Punctually she appears before him as soon as the sun has set. It has become quite a habit with her already. She so arranges her work that she always has a leisure hour at such times. Sometimes, too, Halil is in a good humour, but at others he is sad and sorrowful. She tells this to the old serving-maid over and over again. Sometimes, too, she whispers in her ear that Halil is cudgelling his brains with all sorts of great ideas, but she is not to speak about it to anyone, as that might easily cost Halil his life.
Poor Halil! Long, long ago his body has crumbled into dust, Death can do him no harm now.
And thus the “White Rose” grows old and grey and gradually fades away. Not a single night does the beloved guest remain away from her. For years and years, long—long years, he comes to her every evening.
And as her son grows up, as he becomes a man with the capacity of judging and understanding, he hears his mother conversing every evening with an invisible shape, and she would have her little son greet this stranger, for she tells him it is his father. And she praises the son to the father, and says what a good, kind-hearted lad he is, and she compares their faces one with the other. He is the very image of his father, she says; only Halil is now getting old, his beard has begun to be white. Yes, Halil is getting aged. Otherwise he would be exactly like his son.
And the son knows very well that his father, Halil Patrona, was slain many, many long years ago by the Janissaries.
Jarrold & Sons, The Empire Press, Norwich and London.
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