Piotr Karpenko

I then remembered how the young lady had come to me with a dislocated shoulder and her body covered with bruises. While I was busy with her arm, she told me that her husband had beaten her because she had refused to sell herself for a good sum to a certain Spanish Jew. Somehow or other with the help of Drs. Victorov and Maximovitch I put her shoulder right, after which she left.

Two or three weeks after that I was sitting in a Russian restaurant in Constantinople called the ‘Black Rose’, when this lady approached me. Nodding in the direction of a man with whom she had been sitting, she said: ‘There he is—my husband,’ and added, ‘I have made it up with him again. He is really quite a good man although he does lose his temper at times.’ Having told me this, she quickly left. It was only then that I understood what kind of woman she was. Afterwards, I sat there and scrutinized the face of this officer for a long time, as I was interested in such a rare type.

And now here was this same officer, a legless cripple, in the uniform of a German soldier, turning a musical-box and collecting small German coins. In the course of a day a great many small coins were thrown by kind­hearted passers­by to this unfortunate victim of the war!

This man in my opinion was a genuine fakhr in the sense understood by all Asiatic peoples; as for his legs, would to God that mine were as sound and strong as his!

Well, enough about this; let us return to the story we had begun. . . .

And so we approached that ez-ezounavouran, and after appropriate greetings sat down beside him. Before asking him what we wanted to know, we began to speak with him, observing the various conventional courtesies habitual among these people.