Category Archives: education

Defeated Lakota, 1880s

From Lakota America: A New History of Indigenous Power, by Pekka Hämäläinen (The Lamar Series in Western History; Yale U. Press, 2019), Kindle pp. 374-375:

The army’s withdrawal only opened the door for another assault by the federal government, now in the form of assertive agents, missionaries, school teachers, and “civilization” programs. The agents no longer sought to reform the Lakota society; that policy had expired the moment Custer died. They now aimed to hollow out Lakota society and fill the void with white American values, norms, words, customs, and thoughts. Once tribalism was pulverized, so went the logic, Lakotas could be absorbed into the American society as individuals and nuclear families.

Some Lakotas accepted and actively embraced farming and schools, but most were horrified by the assimilationist zeal. After all, Lakotas had possessed an extensive reservation and dominated the vast northern plains only a year earlier; their fall from power had been shockingly fast and complete. The acreage under the plow increased across the reduced reservation, but so too did resentment and despair. Chiefs struggled to maintain their status in a strange world where government agents incited rivalries among them, mobilized the akíčhitas [= marshals, camp police] to control them, and withheld rations to weaken them. Former hunters and warriors were reduced to eking out a living by driving wagons, hauling freight, and cutting wood. Women’s traditional roles narrowed in the male-dominated reservation milieu and their standing as providers deteriorated as men took up farming and secured wage jobs. Children were removed from their families and taken to boarding schools where, separated from what was traditional and safe, they received an education geared to extinguish the Lakota culture.

The Great Sioux Reservation became a battleground for competing visions of the Lakota future. In 1881 Spotted Tail was killed by Crow Dog, a captain of the Indian police, who could not accept the old chief’s defiant traditionalism, persisting popularity, and multiple wives. That same year Sitting Bull, no longer able to hold on to his starving followers, crossed the medicine line [Canadian border] again and formally surrendered at Fort Buford with Crow King. He gave his rifle to his six-year-old son who handed it over to an army officer. “I wish it to be remembered that I was the last man of my tribe to surrender my rifle,” the fifty-year-old chief said. “This boy has given it to you, and now wants to know how he is going to make a living,” he said, intimating the struggles his son and others of his generation would face in the alien world the wašíčus [whites] imposed on the Lakotas. Crow King asked a Chicago Tribune correspondent for two dollars to buy dolls for his girls.

Sitting Bull was taken to Fort Randall on the Missouri River where he was held as a prisoner of war for nearly two years. He then settled in the Standing Rock Agency where James McLaughlin, a ruthlessly effective assimilation crusader, was tearing the fabric of the Lakota society apart by recruiting “boss” farmers, policemen, and judges among the Lakotas to educate, monitor, and punish other Lakotas. The rift between the Indian police and traditional spiritual leaders became particularly corrosive.

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“Fundamentals of Safe Living” in Siberia

From A Journey into Russia, by Jens Mühling (Armchair Traveller series; Haus, 2015), Kindle Loc. 3404ff:

San Sanych was a teacher. At Abaza’s only school he taught a subject with the curious name ‘Fundamentals of Safe Living’. He instructed Russian students how to protect themselves against Russian threats: alcohol poisoning, terrorist attacks, sexually transmitted diseases, nuclear accidents, savage animals. To supplement his teacher’s salary, he leased the top floor of his house to tourists who came to Abaza for fishing or hunting. Occasionally he organised boat tours, mountain hikes and Taiga expeditions.

San Sanych’s actual name was Alexander Alexandrovich, but like many Alexander Alexandroviches, he used a shortened form of his first name and patronymic. San Sanych’s father had also been called San Sanych, just like his grandfather. Unfortunately, the family memory did not extend any further back, because the grandfather had died early – he had tried to save a church from being destroyed by the Bolsheviks, which the Bolsheviks had very much resented. The grandfather’s widowed wife, who had to make ends meet with an orphaned son, decided in her plight to become an agitator for atheism. Until the end of her life she taught students and collective farm workers that the god her husband had died for did not exist.

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Rebuilding the Crimean Bridge

From Troubled Water: A Journey Around the Black Sea, by Jens Mühling (Armchair Traveller series; Haus, 2022), Kindle pp. 31-32:

Paradoxically, the two [Armenian] Hotel Fortuna employees were the most miserable people I came across in Taman. Everyone else in the small town was in high spirits; I met barely anyone during my three-day stay who did not rejoice in the bridgebuilding. Those who had found work on the huge building site, or who were hoping to make a living from tourists from every corner of Russia who would soon pass through their town on their way to Crimea, rejoiced. Those who had relatives on the peninsula rejoiced that they would no longer have to take the sluggish, chronically overloaded ferry to visit them in the summer. The director of the local history museum rejoiced because her display cases were now full to bursting with archaeological artefacts – Cimmerian horse harnesses, Roman drinking vessels, Genoan coins – found while the bridge’s groundworks were laid. Last but not least, the joy of Taman’s residents was shared by the 2,500 entrants into a nationwide poetry competition that the office responsible for the bridge’s construction had recently launched to encourage patriotic eulogies of their feat. The victor had not yet been chosen when I was there, but here is a sample of what I read:

Crimea and Russia
Forever inseparable
Wedded by a bridge
That looks like a temple

The bridge was indeed something of an unexpected windfall for Taman. The town, with a population of 10,000, had hitherto wallowed in such oblivion, even by Russian standards, that its old name of Turkish origin, Tmutarakan, had become a national byword for any godforsaken provincial backwater – a kind of Russian Hicksville. Soon though, thanks to the bridge, Taman would no longer be a dead end on the tip of a promontory but Russia’s last stop before Crimea.

There was as yet little sign of this earth-shaking change. The bridge was a building site, the holiday season had not yet begun, and Taman seemed to be only just stirring from hibernation. The local museum was open but deserted, the model Cossack village on the edge of town still closed. A Soviet tank on blocks in the market square stood as a memorial to the Great Patriotic War, and its aerial counterpart, a fighter plane, greeted you on the road into town. Both of them were mounted on concrete pedestals with the constantly cited – and constantly wrong – dates carved into them: 1941–1945. As everywhere else in the former Soviet Union, the hushedup war years of 1939 and 1940 – when Stalin was still making common cause with Hitler to carve up Central Europe – were missing.

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“Who Is Djilas?”

From Adriatic: A Concert of Civilizations at the End of the Modern Age, by Robert D. Kaplan (Random House, 2022), Kindle pp. 168-169:

As we are discussing books, I bring up the name of Milovan Djilas, the great World War II partisan fighter who was once Tito’s heir apparent, and later the original East European dissident, a man who wrote such classics of World War II and Cold War literature as Wartime, Conversations with Stalin, and The New Class. I interviewed Djilas every year in the 1980s in his Belgrade apartment behind the Parliament building. Through a clinical interpretation of history Djilas saw the vague outlines of the future, and specifically foresaw the war of the 1990s.

“Who is Djilas?” the students at the table exclaim, practically in unison. Though all are former Yugoslavs, these students and teachers have simply never heard of him. It turns out that the combination of censorship lasting into the 1990s, when they were young and in school—Djilas, after all, was a longtime dissident after he broke with Tito—and the constricting, often abstract, and theoretical reading lists of their university and graduate courses left no room for this great chronicler of an entire era in the second half of the twentieth century: an era that gave birth to the 1990s’ wars of the Yugoslav succession. Books and manuscripts vastly proliferate nowadays, even as less is really read, and so much of what is vital does not get passed down from generation to generation.

There is an air of depression and consternation at the restaurant table. And it isn’t just about the state of academia. Europe and especially the Balkans do not look hopeful. I am now told about how, among other things, Montenegro has become a colony of the Russian mafia and Albania the colony of the southern Italian mafia, accounting for the eruption of designer restaurants, bars, expensive hotels, and jewelry stores in Podgorica and Tirana. And there is, by now, the familiar litany about the poor and nasty ethnic climate in Bosnia, Serbia, Kosovo, and Macedonia. In this part of Europe at least, it seems that NATO is only a superficial layer of reality, and the European Union is simply out of gas and credibility.

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Republic of Venice, 726-1797

From Adriatic: A Concert of Civilizations at the End of the Modern Age, by Robert D. Kaplan (Random House, 2022), Kindle pp. 74-76:

Norwich writes: “Venice, alone of all the still-great cities of Italy, was born and brought up Greek…. Long after she shed her dependence on Constantinople, she continued to turn her back on Italy and to look resolutely eastward; the nightmare tangle of medieval Italian politics, of Guelf and Ghibelline, Emperor and Pope…none of this was for her.” Doges used Byzantine honorifics. The Venetian ruler’s dress was modeled on that of the Byzantine exarch. Byzantine girls were sent to Venice to marry; Venetians sent their sons to finish their education in Constantinople. Venice’s political links with Byzantium helped shield it from the quarrels among the other city-states of Italy, with their rapidly shifting tactical alliances that were the epitome of amorality. Because a rival commercial system, run by Arabs, stretched across North Africa and the Middle East, Venice became crucial to Constantinople as a Byzantine outlet to Europe. The Venetian model of beauty, as exemplified by the low domes and small windows of Saint Mark’s, recalling Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, was mainly Eastern.

Of course, the underpinning of Venice’s fortuitous separation from the rest of Italy was at root geographical. That great lagoon, the few miles of shallow water that protected Venice from the mainland in all its aspects, allowed it to focus eastward toward Byzantium, and, in addition, was the savior against Saracens, Magyars, and other invaders in the early centuries of Venetian independence. The lagoon, by confining Venetians to so restricted a space, also fostered internal cohesion. “Among Venice’s rich merchant aristocracy,” Norwich explains, “everyone knew everyone else, and close acquaintance led to mutual trust of a kind that in other cities seldom extended far outside the family circle.” The result was efficient administration by which risky trading ventures, involving vast outlays of capital, “could be arranged on the Rialto in a matter of hours.” Neither utopian nor egalitarian, Venice represented the triumph of a closed elite. Optimism was banned, unless it could be grounded in facts and percentages. (It was from such a tightly woven merchant aristocracy that Marco Polo, the late-thirteenth-century Venetian explorer of China and Central Asia, originated—of whom more later.)

Without the lagoon and the canals—without the presence of water, that is—Venice simply would not have had the beauty that endowed its population with such love of their city-state: it was a love of the polity, rather than that of one man or king. This, and the internal peace they enjoyed, fostered a “humaneness of feeling” that, as Berenson suggests, made Venetians “the first really modern people in Europe.”

What ensues, with its succession of eighty-four doges from 726 to 1797, is a thousand-year history as long, intricate, dense, intoxicating, and overwhelming as that of Byzantium itself, mind-numbing in its constant intrigues and periodic insurrections. It is a comparatively dim and opaque canvas that produced few giants and larger-than-life heroes (Pietro II Orseolo, who governed toward the end of the tenth century, being one exception to this rule), for trade and commerce, dull as these things are, reduce the long-term impact of bloodshed and its accomplice, glory. Because it is so thematically uninspiring, Venetian history is generally hard to remember, and for the literate, non-expert public is known best through the works of Shakespeare—who uses Venice as a somewhat shameless and cynical backdrop to reveal vulnerability and passion contained in everyone, Moor and Jew alike, people otherwise depicted as one-dimensional and therefore uninteresting in his day.

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Fate of Romania’s Cantacuzenes, 1965

From Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure, by Artemis Cooper (New York Review Books, 2013), Kindle locs. 5580ff & 6120ff.

Rumania in 1965 was just beginning to open up to the non-Communist world, although a meeting with the Cantacuzene sisters would involve considerable risks. As Paddy put it, ‘Mixing with foreigners incurred severe punishment, but harbouring them indoors was much worse . . .’ But it was too good an opportunity to miss, and Balasha and her family felt it was a risk worth taking.

By early June he was in Bucharest, now stripped of its pre-war gaiety, and made contact with Pomme’s daughter Ina who was then working as a draughtswoman in an architect’s office. She met him after work on a borrowed motorbike, and with Paddy riding pillion, they began the eighty-mile journey to the town of Pucioasa in the foothills of the Carpathians. It was a long ride over rutted roads, and by the time Ina let him into the house it was well after dark. They climbed upstairs as quietly as possible so as not to disturb the neighbours, but it was hard to stifle the cries of welcome that greeted his arrival at the top of the house.

Pomme, Constantin and Balasha had been sharing an attic studio since their eviction from Băleni on the night of 2–3 March 1949. On that evening, a small posse of Communist apparatchiks and police had arrived in a truck. Pomme and Constantin were forced to sign a document surrendering ownership of the house, and the family was told to pack a small suitcase each. They were advised to take warm clothes, and told they would be leaving in fifteen minutes. They were taken to Bucharest, where they lived until orders came through that they were to be transferred to Pucioasa.

‘In spite of the interval,’ wrote Paddy, ‘the good looks of my friends, the thoughtful clear glance and the humour were all intact; it was as though we had parted a few months ago, not twenty-six years.’ Hidden behind that carefully worded sentence was the shock of finding Balasha ‘a broken ruin’ of her former self. Though only in her early sixties, she was shrunken by hardship and anxiety; her black hair was grey, her face lined, and she was very deaf. She and Pomme managed to survive by teaching English and French. Constantin, already ill with the heart disease that would kill him two years later, was too frail to work.

‘Their horrible vicissitudes were narrated with detachment and speed,’ he continued. ‘Time was short and there were only brief pauses for sleep on a couple of chairs. The rest of our forty-eight hours – we dared risk no more – were filled with pre-war memories, the lives of all our friends, and a great deal of laughter.’ He had brought new watches for Pomme and Balasha, and later he set up an account for her at the Heywood Hill bookshop so she would never be short of books. He also knew that Balasha had a present for him. On her last night at Băleni, in the fifteen minutes she had been given to pack, she had seized a battered green notebook. It was Paddy’s last journal, the one he had begun in Bratislava in 1934; she now put it into his hands.

He was back home in December, elated and relieved, having been given the all-clear – and then he heard that Balasha was dying of breast cancer. Had she had it treated earlier, she might well have survived; but she had kept the symptoms to herself, refusing to see a doctor until it was too late to operate. It was a decade since Paddy had been to see her in Pucioasa and now he wanted to rush to her bedside, but Balasha forbade him to come: ‘nothing would upset me more,’ she told Pomme to write on her behalf. Her letters to Paddy, and Joan to whom she wrote separately, reveal that she had made a decision to live in books and her memories and expected nothing more from life. She died in March 1976. Seven months later her niece, Ina Catargi, who had taken him to Pucioasa on the back of a motorcycle, was also dead – of lung cancer. Of that generous family which had been such a part of his life only Pomme Donici remained, now bereft of husband, sister and daughter. She arranged for Balasha and Constantin’s remains to be buried in the Cantacuzene family crypt in the cemetery at Băleni, where she eventually joined them in 1983.

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Paddy Offends Willie, 1957

From Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure, by Artemis Cooper (New York Review Books, 2013), Kindle loc. 5015ff.

Ann [Fleming] had been invited to stay at the Villa Mauresque on Cap Ferrat by Somerset Maugham, then in his eighties and living in retirement with his partner, Alan Searle. On her arrival she found a letter from Paddy, urging her to arrange an invitation. Paddy was duly invited to lunch, and arrived (according to Ann) with ‘five cabin trunks’ (according to Paddy, all he had was one zippered holdall), ‘parcels of books and the manuscript of his unfinished work on Greece strapped in a bursting attaché case’. Paddy made himself very agreeable at lunch. He and Maugham exchanged memories of the King’s School, Canterbury, and Maugham asked him to stay on for a few days. All went well until dinner that night.

Maugham had lived with a pronounced stammer since childhood. In his novel Of Human Bondage, which deals with the misery of his schooldays, the stammer is turned into a limp. Paddy knew the book and had been hearing the stammer all day, but neither sufficed to stop him from putting his foot in it. The first jokey reference to stuttering passed without comment, but the second was more serious. Maugham had just staggered through a sentence to the effect that all the gardeners had taken the day off because it was the Feast of the Assumption. At this point, Paddy recalled being in the Louvre in front of a painting of the event, with his friend Robin Fedden (who also had trouble getting his words out): ‘and Robin turned to me and said “Th-th-that’s what I c-c-call an un-w-w-warrantable assumption.” There was a moment’s silence – the time needed for biting one’s tongue out.’

The evening was wrecked. When the other guests left, Maugham turned to Paddy and said, ‘G-goodbye, you will have left by the time I am up in the morning.’ After their host had retired, Ann described Paddy breaking the silence with a cry of anguish, as he slammed his whisky glass on the table ‘where it broke to pieces and showered a valuable carpet with blood and splinters’. Ann helped Paddy pack the following morning, and as he picked up his bag and walked to the door, Paddy heard ‘a sound like an ogre’s sneeze’. The monogrammed linen sheet had caught in the zip, leaving a great tear a yard long.

Ann Fleming and Diana Cooper, who was staying nearby, persuaded Maugham to have Paddy back to lunch to make up. ‘It was really a gasbag’s penance and I, having learnt the hard way, vouchsafed no more than a few syllables.’ Maugham was perfectly polite, but he had had enough of Paddy. He was later heard to describe him as ‘that middle-class gigolo for upper-class women’.

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Guest in a Benedictine Monastery

From Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure, by Artemis Cooper (New York Review Books, 2013), Kindle loc. 3920ff.

When Paddy turned up on the doorstep unannounced one Sunday afternoon, he had no idea whether the monks would be willing to take him in or not. But he was allowed in and shown to a cell, a high seventeenth-century room overlooking a courtyard. It contained a bed, a prie-dieu, a crucifix and a table. Meals were taken in silence, in the enormous refectory hall. Working at the coalface of salvation, the monks spent several hours a day in church, and several more in study, private prayer and meditation. All that was required of the guests was to obey the rules set out for them.

How different the Benedictines were to the raki-swigging, pistol-packing, ballad-singing monks he had known in the monasteries of wartime Crete. These pale cowled figures, who were never seen to smile or frown, seemed to him barely alive. It was impossible to work in this suffocating, tomb-like place. By nine o’clock – just when his friends in Paris were beginning to think about how to spend the evening – the whole monastery was asleep. Paddy slept badly the first few nights, falling into deep wells of hopeless misery. By day he was restless and tired. This was followed by a period of intense lethargy, when he found himself – for almost the first time in his life – spending more hours asleep than awake.

He emerged from this period of narcolepsy feeling not only refreshed, but revitalized in a way that was quite new to him. He began to understand how the monastic rule conserved energies that, in real life, were dissipated in ‘conversations at meals, small talk, catching trains, or the hundred anxious trivialities that poison everyday life. Even the major causes of guilt and anxiety had slid away into some distant limbo . . . This new dispensation left nineteen hours a day of absolute and god-like freedom.’ Paddy spent it walking in the autumnal forests around the abbey, while at night he worked in front of the pile of manuscripts, maps of the Caribbean islands, and photographs of the Central American jungle.

Almost a month was spent at Saint-Wandrille, which went from being a sepulchre to a sanctuary. He felt he could not impose on the monks much longer, but work was progressing and he did not want to break the monastic spell. It could also be that he was rather nervous of the direction Joan wanted their relationship to take. ‘I got the curse so late this month’, she wrote in one letter, ‘that I began to hope I was having a baby, and that you would have to make it into a legitimate little Fermor. All hopes ruined this morning.’

He returned to Paris filled with resolution, but soon felt the need for another monastic immersion. This time he went to the great monastery of Saint-Jean-de-Solesmes on the river Sarthe, where the tradition of plainchant had been revived under its founder, Dom Prosper Guéranger. Again the monks welcomed him, but ‘I’m not enjoying Solesmes quite as much as I did Saint-Wandrille . . . There are many more monks here, everything is much more organized and impersonal.’ The long cold passages, and the swing doors with frosted glass panes, gave him that sinking feeling of going back to school. However, ‘I am working like anything at the moment, and in spite of Benzers [benzedrine tablets, sent to him by Joan] I feel absolutely exhausted.’ In between bouts of writing he read in the vast and well-catalogued library.

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Brits in Athens, 1946

From Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure, by Artemis Cooper (New York Review Books, 2013), Kindle loc. 3465ff.

Although the Germans had blown up the docks and harbours of Piraeus before their retreat, Athens had not been too badly damaged during the war. Far more severely affected were the Athenians, who had lived in a state of semi-starvation since 1941. One of the results was that almost everyone kept chickens, even those living in apartment blocks in the city centre. The crowing of cocks, added to the cries of street vendors, blaring radios and the metallic cacophony of antique trams, was enough to convince Osbert Lancaster that Athens was one of the noisiest capitals in Europe. In 1946 the Acropolis still dominated every prospect, for most people lived in modest two-storey houses. In the poorer parts of town, below Mount Hymettus, the walls were covered with Communist slogans in red.

Paddy’s immediate superior was the unfailingly affable Rex Warner, a Greek scholar who was considered one of the most promising novelists of his generation. Maurice Cardiff remembered them both. ‘At a midnight contest in a taverna, given quite difficult rhymes, he and Paddy produced passable sonnets in minutes, but Rex’s was the more perfect and metrically correct.’ As Director of the Institute Warner was answerable to Steven Runciman, whom Paddy had met in Sofia in 1934 and who was now the British Council’s Representative. Tall, fastidious and a brilliant linguist, Runciman was then working on the History of the Crusades which made his name; but his chief recreation was collecting scandals and stories. ‘Royal gossip is very good,’ he once said, ‘and political gossip is even better; but my dear, nothing beats Vatican gossip.’

They all worked in the same building in Ermou Street, and Runciman had vivid memories of Paddy. ‘He looked very good in an office,’ said Runciman, ‘but none of us could think of anything to do with him.’ Cardiff recalled that Paddy was not at work very often and when he was he seemed to be throwing a party, sitting with his feet on the desk and entertaining a stream of Cretan visitors. The Cretan economy had been almost destroyed by the occupation, and there was very little work. Paddy found menial jobs for both Manoli Paterakis and George Psychoundakis in the Institute; they and others often spent the night on the floor of his room at the Grande Bretagne, and later, in the flat he was lent in Kolonaki. His office was always blue with cigarette smoke, and the sound of loud talk, Cretan songs and rollicking laughter echoed down the passage.

This did not make him popular. ‘There was a very insensitive side to Paddy,’ said Cardiff. ‘He was very bumptious, a bit of a know-all, and his enthusiasm and noisiness could be rather wearing.’ Steven Runciman, too, had his reservations about Paddy. Cardiff said that this was because he resented the fact that Paddy knew more Greek royals than he did; but Runciman also saw how Paddy disturbed the peace of the office. ‘All the girls were in love with him,’ he said. ‘He used to borrow money from them – and I have to tell you, they weren’t always paid back. There were occasions when I had to sort out Paddy’s little irregularities myself . . .’

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Converting Classical to Demotic Greek

From The Broken Road: From the Iron Gates to Mount Athos, by Patrick Leigh Fermor (Journey Across Europe Book 3, NYRB Classics, 2014), Kindle pp. 261-262:

As we sat by the brazier before going to bed, I tried out the few bits of Homer I knew by heart on my host and hostess, and a couple of bits of Sappho. I suppose it was rather like a Greek, in an incomprehensible accent, hopefully murmuring passages of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in Middle English to an old fisher couple in a Penzance cottage. Even so, the verses seemed to have a sort of talismanic value to their ears, and caused pleasure rather than the nonplussed tedium its English equivalent might have evoked in Cornwall. I struck luckier with Fauriel’s Greek folksongs, in the collection of Nadejda’s grandfather. They knew several of them, and my hostess Kyria Eleni – an alert old woman with wide-open blue eyes, dressed and elaborately kerchiefed in black – even sang a few lines here and there in a quavery voice. Once I had got the hang of the modern pronunciation of the vowels and diphthongs, with the fact that all hard breathings had evaporated and that all the accents merely indicated where the stress of a word fell, I saw that reading it aloud, though halting at first, would soon become plain sailing. I could also break down the construction of the sentences; even, now and then, and in spite of the deep demotic, the ghost of an inkling of their drift. Old newspapers hinted their meanings a stage more easily, as through a glass darkly, but with a battered missal I found on a shelf, it was almost face to face. All this was full of promise for the coming months; for, Constantinople once reached, I was planning a private invasion of Greece. But, infuriatingly, we were still confined in conversation to my halting and scarcely existent Bulgarian.

This dabbling with the mysteries of Greek caused many a sigh. They had never been to Greece, and now (unlike me) never would. They seemed glad to have a guest once more. I felt that my being English played a part in their kind welcome. At all events, when I tried to offer some money before setting off next day for Burgas, they both started back in horror as though the coins were red hot. I slept on the divan, under the twinkling ikon lamp. There was a silver-covered ikon of the Virgin (I was beginning to notice these things) and another of SS Constantine and Helen, holding up the True Cross between them; also two faded marriage wreaths intertwined in a glass case, carefully kept from their wedding day in the later decades of the last century.

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