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BELLA DEMONIA.

A STORY OF THE FRANCO-PKUSSIAN

jßv Selina Dolauo.J

CHAPTER IV. A NIHILIST LEADER

Meanwhile, as he heard tho sound of the sleigh bells vanish in the distance, Alexis Dorski, opening the picture-frame from the Inside, stepped into the room in which the arrest had been made. The Princess Galitzin was lying motionless on the divan. Kneeling by her side, the Terrorist endeavored to rouse her.

“Princess,” ho whispered, “rouse yourself, I implore you. The night grows cold, and I must away. Rouse yourself and listen to me.”

Raising herself, as if with great difficulty, the eyes of the Princess mot those of the Nihilist. As they met, she shrank back with a start, exclaiming : “ Leave me, leave me. I cannot bear to look at you. It was for you they took him.” “ Nay, Nadine Fedorovna, it was not for mo. Some private revenge has been at work to-night, and, hear me, I swear by the holy saints and my devotion to the cause of liberty that I will avenge your husband. Tell me, has he never mentioned any enemy by name ? ” “Yes, yes; he bade me tell you. It has been the work of the Englishman, Vyvian Fane. Swear—swear to me that if they kill Ladislas you will avenge him.” “I swear it. If this charge is proven against this Vyvian Fane, should it be the work of my lifetime, I will punish him. I have sworn it.” “ Thank you, thank you, Alexis Alexandrovitch. Ah ! but what agony.” And with a convulsive movement the woman buried her head in the cushions once more. Alexis Dorski stood looking down at her. In an instant his keen instinct had taken in the gravity of her condition ; he realised that if a triple murder were not-to be the work of the night’s arrest, aid must be summoned immediately. “Tell me, Nadine Fedorovna, have you no friend that I can call—no woman ?” “ Carita, Carita ! ” she moaned between her clenched teeth. Rising and hastily resuming his disguise, Dorski went out into the night. Half an hour later the dvornik of the Galitsin Palace was roused by a knocking at his door. “ Dog of a reveller, what want you at such a time ?” And there came back through the door the almost whispered words: “In the name of His Majesty and of the Third Section, a message for Her Excellency tho Princess Carita Aloxandrovna !” Hastily tumbling out of his improvised bed, tho dvornik opened the door. There stood on tho threshold an old peddler. “ Deliver this to ono of the Princess’s women at once. It must reach her hand at once. You understand ? ” “ Yes, Excellency,” replied the dvornik, accustomed to seeing the emissaries of the secret police in every form of disguise. And half an hour later the troiku of the Princess Galitzin swept out from under the gateway and disappeared in the direction of the Neva. It still wanted three hours of daylight, and tho peddler, having delivered his summons at the Galitzin Palace, thought for an instant, and then stepped off' at a brisk pace down the broad Prospect, towards the square of St. Katherine, where three or four droschkics stood, waiting the chance of a night customer. As ho passed the group of Lmoahtehih that stood smoking in tho doorway ho laid one hand on his hip, tho finger pointing earthward, raising the other to his ear. As he did so, he ejaculated the familiar greetiug “ Zdraatvou'dai ” ( “ Good night”). And one of tho group answered with a guttural “ Ghoroskho ” (“ All right ”). The peddler pursued his way. The movjik who had answered his salutation, after a moment’s delay, bade his companions good night, and mounting the driving-seat of his droschky, started off In pursuit of the peddler. He passed him under a lamp, and as the peddler repeated the motion he had previously made the moujik drew his horse towards the kerb, and held out a hand palm upward, as if ascertaining whether it rained or not. “ The night is fine,” said the peddler. “ The air is free,” replied the i.moehluhik. “ The air is Russian,” said the peddler. “ Men must have air,” said the ivvo.dUshik. “ Choroekho!” The droschky drew up, and without a word the peddler got in and was driven a few yards down a by-street. Here he said “halt,” and the droschky stopped. The peddler alighted, and, drawing a small object from beneath his arm, held it up to the moujik. It was a small gold disc, on which was enamelled u red cross. “ Holy St. Nicholas ” ! ejaculated the moujik, “it is the Chief. What arc my lord’s commands ?” “ One of the kvoshtshik * of Petersburg drove a prisoner from the Neva to one of the fortresses to-night. You will bring him to this address at ten o’clock in the morning.” And the peddler wrote a few words on a slip of paper, which tho movldshik read carefully and then destroyed. “ If he be alive, lie will bo there, Excellency.” “ Good ! Salutation and freedom !'* “ Amen, Salutation and freedom !” And the pair parted once more in opposite directions. At tho time appointed next morning, Alexis Dorski sat before tho stove in a room of one of the houses of a quiet suburb of St, Petersburg. He was immersed in thought, but looked up expectantly as the clock struck. He had not long to wait. Almost immediately tho moujik whom ho had accosted on the Newski Prospect entered, accompanied by tho one whom wo mot at the opening of this story. After casting over him a keen glance of inspection, Dorski and the newcomer exchanged three or four almost imperceptible signs and countersigns. He was apparently satisfied with his exumiuatiou, and said ; “Last night you were employed by the police ? ” “ Yes, Excellency.” “To what ferry did you take the prisoner?”

“ To the ferry of the Schlusselburg, Excallency.” “ Good God ! know you anything of the arrest ?”

“ Yes, indeed, Excellency,” answered the moujik, eagerly, “that I do. Earlier in the evening a foreigner hired me to take him to the head of the Newski Prospect. There, when I demanded my fare, ho struck me with his cane; see, here is the scar—it will be weeks healing. There he was met by the Gospodar Keratieff of the police, and burning with fury I hung about. When they parted, Dimitri Keratieff took me to the police headquarters, thence to the Neva, and thence with his prisoner to tho Schlusselburg Ferry. Ah, dog of a foreigner, wait forme !”

“ Did Keratieff address the foreigner by name ?”

“ Yes, Excellency; it was—it was—it was Ivan something.” “Vyvian Fane?’’ “Yes, yes, that was it! God be praised ! I could not remember.” “ Good ! That will do. Your name ?”

“Rodia Pouschkoff.” “It is well. Good day. Salutation and freedom !” “ Amen, Salutation and freedom !’

The two mmjiks left the room. “ Now, Vyvian Fane—since that seems to be your name —the issue remains between yon and me. If the fate of the Schlusselburg befalls Ladislas Ladislaievitch, beware! The world is not wide enough to hide you from the talons of the Terror!”

CHAPTER V, PRINCESS CABITA. Two days have elapsed since the events occurred which are recorded in the preceding chapter. . In one of the lower rooms of the Galitzin Palace, fitted up as a boudoir, the Princess Carita Galitzin sat at her writing table, her head resting on her hands. She was dressed in black, and her sable garments served to heighten the pallor of her face no less than the red eyelids that announced the fact that sho had been weeping. Every few minutes she Would eagerly look through the papers on the desk before her, aa if iu search of

something which she sought in vain. At last she i« aroused hy a footstep in the corridor. The hangings on the door part and fall together again, and the Hon. John Vyvian Fane enters the room unannounced. “ Well,” he says, by way of greeting, as he llings himself into a chair, “at last Madame la Princcsse is good enough to send for her devoted slave, alter an absence from home of forty-eight hours. Fray, what new intrigue, what new amourellc is engrossing the Princess Carita’s attention V” The cruel sneer is on his lips, a tone of raillery is in his voice.

“I have been at tho death-bod of two of your victims,” she replies, never taking her eyes from his. “ You speak in riddles, Princess.” “No, I speak plainly. You have killed a woman and her child hy way of revenging yourself on a man who never harmed you, whose only crime was to know your true vile self.”

“ What do you mean ” “I mean that you have caused the arrest of my brother by means of a letter that he confided to me for safe keeping, and which you, cowardly thief that you arc, have stolen from this bureau.”

“ I am sorry, of course, to hear of your brother’s misfortune, but a man who is in communication with traitors to the Tzar has no business to get married especially clandestinely.” The Princess rose and came close to him. “ How did you kuow,” said she, “ that I was speaking of my brother’s wife ? ” The man saw his false step immediately, and endeavored to retrieve it. “ 1 did not know,” stammered he; “ I only assumed cluded ”

“ Cease lying to me, John Vyvian Fane ! I do not expect you to show mercy, but 1 look at least for shame even from you. What have you done with the document you have stolen?”

“Really, Princess, this scene is beginning to pass the possibilities. If your brother has been arrested for treason I am, of course, sorry, for it must naturally entail unpleasant consequences on you. If he has been so foolish as to make a secret marriage, I am, of course, sorry for his wife. If, as you say, she is dead, I think she is better off than she would be as the wife of a convict with a ‘wolf’s passport’ to Siberia! That is all I have to say ! ” “ You hound!”

“ Take care, Princess. I am not accustomed to insult of this kind, and I will not allow it even from yon. Do you hear me ? I will not allow it ! Do you think I am a man to be played with ? I think I have given you proof ere now to the contrary. Be good enough to remember what I say.” For reply the Princess pointed to tho door.

“ Go !” said she ; “ and never let me sec your coward face again. Go, I say, or I will summon my servants and have you thrown out—aye, thrown out; and I will take the consequences of my action. IJo you think I, Carita Galitzin, fear you, police spy though you have proved yourself to he ! You hear me ? lam ready to take the consequences, I tell you.” “In any case,” returned Fane, witli a violent effort at self-control, “I see it useless to prolong lliii interview. I leave you now ; hut I will return when you aro prepared to listen to reason, I deny all your charges against me, and at some future timel will prove to you that any trouble your relations may he in, they have brought upon themselves. Good morning. Mind 1 when I return you will bo civil; at present I can make excuses for you.” Arid witli a fet hlo attempt at nonchalance, the Honorable John Vyvian Fane left the room. Left by horaelf, tho Princess Galitzin buried her head once more iu her bauds, and resumed her interrupted chain of thought. At last she rose, and, hastily effecting some changes in her toilet, she prepared to leave the house. Whatever was to bo her brother’s fate, she must seek an interview with him at once; and well she know the difficulties that lay before her in encompassing her end. All that day she flew from official to official, from Minister to Minister ; she even sought and obtained un interview with the Tzarewitch himself, and nightfall saw her, provided with the necessary passes, at the ferry of the Schlusselburg, accompanied by a captain of the military police. ( To he. continued.)

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18890608.2.37.7

Bibliographic details

BELLA DEMONIA., Issue 7928, 8 June 1889, Supplement

Word Count
2,031

BELLA DEMONIA. Issue 7928, 8 June 1889, Supplement

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