Page:Ambassador Morgenthau's Story.djvu/46

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AMBASSADOR MORGENTHAU'S STORY

twice the size of an ordinary man's, planted firmly on the table. It always seemed to me that it would take a crowbar to pry these wrists from the board, once Talaat's strength and defiant spirit had laid them there. Whenever I think of Talaat now I do not primarily recall his rollicking laugh, his uproarious enjoyment of a good story, the mighty stride with which he crossed the room, his fierceness, his determination, his remorselessness — the whole life and nature of the man take form in those gigantic wrists.

Talaat, like most strong men, had his forbidding, even his ferocious, moods. One day I found him sitting at the usual place, his massive shoulders drawn up, his eyes glowering, his wrists planted on the desk. I always anticipated trouble whenever I found him in this attitude. As I made request after request, Talaat, between his puffs at his cigarette, would answer "No!" "No!" "No!"

I slipped around to his side of the desk.

"I think those wrists are making all the trouble, Your Excellency," I said. "Won't you please take them off the table?"

Talaat's ogre-like face began to crinkle, he threw up his arms, leaned back, and gave a roar of terrific laughter. He enjoyed this method of treating him so much that he granted every request that I made.

At another time I came into his room when two Arab princes were present. Talaat was solemn and dignified, and refused every demand I made. "No, I shall not do that"; or, "No, I haven't the slightest idea of doing that," he would answer. I saw that he was trying to impress his princely guests; to show them that he had become so great a man that he did not hesitate