Barrows, Samuel J.
The isles and shrines of Greece — Boston, 1898

Page: 335
DOI Page: Citation link:
License: Public Domain Mark Use / Order
1 cm


I WAS sitting in my room in Athens, reading a
Greek newspaper with the social desperation of a
man who two days before had said good-bye for the
winter to his wife and children. A light knock at the
door interrupted this inconsequential reading. It is
a question for critics whether Beethoven did or did
not mean, in his famous introduction to the Fifth
Symphony, to describe " Fate knocking at the door."
The rap of Fate does not always come with unvarying
rhythm and authority. Fate is not always stern, cold
or cruel, but may be gently insistent and kindly in-
evitable. The sternest events in life often come to
us through the mildest announcements. How many
times had I heard just such a low knock at my
door at home, with its summons to sympathy and
ministration! I had travelled more than once five
hundred miles to answer it. I did not expect to hear
it in Greece or imagine that it would mean a journey
almost as long. When I had thought of going to
Eubcea, it was to see the supposed tomb of Aristotle
and the theatre of Eretria. I did not think of going
to a new-made grave.

More than fifty years ago a French gentleman of
fortune, Baron Mimont, bought a large estate in the
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