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was in Paris and he changed his
plan pf visiting Russia. The same
intelligence was acquired by Nina
while enjoying the novelties of Japan.
She learned that Berlin and Vienna
were now an impossibility to her.
Her timid, nervous aunt insisted on
a quick dash for Italy and a speedy
further progress homeward.
Walter Bross, installed in the best
hotel of Rome, was gloomily wonder
ing if he had not better join one of
the contending war forces and for
get his troubles amid the roar of can
non and the boom of bursting shells.
How Nina would regret that her stub
bornness had sent him to a tragic
death, reflected he! Then he arose
from the luxurious chair in which he
was resting. Two ladies had just ar
rived at the hostelry. He saw them
clearly on their way to the parlor.
"Fate destiny!" he gasped, for he
had recognized Nina and her chap
eron. What to do? The dejected lover's
heart beat mightily. It seemed as if
a sentiment spark had stirred up all
the stored love of his soul. He had
found her they were underthe same
He knew Nina well. He realized
that, given the benefit of any abrupt
advance on his part, she would in
sist on torturing him with feigned or
real indifference until she had
"taught him a lesson." Result: a
disguise. It was elaborate. For a
handsome fee Walter was transform
ed into a very natural-looking gen
tleman of the upper Italian set.
Then he set about bribing the hotel
servants to learn the plans for the fu
ture of aunt and niece. He ascertain
ed that they had arranged to sail
for home within a week. In the mean
time daily the two ladies made their
pleasure and shopping romds.
There was to be an international
social event that took the form of a
masked ball and Walter learned that
the ladies were invited guests. Those
attending were required to go in
character costume, or at least to i
wear a mask. He secured an invi
tation. He made a notable cavalier
and enveloped In a long cloak as soon
as a cab had taken Nina and her
chaperon away from the hotel, jump
ed into a second vehicle and joined
their company at a distance.
Suddenly he made a discovery. The
vehicle containing the ladies, after
pursuing the main thoroughfares
leading to the place of the masquer
ade, turned off into a side street As
it did so two suspicious occurrences
fixed the attention of Walter. The
driver of the former carriage swung
a hand towards Nina's driver, while
the latter kept straight on without
"Stop!" ordered Walter instantly.
"Get sign no," returned his driv
er, with a shrug of the shoulder, and
"You scoundrel this is some plot!"
cried Walter, and sprang from the
vehicle and was down the side street
in pursuit of the other carriage.
It was well that he did so. The
days of brigandage were not over in
the imperial city. Later Walter knew
that the practically unprotected Nina
and her aunt had been spotted by a
league of criminals. Her diamonds,
a knowledge of her wealth had
led to a plan to kidnap her, remove
her to a remote mountain fastness
and hold her for ransom.
Walter was hot in the wake of the
carriage as it drove into the court of
an isolated mansion. The driver
sprang down. He was about to apply
a whistle to his lips to summon his
confederates within the building
when Walter, close at hand, acted.
He had seized a heavy piece of a
wagon tongue lying in the yard. One
blow and the villainous driver went
down like a piece of lead. Waited
lifted his senseless form up to the
seat, sat 'down beside him, took the
lines and drove for the nearest police
The alarmed Nina fell to a chair
stupefied as, reaching the station,
Walter told his story. She glided o