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A Story of IR.ME§sssiim limteig^ie 9 ILov© amidl AdlvemiiHure
THE meeting between the fair young English
woman, Lady Ermyntrude Grandison, and
the black-eyed, raven-haired beauty Nat
ushka, whose betrothal in infancy had proved
such an entanglement for Prince Boris Melnikbff,
would have inspired an artist of the Rembrandt
The large gloomy rock-chamber in which Ermyn
trudc and Armstrong found themselves was feebly
lighted by pine logs glowing in a
rough hearth. The substitution
< .... of obtaining warmth
fir the stove almost universally
used throughout Russia in itself
was an innovation bespeaking the
habits of a race far removed
from the inhabitants of the plains
or '-black earth" portion of the
country. The atmosphere of the
apartment was singularly free
from smoke, so those who con
trived this elevated fastness in
the depths of a wild land
evidently had possessed more
than elementary notions of ven
The youthful Circassian, who
was seated listlessly in a huge
curved chair, me what resem
bling the ornamental furniture of
the later Saxon period in Eng
land, rose with alert animation
when the Russian guide an
n lunced: "The English lady
and her friend, excellence."
It was evident that she was
awaiting some other visitor.
They had taken her by surprise;
but rank, notwithstanding Bums'
dictum, often is more than the
;■::•:■ a's stamp, and this princess
nf the steppe had a dignity and
self-possession that ere all her
"You are welcome," she said
softly. "If you will pardon me
fora moment 1 will procure a light!
Doubtless you are tired and
hun gry. We have wine and meat,
or would you like some tea?"
Frank explained that his com
panion spoke no Russian, so he would translate.
To his great surprise the uirl answered in good
"1 am sorry. I forgot that you were strangers.
I think [ can make myself understood in English."
"No one could be more pleased than I to hear
you say that." broke in Ermyntrude eagerly.
"'This is a very weird place 1 seem to have lived
in a dream for many hours. To hear my own
language from another woman is a reassurance in
"Ah mademoiselle, you never should have come to
Russia- You were happy in England, 1 have been
told. Why, then, did you come to this land of
anguish ? "
Nothing more extraordinary or fascinating ever
before had met Ermyntrude's eyes than when the
radiance of two lamps lit up the face and form of
tlie Circassian, and revealed the rough-hewn walls
of rock with their barbaric adornment of antique
arms and trophies of the chase.
The skin of the handsome nomad was whiter
even than the English girl's; but its pallor, and
the dark, luminous orbs which shone like black
diamonds Death arched and deeply penciled eye
brows, gave Xatushka an almost spiritual appear
ance, which, however, was lost when the beholder
noted the superbly modeled bust displayed by a
tight-rating dice of saffron-hued Indian silk.
In deference to the climate, she wore a fur robe
thrown loosely over her shoulders, while her dress
was of a dark, thickly woven mohair, and the
slippers in which Armstrong had seen her in Lon
don gave place to a far more elegant pair of high
Russian boots of soft leather.
When Ermyntrude, glad of the lief, divested
herself of her heavy sables, and advanced toward
The »ynop>i« of preceding chapter* -will !>«.
found «t tin- <_-«cl of this inMulment on page- 15.
SUNDAY MAGAZINE for MAY 28, 1905
By LOUIS TRACY
Author of "The Wing* of the Morning,"
'The Pillar of Light." Etc.
ir.l |. Clode. All rights reserved)
Nothing More Fascinating Ever Had Met
Ermyntrude's Eyes Than When the
Lumps Lit Up the Face and
Form of the Circassian
her hostess in the trim elegance of an English
tume, the contrast between the two
was heightened. If clothes, according to the Sage
of Chelsea, make men and women, they also con
nationality. Here were Belgravia and the
Caucasus meeting on equal terms.
Natushka, although graceful and courteous, had
iid veneer of conventionality. Sip- had not been
taught to smile when ill at ease, to simulate delight
when bitterly disappointed. She gave Ermyn
trude a searching glance, as if sh<- would learn the
secret of the spell exercised by her rival on the
Then, with a certain severe politeness, she
repeated her query anent refreshment, and learning
thai Ermyntrude would like some tea, bade the
Russian bring a samovar.
Turning to Armstrong she said: "When- is [van
Stephani ivitch ? "
" I do not kn< >w," he replied.
"But he went with you to Banm
"Yes. He became separated from us. I
inquired what had become of him; but none of the
<>th.-rs knew anything of his whereabouts."
'Are you speaking truly? Was there a fight?
Has he been w< >unded ? "
Much astonished at the quiet menace in the girl's
voice. Prank answered: "I assure you that when
last I saw him he was finite
uninjured and in safety. We ;ill
n ached the vaults without dif
"It is strange he sent no message."
"Your brother is not a man who takes others
into Ins confidence."
"Brother! Why do you call Ivan my broth
er? You, I have l.nn told, Know Russia well
enough to comprehend that when a man
speaks of his sister he docs noi always mean
a member of his family."
Armstrong suddenly remembered thai Prince
Melnikoff had told him that the
relationship was an imaginary
one. The girl's suspicions con
cerning the absence of Ivan,
joined to the distant tiring
he heard from the gallery,
determined him to make some
definite inquiry from the men
with i 'lit.
"We perhaps have been re
miss," he said with a bow.
"Permit me to ascertain the
views of our companions. I
shall return soon," he went on,
looking at Ermyntrude. "You
will l>e (jtiite comfortable here.
Probably I can bring you news
of Lord Valletori and your
Ermyntrude smiled at him
trustfully. "We have anxieties
in common," she said, addressing
Natushka; but the other was
busy with the tea-urn that
had been br >ught in by the
Russian attend int.
When left alone with her
uncommon hostess, Ermyntrude
sipped her tea and began again,
by way of conversation: "I
have had a series of very tryii g
experiences during the last ten
"Ten days! " was the unl<ioki-d
retort. "Your sufferings are
f. I have known unhappi
ness for ten years — since my
"It sometimes is hard to
the cans.' of the misery which
creeps into lite," Ermyntmde
said. "My own loi was an en
viable one, yet 1 was tempted to come here and
foolish dreams, which have done no
little harm in many directions and possibly may
add to y< air troubles."
"Why do you say that?" demanded the Cm
"Forgive me if I am wrong; but I have been
t ild that you were the promised wife of Prince
"That is true."
"Well, were it not for his infatuation with
regard to me, and my own folly in thinking that
our marriage was a possible thing, many present
difficulties never would have existed, and certainly
all the events of the past few days would not have
"You do not love him, then?"
"No. At last 1 know my own heart."
"Do you love this Englishman who has risked
his life to save you? "
Ermyntrude blushed; but she was a little fright
ened by the imperious manner of her questioner.
"No," she said. "We are only friends. He is
my brother's friend, really."
"But there is some man for whose sake you
have thrown over Prince Boris?"
"No, indeed! You forgei thai I was aboul to
marry his highness only a tew hour- ago, thii
that thereby I should rescue my father and bi I
from a dangerous condition."
"1 forget nothing. You and your surroun
have tilled the minds of my people with bitternes9
for many months. If yon wish to become IV
Melnikoff, why did you not marry in London?"
"' 1 ii. ver have really wished anything < >i" the son
"Hut he is rich and noble, and a man ol very
line appearance. You say you love none i
Why have you not accepted him and helped him
■ v his enemies? Once wed to y< iv, he had little