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You know that pavilion, don't you? It “You have, Nadine! God help me stands on a ledge overlooking the valley, you have!” and is charming in the sunshine; but at that The man's voice came suddenly hoarse, time of night, you can imagine, the place full of passion. was lonely as a cave. I stole in on tiptoe “You trust me so much then? . . . Ha!” and hid myself in a shadowy corner, and he laughed aloud roughly, “You trust me waited and listened. It was nervous work. as much as that, do you? . . . Speak! The waiting was even worse than the walk. Why don't you speak?” It was too dark to see my watch face, and I “Yes, yes—I trust you." dared not strike a match. Was it eight “Come then, douscha moja,* sit down o'clock—was it past? Were they coming? beside me. Put your hand in mine, and Was it the wrong pavilion perhaps? Was let us look at the stars together. The night there another beyond? Had I misunder- is too beautiful for the Kursaal, for venstood, or had something kept them? geance! Forget it, little one. I love you.
Just as I was asking myself these ques- I love you as I never loved a woman betions, standing first on one foot then on the fore! . . . Come nearer, put your head on other, peering out into the open space at my shoulder. I love you!” the head of the path, all of a sudden a shad- The girl gave a low cry. Whether she ow crossed it. It passed so quickly, I resisted him in the darkness, I could not could not be sure—and then came another. tell. The man went on talking, pleading, The shadows flitted across the entrance of in rough, passionate Russian phrases. “If the pavilion. A large one, a small one, and you trust me as much as that, douschka,t then-I could see nothing, but I heard then you love me too! You are so dear to breathing. The smaller shadow seemed to me—so dear to me! God! Come closer. be panting.
Let me look at your face, let me read your “Sh-h-h!”
eyes, let me kiss you on your lips!” The hiss was so close that I started For a moment or two there was silence back.
in the pavilion, and all I could hear was “Did you hear anything, Marx?” their hurried breathing. Then the girl “Chut!”
seemed to rouse." “It must have been the leaves crack “Is it time to go? Look! The music ling.”
has just begun in the Kursaal. Don't you “No-it was a movement."
hear it from here? . . . Let me go, Marx, “Perhaps it was your own!”
don't hold me. You are trying to test me, “Perhaps! ... Come nearer, Nadine, dearest. You think I'm afraid?” come nearer! Tell me, you would go any “Stay with me," said the man. where, you would do anything that I told “Let me go-Marx!” you-would you?”
“Is the murder of Mélikoff more than “Yes, Marx.”
my love?" “No matter what the risk, no matter what "Murder!” The girl started so that the consequences—life imprisonment, even I felt it from where I stood. “Murder! death?”
Why, hasn't the Tribunal tried him fairly “Yes—Marx.”
and condemned him? Wasn't it you who “Why would you, Nadine?".
planned it all, who signed the paper ? “For the cause's sake," said the girl faint- Didn't you give out the orders yourself? ly. I could tell from the tone that her breath What do you mean?” was still fluttering, but the words were un- “Nothing,” said the man, “I've changed mistakable. “Are you not our chief? You my mind, that's all. The orders are rehave suffered everything, you have braved voked.” everything. You are our leader, and there “But the vow, Marx-you forget I am is no one in all the revolutionary party who bound!” has done what you have done, who has been “No matter." what you have been. Have you not planned “But it's too late now! You have telethe attacks for years now? And have we graphed my name to head-quarters as the not always followed your call, blindly unfal- winner of the tournament. The committeringly-at a demi-mot?”
* My little soul.
tee will expect the second wire to-night. “Up to that time, the affair had turned To back out at the last moment like this, out very much as I had supposed. Whether you know what that means, Marx? You Klafsky loved the girl or not, he was holdremember what happened to Tatiana ?” ing her back, just as Reuss said he would.
"I do," said the man, “God help me! Mélikoff's life was as safe as yours or mine; God help me!”
so at least I thought then. But what were Just as he said this, the moon broke from the fellow's intentions toward Nadine? behind the clouds; the rays fell across the That he meant to hand her over-I nevpath, illuminating it as with a search-light. er doubted it a moment. And then, my At the door of the pavilion stood the two friends, the unexpected happened. Klafclose together. The man, with his arms sky broke down. stretched out to the girl, his face white and Whether it was the look of adoration and haggard, full of despair—and she, gazing loyalty in the girl's eyes, or whether it was up at him like a startled bird. A strange his conscience awakened at last-heaven scene, gentlemen!
only knows! Suddenly he buried his head The Count hesitated.
in his hands. It was the most intimate, the
most searching, the most terrible confession. so sudden, so near! Everybody sprang to He told her everything, he bared his life to his feet in horror! And there lay Mélikoff her, he never spared himself for a single with his arms across the table!" second; and the girl stood there stock still and gasping. It was as if he were thrust- “Well—” For a moment or two the ing a knife into her heart.
Count was silent. “That was Reuss' reThose two figures in the moonlight I shall port, word for word, and the rest of the story never forget. The shadowy path, the black you know, gentlemen. It was all in the outline of the mountains beyond, the pallor papers. Nadine was arrested, Klafsky disof their faces standing out against the dark- appeared. Mélikoff, poor fellow-he deness—and that voice, tense, low, broken, served it, but then- ” like a cry through the night. The tragedy “Dead?” exclaimed De Jong. of the situation, the hopelessness, seemed “No, no!” said the Count impatiently, to catch him by the throat. From the “Didn't you read the account, my friend? first syllable to the last the girl scarcely No more dead than you are! As a matter breathed; but her face spoke for her. He of fact it was fright that knocked him over. looked into it, read and accepted the ver- Any military man will tell you, in battle dict. For a moment or two the silence was sometimes it happens that way. Mélikoff, ghastly.
. the old sinner-his life had been threatened “Gentlemen,” said Nicot, “what you a score of times; and when he heard the would have done in my place I don't know, crack, of course he thought he was gone, but crouching there hidden, watching those and fainted away out of sheer terror. That two, listening to what was never meant for ball—" the Count laughed, "why didn't it any ears but hers, I felt like a thief. For kill him? ... My friends, that ball was a any third person to be present unknown at blank cartridge.” such a scene as that—it seemed abomina- “What?”. ble, like desecration. You may blame me, “No, you don't say!” perhaps, in the light of what followed. I De Jong and I both gave exclamations. turned my back on them and stole away “Exactly. That part of it wasn't menwithout a sound.
tioned in print. The fact never got out, What happened afterward up there in but it's true for all that. The whole affair the night-no one knows, no one ever will was hushed up by the authorities there in know. Whether she forgave him, whether Interlaken. Nadine was whisked away. she won him over, whether he paid it as And then, forty-eight hours later, all Euthe price of her love, or whether he tried to rope was ringing with the news. You reprevent her and couldn't! I have puzzled member? The news, the secret, gentleover that question for years, and am no men, that only her ears and mine had heard nearer the solution. One hour exactly after -Klafsky's confession I reached the hotel, Reuss came rushing in “You read all about it, didn't you? The pale as a ghost, with his eyes almost start- Russian government was furious. They ing out of his head.
had lost one of their best agents. Their “Great heaven, Nicot-have you heard trump card was taken, their hand forced, what's happened?”
their trick exposed. Naturally they vowed “Mon Dieu! ... What?"
vengeance. As for the Revolutionists, they “Mélikoff has just been shot!”
were roused to a man! The entire party, “Shot?”
especially those who had followed Klaf“At the Kursaal, right in the midst of sky's leading, when they realized-imagine! the music! Every one was very gay, drink- Twelve years they'd been his dupe, they'd ing their beer and listening to the jodlers. been playing his chess games. Imagine I had been watching the General all the what they must have felt! Heavy trageevening. He was with a large party, very dians in spirit, and all their dramas, thanks near me; and the table behind, number to Klafsky, one after the other, turned into twenty-four was empty; the only unoc- a farce! They were mad, they were crazy! cupied table in the place! All of a sudden If they could have gotten their fingers on came the crack of a revolver, from some- him-sacrement, they'd have torn him to where right out of space it seemed-so sharp, pieces!”
Drawn by S. Ivanowski. "Everybody sprang to his feet in horror! And there lay Melikoff with his arms across the table!"- Page 210. We all instinctively gave a shudder. The The Count gave a gasp. Count glanced behind him.
“Reuss ?” he cried, “Reuss? . . . I “Yes, between you and me, we don't never dreamed of such a thing." know of course, but with Nadine in prison- “Most likely thing in the world," I reI may be wrong!”
turned. “From the mere fact that the girl “You mean,” said De Jong thoughtfully, carried out her programme, I knew directly “if Klafsky were alive, he wouldn't have that she had never spoken. And what you deserted her?”
say about the blank cartridge— Jove, “Just that,” said the Count, "and yet that's a very pretty point! Klafsky must the extraordinary part of it is, the part that have hit on that loop-hole in desperation, as bothers me the most-I can't believe it of a final resort, and yet it didn't save her. her, and I won't—and still it's the only What a tragic story! She in prison, and thing to believe. Who was it told the he-dead, you think, Nicot?” secret? It wasn't Klafsky, it wasn't I, so “Dead or worse.” it must have been— ".
There was silence for a moment around “No,” said Tony, “not necessarily.” the table, and then De Jong lifted his glass
“How then, my dear sir?” The Count suddenly. leaned forward and his face was flushed. “Gentlemen," he said, “in August, three “You don't suppose for a moment that years ago, two Russians were found hidden Klafsky himself- "
in the hold of a merchant ship. They were “No, no, I don't!”
stowaways, a man and a woman; and how “Or that 1-parbleu, man!”
they got there has always been a mystery. “Of course not!” De Jong laughed, I was captain at the time, and the ship “Not you, Count-not you. But that was on its way to America. They were night, you and Reuss talked it over, I brought before me, and they told me their daresay?”
story. The choice was mine to make. “We did—yes,” said Nicot.
They were utterly at my mercy, and they “Great Scott, Tony!” I broke in with both knew it. an exclamation, “I believe you're right, “Two roads stretched before them. The man! Why that would explain then- one led to Siberia, a life of torture, a death think for a moment, Nicot! The news of misery. The other to America, freedom came out in the German papers first. You —with the chance to start afresh.. must recall that? I wondered at the time “Here's to the Chess Players! . . . A why an incident in Switzerland " better life beyond the sea!"
THE YOUNG SINGER
By Tertius van Dyke
O How many songs will you make, my lad,
And where will you find a theme, my lad,