Spring 2014 • Vol. XXXVI No. 2 Fiction |

An Ottoman’s Arabesque

But how shall we define the Infinite?             — Rumi His eyes were frequently inflamed and he feared going blind. Most of the time he wore blue glasses. The papers often mentioned them, in a joking sort of way. The papers found him comic, it seems. He was born in Egypt to Turkish parents (very rich), studied in Paris (at an Egyptian school), and became an Ottoman ambassador, first to Athens, then St. Petersburg, then Vienna. A servant to the sultan most of his life. But from 1865 to 1868, he lived in a palatial Parisian apartment, and for three years, he bought paintings and he gambled, and at the end of those three years, he sold all of his paintings and paid all of his debts. He was thirty-seven years old. History would declare many of the paintings masterpieces. There were more than a hundred by the likes of Courbet, Ingres, Rousseau, Meissonier, Corot, and Delacroix. But how would history remember him? Not as Khalil Bey, dip

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But how shall we define the Infinite?             — Rumi His eyes were frequently inflamed and he feared going blind. Most of the time he wore blue glasses. The papers often […]

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