Month: February 2019

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Cyber war

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Are cyber wars at our doorstep?

In recent months the world has made the acquaintance of a new and perfectly designed computer worm with a specific purpose. Known as Stuxnet, this dangerous code targets industrial systems by using hitherto unknown security portals. Stuxnet is the first harbinger of a new era in which computer worms will be able to wreak damage beyond the abstract world on the concrete world around us.

Viruses like Stuxnet can, for example, damage the pumps on water, natural gas, and oil pipelines. They can cause overloads on electrical power distribution grids and transmission lines, causing them to malfunction, even explode. They can pave the way to the unanticipated collapse of systems such as mass transport, health, logistics and banking systems.

Given that the digital hardware and software produced by humans is not going to be flawless, it is very difficult right now to estimate where and how far this danger may go in the future. In the first instance we might fall prey to desperation and fear. Nuclear weapons on the other hand were posing a far greater threat to man. Nevertheless, the number of nuclear warheads in the world has been significantly reduced through international agreements.

If the international ambassadors of peace start working today, it might take some time but perhaps the ignorant and immoral attitude adopted by man when Cain killed Abel might some day be brought to an end, again by digital means.

Theten most destructive computer viruses in history

Xrb1 -jerusalem:

Caused damage to companies, universities and other institutions.

1rbb-m0rr!s:

Caused 96 million dollars’ worth of damage.

Xrrb -cih:

Damaged computers’ BIOS processors.

Xrrr – Melissa:

Caused 600 million dollars ‘worth of damage to the business world.

Edqx -code red:

Infected a million computers and caused 2.6 billion dollars ‘worth of damage.

2qd3 -sqljammer:

Within 10 minutes slowed all Internet traffic for a brief period.

Blaster:

Caused millions of computers to shut down automatically.

Eqqh -mydoom:

Spreading via e-mail, it slowed down Internet traffic by ten percent

Eddb -conficker:

Accessed upwards of 3.5 million computers through a backdoor.

– Stuxnet:

Caused the collapse of numerous physical systems, including a satellite.

East West

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An East – West Journalist Hasan Mert Kaya Caner

Her latest book, Begum, acclaimed writer describes journalist Kenize Murad describes life and the struggle of a woman of the eastern world caught in a triangle of love, power and social pressure. Making a splash with her much-talked-about novel, From Palace to Exile, Murad in this latest book takes up the story of the uprising led by Begum Hazret Mahal, who lived in Northern India’s powerful Awad Kingdom in the 19th century. We spoke with Murad about her career in journalism, the world of the east and her most recent work, Begum, in an interview for readers.

You have a long career in journalism that has taken you to some of the world’s most dangerous places. Do you love your work?

Yes, journalism is a job that is very important to me and that I have always loved to do. This profession has been a great adventure for me that 1 could never give up. I could easily have worked in France and French politics and been successful to boot. But being in the Middle East, in the place where civilization began, was a passion for me. I was in Iran during the revolution, for example, While everybody else was at home glued to the TV, munching on a snack while they watched events unfold on the screen, I was right in the thick of it. I witnessed everything in person, and that was very important to me.

You’ve been in other countries as well at critical moments…

Yes. I’ve gone to Pakistan, Bangladesh, Lebanon, Palestine and a whole slew of other places as a reporter and investigative journalist. These are places fraught with life’s great tragedies. Tragedy and hope are what give meaning to life in this region. You won’t find them in everyday life in the West. You live in an apartment, you go to work, you come home. Everything ticks along normally in the flow of life. You won’t easily be a witness here to the great events, the great turning points of life.

What have you seen?

What have I seen! I have seen human courage. I’ve seen that a human being can be more than himself. Every time I return to France from Lebanon and Palestine, I hear people grumble about this problem and that, and it makes me really angry. Complaints like that strike me as comical after the things I’ve seen in the places I’ve risked my life to go. But let me also point out to your readers that if I’d had a child, or been a journalist forced to take photos, I would never have taken those risks. You have to get up close to photograph events as they are happening. Coskun Aral, for example, is one of the most distinguished names in the field. I could never have taken the risks he has taken. And as far as I know, he also gave it up when he became a father.

Hope Egypt

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Hope for Egypt: Dream or Reality?

Don the theme, Dream or Reality? International Book Fair welcoming bibliophiles this month. And Egypt is the guest of honor.

Last year 5 guest of honor was Spain. By the end of the fair, which featured interviews with popular Spanish writers Julio Llamazares, Soledad Puertolas and Angelas Caso, we had learned so much about Spanish life and culture that we wondered all year long who the next guest country would be. Finally the day came and it was announced: Egypt. And we realized how little we know about this country we have been following closely in recent months, especially during the 18-day people’s movement.

When it comes to the literature of this sunny land that is striving to turn dream into reality, a single writer comes to mind: Naguib Mahfouz. Egyptian Ambassador to Turkey Abderahman Salaheldin summed it up perfectly when he said, “The situation is deplorable. Very few Egyptian writers have been translated into Turkish apart from Naguib Mahfouz. ”

But his talk concludes with a big ‘Inshallah’: “Many Egyptian writers are going to come to Istanbul in mid-November, and a public awareness of Egyptian literature is going to develop. Numerous Egyptian publishers have applies to the fair. And many intellectuals, most ‘Hz notably the Egyptian Culture Minister, are going to attend. We are expecting some positive steps to be taken when we meet with Egyptian publishers. In the years to come there is going to be great movement from Arabic to Turkish and Turkish to Arabic. Inshallah!”

Sneak Preview

Alaa Al Aswany

Born in 1957,Aswany studied dentistry in Chicago. Listed as one of the World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims on a list compiled by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center, this writer’s ironic novel about modem Egyptian society has been translated into numerous languages including English, French, German, Italian, Spanish,

Finnish, Norwegian. Polish, Turkish and Greek. The novel was also made into a film in 2006.

Gamal Ghitani

Bom in May 1945, Ghitani was editor-in-chief of the prominent literary magazine Akhbar al-Adab until 2011. Starting to write as a boy, Ghitani published his first short story when he was 14. Trained in furniture design, Ghitani was deemed worthy of the Laure Bataillon, one of France most prestigious prizes, in 2005 for his work, Tjook of Illuminations.

Ibrahim Aslan

Born in 1937, Aslan published his first book of short stories, Evening Lake, in 1971. His first novel, Heron, published in Arabic in 1983, was the inspiration for director Daoud Abdel Sayed’s film, The Kit Kat. Aslan is currently cultural editor in the Cairo bureau of the London-based daily Al-Hayat.

Mohamed Salmawy

A leading Egyptian playwright and journalist, Salmawy is at the same time president of the Egyptian Writers Union. The writer, who studied in the Department of English Civilization and History of Birmingham University after graduating in English Language and Literature from the University of Cairo in 1966, is currently Editor-inChief of Al-Ahram Hebdo.

Youssef Ziedan

Born June 30,1958, Ziedan focused on the philosophical foundations of mysticism in his post-graduate studies following graduation from the University of Alexandria’s Department of Philosophy. Currently Director of the Museum and Manuscripts Center of Alexandria Library, he has authored more than 50 books.

Jamana Marmalade

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Let’s start the day sweetly

Jamana marmalade, the best way to preserve fruit and vegetables out of season, are an indispensable part of Turkish breakfast. How about adding a dash of color to winter tables with unfamiliar flavors like pistachios, tangerines, black mulberries and lemon peel jams and marmalades?

Making jam is one of the favorite ways to preserve fruits and certain vegetables before they go bad. Jams made from almost any fruit as well as vegetables such as aubergines, courgettes and olives, and from petals of flowers such as rose, is one of the indispensable additions to Turkish breakfasts. It’s easier than you think to make jams and marmalades, mixing in season fruit with sugar in the same pan and cooking it to just the right consistency.

Maria Ekmekgioglu, famous for her jams and marmalades, suggests giving your winter tables a touch of color with unfamiliar flavors like pistachios, tangerines, black mulberries and lemon peel.

Delights in the alleyways of bargain paradise

Making a name for itself as the heart of trade in Istanbul, Tahtakale is also known as t you can find all kinds of goods at budget prices. In this historical neighborhood that t open-air shopping center on Sundays, you can find anything you are looking for on this have compiled a list of addresses for when you need to take a break after a tiring day shopping in this historical neighborhood

Tahtakale, which has come to be known as the heart of trade in Istanbul, is one of the rare neighborhoods where the historical fabric of the streets has been preserved. Of course, this is not its sole quality; it is at the same time an open-air shopping center where you will find anything you can think of, from wedding sweets to nail clippers, tobacco and car accessories.

Enter Tahtakale either from opposite the Hasircilar Gate in the Spice Bazaar or through the back streets leading up from Sirkeci. If we consider the Rustem Pasa Mosque located at the heart of Tahtakale the center, there are three main avenues to cover Hasircilar, Uzungarsi and Marpuggular, as well as the narrow streets that intersect these.

Although wholesalers are predominant in the area, shop owners say, ‘we can’t turn down customers who want to buy retail.’ You can spend as little as 75 kurus here and unless you need anything extra, you can do a lot of shopping by spending as little as 10-15 TL. If you want to avoid the crowds, it’s best to go on a weekday.

You will see Namli on your right, as you enter Hasircilar Avenue from the Spice Bazaar. You are mistaken if you think that you can only find delitassen products here. If you walk into the deli, which offers some 3,850 products, and climb the stairs in the furthest corner, you will reach a restaurant, which is almost like a hidden shelter. They have an extensive buffet.

Make sure to try the Antioch salad made with dried tomatoes, walnuts and zahter (a type thyme) which you will not find anywhere else. Breakfast is also offered all day long. Breakfast courses are 1 TL each, soups for 3 TL, sandwiches for 4.50 TL. The buffet, which offers different dishes every day, starts from 10 TL.

Tel: 0212 51163 93

Bubastis

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All will be ready there, and thou shalt have thy pleasure of me, and no one in the world shall know it, and I shall not have acted like a woman of the streets.’” When the page had returned to Setna, he repeated to him all the words that she had said without exception, and he said, “Lo, I am satisfied.” But all who were with Setna began to curse.

Setna caused a boat to be fetched; he embarked, and delayed not to arrive at Bubastis. He went to the west of the town, until he came to a house that was very high; it had a wall all round it, it had a garden on the north side, there was a flight of steps in front of it. Setna inquired saying. “Whose is this house?” They said to him, “It is the house of Tbubui.”

Setna entered the grounds, and he marveled at the pavilion situated in the garden while they told Tbubui; she came down, she took the hand of Setna, and she said to him, “By my life the journey to the house of the priest of Bastit, lady of Ankhutaui, at which thou art arrived, is very pleasant to me. Come up with me.” Setna went up by the stairway of the house with Tbubui. He found the upper story of the house sanded and powdered with sand and powder of real lapis lazuli and real turquoise.

Setna and Tbubui

There were several beds there, spread with stuffs of royal linen, and many cups of gold on a stand. They filled a golden cup with wine and placed it in the hand of Setna and Tbubui said to him, “Will it please thee to rest thyself?” He said to her, “That is not what I wish to do.” They put scented wood on the fire, they brought perfumes of the kind that are supplied to Pharaoh, and Setna made a nappy day with Tbubui. “Let us accomplish that for which we have come here.” She said to him, “Thou shalt arrive at thy house, that where thou art.

However, for me, I am a hierodule, I am no mean person. If thou desires to have thy pleasure of me, thou shalt make me a contract of sustenance, and a contract of money on all the things and all the goods that are thine.” He said to her, “Let the scribe of the school be brought.” He was brought immediately, and Setna caused to be made in favor of Tbubui a contract for maintenance, and he made her in writing a dowry of all the things, all the goods that were his. An hour passed, one came to say this to Setna, and “Thy children are below.” He Raid “Let them be brought up.” Tbubui arose; she put on a robe of fine linen and Setna beheld all her limbs through it, and his desire Increased yet more than before.

Temple Ptah

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Then Setna went to the King, and told him everything that had hap to him with the book. And the King said to Setna, “Take back the book to the grave of Na.nefer.ka.ptah, like a prudent man, or else he will make you bring it with a forked stick in your hand, and a firepan on your head.” However, Setna would not listen to him; and when Setna had unrolled the book, he did nothing on earth but read it to everybody.

After that it happened one day, when Setna was walking near the temple of Ptah, lie saw a woman of such beauty that another could not be found to equal her. On her there was much gold, and with her were fifty-two servants. From the time that Setna beheld her, he no longer knew the part of the world he lived in. He called his page, saying, “Do not delay going to the place where that woman is and finding out who she is.” The young page made no delay. He addressed the maidservant who walked behind her, and questioned her, “What person is that?” She said to him, “She is Tbubui, daughter of the prophet of Bastit, who now goes to make her prayer before Ptah.” When the young man had returned to Setna, he recounted all the words she had said to him without exception.

Setnakhamois

Setna said to the young man, “Go and say thus to the maidservant, ‘Setnakhamois, son of the Pharaoh Usimares it is who sends me, saying, “I will give thee ten pieces of gold that thou mays pass an hour with me. If there is necessity to have recourse to violence he will do it, and he will take thee to a hidden place, where no one in the world will find thee.’” ” When the young man had returned to the place where Tbubui was, he addressed the maidservant, and space with her, but she exclaimed against his words, as though it were an insult to speak them.

Tbubui said to the young man, “Cease to speak to that wretched girl; come and speak to me.” The young man approached the place where Tbubui was; he said to her, “I will give thee ten pieces of gold if thou wilt pass an hour with SetnaKhamois, the son of Pharaoh Usimares. If there is necessity to have recourse to violence, he will do so, and will take thee to a hidden place where no one in the world will find thee.” Tbubui said, “Go, say to Setna, ‘I am a hierodule, I am no mean person; if thou dost desire to have thy pleasure of me, and thou shalt come to Bubastis into my house.

North Koptos

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“He turned to the haven, and sailed down, and delayed not in the north of Koptos. When he was come to the place where we fell into the river, he said to his heart: ‘shall I not better turn back again to Koptos that I may lie by them? For, if not, when I go down to Memphis, and the King asks after his children, what shall I say to him? Can I tell him, “I have taken your children to the Thebaid, and killed them, while I remained alive, and I have come to Memphis still alive”?

Then he made them bring him a linen cloth of striped byssus; he made a band, bound the book firmly, and tied it upon him. Na.nefer.ka.ptah then went out of the awning of the royal boat and fell into the river. He cried on Ra; and all those who were on the bank made an outcry, saying: ‘Great woe! Sad woe! Is he lost, that good scribe and able man that has no equal?’

“The royal boat went on, without anyone on earth knowing where Na.nefer.ka.ptah was. It went on to Memphis, and they told all this to the King. Then the King went down to the royal boat in mourning, and all the soldiers and high priests of Ptah were in mourning, and all the officials and courtiers. And when he saw Na.nefer.ka.ptah, who was in the inner cabin of the royal boat—from his rank of high scribe—he lifted him up. And they saw the book by him; and the King said, ‘Let one hide this book that is with him.’

And the officers of the King, the priests of Ptah, and the high priest of Ptah, said to the King, ‘Our Lord, may the King live as long as the sun! Na.nefer.ka.ptah was a good scribe, and a very skillful man.’ In addition, the King had him laid in his Good House to the sixteenth day, and then had him wrapped to the thirty-fifth day, laid him out to the seventieth day, and then had him put in his grave in his resting place.

“I have now told you the sorrow which has come upon us because of this book for which you ask, saying, ‘Let it be given to me.’ You have no claim to it; and, indeed, for the sake of it, we have given up our life on earth.”

And Setna said to Ahura, “Give me the book which I see between you and Na.nefer.ka.ptah; for if you do not I will take it by force.” Then Na.nefer.ka.ptah rose from his seat and said: “Are you Setna, to whom my wife has told of all these blows of fate, which you have not suffered? Can you take this book by your skill as a good scribe? If, indeed, you can play games with me, let us play a game, then, of 52 points.” And Setna said, “I am ready,” and the board and its pieces were put before him. And Na.nefer.ka.ptah won a game from Setna; and he put the spell upon him, and defended himself with the game board that was before him, and sunk him into the ground above his feet.

An he hor eru

He did the same at the second game, and won it from Setna, and sunk him into the ground to his waist. He did the same at the third game, and made him sink into the ground up to his ears. Then Setna is ruck Na.nefer.ka.ptah a great blow with his hand. And Setna called hill brother An.he.hor.eru and said to him, “Make haste and go up upon earth, and tell the King all that has happened to me, and bring lair the talisman of my father Ptah, and my magic books.”

And he hurried up upon earth, and told the King all that had happened to Setna. The King said, “Bring him the talisman of his father and his magic books.” Moreover, An.he.hor.eru hurried down into the Lomb; he laid the talisman on Setna, and he sprang up again immediately. Then Setna reached out his hand for the book, and took it.

Thru as Setna went out from the tomb—there went a Light before llliu, und Darkness behind him. And Ahura wept at him, and she said: “Glory to the King of Darkness! Hail to the King of Light! All power R gone from the tomb.” However, Na.nefer.ka.ptah said to Ahura: “Do not t your heart be sad; I will make him bring back this book, with a red stick in his hand, and a firepan on his head.” In addition, Setna went me from the tomb, and it closed behind him as it was before.

The Easter Torch Part 8

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The trap was ingeniously contrived: a long rope fastened round a block of wood; lengthwise, at the place where the sawn panel had dis-appeared, was a spring-ring which Leiba held open with his left hand, while at the same time his right hand held the other end taut. At the psychological moment he sprang the ring, and rapidly seizing the free end of the rope with both hands he pulled the whole arm inside by a supreme effort.

In a second the operation was complete. It was accompanied by two cries, one of despair, the other of triumph: the hand is “pinned to the spot.” Footsteps were heard retreating rapidly: Gheorghe’s companions were abandoning to Leiba the prey so cleverly caught.

The Jew hurried into the inn, took the lamp and with a decided movement turned up the wick as high as it would go: the light concealed by the metal receiver rose gay and victorious, restoring definite outlines to the nebulous forms around.

Zibal went into the passage with the lamp. The burglar groaned ter-ribly; it was obvious from the stiffening of his arm that he had given up the useless struggle. The hand was swollen, the fingers were curved as though they would seize something. The Jew placed the lamp near it—a shudder, the fever is returning. He moved the light quite close, until, trembling, he touched the burglar’s hand with the burning chimney; a violent convulsion of the fingers was followed by a dull groan. Leiba was startled at the sight of this phenomenon.

Strange exaltation

Leiba trembled—his eyes betrayed a strange exaltation. He burst into a shout of laughter which shook the empty corridor and resounded in the inn.

Day was breaking.

Sura woke up suddenly—in her sleep she seemed to hear a terrible moaning. Leiba was not in the room. All that had happened previously returned to her mind. Something terrible had taken place. She jumped out of bed and lighted the candle. Leiba’s bed had not been disturbed. He had not been to bed at all.

Where was he? The woman glanced out of the window; on the hill in front shone a little group of small bright lights, they flared and jumped, now they died away, now, once more, soared upwards. They told of the Resurrection. Sura undid the window; then she could hear groans from down by the door. Terrified, she hurried down the stairs. The corridor was lighted up. As she emerged through the doorway, the woman was astonished by a horrible sight.

Upon a wooden chair, his elbows on his knees, his beard in his hand sat Leiba. Like a scientist, who, by mixing various elements, hopes to surprise one of nature’s subtle secrets which has long escaped and worried him, Leiba kept his eyes fixed upon some hanging object, black and shapeless, under which, upon another chair of convenient height, there burnt a big torch. He watched, without turning a hair, the process of decomposition of the hand which most certainly would not have spared him. He did not hear the groans of the unhappy being outside: he was more interested, at present, in watching than in listening.

Sura gave a cry

He followed with eagerness each contortion, every strange convulsion of the fingers till one by one they became powerless. They were like the legs of a beetle which contract and stretch, waving in agitated movement, vigorously, then slower and slower until they lie paralyzed by the play of some cruel child.

It was over. The roasted hand swelled slowly and remained motionless. Sura gave a cry.

“Leiba!”

He made a sign to her not to disturb him. A greasy smell of burnt flesh pervaded the passage: a crackling and small explosions were heard.

“Leiba! What is it?” repeated the woman.

It was broad day. Sura stretched forward and withdrew the bar. The door opened outwards, dragging with it Gheorghe’s body, suspended by the right arm. A crowd of villagers, all carrying lighted torches, invaded the premises.

“What is it? What is it?”

They soon understood what had happened. Leiba, who up to now had remained motionless, rose gravely to his feet. He made room for himself to pass, quietly pushing the crowd to one side.

“How did it happen, Jew?” asked someone.

“Leiba Zibal,” said the innkeeper in a loud voice, and with a lofty gesture, “goes to Jassy to tell the Rabbi that Leiba Zibal is a Jew no onger. Leiba Zibal is a Christian—for Leiba Zibal has lighted a torch for Christ.”

And” the man moved slowly up the hill, towards the sunrise, like the prudent traveller who knows that the long journey is not achieved with hasty steps.

The Easter Torch Part 7

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In a few moments, this same gimlet would cause the destruction of Leiba and his domestic hearth. The two executioners would hold the victim prostrate on the ground, and Gheorghe, with heel upon his body, would slowly bore the gimlet into the bone of the living breast as he had done into the dead wood, deeper and deeper, till it reached the heart, silencing its wild beatings and pinning it to the spot.

Leiba broke into a cold sweat; the man was overcome by his own imagination, and sank softly to his knees as though life were ebbing from him under the weight of this last horror, overwhelmed by the thought that he must abandon now all hope of saving himself.

“Yes! Pinned to the spot,” he said, despairingly. “Yes! Pinned to the spot.”

He stayed a moment, staring at the light by the window. For some moments he stood aghast, as though in some other world, then he repeated with quivering eyelids:

“Yes! Pinned to the spot.”

Prolonged crisis

Suddenly a strange change took place in him, a complete revulsion of feeling; he ceased to tremble, his despair disappeared, and his face, so discomposed by the prolonged crisis, assumed an air of strange serenity. He straightened himself with the decision of a strong and healthy man who makes for an easy goal.

The line between the two upper punctures of the panel was finished. Leiba went up, curious to see the working of the tool. His confidence became more pronounced. He nodded his head as though to say: “I still have time.”

The saw cut the last fiber near the hole towards which it was working, and began to saw between the lower holes.

Experience burglar

“There are still three,” thought Leiba, and with the caution of the most experienced burglar he softly entered the inn. He searched under the bar, picked up something, and. went out again as he entered, hiding the object he had in his hand as though he feared somehow the walls might betray him, and went back on tiptoe to the door.

Something terrible had happened; the work outside had ceased— there was nothing to be heard.

“What is the matter? Has he gone? What has happened?” flashed through the mind of the man inside. He bit his lower lip at such a thought, full of bitter disappointment.

“Ha, ha!” It was an imaginary deception; the work began again, and he followed it with the keenest interest, his heart beating fast. His decisioft was taken, he was tormented by an incredible desire to see the thing finished.

“Quicker!” he thought, with impatience. “Quicker!”

Again the sound of bells ringing on the hill.

“Hurry up, old fellow, the daylight will catch us!” said a voice outside, as though impelled by the will of the man within.

The work was pushed on rapidly. Only a few more movements and all the punctures in the panel would be united.

At last!

Gently the drill carried out the four-sided piece of wood. A large and supple hand was thrust in; but before it reached the bars it sought two screams were heard, while, with great force, Leiba enclosed it with the free end of the noose, which was round a block fixed to the cellar.

The Easter Torch Part 6

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His throat was parched. He was thirsty. He washed a small glass in a three-legged tub by the side of the bar and tried to pour some good brandy out of a decanter; but the mouth of the decanter began to clink loudly on the edge of the glass. This noise was still more irritating. A second attempt, in spite of his effort to conquer his weakness, met with no greater success.

Then, giving up the idea of the glass, he let it fall gently into the water, and drank several times out of the decanter. After that he pushed the decanter back into its place; as it touched the shelf it made an alarming clatter. For a moment he waited, appalled by such a catastrophe. Then he took the lamp, and placed it in the niche of the window which lighted the passage: the door, the pavement, and the wall which ran at right angles to the passage, were illuminated by almost imperceptible streaks of light.

He seated himself near the doorway and listened intently.

From the hill came the sound of bells ringing in the Resurrection morning. It meant that midnight was past, day was approaching. Ah! If only the rest of this long night might pass as had the first half!

The sound of sand trodden underfoot! But he was sitting in the comer, and had not stirred; a second noise, followed by many such. There could be no doubt someone was outside, here, quite near. Leiba rose, pressing his hand to his heart, and trying to swallow a suspicious lump in his throat.

There were several people outside—and Gheorghe! Yes, he was there; yes, the bells on the hill had rung the Resurrection.

They spoke softly:

“I tell you he is asleep. I saw when the lights went out.”

“Good, we will take the whole nest.”

“I will undo the door, I understand how it works. We must cut an opening—the beam runs along here.”

Distance on wood

He seemed to feel the touch of the men outside as they measured the distance on the wood. A big gimlet could be heard boring its way through the dry bark of the old oak. Leiba felt the need of support; he steadied himself against the door with his left hand while he covered his eyes with the right.

Then, through some inexplicable play of the senses, he heard, from within, quite loud and clear:

“Leiba! Here comes the coach.”

It was surely Sura’s voice. A warm ray of hope! A moment of joy! It was just another dream! But Leiba drew his left hand quickly back; the point of the tool, piercing the wood at that spot, had pricked the palm of his hand.

Was there any chance of escape? Absurd! In his burning brain the image of the gimlet took inconceivable dimensions. The instrument, turning continually, grew indefinitely, and the opening became larger and larger, large enough at last to enable the monster to step through the round aperture without having to bend. All that surged through such a brain transcends the thoughts of man; life rose to such a pitch of exaltation that everything seen, heard, felt, appeared to be enormous, the sense of proportion became chaotic.

The work outside was continued with method and perseverance. Four times in succession Leiba had seen the sharp steel tooth pierce through to his side and draw back again.

“Now, give me the saw,” said Gheorghe.

The narrow end of a saw appeared through the first hole, and started to work with quick, regular movements. The plan was easy to understand ; four holes in four corners of one panel; the saw made cuts between them; the gimlet was driven well home in the center of the panel, when the piece became totally separated from the main body of the wood it was pulled out; through the opening thus made a strong hand inserted itself, seized the bar, pushed it to one side and—Gentiles are in Leiba’s house.

The Easter Torch Part 5

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Then he had passed under the portico, and had listened at the top of the stone steps by the door which was secured with a bar of wood. He shook so that he could scarcely stand, but he would not rest. The most distressing thing of all was that he had answered Sura’s persistent questions sharply, and had sent her to bed, ordering her to put out the light at once. She had protested meanwhile, but the man had repeated the order curtly enough, and she had had unwillingly to submit, resigning herself to postponing to a later date any explanation of his conduct.

Sura had put out the lamp, had gone to bed, and now slept by the side of Strul.

The woman was right. Leiba was really ill.

Night had fallen. For a long time Leiba had been sitting, listening by the doorway which gave on to the passage.

What is that?

Indistinct sounds came from the distance—horses trotting, the noise of heavy blows, mysterious and agitated conversations. The effort of listening intently in the solitude of the night sharpens the sense of hearing; when the eye is disarmed and powerless, the ear seems to struggle to assert its power.

Approaching horses

But it was not imagination. From the road leading hither from the main road came the sound of approaching horses. Leiba rose, and tried to get nearer to the big door in the passage. The door was firmly shut by a heavy bar of wood across it, the ends of which ran into holes in the wall. At his first step the sand scrunching under his slippers made an indiscreet noise. He drew his feet from his slippers, and waited in the corner. Then, without a sound that could be heard by an unexpectant ear, he went to the door in the corridor, just as the riders passed in front of it at walking pace. They were speaking very low to each other, but not so low but that Leiba could quite well catch these words:

“He has gone to bed early.”

“Supposing he has gone away?”

“His turn will come; but I should have liked”

No more was intelligible; the men were already some distance away. To whom did these words refer? Who had gone to bed or gone away?

Whose turn would come another time? Who would have liked something? And what was it he wanted? What did they want on that byroad—a road only used by anyone wishing to find the inn?

An overwhelming sense of fatigue seemed to overcome Leiba.

Could it be Gheorghe?

Leiba felt as if his strength was giving way, and he sat down by the door. Eager thoughts chased each other through his head, he could not think clearly or come to any decision.

Terrified, he reentered the inn, struck a match, and lighted a small petroleum lamp.

It was an apology for a light; the wick was turned so low as to conceal the flame in the brass receiver; only by means of the opening round the receiver could some of the vertical shafts of light penetrate into a gloom that was like the darkness of death—all the same it was sufficient to enable him to see well into the familiar corners of the ipn- Ah! How much less is the difference between the sun and the tiniest spark of light than between the latter and the gloom of blindness.

The clock on the wall ticked audibly. The monotonous sound irritated Leiba. He put his hand over the swinging pendulum, and stayed its movement.

The Easter Torch Part 4

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What followed must have undoubtedly filled the driver with respect. The young passengers were two students, one of philosophy, the other of medicine; they were returning to amuse themselves in their native town. They embarked upon a violent academic discussion upon crime and its causes, and, to give him his due, the medical student was better informed than the philosopher.

Atavism; alcoholism and its pathological consequences; defective birth; deformity; Paludism; then nervous disorders! Such and such conquest of modern science—but the case of reversion to type! Darwin, Hackel, Lombroso. At the case of reversion to type, the driver opened wide his eyes in which shone a profound admiration for the conquests of modern science.

Criminal proper


“It is obvious,” added the medical student. “The so-called criminal proper, taken as a type, has unusually long arms, and very short feet, a flat and narrow forehead, and a much developed occiput. To the experienced eye his face is characteristically coarse and bestial; he is rudimentary man: he is, as I say, a beast which has but lately got used to standing on its hind legs only, and to raising its head towards the sky, towards the light.”

At the age of twenty, after so much excitement, and after a good repast with wine so well vinted and so well matured as Leiba’s, a phrase with a lyrical touch came well even from a medical student.

Between his studies of Darwin and Lombroso, the enthusiastic youth had found time to imbibe a little Schopenhauer—“towards the sky, to-wards the light!”

Leiba was far from understanding these “illuminating” ideas. Perhaps for the first time did such grand words and fine subtleties of thought find expression in the damp atmosphere of Podeni. But that which he understood better than anything, much better even, than the speaker, was the striking illustration of the theory: the case of reversion to type he knew in flesh and blood, it was the portrait of Gheorghe. This portrait, which had just been drawn in broad outline only, he could fill in perfectly in his own mind, down to the most minute details.

The coach had gone. Leiba followed it with his eyes until, turning to the left, it was lost to sight round the hill. The sun was setting behind the ridge to the west, and the twilight began to weave soft shapes in the Podeni valley.

Gloomy innkeeper

The gloomy innkeeper began to turn over in his mind all that he had heard. In the dead of night, lost in the darkness, a man, two women and two young children, torn without warning from the gentle arms of sleep by the hands of beasts with human faces, and sacrificed one after the other, the agonized cries of the children cut short by the dagger ripping open their bodies, the neck slashed with a hatchet, the dull rattle in the throat with each gush of blood through the wound; and the last victim, half-distraught, in a corner, witness of the scene, and awaiting his turn. A condition far worse than execution was that of the Jew without protection in the hands of the Gentile—skulls too fragile for such fierce hands as those of the madman just now.

Leiba’s lips, parched with fever, trembled as they mechanically followed his thoughts. A violent shivering fit seized him; he entered the porch of the inn with tottering steps.

“There is no doubt,” thought Sura, “Leiba is not at all well, he is really ill; Leiba has got ‘ideas’ into his head. Is not that easy to understand after all he has been doing these last days, and especially after what he has done to-day?”

He had had the inn closed before the lights were lit, to remain so until the Sabbath was ended. Three times had some customers knocked at the door, calling to him, in familiar voices, to undo it. He had trembled at each knock and had stood still, whispering softly and with terrified eyes:

“Do not move—I want no Gentiles here.”

The Easter Torch Part 3

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On the main road there was a good deal of traffic, an unceasing noise of wheels accompanied by -the rhythmic sound of horses’ hoofs trotting upon the smooth asphalt.

But suddenly the traffic stopped, and from Copou a group of people could be seen approaching, gesticulating and shouting excitedly.

The crowd appeared to be escorting somebody: soldiers, a guard and various members of the public. Curious onlookers appeared at every door of the inn.

“Ah,” thought Leiba, “they have laid hands on a thief.”

The procession drew nearer. Sura detached herself from the others, and joined Leiba on the steps of the inn.

“What is it, Sura?” he asked.

“A madman escaped from Golia.”

“Let us close the inn so that he cannot get at us.”

“He is bound now, but a while ago he escaped. He fought with all the soldiers. A rough Gentile in the crowd pushed a Jew against the madman and he bit him on the cheek.”

Leiba could see well from the steps; from the stair below Sura watched with the child in her arms.

It was, in fact, a violent lunatic held on either side by two men: his wrists were tightly bound over each other by a thick cord. He was a man of gigantic stature with a head like a bull, thick black hair, and hard, grizzled beard and whiskers. Through his shirt, which had been torn in the struggle, his broad chest was visible, covered, like his head, with a mass of hair. His feet were bare; his mouth was full of blood, and he continually spat out hair which he had bitten from the Jew’s back.

Fierce glance rest

Every one stood still. Why? The guards unbound the lunatic’s hands. The crowd drew to one side, leaving a large space around him. The mad-man looked about him, and his fierce glance rested upon Zibal’s doorway; he gnashed his teeth, made a dash for the three steps, and in a flash, seizing the child’s head in his right hand and Sura’s in his left, he knocked them together with such force that they cracked like so many fresh eggs. A sound was heard, a scrunching impossible to describe, as the two skulls cracked together.

Leiba, with bursting heart, like a man who falls from an immense height, tried to cry out: “The whole world abandons me to the tender mercies of a madman!” But his voice refused to obey him.

“Get up, Jew!” cried someone, beating loudly upon the table with a stick.

“It’s a bad joke!” said Sura from the doorway of the inn, “thus to frighten the man out of his sleep, you stupid peasant!”

“What has scared you, Jew?” asked the wag, laughing. “You sleep in the afternoon, eh? Get up, customers are coming, the mail coach is arriving.”

And, according to his silly habit which greatly irritated the Jew, he tried to take his arm and tickle him.

“Let me alone!” cried the innkeeper, drawing back and pushing him away with all his might. “Can you not see that I am ill? Leave me in peace.”

The coach arrived at last, nearly three hours late. There were two passengers who seated themselves together with the driver, whom they had invited to share their table.

The conversation of the travellers threw a light upon recent events. At the highest posting station, a robbery with murder had been committed during the night in the inn of a Jew. The murdered innkeeper should have provided a change of horses. The thieves had taken them, and while other horses were being found in the village the curious travellers could examine the scene of the crime at their leisure. Five victims! But the details! From just seeing the ruined house one could believe it to have been some cruel vendetta or the work of some religious fanatic. In stories of sectarian fanaticism one heard occasionally of such extravagant crimes.

Leiba shook with a violent access of fever and listened aghast.

The Easter Torch Part 2

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Leiba went to the town hall, then to the sub-prefecture to denounce the threatener, begging that he might be watched. The sub-prefect was a lively young man; he first accepted Leiba’s humble offering, then he began to laugh at the timid Jew, and make fun of him. Leiba tried hard to make him realize the gravity of the situation and pointed out how isolated the house stood from the village, and even from the high road. But the sub-prefect, with a more serious air, advised him to be prudent; he must not mention such things, for, truly, it would arouse the desire to do them in a village where men were rough and poor, ready to break the law.

A few days later an official with two riders came to see him about Gheorghe; he was “wanted” for some crime.

If only Leiba had been able to put up with him until the arrival of these men! In the meanwhile, no one knew the whereabouts of Gheorghe. Although this had happened some time ago, Gheorghe’s appearance, the movement as though he would have drawn something from his breast, and the threatening words had all remained deeply impressed upon the mind of the terror-stricken man. How was it that that memory remained so clear?

It was Easter Eve.

From the top of the hill, from the village lying among the lakes about two miles away, came the sound of church bells. One hears in a strange way when one is feverish, now so loud, now so far away. The coming night was the night before Easter, the night of the fulfilment of Gheorghe’s promise.

“But perhaps they have caught him by now!”

Good business

Moreover, Zibal only means to stay at Podeni till next quarter-day. With his capital he could open a good business in Jassy. In a town, Leiba would regain his health, he would go near the police station— he could treat the police, the commissionaires, the sergeants. Who pays well gets well guarded.

In a large village, the night brings noise and light, not darkness and silence as in the isolated valley of Podeni. There is an inn in Jassy— there in the corner, just the place for a shop! An inn where girls sing all night long, a Cafe Chantant. What a gay and rousing life! There, at all hours of the day and night, officials and their girls, and other dirty Christians will need entertainment.

What is the use of bothering oneself here where business keeps falling off, especially since the coming of the railway which only skirts the marshes at some distance?

“Leiba,” calls Sura from within, “the coach is coming, one can hear the bells.”

Wooded hills

The Podeni valley is a ravine enclosed on all sides by wooded hills. In a hollow towards the south lie several deep pools caused by the springs which rise in the hills; above them lie some stretches of ground covered with bushes and rushes. Leiba’s hotel stands in the center of the valley, between the pools and the more elevated ground to the north; it is an old stone building, strong as a small fortress: although the ground is marshy, the walls and cellars are very dry.

At Sura’s voice Leiba raises himself painfully from his chair, stretching his tired limbs; he takes a long look towards the east; not a sign of the diligence.

“It is not coming; you imagined it,” he replied to his wife, and sat down again.

Very tired, the man crossed his arms on the table, and laid his head upon them, for it was burning. The warmth of the spring sun began to strike the surface of the marshes and a pleasant lassitude enveloped his nerves, and his thoughts began to run riot as a sick man’s will, gradually taking on strange forms and colors.

Gheorghe—Easter Eve—burglars—Jassy—the inn in the center of the town—a gay restaurant doing well—restored health.

And he dozed.

Sura and the child went without a great deal up here.

Leiba went to the door of the inn and looked out on to the road.

The Easter Torch Part 1

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Ion Luca Caragiale (1852 ?—1912)

Caragiale first came to the attention of his country’s readers through the pages of Convorbiri Literare, a] literary periodical to which he contributed several short stories. Maiorescu, Roumania’s most distinguished critic, became at once interested in this new author, and under his influence, Caragiale quickly assumed a place of importance among the writers of his country. Prof. S. Mehedintzi, in a preface to Roumanian Stories, writes: “Caragiale, our most noted dramatic author, is … a man of culture, literary and artistic in the highest sense of the word. The Easter Torch ranks him high among the great short-story writers.”

This story, translated by Lucy Byng, appeared in Roumanian Stories, published in 1921 by John Lane, by whose permission, and that of the translator, it is here reprinted.

The Easter Torch

Leiba Zibal, mine host of Podeni, was sitting, lost in thought, fey a table placed in the shadow in front of the inn; he was awaiting the arrival of the coach which should have come some time ago; it was already an hour behind time.

The story of Zibal’s life is a long and cheerless one: when he is taken with one of his feverish attacks it is a diversion for him to analyze one by one the most important events in that life.

Huckster, seller of hardware, jobber, between whiles even rougher work perhaps, seller of old clothes, then tailor, and bootblack in a dingy alley in Jassy; all this had happened to him since the accident whereby he lost his situation as office boy in a big wine-shop. Two porters were carrying a barrel down to a cellar under the supervision of the lad Zibal. A difference arose between them as to the division of their earnings. One of them seized a piece of wood that lay at hand and struck his comrade on the forehead, who fell to the ground covered in blood. At the sight of the wild deed the boy gave a cry of alarm, but the wretch hurried through the yard, and in passing gave the lad a blow. Zibal fell to the ground fainting with fear. After several months in bed he returned to his master, only to find his place filled up. Then began a hard struggle for existence, which increased in difficulty after his marriage with Sura. Their hard lot was borne with patience. Sura’s brother, the innkeeper of Podeni, died; the inn passed into Zibal’s hands, and he carried on the business on his own account.

Here he had been for the last five years. He had saved a good bit of money and collected good wine—a commodity that will always be worth good money. Leiba had escaped from poverty, but they were all three sickly, himself, his wife, and his child, all victims of malaria, and men are rough and quarrelsome in Podeni—slanderous, scoffers, revilers, accused of vitriol throwing. And the threats! A threat is very terrible to a character that bends easily beneath every blow. The thought of a threat worked more upon Leiba’s nerves than did his attacks of fever.

“Oh, wretched Gentile!” he thought, sighing.

This “wretched” referred to Gheorghe—wherever he might he!— a man between whom and himself a most unpleasant affair had arisen.

Gheorghe came to the inn one autumn morning, tired with his walk; he was just out of hospital—so he said—and was looking for work. The innkeeper took him into his service. But Gheorghe showed himself to be a brutal and a sullen man. He swore continually, and muttered to himself alone in the yard. He was a bad servant, lazy and insolent, and he stole. He threatened his mistress one day when she was pregnant, cursing her, and striking her on the stomach. Another time he set a dog on little Strul.

Asserted with violence

Leiba paid him his wages at once, and dismissed him. But Gheorghe would not go: he asserted with violence that he had been engaged for a year. Then the innkeeper sent to the town hall to get guards to remove him.

Gheorghe put his hand swiftly to his breast, crying:

“Jew!” and began to rail at his master. Unfortunately a cart full of customers arrived at that moment. Gheorghe began to grin, saying: “What frightened you, Master Leiba? Look, I am going now.” Then bending fiercely over the bar towards Leiba, who drew back as far as possible, he whispered: “Expect me on Easter Eve; we’ll crack red eggs together, Jew! You will know then what I have done to you, and T will answer for it.”

Just then, customers entered the inn.

“May we meet in good health at Easter, Master Leiba!” added Gheorghe as he left.

Visit Bulgaria Middle Ages History

08/02/2019 | BM6 | No Comments

A Taste of Medieval Bulgaria

Visit Bulgaria Day 1

visit bulgaria

Visit Bulgaria starts – Sofia – Vidin

Firstly, we welcome you for your visit Bulgaria holiday in the city of Sofia. After that we leave for the town of Vidin, where we will have lunch. In Vidin we will see Baba Vida Fortress – the only fully preserved medieval fortress in Bulgaria that lies on the very bank of the Danube River in the northern end of the beautiful town of Vidin.

Next, for the nature-lovers we can offer a visit to the famous Belogradchik Rocks and Magura Cave. They are both located no more than an hour away from the town.

Overnight in a hotel in Vidin.

Visit Bulgaria Day 2

visit bulgaria

Vidin – Ruse (360 km, approximately 4 hour 50 min)

Our holiday Bulgaria continues. After breakfast we leave for the city of Ruse – Port of the Sixty Boats or later Ruschuk, the number one city in many terms in the past. Interestingly, the first railway station was constructed there. A contemporary publishing house was established as well. Also, they issued a newspaper there The city was the Headquarter of multiple consulates.

There will be a delicious lunch in Ruse.

Our impulse to get to know the history of the place will take us to the Regional Historical Museum where more than 130 000 monuments of culture are stored in. The only National Museum of Transport in Bulgaria is situated in Ruse, which is housed in the building of the first railway station in Bulgaria. Really interesting exponents can be found there like the coaches of the tsars Ferdinand and Boris III. Check in a hotel in Ruse and stay overnight.

The article above has been taken from www.enmarbg.com. To learn extra, please click on the next hyperlink visit Bulgaria.

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Holidays Bulgaria – Kazanlak – the town of the most beautiful among women, the rose…

There is something in Kazanlak, which is not only the beautiful nature and the fascinating women. There is something which is in the air, something which is soaked in the soil… Something that explains the specific atmosphere and flavour Kazanlak has. Atmosphere of a place where time stands still but life doesn’t; where one can feel peaceful, calm and safe. And the flavour of the rose, the unique rose.

The Valley of Roses and the Valley of the Thracian Kings both symbolize Kazanlak. Kazanlak is located at the foot of Stara Planina Mountain (Old Mountain), in central Bulgaria. A small, picturesque town of around 70 000 people. It is 194 km away from Sofia (Sofia day trips), the capital of Bulgaria. A place, good enough to be the start of your holidays Bulgaria.

Visit Bulgaria and the Valley of Roses

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Visit Bulgaria and Kazanlak. Learn about the most beautiful among women, the rose. And how it found its place here in that valley.

The Valley of Roses – because of the Rosa Damascena. The same rose that finds the conditions in Kazanlak (like high humidity, suitable temperature and sandy soil) to be more favourable for the cultivation of the rose than the ones in its own country of origin, Tunisia. The legend has it that somebody brought the rose to Thrace from the region of the town Kashan in Persia through Syria and Damascus. Bulgarian scientists presume that a Turkish judge (customized Istanbul tours) introduced the cultivation of the roses to the region round Kazanlak. The judge had beautiful vast gardens planted with fragrant roses. Whatever the truth is, the fact is that the Bulgarian rose oil soon made a name for its superior quality.

Kazanlak Damask Rose

The greatest treasure of the region of Kazanlak – the rose, became one of the nation’s symbols. That is why at the beginning of the 19th century this rose got its new name, the Kazanlak Damask rose. And the valley to the south of the Central Balkans people now know as the Valley of the Roses. Along with the production of rose oil, a leading role in the economic development of the region was commerce related to the roses. In 1740 Bulgaria for the first time exports rose oil for France. The first official records of rose oil exports refer to trade with Germany and Austro-Hungary beginning in 1771.

Be a Bulgaria tourist and enjoy the Festival of the Rose

Since 1903, here in this Valley, we have been celebrating the flowers and especially the main and most beautiful flower – the rose. First, people used to celebrate the Festival of the Rose as the Festival of the Flowers but until the present day all Kazanlak people and its thousands of guests have been celebrating it as the Festival of the Unique Rose. Among Bulgaria tourist attractions, Kazanlak is a unique place because there is beauty and life there.

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What are the things to do in Bulgaria, in Kazanlak? Visitors of the town can see exhibits of original photographs and documents. They show the cultivation of roses during the Bulgarian Age of Awakening (18th -19th centuries). And also in the 20th century, in the local Museum of the Rose, founded in 1984. Tools used to cultivate the rose gardens are on display. Vessels to store and transport rose oil and rosewater are on display as well. Visitors to Kazanlak can learn more about the region’s rose cultivation at the Kulata Ethnographic Complex.

Holidays Bulgaria in the Valley of Thracian Kings

I am sure you remember when I mentioned that Kazanlak is known not only as the Rose Valley, but the Valley of the Thracian Kings. Many Thracian tombs are found in the area – the Big Kosmatka Tomb, the Big Arsenalka Tomb, Ostrusha Tomb…

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Here ruins of the Thracian capital Seuthopolis, have been found. The tradition was that the capitals got their names after their founder and ruler – Seuthes III. The Big Kosmatka Tomb is supposed to be the place where Seuthes III was buried. This is one of the most impressive tombs, not only because of its size but because of the fact that it hadn’t been looted.

Golyamata Kosmatka

It dates back from the 5th century BC. The temple was buried under the 20-metre (66 ft.) high “Golyamata Kosmatka” mound. “This is probably the richest tomb of a Thracian king ever discovered in Bulgaria. Its style and its making are entirely new to us as experts,” said Georgi Kitov, the head of the team of archaeologists that found the tomb. Serving also as a symbolic tomb of Seuthes III, it contained an enormous treasure, exhibited now in the Iskra Museum and Art Gallery. Archaeologists discovered more than 70 silver, gold and bronze objects during the excavation. People used them as ritual offering to the gods. The temple was used between the end of the 5th and the beginning of the 3rd century BC, when a symbolic burial ceremony of Seuthes III took place. After the symbolic burial ceremony, the temple was closed and the entrance sealed and buried.

This article is copied from www.enmarbg.com. For more information, you can click on holidays Bulgaria.

Neighbor part 4

06/02/2019 | GM6 | No Comments

Husband! He had never thought of that. Suddenly a cold sweat appeared on his brow. He went out and roamed until dawn around the quiet, moonlit lake, filled with the reflection of bright stars which resembled greenish sparkling fireflies.

He was just about to lie down, when a tap, tap, tap sounded on the window pane. His charming neighbor appeared, just like the dawn, golden and blushing, rose-like and white, in a lace morning gown, her lovely blue eyes still heavy with sleep. She held a little finger to her red, sinful lips, luscious and sanguine, as a sign of silence.

“I found no peace throughout the night,” he whispered, pale and weary.

“Do not fear. I understand you. Do not fear, Peter; I am true to you alone!”

And only the trembling of a flower from her breath remained, as Tkalac extended his hungry arms towards the quiet, blooming window, lit by the first rays of the sun, while from above was heard the unpleasant voice of a man, severely rolling his r’s.

This was repeated daily for two weeks.

Tkalac disappeared

Valentina was very much surprised when Tkalac disappeared with-out leaving a trace. She became ill from worry and torment. One rainy evening her husband told her in a puzzling way that he was awaiting a very important guest and that they would remain alone. She thought it would be some tiresome business matter, some tedious signing of papers; and while at supper, she almost fainted on hearing Peter’s steps on the upper floor. Notwithstanding all her questioning, her husband refused to explain this unexpected visit.

Like a thunderbolt from a clear sky, the servant announced that “Monsieur Kalak” sends his card and wishes to enter.

She did not recognize him at first; so emaciated had he become in the few days. Her husband arose, changed the expression on his bloated, otherwise quite pleasing face adorned with spectacles and a blond mustache, wiped his bald head and wheezed harshly, like one suffering from asthma. The visitor bowed courteously and in military fashion, kissed with visible embarrassment the hand of his hostess, sat down, and, after a brief, unpleasant silence, addressed his host.

“I am very glad Monsieur Colignon, that you received me so gallantly, and, as I see, you have not advised madame regarding my coming. If there still exists some knighthood these days, it consists in that honorable and sensible people eliminate every unpleasantness with as little trouble as possible.”

“Very well, very well,” broke in the host, breathing heavily. “I have thoroughly inquired and learned all about you to-day, and I know that your affairs are in good condition and that you have a glorious future before you, though, relatively, very difficult. As a man of affairs and business, I guess your intention and the cause for your presence. You have no acquaintance here nor any countrymen of yours; in your native country you have no reason, presumably, to look for help. Therefore, as your neighbor, you wish to turn to me, offering no more security than your energy and your indubitable honesty. You have begged me for the presence of my wife to show me that in such a delicate matter you fear not even such a—pardon!—embarrassing witness. I have, sir, no children from heaven, and although a man of means, I sympathize with everything young and fit for life.”

“But pardon me.”

“Allow me, allow me, my dear ‘Kalak.’ I am really not as wealthy as they say, but I will always have enough to help you in your eventual establishment. It is known to me that your institution prospers excellently, and I feel proud that you should, notwithstanding your great acquaintance with foreign, especially, Slavic, aristocracy, turn to me, an ordinary citizen and business man.”

“You are absolutely wrong, my dear neighbor,” the young man gasped with difficulty, and paled as though he were going to fall from his chair.

Deep, asthmatic breathing. The ticking of a clock mingled with the wild, loud throbbing of hearts. Valentina’s eyes became glassy.

“From your words, dear neighbor, I see that you are better than I ever dreamed, and my mission, therefore, is so much more painful and distressing. If I had known this, I never would have determined to undertake this step,” came from Tkalac as from a tomb, and Colignon began to look around fearfully, thinking that he must deal with a dangerous, gorilla-like lunatic.

“Well, what is it? What is it?” he breathed with great effort, meantime kicking his petrified wife under cover of the table to convey his alarm. She did not feel his nudges, so paralyzed was her moral and physical strength.

“No, sir, I have not come for money, but I came for her, for your wife, for Valentina, for my dear ”

“Are you sane?” sighed the host, rushing towards the window as if wanting to cry “Fire.” Tkalac almost brought him back to his chair with his burning, feverish gaze.

“Yes, sir, you have spoken correctly. I am an honest man, so honest that I am unable to lie, and I would kill and I would die before stealing another man’s wife, robbing the love that belongs to another, especially of such a sympathetic man as you. I love your wife, your wife loves me, and I came to-night to tell you this honestly and openly, and to take her with me,” continued Tkalac, placing a revolver on the table. “Here, sir, do not fear! I am not a lunatic, I am not a criminal, and you may, if you find no other exit, take this gun and shoot me here like an ordinary vagabond and burglar.”

And again there was a painful, grievous, fatal silence; difficult, asthmatic breathing, then the ticking of watches as of hearts, and the beating of hearts as of watches.

“Why, what do I hear? Is all this possible; tell me, tell me, Valentina? Why, it is not, it is not, it cannot be true; say it isn’t, Valentina, my dear little Valentina,” sobbed the husband.

“Peter Tkalac, peer of Zvesaj castle, is poor, has no more a uniform, but he remains an officer and never tells lies!” The young man, with his chest expanded, spoke energetically, as if commanding his troops. Valentina’s glassy eyes revived; slowly, as if awakening, she arose and stepped toward Peter and said, looking at him from head to foot:

“Whether you are an Austrian, Hungarian, Slovak, or what not, you should know that I am a Frenchwoman, and that in France it is not customary for lovers to denounce their sweethearts to their husbands. Monsieur Colignon, I have in fact liked his type, although I have not given myself to him; but from now on I hate him deeply and let that foreigner consider himself slapped. Good-bye, gentlemen!”— And she swept from the room.

“Noble sir, Monsieur ‘Kalak,’ do you need any help? I am at your service,” said Colignon to the young man, who staggered out of the room as though he were drunk and feeling like a whipped cur.

The servant ran after him into the hallway.

“Pardon, sir, you have forgotten your revolver!”