air max 1 ason or excuse.”
“Except your residence at Therapia, he gave no reason.”
Here she looked at Sergius, and the pain in the glance was pitiful. “My friend, is there anything in your knowledge which might serve such a rumor?”
“Yes,” he replied, letting his eyes fall.
“What!” and she lifted her head, and opened her eyes.
He stood silent and evidently suffering.
“Poor Sergius! The punishment is nike air max 90 sale yours. I am sorry for you–sorry we entered on this subject–but it is too late to retire from it. Speak bravely. What is it you know against me? It cannot be a crime; much I doubt if it be a sin; my walk has been very strait and altogether in God’s view. Speak!”
“Princess,” he answered, “coming down from the landing, I was stopped by a concourse studying a brass plate nail cheap nike air max ed to the right-hand pillar of your gate. It was inscribed, but nike air max none of them knew the import of the inscription. The hamari came up, and at sight of it fell to saluting, like the abject Eastern he is. The bystanders chaffered him, and he retorted, and, amongst other things, said the brass was a safeguard directed to all Turks, notifying them that this property, its owner, and inmates were under protection of the Prince Mahommed. Give heed now, I pray you, O Princess, to this other thing of the man’s saying. The notice was the Prince Mahommed’s, the inscription his signature, and the Prince himself fixed the plate on the pillar with his own hand.”
Sergius paused.
“Well,” she asked.
“The inferences–consider them.”
“State them.”
“My tongue refuses cheap nike blazers . Or if I must, O Princess, I will use the form of accusation others are likely to have adopted. ‘The Princess Irene lives at Therapia becau nike blazers se Prince Mahommed is her lover, and it is a convenient place of meeting. Therefore his safeguard on her gate.'”
“No one could be bold enough to”–
“One has been bold enough.”
“The Hegumen of my Brotherhood.”
The Princess was very pale.
“It is cruel–cruel!” she exclaimed. “What ought I to do?”
“Treat the safeguard as a discovery of to-day, and have it removed while the people are all present.” She looked at him searchingly. On her forehead between the brows, he beheld a line never there before. More surprising was the failur cheap nike air max e of self-reliance observable in her request for counsel. Heretofore her courage and sufficiency had been remarkable. In all dealings with him she had proved herself the directress, quick yet decided. The change astonished him, so little was he acquainted with the feminine nature; and in reply he spoke hastily, hardly knowing what he had said. The words were not straightforward and honest; they were not becoming him any more than the conduct suggested was becoming her; they lingered in his ear, a wicked sound, and nike air max sale he would have recalled them–but he hesitated.
Here a voice in fierce malediction was heard up at the pavilions, together with a prodigious splashing of water. Laughter, clapping of hands, and other expressions of delight succeeded.
“Go, Sergius, and see what is taking place,” said the Princess.
Glad of the opportunity to terminate the painful scene, he hastened to the reservoirs and returned.
“Your presence will restore quiet at once.”
The people made way for their hostess with alacrity. The hamari, it appeared, had just arrived from the garden. Observing Lael in the midst of the suite of fair ladies, he advanced to her with many strange salutations. Alarmed, she would have run away had not Joqard broken from his master, and leaped with a roar into the water. The poor beast seemed determined to enjoy the bath. He swam, and dived, and played antics without number. In vain the showman, resorting to every known language, coaxed and threatened by turns–Joqard was self-willed and happy, and it were hard saying which appreciated hi nike air max classic s liberty most, he or the spectators of the scene.
The Princess, for the time conquering her pain of heart, interceded for the brute; whereupon the hamari, like a philosopher used to making the best of surprises, joined in the sport until Joqard grew tired, and voluntarily returned to control.
Part 4 Chapter 12 Lael Tells Of Her Two Fathers
Word passed from the garden to the knots of people on the height: “Come d nike air max 95 own quickly. They are making ready for the boat race.” Directly the reservoirs, the pavilions, and the tesselation about them were deserted.
The Princess Irene, with her suite, made the descent to the garden more at leisure, knowing the regatta would wait for her. So it happened she was at length in charge of what seemed a rear guard; but how it befell that Sergius and Lael drew together, the very last of that rear guard, is not of such easy explanation.
Whether by accident or mutual seeking, side by side the two moved slowly down the hill, one moment in the shade of the kingly pines, then in the glowing sunshine. The noises of the celebration, the shouting, singing, calling, and merry outcries of children ascended to them, and through the verdurousness below, lucent as a lake, gleams of color flashed from scarfs, mantles, embroidered jackets, and flaming petticoats.
“I hope you are enjoying yourself,” he said to Lael, upon their meeting.
“Oh, yes! How could I help it–everything is delightful. And the Princess–she is so good and gracious. Oh, if I were a man, I should go mad with loving her!”
She spoke with enthusiasm; she even drew her veil partially aside; yet Sergius did not respond; he was asking himself if it were possible the girl could be an impostor. Presently he resolved to try her with questions.
“Tell me of your father. Is he well?”
At this she raised her veil entirely, and in turn asked: “Which father do you mean?”
“Which father,” he repeated, stopping.
“Oh, I have the advantage of everybody else! I have two fathers.”
He could do no more than repeat after her: “Two fathers!”
“Yes; Uel the merchant is one of them, and the Princ cheap nike air max trainers e of India is the other. I suppose you mean the Prince, since you know him. He accompanied me to the landing this morning, and seated me in the boat. He was then well.”
There was no concealment here. Yet Sergius saw the disclosure was not complete. He was tempted to go on.
“Two fathers! How can such thing be?”
She met the question with a laugh. “Oh! If it depended on which of them is the kinder to me, I could not tell you the real father.”
Sergius stood looking at her, much as to say: “That is no answer; you are playing with me.”
“See how we are falling behind,” she then said. “Come, let us go on. I can talk while walking.”
They set forward briskly, but it was noticeable that he moved nearer her, stooping from his great height to hear further.
“This is the way of it,” she continued of her own prompting. “Some years ago, my nike air max 90 father, Uel, the merchant, received a letter from an old friend of his father’s, telling him that he was about to return to Constantinople after a long 8

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