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PAGE.SIX CRITTENDEN RECORD-PRESS, AP.1IL la. JiC9
By b andallHKuistrations iy
unAHi tK VIII.
In Which I Begin Discovery.
Stunned by this abrupt disclosure
of the extremely dangerous
we were In, I found no Immediate
voice for reply, merely standing
thine as If petrified, staring at them
both, cap In hand, grasping the edge
of the door. Their faces swam before
me In the gray light streaming
through the stern ports; the maid already
attempting a as though
her fears had subsided, the mistress
viewing me In wondering perplexity.
She It was who first succeeded In
breaking the embarrassing silence.
"Hut, senor, what does this all
mean? Why are you here on board
With strong effort at control 1
brought my senses together,
fronting the disagreeable situation,
feeling myself scarcely less a victim
than she. If all that I now dimly suspected
proved true, about us both were
being drawn the cords of ti
"I canno' explain, madame." began
lamely enough. "At least not
until I comprehend the situation better
myself than I do now. It is all
dcil:. 1 have reason to believe n most
serious mistake has been made one
It will be very dillicult to rectify. Perhaps
I could see more ch arly If you
would consent to answer a few question.
.May 1 ask them of you?"
She Uent her head slightly, still
gazing directly at me with widely open
eyes In which I read Increasing bewilderment.
I believe she thought
me a crazed man. whom she must continue
"What vessel Is this?"
"The steam yacht Sea Queen of Liver
ool, owned by Lord Darlington,"
she announced, soberly, her face and
"How came you anchored off the
. "By special permission of the
We were lowed Into that berth
trly last evening, after the
had been hauled up against the
yuay to ship "armament and stores."
I drew a deep breath, clenching and
unclenching my hands.
"Could you tell me if it was known
to others that you contemplated
s..( horlng there?"
Shn hesitated, her lips slightly apart,
one hand pressed against her tern-Tie.
l Is most Important that I learn
the exact truth" I urged, earnestly
"J ask frotmuo Idle curiosity."
."I am not generally consulted In
such matters, senor." she admitted
"but I believe we had been waltlrig
feveral days for the opportunity to
lake that position. This Is as I have
She se?aied to be awaiting my
striving to bo courteous, yet
'- i - allght'y evidenced
i. tue continual tapping of her foot
on the rug. Hut I was not yet
through with my iiestlonlng.
"Were no officers left on board laat
Her gray eyes widened.
"Certainly yes; the first officer anr
me engineer were In charge when I rented.
The others, with the majority
of the crew, had gone ashore at sun
n,) tS -
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down to ojoy thn fun. Hut why dc
ji i isK s nor? Are these not oc
I regiet being compelled to answet
no. Only the engineer, three of the
harbor watch, and some Kanaka tire
men have been found. I have discovered
no trace of the first officer."
"Then then he must have rowod
abhore with two of the men" she ex
"How chanced you to be left here
She hesltnted, her hands clasped
on the chalrback, her bosom rising
and falling tremulously. Yet finally she
forced her lips to repl, as though, thus
seeking the quickest way of clarifying
We were all Invited to the palace
of the presldente. to listen to the
speeches and view the II i works. I.ord
Darlington was greati Interested,
t nd most desirous of attending. The
unfortunate scone which occurred at
the hotel early In the eveiing left
tue, however, with so seven- a
that I bgged to he allowe! to i
ho-e alone with (Meste At :..!
not h Lord Darlington nnd n: inrau ie
iikseri to depart without me, bit v. .:n
the preside nte bed l.ls u:i
team launch to convey the party to
the wharf, they decided It would be
most discourteous not to nlt nd. Lord
lijrllnton's In 'he houv
I lords gives him a cot t. in othc.nl
if i niHou abroad which hi- docs not
care to have lapse. The yHcht's cap
tzln accompanied them, and no dream
of evil befalling those left behind ever
occurred to an one of us. O senor,
tell me, what does It all mean? What
"I presume I must explain," I said,
regretfully, "although it Is not an
easy task b any means. You will
have confidence In me, Miss Doris?"
"I shall endeavor to do so," she
an Increasing coldness In her
voice. "Hut I am Lady Darlington."
"Your pardon; I supposed you to be
that gntleman'8 daughter."
The color swept In a wave of rich
crimson Into her cheeks, the gray eyes
"Nevertheless, senor, I am Lord
Even In that moment of embarrassment
and perplexity, when I wai
scarcely less agitated than herself,
this unexpected announcement of such
a relationship came to me as a shock.
Why It should, what difference it could
possibly make, I did not In the leatt
realise, yet I warn Instantly conscious
of the disappointment, of deep rgrt.
The revelation, thus calmly, proudly
made, was so unexpected, so destructive
of all my prevlqus conceptions, as
to seem an Impossibility. Could this
young, clear-eyed woman be lrrded
the wife of that grim. Inactive, ancient
peer of the realm?
"You apparently question the truth
of my words," she remarked, coldly
"It was only the natural surprise of
a moment, Lady Darlington," 1
hastened to apologize. "The thought
of your marriage had never before oc
curred to me."
She looked directly Into my eyes,
her own !alnly Indignant, yet her
words sMove to overcome the blunt-
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ness' of my speech.
"1 do not feel, senor, that there
can be any necessity for discuHstng
ray prlvat" affairs with you aT present.
Enough that I am l,ady Darlington,
and that I hnve patiently answered the
rather Impudent questions you have
Sren fit to ask. Now, Senor Kstevnn,
Kindly enlighten me as to the cause
of your intrusion into this apattment.
.ind your presence on boatd tho
Her tone had changed td Imperious
ness This was plainly a commnud.
r "i. back of the fair face fronting
me. I read strength of character tinU
' i mud Insistc c long accustomed 'o
o'lfnl It wis not fei.r bit
.a darkened her gray eyes He;
nnnrr begged nthlng It' pictured
'ti'l:ant command, the attitude of
.i' vho servant,
l.atl Darllnr.ci." I lim, stand-
ng directly hefor her. ainl reverting
to the use of Kngllsb. fo as to bo
eerialn of making my meaning
clear, "whutovor explanation 1
i. y make cannot be pleasant, but It
.'.II be truthful. It Is far better that
- u comprehend fully the sltuntlon we
lie In your own peril, as well as my
Her expression changed from ah-
nrary defiance to an amazement not
i Hinged b.v a sudden development of
a i as her hands grasped the chair-
u'k convulsively, but I went on
eadily to the end
"I am not, as you naturally sup-
ised, a Chilean, but a native of North
merlca. My name Is Stephens. I I
a'ps In Valparaiso under most un-1
, leasunt clrcunistanres. seeking valnl)
to escape from the country, and
bounded by the secret police becauso
f mv connection lately with a
movement along the Kolivlau
frc ltlcr. Th" merits of that affair
I- i no now be but I hud
In It through certa n
l . hi sj conm etliiiis. and had at
. Incd alter much hard-lip.
seeking escai e by sea. There i
Iscovered evuv nvetiuo closed
'.gainst me. and was t educed to a desperate
plight ; was In hiding from
the governmental authorities wliei I
risked almost certain dlscover.v last
evening. A little la.er ufter jou left
tho hotel a man who I was led to believe
represented the Peruvian government,
approached me with a
strange proposition, which, however.
promised Immediate release from my !
dangerous predicament, and. likewise,
a suitable reward for the successful
performance of a certain service I
am a sailor, and the particular duty
rqulred of me was to be performed
pon the sea. I was asked to assume
tie position of a Peruvian navnj
I'm. Incapacitated by sudden llluess.
'a the surprise and capture of a
war vessel the 4l'jm yacht
thea tfuppased to belying j'
uh hor, poorly gunrded, in the out t
narbor off the government docks. For
t'.,at purpose I was presented with a
Peruvian naval commission "
My glance wann ed from the motionless
woman flouting me in such
v.h te silence to Celeste, who had sunk
back upon the bd, her blue eyes
btarlng'at mo acro the brass
experiencing difficulty in translating
my rapid Kngllsh speech.
i had enjoyed but little opportun!'y
of examining the pattlcular vessel w
were thus employed to capture, as 1
dr.rcd not leave the hotel except after
n shtfall," I continued, more slow'v
Yet I knew her place of anchoruK".
and that she was a steam yacht of
some 700 tons burden, d,
with lines promising great speed. Oth
erwlse I relied entirely upon the
knowledge of the officers under me.
V. e boarded what I bi lleved to be the
Esmeralda soon after midnight, overcame
the small harbor watch with little
difficulty, captured the engine
room, and, by holding a gun at his
jar, persuaded tho engineer to operate
Jils machinery In our service. The
very audacity of the attempt brought
comparatively easy success. Tho main
cabin had been secured by my orders
when we first arrived aboard, and 1
came below Just now, after all dangei
neemed far astern, to lenrn If any
oliicers were hidden away here. , I had
examined all the other staterooms,
finding them empty, anil at last
opi tied this door in m quest. Not
until 1 saw you did I in tho slightest
retiiiz" that we v. if on board the
wrtng vessel, nor that we were
In anything except an honorable
That the hasty details of my story
both startlod her and Impressed her
with its truth, was evident enough, yet
her lips curled with contempt, and
her ojos rema.neii unbelieving.
"How many men accompanied you?"
"A crew of 20, with two oJIlcerB."
'Peruvians, I presume?"
"Nj, mad. m," icluctantly, "hotth
potch dragged Irorn the seven seas."
Her expressive face darkened, her
finders U'tiching again nervourly
about the chalt'jTck.
"A:i I jo.. ,e !ly reject mo to be
fU've that tnle!" she
liu: 4 ...:,! .... ::i Jiuiiorlas ub
q . i r '.. .; i r' .ji eii h. "You
r.:.i iii-i ed, ilink .eiy h.shly of nivj
J::'iKl3 nee. y, juuate an
:- ivjbt . a ; ." "' t
yy cl.. o!;'. t the lu.'..'.
wi. ' I t ho of bloo '
'yet I t. ct ..er -.: .".9 :-.
i '... ve ul. o,i tli. e :. ct t.'Uih
. :'.'. )i:' .::, i s I :i 1..U11I." I ic
tu .: d, s- . :.:ts to j' 1 r,'. i .dm y, 'with
out anv iuuI nope thai ou wou!d believe.
Ye't I want jou 10 try. It l
all bad enough im it stands, without
endeavoring to niako it appear vvorsa."
She leaned slightly lorwsird, clearly
ImpiTEsed to r.oine extent Itjr the gravity
of my manner.
"Then prove It."
"By Hteamihg directly back to Valparaiso
and delivering up this stolen
vessel to Us lawful owners."
TTal snunr almp'.e enough, tm:
o uu realize hat our probable fate
She rlasptnl her hands tightly, press
.; th"tn against her breast.
"What do I carol" the contempt In
vi vi Ice grow.i bitter. "You havo
lone the evil, by your own confesdon,
icw you should pay the price. Yoa
me ouco from Insult, ntiu I
v ) " mm
h V O
1 I J
i ill r4
IX. 1 -v .Vu
1 vks -k'
Vc L ,
"Vou Why, You Are Robber, 1
1 d the tctiiembrance of thnt act In
our tavor. Prove yourself worthv n
woman's respect bv maklug nnumtk
r this wrong. Take the Sea Quei 11
bck now, before It I too la e
and all I can do. or tlt.it my husb.inn
inn accomplish. sXill be iione to save
0:1 from punishment Prove to me
Mint voii' words nre not false."
I hesitated, doubt and sustcinn
rendering me t. tally of clear
thinking before her Inti nt deiuniid.
Her face grev whiter as she marked
"So you you lied, then'" the cruel
words faltered from between her lips
"No. I spoke the truth." I answered,
gripping myself sternly, "but I question
my power "
"Your power"' Why. you Just Informed
me you were In command."
I advanced a step forward, my manner
respectful enough, yet she half
shrank back from my approach and
brought the protection of the chair between
"Perhaps I may never succeed la
making you clearly comprehend mjr
present position." I said, soberly, "yet
I Intend te try, because. In trutht I
need )uur asklstancf as gieatly as you
need mine Twenty mlnuns hro.
Lady Partington, It was true I believed
myself to be In nlolute command
of this vessel. Now I gravoly
mi poet whether t may not be a mern
put pet. helpless In the hands of oth
?rs An I hav alread) endeavored to
expluln. It was rompurativHy easy for
me to this acht for he
Thej are verj much alike,
aud I had enjoyed no opportunity for
elosHy observing Ither Hut It Is Impossible
for me to conceive how the
others of my party could have Innocently
made such an error. What
project the) ma have had In mind I
cannot even guess, but I believe now
tbe Sea Queen was deliberately captured,
and that I have been decoyed
Into (he leadership of an act of piracy.
If so, then I am only one man pitted
against 20. What I may accomplish
I have at present no means of know
lag. I must see the others, endeavor
to their secret purpose, and
learn whe her or not I possess any
ie.il authoiity on board. Lady
do )ou at least comprehend what
I mi i.r? Do I make It clear to you
that I am In a poiitlon scarcely less
o.1!imib then your own?"
I h lr patted titid hands clenched
jver her ha.Ing breast she stood
...I"nt. apparently deeply amused b
n.v earnest appeal, yet totally unab!
to 1 lose full confidence In mo. Yet
h. r very hesitancy was to me an en
' Vou cettalnly have eveiy ie:uun to
.lcubt me nt present, madam." 1
gul, with Increased confidence, "yet
1 mi an to prove invself worth) yout
t. at by deeds rather than whims.
Will you coiucnt to do ns 1 wi ii,
lor the moment?"
Oho did nut appear to know wha
.he bad bnter do or say. her glance
r.m'o. lug In uncertainty from my
luce to the questioning eyes of the
.. a d. The latter leaned lonvard W'ltll
"Surely It is best to say oul,
ze man has zo look honorable,'
'icr hands g 'etlcuhulng despair. "An
ja ze who' ship zere was no one elso
to help IIS."
"Ah you say, Celeste, there Is no
choice;" nnd Lady Darlington's gray
eyes again sought mine reluctantly.
"I sincerely desire to repose complete
confidence in you; to believe you
worthy. What is it you wish us
".Merely to remain where you are,
beyond the observation of others, until
I can ascertain the. exact truth of our
situation. So soon as I learn this, I
shall return with the information. Will
you. accede to this?"
She lowered her head slightly, In
silent acquiescence, and, still facing
them both, I backed oul of the room
and closed the door.
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WILDS OF AFRICA.
(Continued from Phko T ict)
kitv and In all probability the
degree of I) V l. which Oxford
t h bestowed on Kmperor William,
wtll be conferred on Mr Roosevelt
he verxatllltv of Mr Itoosevelt
will be tthown by the fact that he
will speak German In his address before
the students of the t'nlvendty
of Ilerllti. French In his lecture at
the Sorbouno. and Kngllsh lu delivering
the IlotniineM lecture at Ox-1
ford. It is uxpected thnt this feature
of his visit to the capitals of the
three leading nations of Kurope wilt
nt tract .1 great deal of attention.
Holland, being the home of his an-n-Mors
In Kurope. It Is considered
not Improbable that he will go there
for a short visit, when he undoubtedly
will speak In the tongue of his
forefather. Mr Roosevelt's versatility
In language Is quite well known
in this counlo, but It will receive
still higher commendation- wtierr he
makes his addresses abroad In the
languages of the country he visits
One point of particular Interest In
I endon which, no doubt Mr. and
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anniversary of the wedding.
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IHyomel has from tne n strong recom,
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