Years had gone by when, one evening, Aphtanides came in. He had grown tall and slender as a reed, with strong limbs, and a dark, brown skin. He kissed us all, and had so much to tell of what he had seen of the great ocean, of the fortifications at Malta, and of the marvellous sepulchres of Egypt, that I looked up to him with a kind of veneration. His stories were as strange as the legends of the priests of olden times.
“How much you know!” I exclaimed, “and what wonders you can relate?”
“I think what you once told me, the finest of all,” he replied; “you told me of a thing that has never been out of my thoughts—of the good old custom of ’the bond of friendship,’—a custom I should like to follow. Brother, let you and I go to church, as your father and Anastasia’s father once did. Your sister Anastasia is the most beautiful and most innocent of maidens, and she shall consecrate the deed. No people have such grand old customs as we Greeks.”
Anastasia blushed like a young rose, and my mother kissed Aphtanides.