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NEW SHORT STORIES. n_- The Cost of a Kiss, j An Episode in the Life of Ambep Pasha. By JUSTIN HUNTLY McCARTIiY. Author of C¡ A RAINY ROMANCE/' &C., &C. wind was skimming sharply along the tiLSPk°ros> ripping tiie water into strong waves. °e sky was as dark and as cold as the sky or â kpftdon winter, but the air was clearer :uid ^'derin that Constantinople Deceir.ber than it jf'ten 13 in Loudon. The steamer for Scutari had left its landing-stage by tha bridge, and was ^raing its way across the grey wiste, its lights i'^ainiug very brightly in the chilled air. Amber Pasha walked up and down the deck *ith Ctbrie-I "Oldt(tre. Both were well protected I .jp^inst the keen wind by furred coats both wore -Ie red fez, which signified that they hold service ?!der the Turk. Amber Pr.sha, as all the world ig the most remarkable of all the many jt^aarkable Europeans who have entered the rakish service. Gabriel Oidacre was his private and intimate friend. All around them lights were beginning to shine Dllt like stars, for it was drawing to the dusk, and ~°nstantinople looked like a fairy city in the Waning day. The great domea and minarets of fyat; marvellous Eastern dream in Europe grew "lacker against the darkening sky. A tine cies- flt of silver inood, as keenly curved as the Wimitar of some old-time Spldnn of Stamboul, J^hied to cut its way into the heavens. Amber *i8ha looked up at it, and quoted the lines from â¢Joiar Khr.yyatn, which Edward Fitzgerald has wade familiar to England and the English race. Yon rising moon tliat looks for us again, gow oft hereafter shall she wax ami wane, Bow oft hereafter rising look for vis Through this same garden and for one in vain." Gabriel sighed as the Pasha finished the quota- lon, and the Pasha, hearing him sigh, shook the melancholy from his own voice. *<l?e0r old Omar," he said. How much the owes to him. How much we owe to the who found him out for us. It i3 always a onder to me that the greatest of Persian poets, greatest of Pagan poets, should have been, as revealed to the English race by an elderly 'Pietry gentleman, who was a vegetarian and a /*ter-drinker, who had never seen the false dawn Eastern sky." â¢y Perhaps that "was the reason he understood jjoi *o well," said Gabriel. Are not the singers ? *ine and women often the most abstemious, most austere citizens ? Athenoeus assures us 'nO,t Anocreon never touched the grape he sang »and I remember reading in one of Tour- jP^eiiieff's novels about a Russian Bacchic poet no was, in fact, the most rigid of abstainers *o». wine." .Well, I shall nover believe that of Omar," J «jr Amber Pasha. "Omar, I am sure, was far honest a man to say or sing what he did not »'i- He has been my excellent friend for many J0ng year, and I should be sorry to esteem him '^ypociite. You know I was one of the first to ^JfRt the gospel according to "Fitzgerald." Were you ?" said Gabriel. I thought that too long ago." Ainber Pasha laughed. You always will persist in looking upon me Solden youth, Gabriel." *ou always seem like a young man. It is ir owl, fault," replied Gabriel. 1, &vt>n tho youngest of us has been roungei)" said the Pasha, but I cer- j "ily was litt-le more than a boy when â¢p first made Omar's acquaintance. It was Richard Burton who iirst told me of it, who gave a copy of that then neglected, now rarely tj first edition. It was Otnar and Richard *Wton between them who first turned my "rights to the East. What a queer game of P~ftI'oes life is. If I had not chanced to sit next -a great traveller at a dinner tablo some thirty ago yoa- and I would not be steaming now Awards Souta-n together." n&j&ftbriri's eyes were fixed upon the fading city. moisture in his eyes may have been caused py the keen, cold air, or was it unconquerable jf41* at the thought of a green place in distant 'ngland, and of a girl whose eyes seemed to "Hie with all tho glory of the heaven and the rth. He was silent for a little while, and -jjber Pasha kept silence too. f,^ently Gabriel spoke. Yes," be said, "life is a queer game. By the t ay> you have not told me why we ate steaming ^ards Scutari." frue," said Amber. I said I had some- v nS to show you at Scutari: something to tell Bkr!* 0n way. What I want to tell yon is a one of the many stories of my life a story nioh I should like you to hear, and which I eJ'6ve that you will hear with sympathy." (labriet sighed. He felt sure that he knew very Wall what was the Pasha's purpose in telling him wile of his youth. He guessed that his friend Wished to teach him that the sorrow of love which ad wounded his heart so deeply was known too his friend. That he, tco. had received a wound lQ the fight, and had arisen again and gone his like a man. Gabriel was doiug his best to a man, but he had not the strong soul of r^nber, and for a moment the tears came into his again and blotted out the lines and lights of /^beautiful city, and in their place he saw again '«* his mental eye that quiet English garden and â¢Oat comely English girl. > Resolutely he fixed his eyes again upon the ^tastic Turkish town, resolutely he fixed his "ention upon the words that Amber Pasha was Joking, and while he listened he strove hard to from his mind all importunate memories «I the nains of the girl he had loved and lost. Yes," said Amber Pasha, it is a great years ago, and I was young then, very Wing indeod-at least I know now that I was J*? young indeed, though at the time I did not .fjttik #o, for I was nearly thirty years of age, and myself the most venerable of men. ^'Sttiillab, what a raw lad I was for iny years. I 4d been nowhere, had seen nothing." f Gabriel glanced inquiringly into the Pasha's aae. I thought you began life very early." Oh yes I did," answered Amber, and I bad aud done the usual things that a young f^glishman of good family and fair means sees does. I had seen most of Europe, had seen 2T°wic», but this was my first crossing the freehold of the East. I was going at last to ijOfcatantinople. The first time I ever saw Constantinople I saw it under somewhat Peculiar conditions. I had long been jJ^Uning of that earliest glimpse of Stain* 7°ul which was to reward my hopes and atisfy my expectations. I was up betimes on *>e morning when we steamed into the Dardan- 'eis; through the faint mist of raw morning I the distant coast of Asia Minor, and saw, fondly fancied that I saw, dimly dark against #ky, the Mound of Achilles. From the Greeks 2* the early age my thoughts turned to the jJ*6«ks of that later age, the Greeks of that ifyzantium I was now ar.d at last approaching. *y*antium of the Varangians, the Micklegarth, ?* the Men of the North. Soon I should behold ItR domes of delicate curve, its crescents and its ^Hnarets, the white waIlri of its mosques, and the «'«en quiet of its gardens rising like a dream of Arabian Nights out of the enchanted waters. Alas for dear anticipation. That mist of the morning deepened, darkened, curtained close Vessel, muffled the shores in an impenetrable **ey, swallowed upsea and land and sky. We sailed p to the Rea gates, to the quays of Constantinople J? fog that for consistency and opacity rivalled most strenuous efforts of brumous London far **y. Perhaps at moments, and only for r^toents, the veil would lift here and there a I?tt?ed edge and show a surface of lapping water, of a white building ghostly in the *l°w, the crest of a stately minaret, a green jv^m of waving foliage. Only for moments; the mist would descend and deepen again, reenlng Constantinople as jealonsly from the of her Fraukish lover as ever folded thick- J^ses of gauze concealed a harem lady from the l^lous glances of the Giaour. Constantinople, jSf that I could see of it, might be exactly or Staten Island, or Calais; might beautiful than Naples, or more common- Gravesend for anything that I could «fty to the contrary. In the mantle of this j-^king fog, our steamer came to her halt, lay jJJP^Rside the dock. Fezzed officials began to hliT* unexpectedly over the ship's side, leaping yelt a°ks-in-the-B°x out of the almost palpable Ye)l()%vness we had arrived at our journey's end, "till Constantinople was us strange to us as if M back again in England. r There were some paople on board with whom friends. I was alone, and I have been of the gregarious kind, and I can say -'h Gosthe, that I have never met a really dull fon8 jn" wherever I have been I have always companions, and often found friends." .Gabriel's fancy floated swiftly back over seas o 'he day when he sat and looked at the little I, churchward, when he saw the face and tiin voice of Amber Pasha for the firat tha*' 'n oonaequence of his mind listening to jj. w°rds that voice spoke then in his ear was jj/Jttonti^ to the words the voice was speaking Wa*' Jt was some seconds before ho again gj?3. Comprehensive of what Amber Pasha was ying. Ho was speaking of his companions on ffd the ship. was a very pretty girl; one of the ftva! creatures that I think I have j p' seen. I had never seen a prettier then #ofI*Ve never Been prettier since. It was n |u ⢠*nd tender kind of beauty, if indeed word beauty does not convey something stronger impression than belonged by to her delicate colouring and youthful w^J'neas. Her hair was very fair, quite comme as de Uposet sings of the girl in hilf SQVi. > '⢠-⢠7:1: and her eyes were very blue, and her lips were warmly red. There, I describe her she was prfe-lty, exquisitely pretty, with apathetic, caress- jl1 weaknuy-f of dweeanour which war, very capti- vating. Af-sos I wonder if we ever know what lnippiiHws really is to Thero are fso many kinds of iiappiness," said Gabriel, gravely. The negro, with ltyeUow IÅrdllfà tWisted round his woolly head, chappy in the sunlight singing his wild songs. But if I were tj spsnd all my ubst,auce in canary- coloured silk it would afford me very little delight." As he spoke he pointed to where, in the front of the boat, not very far from where they were, a great negro stood, the most picturesqus of the many picturesque figures that thronged the humbler portion of the steamer. He was as black as ebony, and above the living bronze of his face he had wound a great yellow turban. He was talking. eagerly to an immobile Turk, and his whole bearing was animated by a sense of the pleasure cf being alive, a pleasure that ws heightened for the I' moment by the handful of apples of which he was the possessor, and into one of which his largo white teeth made great munching bites at intervals. Amber Pasba laughed as he followed the direc- tions of Gabriel's gesture. He looks like a Darfur man he is probably very happy with his yellow lurbau and his yellow appl?;. Well, I was happy in those days of my youtli; happy to get to Stamboul; happy in the companions of my journey. Trevannion was going out on a special mission to the sublime Porte. He was a widower, and his daughter Rose was bis constant companion. Trevannion and I had a vast number of common friends, and when we cama to Constantinople in the fog we seemed as if weâhe, she, and Iâhad been friends for ages. Through the fog we left the ship: through the fog we struggled with excltedcustom houseofficials in crimson fezzes; through the fog we followed our gallant dragoman to a carriage soon we were whirling through the fog along some of the very worst streets in the world, or at least in my experience, for Jaffa was then unknown to m. As wo left the water the fog dwindled and dwindled and at last vanished, so that by the time our driver drew bridle at the door of Missiri's, Constantinople had ceased to be a. city of shadows, a cloud-cuckoo town of vapours, fantastically vague, and had taken its place in our understandings with the sohd cities* of the earth, and somethiug at least of the interior of the great Asiatic capital of Europe was familiar to our wondering eyes. But for the exterior, for that view of the city of the Sultans, rising from thq Bospborus with all its mosques and minarets, its crescents and domes, and cypress groves and gardens, I had perforce to waic until I was say- ing my first farewells to the most enchanting, perplexing capital in the world. Perhaps, after all, there was something more really appropriate about such an entry into Constantinople. The city is so completely a place by itself, so characteristic of another civilisation and another that there was something so whimsically fitting in the almost magical way in which one sailed out of Europe info mist, and when the mist had lifted found oneself actually in Con- stantinople. It was not unreasonable, after all, that one should arrive as in a dream in the city of dreams. During those early days in Constantinople I was thrown a good Cleal into the society of the Trevann ous. The Euglish colony was not quite so large then perhaps as it is now the Tr«van- nions and I had the same friends amongst the diplomatic people, and tho fact of our having come to Constantinople together gave our acquain- tance a pleasing air of old and long relations we had formed since our arrival. It came gradually to be understood that the Trevannions and I were inseparable. Although I was so young in those daya I suppose I ought to have known better. I believe that I was rather good-looking then, and that I was an amusing companion for a young and rather shy girl. It did not occur to me that I could by any posaiblity be a dangerous com- panion. She was very sweet and very pretty, but I was not in the least in love with her, and our friendship never resembled a. commonplace familiar flirtation in the slightest degree. It was no part of my plan of hfe to marry young. I was ambitious, inde- pendent like Othello, I did not wish to change my free unhoused condition for the sea's worth. My dream was travel, and travel of the kind I had dreamed of was not wisely possible for a married man. And as I said, I was not in the least in love with Miss Trevannion, although I knew her for what she was, a sweet and loveable English girl. But I was only in love with the East. "One day a number of us went for an expedi- tion outside the walls of Constantinople. We were quite a large party, men from the Embassy, recently arrived travellers, official residents, a very bright, joyous body of men and women. Vie had luncheon at the country house of a Turkish gentleman of great wealth, who held high olKce under the Sultan, and whoso house, or rather palace, was one of the wonders and delights of the Constantinople of that day. In a place that was worthy of Sinbad at his zenith, our host en. tertained us with a splendour that was worthy of the great wanderer in his glory, As usual. Rose Trevannion and I ware thrown together, and wa fouml much pleasure inadmiring all tluvt our hoiuVhouse and gardeos had to otter for our*dmrratidn. I was^ an ardeftt Admirer of Eastern art and architeckitw; I knew1 a little about.it, and thought I lmtjw a great deal. Women have a great respect for any learning that is or seems to ba beyond their ken, and I think Miss Trevannion lookeduponme as a very learned person indeed. As a matter of fact, I suppose I was rather priggish, but I was not a dull prig I believe, and I did nob bore my companion. Vv e were all to ride home in the cool of the evening, and our way lay for some while through the park of onr Turkish host. It was a very large park mdeed. It has long since disappeared civilisation moves onward even in Stamboul, and land is valuable, and the place has years ago been cut up, and manufactories stand on what was then an Oriental earthly Paradise. One great beauty of the place was a winding grove ofcypresses that stretched for nearly three miles, serpentina in and out of the glowing gardens that composed the park. Through this cypress grove our cavalcade had to take its way. "With much laughter the major part of onr company pushed on ahead. Some were racing ouo another, some simply galloping for the pleasure of the swift; motion. Miss Trevannion was a rather nervous horsewoman, and did not care to speed with the others, and I was not at all eager to leave her side. So it happened that we fell be hind and lost sight of our more adventurous com- panions, whose voices soon died away in the dis- tance. We rode quietly along, delighted with the beauty of the scene, and tilking the kind of sentimentalism tbat a. young man and a young woman are only too likely tojj talk under such conditions. Through the stately ranks of the cyi>esses the rays of the evening sun barred our path with alternating gold and sable. The sky was very blue above our heads; the air was exquisitely warm and perfumed with the heavy fragrance of the roses for which the Pasha was famous. The gardens, whenever we saw them through gap3 in the trees, gleamed with the colour of parterres of gorgeous flowers, and birds sang in the boscagos. It was an enchanting even. ing, full of subtle appeal to all the senses. Then it happened. Our horses were very close together. We were going very slowlv. We were quite alone. I had said something. I know not what, and she had looked up at me smiling. She was so pretty, and so young, and she seemed so pleased to listen to me, and I suppose between the ehartns of her beauty and the flattery of her admiration I lost my foolish head. I only know that. without thinking what I was doing, I slipped my arm round her waist, and, stooping down, kissed her on the mouth. The moment I had done it I seemed to come to myself, and to see the folly, the unworthy folly of what I had done. I waited for and expected an angry reproof. But, to my surprise, no reproof came. Rose let her pretty head fall upon my shoulderâremember we were going at a walking paceâand looked up into my face with eyes ot simple, honest love. Her sweet face was slightly flushed, and her eyes were bright. Her warm lips parted, the lips I had just kissed. My dear,' she murmured, you have made me very happy.' And then she lowered her eyes, and the blush on her face grew deeper, but she made no effort to escape from my encircling arm. "In n moment I understood the situation. The girl was very simple. She thought that the man who kissed her as I had kissed her must needs be in love with her she thought that the man who was in love with her must needs want to marry her. I had not thought of this when I stooped to my careless caress. I had kissed so many women who took kisses lightly and gave them lightly, with a laugh, that it never occurrad to me how differently Rose might take Had I thought at all, and I had acted wholly, thought- lessly, I should have imagined that she would be offended, and that it would cost me some pains to obtain her pardon for my impertinence. But that she would take my deed as she did take it would, in all honesty, never have occurred to me." Amber Pasha paused and stood, silent, for a little while, fixing his gaze upon the approaching Scutari shore. Gabriel respected hia silenoe for a while; then, as the Pasha showed no signs of speaking, he ventured to disturb his silence. Well," he asked, what happened then ?' The Pasha still gazed at the shore. "The only thing that could happen," he said. The only possible course for me as a decent fellow was to accept the situation, and to fall in with the girl's belief. Many a man would have been only too happy to be in my place. Honestly, I was not happy. I did not want to marry I was not in love with Rose Trevannion. But she thought I was, and my act had helped to make her think so, and that was enough for me. I kissed her again, and when we regained our party we were affianced lovers. Of course, my first duty was to speak to Tre. vannion. I felt miserable, guilty, a very scoundrel as I told him that I loved his daughter, as I asked him for her band. For it wasn't true. Much as I liked the girl, I did not Jove her in tho least, and I had no desire whatever to make her my wife. But the girl, by pome unhappy chance, had fallen in love with me I had foolishly and un- willingly given her tha conviction that I loved her and wished her to share my life. I had blundered badly; that was no reason why I should blunder brutually in telling the poor girl the truth, possibly breaking her heart, and certainly giving a cruel to her delicate, shrinking nature and to her gentle pride. The only possible course left to me as a gentleman, as a man with any decent feeling was to make her life as happy as anything that I could do would make it. To do Trevannion justioo, he was not greatly rejoiced at my proposal. He had hoped for greater things for his beautiful daughter and an alliance with a baronet's younger son, who was in some degree what the Elizabethans would have called a gentleman adventurer, was not the reaHsationof his dream. I told him of my position, of my modest means. He listened gravely, and, as I C91s1 see, regretfully. He told me frapkly that I did not come up to his ideal of Rose's husband either in rank or fortune, but he added that he loved his daughter too dearly to be other than guided by her wishey. What those wishes were Trevannion was not long left in doubt of. I never knew, of coura", what happened in the interview between father and daughter, but when it was ended Trevannion came to me and shook me gravely by the hand, ¡ and told me that there was nothing left for him but to give his consent to the marriage. And when I saw Rose, and saw how happy she looked, and with what timid joy she greeted me, I could have killed myself by some cruel death for my ghastly inability to feel for her what she so simply let me know she felt for me. "The pangs of misprized love are cruel, God knows; they scar like glowing irons the leave that ineffaceable braud upon heart and brain. I have felt those pangs, and know their pain." For a moment Amber Pasha, lifting his hand, let it rest gently upon Gabriel's shoulder with a sympathetic pressure which the young man understood and was grateful for. Then Amber went on again. "But I can scarcely imagine a sharper soirow, j a keener pain, than I endured then, in those hours which ought to have been so happy. It was no fault of mine. Love cannot be com- manded, and I could not with the best will in the world cheat myseif for a single hour into the belief that I loved Rose Trevannion to be my wife. Thank heaven, she never guessed at my despair. It was impossible not to be fond of her, she was so sweet, so gentle, so beautiful, and the affection that fondness and that pity inspired she took without a doubt for the devotion of passion. I declare to you, my dear Gabriel, that I have known few sufferings more intenseâand I have suffered M much as most men of my ageâas the suffering' which, having to play such a part as I was playing, brings with it. There are plenty of men who, had they been in my place, would have thought themselves very little to be pitied, would rather have thought themselves much to be envied. For the girl was good, the girl was beautiful, the girl was wealthy, and many a man, and many a good man, too, would think himself very for- tunate to inspire affection in such a girl, and would trouble his head very little about the precise state of his own emotions towards her. But I could not ease my mind, I could not per- suade myself that what did not exist did exist, and tortured myself daily with my remorse for what I had done, and my anger for what I could not do. And all the while my poor littla sweet- heart was perfectly happy, and I was envied by every unmarried man in the English colony. We were to be married in a mouth. I had, got an appointment under the Sultau, partly through Mr Trevannion's interest, for of one thing I was resolved, that I would not be a dependent upon my wife's fortune. And so the days went by, days that I look back upon now with an invincible sadness, with an exquisite pity, beautiful, unhappy, despairing days that gave my life its first and most enduring sorrow. It all ended very sadly, It ended within a very few weeks of thp first time I ever saw her. She was verv delicate, and Oriental towns are not the best "abiding places for delicate women. One day sno was very well, and bright and happy. The next day. she was struck with fever. In a week she waÂ¥ dead," Amber Pasha stopped speaking. Gabriel glanced shyly at him, saw that his hands gripped the rail of the vessel very hard. There was silence for a few seconds, and then Amber began again, with a voice that was not as firm as it was wont to be. Thank God, that to the last, as long as she retained consciousness she was happy, confident in me. She did not dream of her dan-er; she never knew it. Oh, if I could only have bought her back to life with any sacrifice that I could make, how gladly X would have done it. I would have devoted my life to her; I would have been friend, husband. loverall. You cannot dream how black my in- gratitude seemed, how hideous my selfishness how mean my ambitions by that death-bod. There, I have told you what I have never told to anyone else. It was long enough before I came to my- self, and could face the world with courage, and bear to think of myself with detestation. I have loved and been loved since, of course. I was but a boy then. I am no longer young now. But that, I think, is the reason why! heve never married." The steamer had arrived at Scutari. In silence Amber Pasha and Gabriel went on shore, and in silence they walked till they came to the cemetery where so many English sleep. Amber led the way through a succession of paths in that City of Sleep. Suddenly he came to a pause before a simple square sarcophagus. On the stone was cut the words, "To the memory of Rose Trevannion," followed by the dates of her birth and of her death, dates too sadly close together After this followed a couple of lines in Turkish character. Gabriel bent over the stone and strove to decipher theeallill of the inscription. But he could not, and turning, he looked enquiringly at Amber. The Pasha understood his glance. "Those are lines," he said, "from a Turkish poet, a poet named Muaeddes. of whom I was fond in those days, when I was reading him for the first tin e "And their meaning?" asked Gabriel. "My Turkish is not good enough to help me." They mean, Amber answered, something like this:â Though I'm far now from the shadow of thy love, 0 Cypress, straight Still my prayers I may offer for thy happiness of state. "Those lines seemld to me then very fitting to our case. They still seem to me very beautiful." "They are very beautiful." said Gabriel. "They are very sad," "Life can be very sad," said Amber. 41 You know something of that, my dear Gabriel. Now you know that I, too, have drunk deep sorrow." Moved by an uncontrollable impulse, Gabriel stretched out his hand to Amber. Amber took it, and the men exchanged a Loyal pressure by the grave of the English girl. Then they walked slowly back to the landing- stage together. 1 [THE END.] NEXT WEEK- í A DYNAMITE OUTRAGE, :{ BY FRED. BOYLE. > "¡



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