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sk SOWER S
Catrina despised all men but one.
That one she worshiped. She lived
night and day with one great desire,
beside which heaven and hell were
mere words. Neither the hope of the
one nor the fear of the other in any
way touched or affected her desire.
She wanted to make Paul Alexis love
her, and, womanlike, she clung to the
one womanly charm that was hers, the
wonderful golden hair
Suddenly she stopped playing and
leaped to her feet. She did not go to
the window, but stood listening beside
the piano. The beat of a horse's hoofs
on the narrow road was distinctly au
dible, hollow and sodden as is the
sound of a wooden road It came near
er and nearer, an a ce ti'n unsteadi
ness indicated that the hu'- wvs tired.
"I thought he might h\\ come,'' she
whispeied, and she sat down breath
hen the sen ant came into the
room a few minutes later Catrina was
at the piano.
"A letter, mademoiselle." said the
"Lay it on the table" answered Ca
trina without looking lound. She was
playing the closing bars of a nocturne.
She rose slowly, turned :md seized
the letter as a starving man seizes
food. There was something almost
wolf-like in her eyes.
"Steinmetz!" she exclaimed, reading
the address. "Steinmetz' Oh, why
won't he write to me?"
She tore open the letter, read it and
stood holding it in her hand, looking
out over the trackless pine woods with
absorbed, speculative eyes. The sun
had just set. The farthest ridge of pine
trees stood out like the teeth of a saw
in black relief on the rosy sky. Catri
na Lanovitch watched the rosiness
fade into pearly gray.
Thors lay groaning under the scourge
of cholera, and the Countess Lanovitch
shut herself within her stone walls,
shivering with fear, begging her
daughter to return to St. Petersburg.
It was nearly dark when Karl Stein
metz and the Moscow doctor rode into
the little village, to find the starosta, a
simple Russian farmer, awaiting them.
Steinmetz knew the man and imme
diately took command of the situation
with that unquestioned sense of au
thority which in Russia places the
barin on much the same footing as
that taken by the Anglo-Indian in an
"Now, starosta," he said, "we have
only an hour to spend in Thors. This
Is the Moscow doctor. If you listen to
what he tells you, you will soon have
no sickness in the village. The worst
houses firstand quickly. You need
not be afraid, but if you do not care to
Henry Seton Merriman
Copyright. 1895. by HARP Er y BROTHERS
|ELOW the windows of a long,
low stone house, in its archi
tecture remarkably like a forti
fied farmbelow these deep em
brasured windows the river Oster
mumbled softly. One of the windows
was wide open, and with the voice of
the water a wonderful music rolled
out to mingle and lose itself in the
hum of the pine woods.
A girl was alone in the room. The
presence of any one would have si
lenced something that was throbbing
at the back of the chords. Quite sud
denly she stopped. She knew how to
play the quaint last notes. She knew
something that no master had ever
She swung round on the stool and
faced the light. It was afternoonan
autumn afternoon in Russiaand the
pink light made the very best of a face
which was not beautiful at all, never
could be beautifula face about which
even the ovsner, a woman, could have
no possible illusion. It was broad and
powerful, with eyes too far apart, fore
head too broad and low, jaw too heavy,
mouth too determined. The eyes were
almond shaped and slightly sloping
downward and inwarddeep, passion
ate blue eyes set in a Mongolian head.
The girl was evidently listening. She
glanced at a little golden clock on the
mantelpiece and then at the open win
dow. She roseshe was short and
somewhat broadly builtand went to
"He will be back," she said to her
self, "in a few minutes now."'
She raised her hand to her forehead
and pressed back her hair with a lit
tle movement of impatience, express
ive, perhaps, of a great suspense. She
stood idly drumming on the window
sill for a few moments then, with a
quick, little sigh, she went back to the
piano. As she moved she gave a jerk
of the head from time to time, as
schoolgirls who have too much hair
are wont to do. The reason of this
nervous movement was a wondrous
plait of gold reaching far below her
waist. Catrina Lanovitch almost wor
shiped her own hair. She knew without
any doubt that not one woman in ten
thousand could rival her in this femi
nine gloryknew it as indubitably as
she knew that she was plain. All her
femininity seemed to be concentrated,
all her vanity centered, on her hair. It
was her one pride, perhaps her one
hope. Women have been loved for
their voices. Catrina's voice was mu
sical enough, but it was deep and
strong. It was passionate, tender if
she wished, fascinating, but it was not
lovable. If the voice may win love,
why not the hair?
-.i-&.., *%AJ iiKL4J^^
come In you may stay outside."
As they walked down the straggling
village street the Moscow doctor told
the starosta in no measured terms, as
was his wont, wherein lay the heart of
the sickness. Here, as in Osterno. dirt
and neglect were at the base of all the
The starosta prudently remained out
side the first house to which he intro
duced the visitors. Paul went fearless
ly in, while Steinmetz stood in the door
way, holding open the door.
As he was standing there he perceiv
ed a flickering light approaching him.
The light was evidently that of an or
dinary hand lantern, and from the
swinging motion it was easy to divine
that it was being carried by some one
who was walking quickly.
"Who is this?" asked Steinmetz.
"It is likely to be the Countess Ca
"Does she visit the cottages?" asked
"She does, God be with her! She has
no fear. She is an angel. Without her
we should all be dead."
"She won't visit this if I can help it,"'
The light flickered along the road
toward them In the course of a few
minutes it fell on the stricken cottage.
on the starosta standing in the road.
on Steinmetz in the doorway.
"Herr Steinmetz, is that you?" asked
a voice deep and musical in the dark
"At your command," answered Stein
metz, without moving.
Catrina came up to him. She was
clad in a long dark cloak, a dark hat
and wore no gloves. She brought with
her a clean aromatic odor of disin
fectants. She carried the lantern her
self, while behind her walked a man
servant in livery, with a large basket
in either hand.
"It is good of you," she said, "to
come to us in our need, also to per
suade the good doctor to come with
you. May I go in?"
She looked up at him, expecting him
to step aside and allow her to pass into
the cottage, but Steinmetz stood quite
still, looking down at her with his
pleasant smile. He did not move.
"I think not. This Moscow man is
eccentric. lie likes to do good sub
rosa. He prefers to be alone."
Catrina tried to look into the cot
tage, but Karl Steinmetz, as we know,
was fat and tilled up the whole door
There was a little pause. From the
interior of the cottage came the mur
mured gratitude of the peasants, bro
ken at times by a wail of agonythe
wail of a man. It is not a pleasant
sound to hear. Catrina heard it, and it
twisted her plain, strong face in a sud
den spasm of sympathy.
Again she made an impatient little
"Let me go in," she urged. "I may
be able to help."
At this moment Steinmetz was
pushed aside from within, and a hulk
ing young man staggered out into the
road, propelled from behind with con
siderable vigor. After him came a
shower of clothes and bedding.
"Pah!" exclaimed Steinmetz, splut
tering. "Himmel! What filth! Be care
But Catrina had slipped past him.
In an instant he had caught her by the
"Come back!" he cried. "You must
not go in there!"
She was just over the threshold.
"You have some reason for keeping
me out," she returned, wriggling in his
strong grasp. "I willI will!"
With a twist she wrenched herself
free and went into the dimly lighted
Almost immediately she
"Paul!" she said.
For a moment there was silence in
the hovel, broken only by the wail of
the dying man in the corner. Paul and
Catrina faced each other, she white
end suddenly breathless, he halt frown
ing. But he did not meet her eyes.
"Paul," she said again, "what did
you do this for? Why are you here?
Oh, why are you in this wretched
"Because you sent for me," he an
swered quietly. "Come, let us go out.
I have finished here. That man will
die. There is nothing more to be done
for him. You must not stay in here."
Steinmetz lingered behind to give
some last instructions, leaving Paul
and Catrina to walk on down the nar
row street alone.
"How long have you been doing
this?" asked Catrina suddenly. She
did not look toward him, but straight
in front of her.
"For some years now," he replied
He lingered. He was waiting for
Steinmetz, who always rose to such
emergencies, who understood secrets
and how to secure them when they
seemed already lost.
Catrina walked on in silence. She
was not looking at the matter from
his point of view at all.
"Of course," she said at length, "of
course, Paul, I admire you for it im
mensely. It is just like youvT:o
do the thing quietly and say nothing
about it but, oh, you must go away
from here. IIit is too horrible to
think of your running such risks. Rath
er let them all die like flies than that.
ron nrnsnrT ao it. You mustn't."
She spoke in English, hurriedly, with
little break in her voice which he did
"With ordinary precautions the risk
is very small," he said practically.
"Yes. But do you take ordinary pre
cautions? Are you sure you are all
She stopped. They were quite alone
in the one silent street of the stricken
village. She looked up into his face.
Her hands were running over the
breast of the tattered coat he wore. It
was lamentably obvious, even to him,
that she loved him. In her anxiety she
either did not know what she was do
ing or she did not care whether he
knew or not.
"Are you sureare you sure you have
not taken it?" she whispered.
He walked on almost roughly.
"Oh, yes quite," he said.
"I will not allow you to go into any
more houses in Thors. I cannotI will
not! Oh, Paul, you don't know. If you
do I will tell them all who you are, and
and the government will stop you."
"What would be the good of that?"
said Paul awkwardly.
"Of course," Catrina went on, with a
sudden anger which surprised herself,
"I cannot stop you from doing this at
Osterno, though I think it is wicked,
but I can prevent you from doing it
here, and I certainly shall."
Paul shrugged his shoulders.
"As you like," he said. "I thought
you cared more about the peasants."
"I do not care a jot about the peas-
ants," she answered passionately, "as
compared It is you I am thinking
about, not them. I think you are self
ish and cruel to your friends."
"I did it after mature consideration,"
said Paul. "I tried paying another
man, but he shirked his work and
showed the white feather, so Stein
metz and I concluded that there was
nothing to be done but do our dirty
"And that is why you have been so
fond of Osterno the last two years?"
she asked innocently.
"Yes," he answered, falling into the
Catrina winded. One does not wince
the less because the pain is expected.
"Only that?" she inquired.
Paul glanced at her.
"Yes," he answered quietly.
They walked on in silence for a few
moments. Paul seemed tacitly to have
given up the idea of visiting any more
of the stricken cottages. They were
going toward the long old house, which
was called the castle more by courtesy
than by right.
"How long are you going to stay in
Osterno?" asked Catrina at length.
"About a fortnight. I cannot stay
longer. I am going to be married."
Catrina stopped short. She stood for
a moment looking at the ground with
a sort of wonder in her eyes not pleas
ant to see. Then she walked on.
"I congratulate you," she said. "I
only hope she will make you happy.
She is beautiful, I suppose?"
"Yes," answered Paul simply
The girl nodded her head.
"What is her name?"
"Etta Sydney Bamborough."
Catrina had evidently never heard
the name before. It conveyed nothing
to her. Womanlike, she went back to
her first question.
"What is she like?"
"Tall, I suppose?" suggested the
stunted woman at his side.
'You must not go in there
"Yes." "Has shepretty hair?" asked Ca
"I think soyes."
"You are not observant," said the
girl in a singularly even and emotion
less voice. "Perhaps you never no
"Not particularly," answered Paul.
Catrina was unaware of the thought
of murder that was in her own heart.
Nevertheless the desire indefinite
shapelesswas there to kill this
man, who was tall and beautiful
whom Paul Alexis loved.
It must be remembered in extenu
ation that Catrina Lanovitch had lived
nearly all her life in the province
Tver. She was not modern at all.
prived of the advantages of our
lightened society press, without
benefit of our decadent fictional litera
ture, she had lamentably narrow view
She only knew that she loved PauJ
and that what she wanted was Paul
love to go with her all through
life. She was not self analytical
subtle nor given to thinking about
own thoughts. Perhaps she was
fashioned enough to be romantic.
Catrina hated Etta Sydney Bambor
ough with a simple, half barbaric
tred because she had gained the lo\e
of Paul Alexis. Etta had taken
from her the only man whom
could ever love all through her life
the hei hex
MARCH 30, 1905.
was simple enough, unsophisticat
enough, never to dream of com
promise. She never for a moment en
tertained the cheap, consolatory
thought that in time she would get
over it she would marry somebody
else and make that compromise which
is responsible for more misery in this
world than ever is vice.
"Where does she live?" asked Ca
"I wonder," said Catrina, half to her
self, "whether she loves you?"
It was a question, but not one that
a man can answer. Paul said nothing,
but walked gravely on by the side of
this woman, who knew that even if
Etta Sydney Bamborough should try
she could never love him as she her
When Karl Steinmetz joined them
they were silent.
"I suppose," he said in English, "that
we may rely upon the discretion of the
"Yes," answered the girl. "You may,
so far as Osterno is concerned. But I
would rather that you did not visit
our people here. It is too dangerous
in several ways."
"Ah!" murmured Steinmetz. "Then
we must bow to your decision," he
went on, turning toward the tall man
striding along at his side.
"Yes," said Paul simply.
"Will you come to the castle?" asked
the girl. And Steinmetz by a gesture
deferred the decision to Paul.
"I think not tonight, thanks," said
the latter. "We will take you as far
es the gcdo."
Catrina made no comment. When
the tall gateway was reached she stop
ped, and they all became aware of the
sound of horses' feet behind them.
"What is this?" asked Catrina.
"Only the starosta bringing our
horses," replied Steinmetz "He has
Catrina nodded and held out her
"Good night," she said rather coldly.
"Your secret is safe with me."
E Palace of Industry, where,
with a fine sense of the fitness
the name, the Parisians
amuse themselves, was in a
blaze of electric light and fashion. The
occasion was the Concours Hippique,
an ultra equine fete, where the lovers
of the friend of man and such persons
as are fitted by an ungenerous fate
with limbs suitable to horsy clothes
meet and bow.
A crowd of well dressed men jostled
each other good naturedly around a
long table, where insolent waiters
served tepid coffee and sandwiches.
In the midst of tflese, as in his ele
ment, moved the Baron Claude de
ChauxAille, smiling his courteous,
ready smile, which his enemies called
a grin. Not far from him stood a stout
gentleman of middle age with a heavy
fair mustache brushed upward on ei
ther side. This man had an air of dis
tinction, which was notable even in
this assembly, for there were many
distinguished people present, and a
Frenchman of note plays his part well.
He stood with his hands behind his
back, looking gravely on at the social
festivity. He bowed and raised his hat
to many, but he entered into conversa
tion with none.
"This Vassili is a dangerous man,"
he heard more than once whispered.
Now, if a very keen observer had
taken the trouble to ignore the throng
and watch two persons only, that ob
server might have discovered the fact
that Claude de Chauxville was slowly
and purposely making his way toward
the man called Vassili.
De Chauxville knew and was known
of many. He had but recently arrived
from London. He found himself called
upon to shake hands with this one and
that. He went from one to the other,
and each change of position brought
him nearer to the middle aged man
with upturned mustache, upon whom
his movements were by no means lost.
Finally De Chauxville bumped
against the object of his quest, possi
bly indeed the object of his presence.
He turned with a ready apology.
"Ah," he exclaimed, "the very man I
was desiring to see."
The individual known as "this Vas-
sili," a term of mingled contempt and
distrust, bowed very low. He was a
plain commoner, while his interlocutor
was a baron. The knowledge of this
was subtly conveyed in his bow.
"How can I serve M. le Baron?" he
inquired in a ^iee which was natural
ly loud and strong, but had been re
duced by careful training to a tone in
audible at the distance of a few paces.
"By following me to the Cafe Tan
tale in ten minutes." answered De
Chauxville. passing on to greet a lady
who was bowing to him with the la
bored grace of a Parisienne.
Vassili merely bowed and stood up
right again. There was something in
his attitude of quiet attention, of un
obtrusive scrutiny and retiring intelli
gence vaguely suggestive of the police
something which his friends refrain
ed from mentioning to him, for this
Vassili was a dignified man, of like
susceptibilities with ourselves and just
ly proud of the fact that he belonged
to the diplomatic corps. What posi
tion he occupied in that select corpora
tion he never vouchsafed to define,
but it was known that he enjoyed con
siderable emoluments, while he was
never called upon to represent his coun
try or his emperor in any official ca
pacity. He was attached, he said, to
the Russian embassy. His enemies
called him a spy.
In ten minutes Claude de Chauxville
left the Concours Hippique.
At the Cafe Tantalenot in the gar-
den, for it was winter, but in the in
ner roomhe found the man called
Vassili consuming a pensive and soli
tary glass of liqueur.
De Chauxville sat down, stated his
requirements tothe waiter in a single
word and olfered Tils companion a cig
arette, which Vassili accepted, with the
consciousness that it came from a cor
"I am rather thinking of visiting
Russia," said the Frenchman.
"Again," added Vassili in his quiet
voice. "And M. le Baron wants a pass-
"And more," answered De Chaux
ville "I want what you hate parting
The man called Vassili leaned back
in his chair with a little smile. It was
an odd little smile, which fell over his
features like a mask and completely
hid his thoughts. It was apparent that
Claude de Chauxville's tricks of speech
and manner fell here on barren ground.
The Frenchman's epigrams, his meth
od of conveying his meaning in a non
committing and impersonal generality,
failed to impress this hearer.
"Then," said Vassili, "if I under
stand M. le Baron aright, it is a ques
tion of private and personal affairs
that suggests this journey toRus-
"Precisely." "In no sense a mission?" suggested
the other, sipping his liqueur thought
"In no sense a mission. I give you a
proof. I have been granted six months'
leave of absence, as you probably
"Precisely so. When a military offi
cer is granted a six months' leave it is
exactly then that we watch him. And
you want a passport?"
"Yes a special one."
"I will see what I can do."
Vassili emptied his glass, drew in hi3
feet and glanced at the clock.
"But that is not all I want," said De
"So I perceive."
"I want you to tell me what you
know of Prince Pavlo Alexis."
"Prince Pavlo Alexis," said Vassili,
"is a young man who takes a full and
daring advantage of his peculiar posi
tion. He defies many laws in a quiet,
persistent way which impresses the
smaller authorities and to a certain
extent paralyzes them. He was in the
Charity leaguedeeply implicated. He
had a narrow escape. He was pulled
through by the cleverest man in Rus-
"Yes," answered Vassili behind the
rigid smile, "Karl Steinmetz."
"Prince Paul is about to marrythe
widow of Sydney Bamborough."
"Sydney Bamborough," repeated Vas
sili musingly, with a perfect expres
sion of innocence on his well cut face.
"I have heard that name before."
N the English quay of St. Pe
tersburg a tall, narrow house
stands looking glumly across
the river. It is a suspected
house and watched, for here dwelt
Stepan Lanovitch, secretary and or
ganizer of the Charity league.
The Countess Lanovitch belonged to
the school existing in Petersburg and
Moscow in the early years of the cen
turythe school that did not speak
Russian, but only French that chose
to class the peasants with the beasts
of the field that apparently expected
the deluge to follow soon.
Her drawing room, looking out on to
the Neva, was characteristic of herself.
Camellias held the floral honors in vase
and pot. The French novel ruled su
preme on the side table. The room was
too hot, the chairs were too soft, the
moral atmosphere too lax. One could
tell that this was the dwelling room of
a lazy, self indulgent and probably ig
The countess herself in nowise con
tradicted this conclusion. She was
seated on a very low chair, exposing
a slippered foot to the flame of a wood
Are. She held a magazine in her hand
and yawned as she turned its pages.
She was not so stout in person as her
loose and somewhat highly colored
cheeks would imply. Her eyes were
dull and sleepy. The woman was an
She looked up, turning lazily in her
cbair, to note the darkening of the air
without the double windows.
"Ah," she 3aid aloud to herself in
French, "when will it be tea time?"
As she spoke the words the bells of
a sleigh suddenly stopped with a rattle
beneath the window.
Immediately the countess rose and
went to the mirror over the mantel
piece. She arranged without enthu
siasm her straggling hair and put
straight a lace cap which was chronir
ally crooked. She looked at her re
flection pessimistically, as well she
might. It was the puiiy red face of a
middle aged woman given to petty self
While she was engaged in this dis
couraging pastime the door was open
ed, and a maid came in.
"M. Steinmetz is even now taking off
his furs in the hall," said the maid.
"It is well. We shall want tea."
Steinmetz came into the room with
an exaggerated bow and a twinkle in
his melancholy eyes.
"Figure to yourself, my dear Stein-
metz," said the countess vivaciously.
"Catrina has gone outon a day like
this! Mon Dieu! How gray, how mel
ancholy! What news have you?"
"I came for yours, countess. You are
always amusing, as well as beautiful,"
he added, with his mouth well con
trolled beneath the heavy mustache
The countess shook her head play
fully, which had the effect of tilting
her cap to one side.
"I! Oh, I have nothing to tell you. I
am a nun. What can one do, what can
one hear, in Petersburg? Now, in Paris
it is different. But Catrina is so firm.
Have you ever noticed that, Stein
metzCatrina's firmness, I mean? She
wills a thing, and her will is like a
rock. The thing has to be done. It
does itself. It comes to pass. Some
people are so. Now, I, my dear Stein
metz, only desire peace and quiet So
I Hive In. I gave in to poor Stepan.
And now he is exiled. Perhaps if I had
been firmif I had forbidden all this
nonsense about charityit would have
been different. And Stepan would have
been quietly at home instead of in
Tomsk, is it, or Tobolsk? I always,
forget which. Well, Catrina says we
must live in Petersburg this winter,
and here we are!"
Steinmetz shrugged his shoulders
with a commiserating smile. He took
the countess' troubles indifferently, as
do the rest of us when our neighbor's
burden does not drag upon our own
shoulders it suited him that Catrina
should be in Petersburg, and it is to
be feared that the feelings of the
Countess Lanovitch had no weight a&
against the convenience of Karl Stein
"Ah. well." he said, "you must con
Eole yourself with the thought that Pe
tersburg is the brighter for some of us.
Who is thisanother visitor?"
The door was thrown open, and
Claude de Chauxville walked into the
room with the easy grace which was
"lime, la Comtesse," he said, bow
ing over her hand.
Then he stood upright, and the two
men smiled grimly at each other.
Steinmetz had thought that De Chaux
ville was in London. The Frenchman
counted on the other's duties to re
tain him in Osterno.
The countess looked from one to the
other with a smile on her foolish face.
"Ah," she exclaimed, "how pleasant
it is to meet old friends! It is like by
At this moment the door opened again
and Catrina came in. In her rich furs
she looked almost pretty.
She shook hands eagerly with Stein
metz. Her deep eyes searched his face
with a singular, breathless scrutiny.
"Where are you from?" she asked
"London." "Catrina," broke in the countess,
"you do not remember M. de Chaux
ville! He nursed you when you were
Catrina turned and bowed to De
"I should have remembered you," he
said, "if we had met accidentally. Aft
er all. childhood is but a miniature. Is
it not so?"
"Perhaps," answered Catrina, "and
when the miniature develops i. loses
the delicacy which was its chief
She turned again to Steinmetz, as if
desirous of continuing her conversa
tion with him.
"M. de Chauxville, you surely have
news," broke in the countess' cackling
voice. "I have begged M. Steinmetz
"Tliui it is an accomplished fact?"
in vain. He says he has none, but is
one to belie-\e so notorious a bad char
"Surely the news is from London,"
De Chauxville said lightly. "We have
nothing from Paris."
He glanced at Steinmetz, who was
"I can hardly tell you stale news
that comes from London via Paris, can
I?" he continued.
"About whomabout whom?" cried
the countess, clapping her soft hands
"Well, about Prince Paul," said De
Chauxville, looking at Steinmetz with
Steinmetz moved a little. He placed
himself in front of Catrina, who had
suddenly lost color. She could only
see his broad back The others in the
room could not see her at all. She was
rather small, and Steinmetz hid ner as
behind a screen.
"Ah." he said to the countess, "his
marriage! But madame the countess
assuredly knows of that."
"How could she?" put in De Chaux
"The eouutess knew that Prince Paul
was going to be married," explained
Karl Steinmetz very slowly, as if he
wished to give some one time. "With
such a man as he 'going to be' is not
very far from being."
"Then it is an accomplished fact?"
said the countess sharply.
"Yesterday," answered Steinmetz.
UT I confess I cannot under
stand why I should not be
called the Princess Alexis.
There is nothing to be asham
ed of in the title. I presume you have
a right to it?"
Etta looked up from her occupation
of fixing a bracelet with a little glance
of inquiry toward her husbanJ.
They had been married a month.
The honeymoona short onehad been
passed in the house of a friend.
In answer Paul merely smiled, affec
tionately tolerant of her bright sharp
ness of manner. Your bright woman
in society is apt to be keen at home.
What is called vivacity abroad may
easily degenerate into snappiness by