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Newspaper Page Text
upon the outside pavement there
came an echo of hurrying feet Al
most immediately an Austrian officer
with drawn sword burst into the
room. He was followed by four sol
diers. "Seize the conspirators!" he or
dered. "Hold!" directed Franco, as the
men stepped forward with military
promptness and decision. "What does
"You are, an Italian this girl, too,"
retorted the officer offensively. "Ah!
need we ask?" he cried to his co
horts. "Look!" and he pointed his
' sword at the flower box. "Sedition!"
"What mean you?" challenged
"Green, whits, red the Italian col
ors. It tells the story sedition."
"It is my poor, pretty plant!" ex
claimed Pepina. "I cherish it for it
is a, memento of my dead brother."
"Pouf! the treacherous thing!"
and springing forward the officer
made a swing with his sword and cut
of the flowering stem.
The eyes of Franco flashed. Pepina
tore herself from his protecting clasp.
She rushed at the box, picked it up
and clasped it to her breast, sobbing
"Oh, cruel, cruel! You make a
harmless flower bleed and my
heart!! Poor dear! Poor, wounded
dear!" and she pressed the box clos
er to her bosom.
"Get ready to accompany us," or
dered the officer grimly. "You can
keep your precious memento," he
sneered, "but no delay."
Pepina was clasping the denuded
plant as though it were a hurt child.
She took her place by the side of her
A lover, une soiaiers guarding them
W front and rear, they were marchfid
into the street
The official who had arrested
them consulted a higher official in
command of a troop of soldiers who
were massed near by. Then he re
turned to his own men.
"These prisoners are to be taken 1
to Monte Carrena," he advised. "The,
commandant has reason to believe,
they are the secret head of 'he band
which has made us so much trouble.
They are to be state prisoners. Pouf!"
and the official drew his hand across
his throat as if to indicate a sure ex
"Let me keep close to you," whis
pered Pepina, as the long tramp was'
"But when we are separated at the!
prison " began Franco mournfully
"We shall not be separated if you
will be alert," assured Pepina myster-T
iously. "Hush, the soldiers are watch-,
ing us. When we near the old wood-;
en bridge crossing the Palma, be.
"What mean you?" began Franca
wonderingly, but one of the soldiers
at that moment prodded him up with
his bayonet and the colloquy was in
terrupted. As the little party got beyond the
edge of the city the leader secured a"
piece of rope and bound one band of
Franco to that of Pepina, thus ham-'
pering any attempt at flight The
road was deserted and the soldiers al
lowed the twain to proceed in ad
vance while they straggled on behind,
"Franco," suddenly whispered Pe
pisa. "My treasure!"
"We are nearing the bridge. It is
a toilsome ascent to the first ap
proach." "Yes, my love."
"Make urgent haste and a great
ado in scaling the incline and in
crossing the bridge "
"You have a purpose?"
"Wait and see," returned Pepina,
enigmatically, but with a strange
hopefulness of manner.
The lightly tripping girl and her
willing lover moved up the incline
with the due agility of youth and pur
pose. The accoutrements of the
soldiers made their progress less ra
pid. Franco and Pepina were half
way across the wooden bridge span
ning the deep and turbid Palma be-