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he contestants knew every point of advantage, and, not less clearly, they were there to win or be beaten doing their best. They were cool and quiet; much more so, indeed, than the respective clansmen and clanswomen.
From these near objects of interest, the Princess Nike Air Max directed a glance over the spreading field of dimpled water to a galley moored under a wooded point across on the Asiatic shore. The point is now crowned with the graceful but neglected Kiosk of the Viceroy of Egypt. That galley was the thither terminus of the race course, and the winners turning it, and coming back to the place of starting, must row in all about cheap nike air max trainers three miles.
A little to the right of the Princess’ stand stood a pole of height to be seen by the multitude as well as the rival oarsmen, and a rope for hoisting a white flag to the top connected it with the chair on the dais. At the appearance of the flag the boats were to start; while it was flying, the race was on.
And now the competitors are in position by lot cheap nike air max 90 from right to left. On bay and shore the shouting is sunk to a murmur. A moment more–but in that critical period an interruption occurred.
A yell from a number of voices in sharpest unison drew attention to the point of land jutting into the water on the north side not inaptly called the toe of Therapia, and a boat, turning the point, bore down with speed toward the sail-covered stand. There were four rowers in it; yet its glossy sides and air of trimness w nike air max 90 ere significant of a seventh competitor for some reason behind time. The black flag at the prow and the black uniform of the oarsmen confirmed the idea. The hand of the Princ nike air max ess was on the signal rope; but she paused.
As the boat-hook of the newcomers fell on the edge of the landing, one of them dropped upon his knees, crying: “Grace, O Princess! Grace, and a little time!”
The four were swarthy men, and, unlike the Greeks they were seeking to oppose, their swart was a peculiarity of birth, a racial sign. Recognizing them, the spectators near by shouted: “Gypsies! Gypsies!” and the jeer passed from mouth to nike air max 1 mouth far as the bridge over the creek at the corner of the bay; yet it was not ill-natured. That these unbelievers of unknown origin, separatists like the Jews, could offer serious opposition to the chosen of the t nike air max 95 owns was ridiculous. Since they excited no apprehension, their welcome was general.
“Why the need of grace? Who are you?” the Princess replied, gravely.
“We are from the valley by Buyukdere,” the man returned.
“Are you fishermen?”
“Judged by our catches the year through, and the prices we get in the market, O Princess, it is not boasting to say our betters cannot be found, though you search both shores between Fanar and the Isles of the Princes.”
This was too much for the bystanders. The presence they were in was not sufficient to restrain an outburst of derision.
“But the conditions of the race shut you out. You are not Greeks,” the judge continued.
“Nay, Prin cheap nike air max cess, that is according to the ground of judgment. If it please you to decide by birth and residence rather than ancestry, then are we to be preferred over many of the nobles who go in and out of His Majesty’s gates unchallenged. Has not the sweet water that comes down from the hills seeking the sea through our meadow furnished drink for our fathers hundreds of years? And as it knew them, it knows us.”
“Well answered, I must admit. Now, my friend, do as wisely with what I ask next, and you shall have a place. Say you come out winners, what will you do with the prize? I have heard you are not Christians.”
The man raised his face the first time.
“Not Christians! Were the charge true, then, argument being for the hearing, I would say the matter of religion is not among the conditions. But I am a petitioner, not lawyer, and to my rude thinking it is better that I hold on as I began. Trust us, O Princess! There is a plane tree, nike air max classic wondrous old, and with seven twin trunks, standing before our tents, and in it there is a hollow which shelters securely as a house. Attend me now, I pray. If happily we win, we will convert the tree into a cathedral, and build an altar in it, and set the prize above the altar in such style that all who love the handiworks of nature better than the artfulness of men may come and worship there reverently as in the holiest of houses, Sancta Sophia not excepted.”
“I will trust you. With such a promise overheard by so many of this concourse, to refuse you a part in the race were a shame to the Immaculate Mother. But how is it you are but four?”
“We were five, O Princess; now one is sick. It was at his bidding we come; he thought of the hundreds of oarsmen who would be here one at least could be induced to share our fortune.”
“You have leave to try them.”
The man arose, and looked at the bystanders, but they turned away.
“A hundred noumiae for two willing hands!” he shouted.
There was no reply. “If not for the money, then in honor nike air max 90 sale of the noble lady who has feasted you and your wives and children.”
A voice answered out of the throng: “Here am I!” and presently the hamari appeared with the bear behind him.
“Here,” he said, “take care of Joqard for me. I will row in the sick man’s place, and”–
The remainder of the sentence was lost in an outburst of gibing–and laughter. Finally the Princess asked the rowers if they were satisfied with th cheap nike air max e volunteer.
They surveyed him doubtfully.
“Art thou an oarsman?” one of them asked.
“There is not a better on the Bosphorus. And I will prove it. Here, some of you–take the beast off my hands. Fear not, friend, Joqard’s worst growl is inoffensive as thunder without lightning. That’s a good man.”
And with the words the hamari released the leading strap, sprang into the boat, and without giving time for protest or remonstrance, threw off his jacket and sandals, tucked up his shirt-sleeves, and dropped into the vacant fifth seat. The dexterity with which he then unshipped the oars and took them in hand measurably quieted the associates thus audaciously adopted; his action was a kind of certificate that the right man had been sent them.
“Believe in me,” he said, in a low tone. “I have the two qualities which will bring us nike air max sale home winners–skill and endurance.” Then he spoke to the Princess: “Noble lady, have I your consent to make a proclamation?”
The manner of the request was singularly deferential. Sergius observed the change, and took a closer look at him while the Princess was giving the permission.
Standing upon the seat, the hamari raised his voice: “Ho, here–there– every one!” and drawing a purse from his bosom, he waved it overhead, with a louder shout, “See!–a hundred noumiae, and not all copper either. Piece against piece weighed or counted, I put them in wager! Speak one or all. Who dares the chance?”
Takers of the offer not appearing on the shore, he shook the purse at his competitors.
“If we are not Christians,” he said to them, “we are oarsmen and not afraid. See–I stake this purse–if you win, it is yours.”
They only gaped air max 90 at him.
He put the purse back slowly, and recounting the several towns of his opponents by their proper names in Greek, he cried: “Buyukdere, Therapia, Stenia, Bebek, Balta-Liman, Yenimahale–your 8

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