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“And therefore, as I prosper in this guile,
Burstow, on leaving the consulting friends, bent his way with all speed to the mansion of Phranza. The streets were nearly deserted; the men, with scarcely an exception, were either talking of, or gazing at, the works on the ramparts; the women, engaged in passionate lamentation, or in contriving schemes of safety, at home. The Lochagus, accustomed from his youth to imminent perils of all descriptions, gave not a thought to the dangers of the next day as regarded himself; but he fully felt them for those over whose welfare he had promised to watch. With Barlaam he was but slightly acquainted; but he felt that he was a man who might be relied on; and was not a little pleased at meeting him in the court of the Palace, before arriving at Phranza's metecia.
“Well met, Sir Steward !” said he: “my errand concerns you.”
may that be ?” inquired the old man. "Let us walk
and down here,” said Burstow, and I will tell you.” Which he proceeded to do in as few words as possible.
“Well," said Barlaam, when he had heard the tale, “ I have but a few drops of blood to shed, and but a few years to live; but both one and the other were well
spent in such a cause. Come to me into the garden. We can there talk the matter over better; and I can show the ice-house.”
Accordingly, they went into the gardens of which we have spoken more than once already; and while walking up and down on the terrace where De Rushton had first confessed his love for Theodora, they debated the whole matter.
In a thick clump of shrubs, laurel, arbutus, and holly, the ice-house of which Phranza had spoken was concealed. Six or seven steps led down to it; and the excavation itself was divided into two apartments which, on reaching the bottom, presented themselves respectively on the right and on the left hand. They were allotted for the reception of two different kinds of ice. For the modern method of cooling wine, by plunging the bottles in ice, was unknown at that time in Constantinople, though, I believe, practised by the Spanish Moors at a much earlier period. The Byzantines employed the ancient way, that of dropping a piece of pure white ice into the wine itself; and for this purpose the best was, of course, needed; while for the more ordinary uses of preserving fish or meat an inferior kind answered equally well
. During the troubles preceding the siege, such pure ice was not to be procured; and the consequence was that the storehouse for it in Phranza's garden was at the present time empty,it was that on the right side, and quite dry.
“ This will do well; this will do very well indeed," cried Burstow, when Barlaam introduced him to the spot. It will be a hard thing if any one thinks of coming here at all that first day; and still harder if they try to break it open when they find it locked. You have the key ?”
Ay,” said Barlaam : “but it only opens from the outside.
“ That is unfortunate. You must invent something to keep it fastened on the inside, then-I have plenty
hands.” “Now," said the old steward, "we clearly understand
• " “. each other. If, which God forbid, the city is in imminent danger of being taken to-morrow, of which I am to gain intelligence as I best can—"
else on my
“The Lord Chrysolaras will take care of that,” interrupted Burstow.
Ay, well—so he may—so much the better if he does -but it is always as well to be independent; but, however, if the city is in imminent danger, I am to see that the Lady Theodora, and the Exarch's wife and daughter are safely concealed here, and then to lurk about myself, where best I can, till night-fall
. At midnight I am to expect further instructions from you, or from my lord, or from Sir Edward de Rushton, or from the Exarch, or the Lord Manuel; and, if I have none, then I am to follow my best judgment, and serve them if I can.”
“Even so," said Burstow, turning and ascending the steps. “ The place strikes cold. It were well, good Barlaam, if you put in one or two bottles of wine, and some other refreshment: if they are long confined there, they will need it.”
" I will do so," replied Barlaam, closing the door and locking it. “Shall I see you again to-night ?”
“I think not; I must go look for the Acolyth ; he is on the ramparts somewhere with the Emperor."
“God speed you then! Whatever happens, I will do
“Ănd not a word, for your life; one word might spoil all the plan."
“ No, no," said the old man. “You may trust me for that. Not a soul is the wiser for what has passed between us this evening.”
They had not long entered the house when the laurels in the thickest part of the shrubbery might have been seen, had any spectator been present, to move, and cautiously and quietly Zosimus emerged from them.
"Not a soul shall be the wiser, eh ?” said Zosimus. “But one man I wot of shall be all the richer, and another all the happier. If now I could only find the means of getting to the Lord Leontius, I might make any bargain I pleased with him. But it must be tonight; to-morrow may be too late ; the bird may have flown, or, which is just as likely as not, Leontius may be killed. Well! I am sorry for her, too—for she has ever been kind to me; and I would rather have the money for
keeping my secret than for giving it up. However, that is impossible. It is a duty to take care of oneself. Besides, I have heard out of Scripture, or if not there, out of somewhere else, that charity begins at home. And so it is a duty to do this; but I am sorry for her, too."
Zosimus, having arrived at this conclusion, set his brain to work, how, with the least risk, he might make his escape to the Turkish camp. For as to returning, that he thought safest not to do, till the Infidels should enter Constantinople. We must follow him in his operations.
Although the upper part of the Horn was in the power of Mahomet, the lower, namely that towards the chain, was held by the Genoese and Venetian merchant vessels, which either belonged to the inhabitants of Galata, or were there for purposes of traffic. There might be as many as thirty of these. The owners of several of them had been importuned to lend them to the Emperor on the night of the vain attempt to fire the mole, but the greater part had declined ; and indeed the larger portion of these vessels was unfit for such service. To the Seraglio Point therefore, (now, as always, we use the name anticipatorily, as being more intelligible than that of Chrysoceras, as it was called from the harbour)he bent his way; and on arriving at the landing place, requested permission from the soldier on guard, to have a boat to go on board the Bucentaur.
“ You are the Lord Phranza's servant ?”
“I am; I have a message from him to the Captain of the Bucentaur.”
“I dare not let you go without a pass, but I dare say my superior will,” replied the man ; and calling out the corporal of the gate, he stated the case.
Oh, ay," said the corporal, coming out, and looking at him; “it is Zosimus, is it not ? To the Bucentaur? Very well; only take care that you are back before sunset, for then we double-lock the gates, and, I promise you, we shall have no mind to unfasten them.”
“ I will be back before sunset," cried Zosimus : “no fear of that. But how in the foul fiend's name am I to get a boat ?"
“ You must e’en row yourself,” said the corporal, as