The assurance of the servant was contagious (1 post)
11 months, 2 weeks ago
When the last touch of the preparation had been given, and Syama said to himself, “He may come now,” one point was especially noticeable–nowhere in the house was there provision for a woman.
The morning of the last day Syama accompanied Uel to the port reluctantly. Feeling sure his master had not arrived in the night, he left his friend on the watch, and returned home early.
The noise and stir of business at the ancient landing were engaging. With a great outcry, a vessel would be drawn up, and made fast, and the unloading begun. A drove of donkeys, or a string of camels, or a mob of porters would issue from the gate, receive the cargo and disappear with it. Now and then a ship rounded the classic Point, its square sail bent and all the oars at work: sweeping past Galata on the north side of the Horn, then past the Fish Market Gate on the south, up it would come gracefully as a flying bird; if there was place for it at the quay, well; if not, after hovering around awhile, it would push out to a berth in the open water. Such incidents were crises to Uel. To this one and to that he would run with the question:
“Where is she from?”
If from the upper sea, he subsided; but if from the Marmora, he kept eager lookout upon her, hoping to recognize in every disembarkee the man he was expecting.
That he had never seen the person was of little consequence. He had thought of him so much awake, and seen him so repeatedly in dreams, he was confident of knowing him at sight. Imagining a stranger’s appearance is for the most part a gentle tribute of respect; the mistakes we make are for the most part ludicrous.
No one answering the preconception came. Noon, and still no one; then, cast down and disappointed, Uel went home, ate something, held the usual childish dialogue with his little girl, and about mid afternoon crossed the street to the new residence. Great was his astonishment at finding a pyramid of coals glowing in the silver brazier, and the chill already driven from the sitting-room. Here–there–upstairs, downstairs–the signs were of present occupancy. For a moment he thought the master had slipped by him or landed at some other port of the city.
“Is he here? Has he come?” he asked, excitedly, and Syama answered with a shake of the head.
“Then why the fire?”
Syama, briefly waving his hand as if following the great Marmorean lake, turned the finger ends into the other palm, saying plainly and emphatically:
“He is coming–he will be here directly.”
Uel smiled–faith could not be better illustrated–and it was so in contrast with his own incredulity!
He lingered awhile. Restlessness getting the mastery, he returned home, reflecting on the folly of counting so implicitly upon the conclusion to a day of a tour so vast. More likely, he thought, the traveller’s bones were somewhere whitening the desert, or the savages of Kash-Cush had eaten him. He had heard of their cannibalism.
Want of faith, however, did not prevent the shopkeeper from going to his friend’s house after supper. It was night, and dark, and the chilling moisture of a winter wind blowing steadily from the Black Sea charged the world outside with discomfort. The brazier with its heap of living coals had astonished him before; now the house was all alight! He hastened upstairs. In the sitting-room the lamps were burning, and the illumination was brilliant. Syama was there, calm and smiling as usual.
“What–he is here?” Uel said, looking from door to door.
The servant shook his head, and waved his hand negatively, as to say:
“Not yet–be patient–observe me.”
To indulge his wonder, Uel took seat. Later on he tried to get from Syama an explanation of his amazing confidence, but the latter’s substitute for speech was too limited and uncertain to be satisfactory.
About ten o’clock Syama went below, and presently returned with food and drink on a large waiter.
“Ah, good Lord!” Uel thought. “He is making a meal ready. What a man! What a master!”
Then he gave attention to the fare, which was of wheaten wafers, cold fowl, preserved fruits, and wine in a stoneware bottle. These Syama set on a circular table not higher than the divan in front of which it was drawn. A white napkin and a bowl for laving the fingers completed the preparation, as Uel supposed. But no. Syama went below again, and reappeared with a metal pot and a small wooden box. The pot he placed on the coals in the brazier, and soon a delicate volume of steam was pouring from the spout; after handling the box daintily as if the contents were vastly precious, he deposited it unopened by the napkin and bowl. Then, with an expression of content upon his face, he too took seat, and surrendered himself to expectancy. The lisping of the steam escaping from the pot on the fire was the only sound in the room.
The assurance of the servant was contagious. Uel began to believe the master would come. He was congratulating himself upon the precaution he had taken in leaving a man at the port to conduct him rightly when he heard a shuffling of feet below stairs. He listened startled. There were several men in the company. Steps shoo
k the floor. Uhttp://www.kingsjerseyshop.com/15-jonathan-quick-jersey
el and Syama arose.
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