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The Amputated Hand
by [?]

I was born in Constantinople. My father was an interpreter at the Sublime Porte, carrying on at the same time quite a lucrative trade in ottar of roses and silk goods. He gave me a good education, devoting a part of his own time to my instruction, and also employing one of our priests to superintend my studies. At first he designed me to be the successor of his business, but as I developed greater talents than even he had expected, he changed his mind, and, by the advice of his friends, concluded to make a physician of me; inasmuch as a doctor, whose acquirements were greater than those of the quacks on the market-place, was sure of making his way in Constantinople. Many Franks came to our house, and one of them persuaded my father to allow me to go to the city of Paris, in his country, where the best medical education might be had gratuitously. He proposed to take me with him on his return journey, and the trip should cost me nothing. My father, who had traveled widely in his youth, assented to the arrangement, and the Frenchman told me I should have three months in which to get ready.

I was beside myself with joy at the prospect of seeing foreign countries, and waited for the day of our departure with great impatience. At last the Frenchman finished his business, and prepared for the journey. On the evening before we started, my father led me into his bedchamber. There I saw fine apparel and weapons lying on the table. But that which attracted my attention most was a large pile of gold, larger than I had ever before seen. My father embraced me, saying–

“See, my son, I have provided these clothes for your journey. These weapons are also yours; they are the same that your grandfather buckled on me when I went out into the world. I know that you can wield them; but never use them except in self-defense, and then strike hard. My fortune is not large; look, I have divided it into three parts: one is yours, another is for my own support, but the third is a sacred trust, to be well guarded, and meant to serve you in the hour of need.”

Thus spake my good old father, while tears stood in his eyes, perhaps from a presentiment that he would never see me again.

Every thing went well on the journey. We soon arrived in the land of the Franks, and six days afterwards we entered the great city of Paris. My friend rented a room for me there, and advised me as to the best disposition to make of my money, which amounted in all to two thousand thalers.

I lived for three years in this city, and learned what a qualified physician should know; but I should be guilty of untruth were I to say that I lived there contentedly, for the customs of this people did not please me. I had but few good friends there, but these few were noble young men. In all this time I had heard nothing from my father. The desire to see my home finally prevailed over all other considerations. I therefore seized a favorable opportunity to return. An embassy from the Franks was bound to the Sublime Porte. I engaged as surgeon in the retinue of the ambassadors, and arrived safely once more in Stamboul.

I found my father’s house closed. The neighbors were astonished to see me, and told me that my father had been dead for two months. The priest who had instructed me in my youth, brought me the key, and alone and bereft I entered the desolate house. I found every thing as my father had left it, with the single exception of the gold that he had promised to leave me–that was missing. I asked the priest about it. He made a low bow, and replied: