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The sentinel-journal. (Pickens, S.C.) 1906-1909, July 04, 1907, Image 2

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Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/2012218672/1907-07-04/ed-1/seq-2/

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A: Beverly 0
Secret that something like a threat ae
Conipanied the message.
Prince Gabriel was in complete con
trol at Serros and was disposed to
-laugh at the demands of his late cap
tors. His half brother, the dethroned
Prince Dantan, was still hiding in the
fastuesseil of the hills, protected by a
small company 'of nobles, and there
was no hope that he ever could regain
his crown. Gabriel's power over the
army was supreme. The general pub
licadmired Dantan, but it was helpless
in the face of circumstances.
"But why should Amphaiin seek to
barass Graustark at this time?" de
pnanded Beverly Calhoun in perplex
Ity and wrath. "I should thIak the
trutes would try to help her."
"There Is an element of ol)posltilon
to the course the government Is tak
ing," the officer informed her in his
own way, "but it is greatly In the ml
nority. The Axphainians have hated
Graustark since the last war, and the
princess despises this American. It Is
an open fact that the Duke of MiSzrox
leads the opposition to Princess Volga,
and she Is sure to have him beheaded
If the chance affords. le is friendly
to Graustark and has been against the
polley of his princess from the start."
"I'd like to hug the Duke of Mlzrox,"
cried Beverly warmly. The officer did
not understand her, but Aunt Fanny
was scandalized.
"Good Lawd!" she muttered to the
boxes and bags.
As the coach rolled deeper and deep
er into the rock shadowed wilderness
Beverly Calhoun felt an undeniable
sensation of nve ereeping over her.
The brave, liuiptuous girl had plunged
gayly Into the project which now led
her Into the deadliest of inicerltati'es
Nvith but little thought of ite con1se
'Tle first st oge of the JouIey b.1y
coach had 1)e11 good fun. Tihiey ha
passetd along pleatsantii roads, tiiougl
quaint villages aid among interesling
People, a.nd progrcss had beeni rapiitl.
The sevom stage hld presented ralbor
terrifyiniig IproI(ctS. and the thir th oy
promised even greater vicissituts.
Looking fi'omii the coaclh windows out
11pon the qjuiet, desolate graitllur of
her surroutlinug., poor 11'everly begant
to approeiate how ah. Ject ly hlelless10 .1nd
ailonie she wI S. Ier companionsll were
ugly, vicious lookiig men, aiy one of
whoiml vouldi 1nspirec' t error by a look.
She -had iitrustetd herself to the Care
of these x strage creatures iII the m11o
111111t ol' ilnipir-ed courage, an1d n1ow1 uShe
was conlstraiitd to regret her aclIon.
True, they had proved worthy pro
tectors as5 farO us they hadl~ gone, but
the very piossihilit ies that lay in their
power were appallinmg, 1now that she
had 'th'ae to considler the situaition.
The~1 dihicer in charge had -been ree
ommiiended as a1 trusltd servant of the
czar; ani Amerieani coinul had secured
the escort for her' (direct. froml the fronl
tier patrol authorities. Men high In
power had. voucehed for tile Iutegeity
of the detachment, but all thIs wvas for
gotten in the mighty .solitude or the
mounltains. She was begluning to fear
her escort more than she feared the
brigands of the hills.*
Treachery seemled printed on their
backs as they rodle ahead of her. The
big officer was ever polite and alert,
but she was readly to distrust hiim onl
the slightest excuse. These men could
not help knowing that she was rich,
and it was reasonaible for thenm to sus8
peet that she carried money and jewels
,with her. In her mInd's eye she could
picture these traitors rifling her bags
and boxes In somie dlark 1pass, and( then
there were other horrors that almost
petrified her when she illlowed -herself
to think of' them.
Here anid there the travelers paissed
by rude cots where dwelt woodmien andi
mnouttieers, und at long Intervals a
colltary but p iicturesqule horseman stood.
aside an~d gave thiem the road. As the
Ccil penel(trated de(eper into the gorge
* signs of hmnan1 life and actrity he
-came. fewerl. Thme sun1 could not sendi
his light into tisu shadlowy tomb of
granite. '1'he ruttle of the wheels and
* the chitter of the horses' hoofs souinded
* like, a conlstanmt crash of thunder ini the
* ears of thme tender traveler, a dainty
morsel among hawks and wvolves.
T ihere was an unimistakable tremor
* In her voice when she at- hast found
heart to ask tile oticer where they 'vere
. to spend the niighmt. It was far past
noon, and Aunt' Fnnny had suggested
opening the lunch baskets. One of the
guides was called back, the leader be
Jng as much In the dark as his charge.
"There Is no village within twenty
. miles," lie said, "and wve must sleep in
jihe pass."
Beverly's voice faltered. '"Out here
npall. this awful'--. Then she caught
-- .Andad opn
he l quick R6[ A r
k tht s Author of Graustark
It k
tat" e w opyright 1904. bY Dodd v
Moed and Con'pas
herself quickily. it came to her sudden
ly that she ,just not let these men see
that she was ap~prehensive. Her voice
was a trifle shrill and her eyes glisten
ed with a strange new light as she
went on, changing her tack completely:
"How roinanUc! I've often wanted to
do something like this."
The officer looked bewildered and
said nothing. Aunt Fanny was speech
less. Later on, when the lieutenant had
gone ahead to confer with the guides
about the suspicious actions of a small
troop of horsemen they had seen, Bev
erly confided to the old negress that she
was frightened almost out of her boots,
but that she'd die before the men
should see a sign of cowardice in a
Calhoun. Aunt Fanny was not so
proud and Imperious. It was wnh dif
ficulty that her high strung young mis
tress suppressed the wails that had
long been utnder restraint In Aunt Fan
ny's huge and turbule4t bosom.
"Good Lawd, Miss Bev'ly, dey'll chop
us all to pieces an' take ouah jewl'ry
an' money an' clo'es an' ev'ything else
we .done got about us. Good Lawd,
le's tu'n back, Miss Bev'ly. We ain'
got no mo' show out heah in dese
mountains dan a"
"13e still, Aunt Fanny!" commanded
Beverly, with a fine show of courage.
"You imust be brave. Don't you see
we can't turn back? It's just as dan
gerous and at hea) sight more so. If
we let on we're not one bit afraid
they'll resI)ect us, don't you see, and
mien never harm woinenl whoni they
"T'ntph!" grunted Aunt Fanny, with
examggerated irony.
"Wllthy niever do!" mnalutalined
Bev'erly, VIo WIS nOt at all sure about
It. "And they look like real nice inen
-- host Iel. evin though they have
suii awfil whiskers."
"'Ih'y's '.e wvust (rash Ah eveh did
e," exilodled Aunt Fanniiiy.
"ShI lon't let tleIII leari you," wils- I
piered Beverly.
it site of, her terror anti perlexity
site was voinlteiled to smilie. I. was I
all .-So like the 'farce comledies one sies I
at the titeater.
As 'e officel rotde up his face was
11:1le inl Ihie shadowy light of the after
Itoo01, adill ,le was iantily very nerv
"Vhuat is the latest news from the
froiilY she inquired cheei'fully.
"The men refuse to ride on," lie ex
cli lined. speaking rapidly. making it
still l01rder for her to understand. 'Our
advaice gaad hs met a party of huntt
er'a i'romn Axphiaulin. They insist th.at you
-'the liie lady ii the coach'-are the
Princess Yetive, returning. frtom a se
cret visit to St. P'cetrsburg, wthere you
went to pleadl for assistance from the
Beverly Ctalhoun gasped in astonish
ment.- 10 twas too luere(dile to believe.
It was actuially luihcrouts. Site laugh
ed heairtily. "I low perf'ectly' absurd."
"I am well awa~re that you are not
the L'riucess Yet ive," lie c'onitinued em
phtatically', "but what can 1 (do? The
menf won' thetlkune me. They swear'
they have been tricked and1( are panic
stricken over the situaition. The hunt
ers tell them that the Axphtain author
ities, fully aware of the hurried flight
ot' thte princess through these wilds,
are preparinig to lntertcep~t her;. A large
detachmuent of soldIers 'Is' already
across the Graustark frontler, It is
only3 a question of time before the
''red legs' wvill b~e upou01 them. I have
assuredl themi that their beautiful
char'ge is not the princess, but an
Amerlean girl, andl that there is no
mnyster'y about the coach and escort.
All in vain. The Axiihaln guides al
readUy feel that their hteads are on the
block, while as for the Cossacks, not
even may dire thr'eats of the awful an
ger' of the white czar when he finds
th1ey have disobeyed his commands
"Speak to your muen once more, sir.
and promise them big purges of gold
when we reach Ganlook. I have no
mnoney 0or vauabiiles wvith mie, but there
I can obta in plenlty," said Beverly,
shr'ewdly thinking it better that they
shouldh hlilevIe her to be without funds.
Thecav le had1 halted (luring this.
colloquy. All the imetn were ahead con
versing snilently and excitedly wilth
mu'h gesticulationl. 'lThe driver, at stol
id creature, seeminaghy indlifferent to all
thtat wuas going on, alone remained at
his p)ost. 'Tho situation, apparently
dangerous, was certalinly most annoy
Ing. But if Beverly could have read
the mind of that silent tigure on the
box she would have felt slightly re
lieved, foi' 11e wvas intinitely more anx
louts to proceed than even shte, but from
far differ'ent reasons, ie wtas a Rums
alan convict who hatd escap~ed on the
way to SIb~erla. Disguised as a coach
m~ian, lie was seeking life and safety ini
Graustark .01' any- out; of the way place.
inuitterekI little to hhiu Where the Cs
urt .P69imldeQ:- to go. IIe Was going
head. HO dated'not go back; he iust t
0 On.
At the end of half an hour the officer C
Aturned. All hope had gone f m his
ICee. "It is .useiesS!" he crL out.
The guides refuse to proceed. See!
'hey are going off with their coun'try
en! Ve are lost without (lcin. I do
ot know what to do. We cannot -et
o Gauloolt. I do not know the way.
ud the daunger is great. A.h madain,
ere they come! The Cossacks tire go
nig back."
As he spoke the surly mutincers were
Iding slowly toward the coach. Every
nanl had his pistol on the high pommel
kf the saddle. Their faces wore an
7/ - V
His only thought wo to get away.
igly look. 'As. they passed the offlicer
ane of them, pointing nhead OT him
,vith his sword, shouted savagely,
It was conclusive and convincing.
rhey were desertgg her.
"Oh, oh, oh! The cowards!" sobbed
Beverly in rage and despair. "I must
ro on! Is it possible that even such
nen would leave"
Bhe was luterrupted by the voice of
he officer, who, rAising his cap to her,
onunanded at the same time the driv
r to turn his horses and follow the
!scort to Balak.
"What is that?" demanded Beverly
ni alarm.
lroin far off came the sound of fire
trms. A dozen shots were l(I ,uad
everherated down through the gloomy
mss alead of the coach.
"They a2re tighting somI)Iewlhere inl the
aills in front of us," answered the now
rightelned olliver. Turlinig quickly, he
a1w tile desertiig lior.wiiiemen halt, listen
ii minute anditen ii pui 51)11r their horses.
l 4ried out sharply to the driver:
'Toie, there! Turn round! Ve have
o t une to 10.40
With ia savage grin, the hiterto
notionless driver hurled some insult
ng reimark at the ollicer, who was al
-eady followilig his Inca, iiow4n full
light down the road, and, settling himl
f iirmly ol tle seat, ta, king a freh
rip 0i tle re sili, Lie N .1l o 1110)
orses. at the sane time lashing them
urlously with his whip, and started
ie .coach ahead at a fearful pace. 111,
ily thought was to get away as far
,s possible from the ltussian olleer.
iten delliberately desert the coach and
tifoccupants and take to the hills.
IIOROU(IIILY mystilled by the
action of the driver and at
length terrified by the pace that
carried them careening along
hi narrow road, Beverly cried out to
ilu, her voice shrill with alarm. Aunt
[anny was crouching on the floor of
tie coach between the seats, groanig
and praying.
"Stop! Where are you going?" cried
Beverly, putting her head recklessly
through the Window. If the man heard
ier lie gave no evidence of the fact.
Hils face was set forward, and he was
guiding the horses with a firm, un
qulvering hand. The coach rattled
and bounded along the dangerous way
hewn in the side of the mountiiln. A
misstep or a false turn might easily
start the clumsy vehicle rolling down
the declivity on the right. The convict
was taking desperate chances and,
with a cool, calculating brain, prepared
to leap to the ground in case of acci
dent and save himself, without a
thought for the victims inside.
"Stop! Turn around!" she cried in a
frenzy. "We shall be killed. Are you
crazy ?"
By this time they had struck a de
scent in the road and were rushing
along at breakneck speed Into oppress
lye shadows that bore tile first im
prints of night. Realizing at last that
her cries were falling upon purposely
deaf ears, Beverly Calhoun sank back
into the seat, weak and terror stricken.
It was plain to her that the horses were
not running away, for the man had
been lashing them furiously. There
was but one conclusion-he was delib
erately taking her farther Into the
mountain fastnesses, his purpose
lnown only to hiniself. A hundred ter
rors presented thcuiselves to her as
she lay huddled against the side of the
coach, her eyes closed tightly. her tell
der body tossed furiously about with
the sway of the vehiele. There was the
fundamental fear that she would Lie
dashed to death down the sile of the
mflouniltain, but apart irom hl is her
quick brain was evolving all sorts of
possible endings-none short of abso
lute (isaster.
Even as she prayed that sonethiing
might intervene to check tle mIiad rush
and to deliveer her from the horrors of
the ilollient the ralcous voice Of the
driver was heard calling to his horses,
and the pace became slower. The aw
fiul rocking and the joIting grew less
severe, the elatter resoIved itself into a
broken rumble, anmmd tilen, the coeah
stopped with a miaity lurch.
Dragging herself from' the corner,
poor BOeverly ('. lhouin. no loiger a his
dainful hieroi-:, gaze(l piteously out
into the shadows. expeCin g the muimr
derous blade of the driver to ieet ier
as she did so. Paulol' hiiad svung from
the box of the coach and was peering
~A wn t
ilrst into the wopdland 'beio* ano iea
upon the rocks to the left. He wore the
expresslon of a man trapped and seek
Iug means of escape. Suddenly he dart
ed behind the-coach, ailgiost brusblug
against Beverly's hat as he passed the
window. She opened her lips to call
hu1m. but even as she did so he took
to Ii~s heels and raced back over the
road they had traveled so precipitously.
Overcome by surprise and dismay,
she oily could watch the flight in si
hence. Iess than a hundred feet from
where the coach was standing 1he turn
ed to the right and was lost among tle
rocks. Ahead, four horses, covered
with sweat, were panting ad heaving
as if in great distress after their mad
run. Aunt Fanny was still moaning
and praying by turns In the bottom of
the carriage. Darkness was, settling
down upon the pass, and objects a hun.
dred yards away were swallowed by
the gloom. There was
the blowing of the tir.
the moaning of the old
ly realized with a sh
they were alone an(
mountains, with night
She never knew where tWe strength
and courage came from, but she forced
open the stubborn coach door and
scrambled to the ground, looking fran
tically In all directions for a single
sign of hope. In the ruost despairing
terror she had ever experienced she
started toward the lead horses, hoping
against hope that at least one of her
men had remained faithful.
A man stepped quietly from the inner
side of the road and advanced with the
uncertain tread of one who is overcome
'by amazement. He was a stranger
and wore an odd, uncouth garb. The
falling light told her that he was not
one of her late protectors. Sbe shrank
back with a faint cry of alarm, ready
to fly to the protecting arms of hopeless
Aunt Fanny if her uneertain legs could
carry her. At the same Instant another
ragged stranger, then two, three, four
or flve, appeared as if by magic, some
near her, others approaching from the
"Who-who in heaven's name are
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