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The Last Shot
FREDERICK PALMER I(Caowiht. 191L4 Chrle &riber'i Sons) 14 8YNOP818. At their home on the frontier between the Browns and Grays Marta Galland and her mother, entertaining Colonel Wester ling of the Grays, see Captain Lanstron of the Browns injured by a fall in his aeroplane. Ten years later. Westerling, nominal vice but real chief of staff, re-en forces South La Tir and meditates on war. Marta tells him of her teaching children the follies of war and martial patriotism,. and begs him to prevent war while he is chief of staff. IAnstron calls on Marta at her home. She tells Lanstron that she believes Feller, the gardener, to be a spy. Lanstron confesses it is true and shows her a telephone which Feller has con cekled in a secret passage under the tower for use to benefit the Browns in war emergencies. Lanstron declares his love for Marta. Westerling and the Gray pre nier plan to use a trivial international affair to foment warlike patriotism and strike before declaring war. Partow. Brown chief of staff, reveals his plans to Lanatron, made vice chief. The Gray army crosses the border line and attacks. The Browns check them. Artillery, in fantry, aeroplanes and dirigibles engage. iMarta has her first glimpse of war in its modern, cold, scientific, murderous bru tality. The Browns fall back to the Gal land house. Marta sees a night attack. The Grays attack in force. Feller leaves his secret telephone and goes back to his guns. Hand to hand fighting. The Browns tall back again. Marta asks Lanstron over the phone to appeal to Partow to stop the fighting. Vandalism in the Galland house. Westerling and his staff occupy the Gal land house and he begins to woo Marta, who apparently throws her fortunes with the Grays and offers valuable information. She calls up Lanstron on the secret tele phone and plans to give Westerling Infor mation that will trap the Gray army. CHAPTER XV-Continued. "Yes?" the monosyllable was de tached, dismal, labored. "A woman can be that!" she exc)aimed in an un certain tone, which grew into the dis traction of clipped words and broken sentences. "A woman play-acting-a woman acting the most revolting hy pocrisy-influences the issue between two nations! Her deceit deals in the lives of sons precious to fathers and mothers, the fate of frontiers, of insti tutions! Think of it! Think of mar chines costing countless millions-ma chines of flesh and blood, with their destinies shaped by one little biteof lying information! Think of the folly of any civilization that stakes its tri umphs on such a gamble! Am I not right? Isn't it true? Isn't it?" "Yes, yes, Marta! But-I-" If she were weakening it was not his place to try to strengthen her purpose. "It will the sooner end won't it, Lanny?" 'he e small, tense voice. "Yes." "And the only real end that means real peace is to prove that the weak can hold back the strong from their threshold?" "Yes." Even now Westerling might be on the veranda, perhaps waiting for news that would enable him to crush the weak; to prove that the law of five pounds of human flesh against three, and five bayonets against three, is the law of civilization. "Yes, yes, yes!" The constriction was gone from her throat; there was a drum-beat in her soul. "Depend on me, Lanny!" It was Feller's favorite phrase spoken by the one who was to take his place. "Yes, I'm ready to make any sacrifice-now. For what am IT What is one woman compared to euch a purpose? I don't care what is said of me or what becomes of me it we can win! Good-by, Lanny, till I call you up again! And God with us!" "God with usl" as Partow had said, over and over. The saying had come to be repeated by hard-headed, agnoe tic staff-officers, who believed that the deity had no relation to the efficiency of sun-fre. The Brown infantrymen en were beginning to mutter it in Smidst of action. aiting on the path of the second [errce for Westerling to come, Marta Srealled the full meaning of her task. Day in and day out she was to have sspense at her elbow and the horror S of hypocrisy on her conscience, the while keeping her wits nicely bal anced. When she saw Westerling ap pear on the veranda and start over the lawn she felt dizzy and uncertain of her capabilities. "I have considered all that you have said for my guidance and I have de cided," she began. She heard her own voice with the relief of a singer in a debut who, with knees shaking, finds that her notes are true. She was looking directly at Westerling in profound seriousness. Though knees shook, lips and chin could aid eyes in revealing the pain Iftl fatigue of a battle that had raged in the mind of a woman who went away for halt an hoar to think for herself. "I have concluded," she went on, "that It is an occasion for the sac rifle of private ethics to a great pui pose, the sooner to end the slaugh "All true!" whispered an inner voice. Its tone was Lanny's, in the old days of their comradeship. It gave her strength. All true! "Yes, an end-a speedy end!" said WesterliHng with a fine, inflexible em. phasis. "That is your prayer and mine and the prayer of all lovers of humanity." "It is little that I know, but such as it is you shall have it," she began, conscious of his guarded scrutiny, When she told him of Bordlr, the ,wrak point in the first line of the Browns' defense, she noted no change in his steady look; but with the men tion of Engadir in the main line she detected a gleam in his eyes that had the merciless delight of a cutting edge of steel. "I have made my sac rifice to some purpose? The infor mation is worth something to you?" she asked wistfully. "Yes, yes! Yes, it promises that way," he replied thoughtfully. Quietly he began a considerate cate chism. Soon she was subtly under standing that her answers lacked the convincing details that he sought. She longed to avert her eyes from his for an instant, but she knew that this would be fatal. She felt the force of him directed in professional channels, free of all personal relations, beat ing as a strong light on her bare state ments. How could a woman ever have learned two such vital secrets? How could it happen that two such critical points as Bordir and Engadir should go undefended? No tactician, no engineer but would have realized their strategic importance. Did she know what she was saying? How did she get her knowledge? These, she understood, were the real questions that underlay Westerling's polite in direction. "But I have not told you the sources of my information! Isn't that like a woman!" she exclaimed. "You see, it did not concern me at all at the time I heard it. I didn't even realise its importance and I didn't hear much," she proceeded, her introduc tion giving time for improvization. "You see, Partow was inspecting the premises with Colonel Lanstron. My mother had known Partow in her younger days when my grandfather was premier. We had them both to luncheon." "Yes?" put in Westerling, betraying his eagerness. Partow and Lanstron! Then her source was one of authority, not the gossip of subalterns! "And it occurs to me now that, even while he was our guest," she inter jected in sudden indignation-"that even while he was our guest Partow was planning to make our grounds a redoubt!" "After luncheon I remember Partow a~Wthe crops," and they went for a walk out to the knoll where the fight ing began." "Yes! When was this?" Westerling asked keenly. "Only about six weeks ago," an swered Martas. "Later, I came upon them unexpect edly. after they had returned," she went on. "They were sitting there on that seat concealed by the shrubbery. I was on the terrace steps unobserved "I'm Going on My Experience as a Soldier," and I couldn't help overhearing them. Their voices grew louder with the L. terest of their discussion. I eaught something about appropriations and aeroplanes and Bordlr and Ungadir, and saw that Lanstron was pleading with his chief. He wanted a sum ap propriate4 for fortifications to be ap plied to building planes and dirigibles. Finally, Partow consented, and I re call his exact words: 'They're shock ingly archaically defended, especially EnSadir,' he said, 'but they can wait until we get farther appropriations in the fall!' " She was so far under the spell of her own invention that she believed the reality of her words, re fleeted in her wide-open eyes which seemed to have nothing to hide. "That is all," she exclaimed with a shudder-"all my eavesdropping, all my breach of confidence! If-if it" and her voice trembled with the in tensity of the one purpose that was shining with the light of truth through the murk of her deception-"it will only help to end the slaughter!" she held out her hand convulsively in parting as itf she would leave the rest with him. "I think it will," he said soberly. "I think it will prove that you have done a great service," he repeated as he caught both her hands, which were cold from her ordeal. His own were warm with the strong beating of his heart stirred by the promise of what he had Juqt heard. But he did not prolong the grasp. He was as eager to be away to his work as she to be alone. "I think it will. You will'know in the morning," he added. His steps were sturdier than ever in the power of five against three as he started back to the house. When he reached the veranda, Bouchard, the saturnine chief of intelligence, ap peared in the doorway of the dining room; or, rather, reappeared, for he had been standing there throughout the interview of Westerling and Marts, whose heads were Just visible, above the terrace wall, to his hawk eyes. "A little promenade in the open and my mind made up," said Westerling, clapping Bouchard on the shoulder. "Something about an attack to night?" asked Bouchard. "You guess right. Call the others." Five minutes later he was seated at the head of the dining-room table with his chiefs around him waiting for their chairman to speak. He asked some categorical questions almost per functorily, and the answer to each was, "Ready!" with, in some instances, a qualification-the qualification made by regimental and brigade command ers that, though they could take the position in front of them, the cost would be heavy. Yes, all were willing and ready for the first general assault of the war, but they wanted to state the costs as a matter of professional self-defense. Westerling could pose when it served his purpose. Now he rose and, going to one of the wall maps, indi cated a point with his forefinger. "If we get that we have the most vital position, haven't we?" Some uttered a word of assent; some only nodded. A glance or two of curiosity was exchanged. Why should the chief of staff ask so ele mentary a question? Westerling was not unconscious of the glances or of their meaning. They gave dramatic value to his next remark. "We are going to mass for our main attack in front at Bordirl" "But," exclaimed four or five offi cers at once, "that is the heart of the position! That is-" "I believe it is weak-that it will fall, and tonight!" "You have information, then, infor -mation that I have not?" asked Bou chard. "No more than you," replied Wester ling. "Not as much if yoe have any. He lowered his head unde ling's penetrating look in the ceih sciousness of failure. "I am going on a conviction-on putting two and two together!" Wes terling announced. "I am going on my experience as a soldier, as a chief of staff. If I am wrong, I take the re sponsibility. If I am right, Bordir will be ours before morning. It is settled!" "If you are right, then," exclaimed Turcas-"well, then it's genius or-" He did not finish the sentence. He had been about to say coincidence; while Westerling knew that if he were right all the rising skepticism in cer tain quartets, owing to the delay in his program, would be silenced. His prestige would be unassailable. CHAPTER XVI. Marking Time. Boon after dark the attack began. Flashes from gun mouths and glow ing sheets of flame from rifles made ugly revelry, while the beams of search-lights swept hither and thither. This kept up till shortly after mid night, when it died down and, where hell's concert had raged, silent dark ness shrouded the hills. Marts knew that Bordlr was taken without having to ask Lanstron or wait for confirma tion from Westerling. She was seated in the recess of the arbor the next morning, when she heard the approach of those regular, powerful steps whose character had become as distinct to her as those of a member of her own family. Five against three! five against three! they were saying to her; while down the pass road and the castle road ran the stream of wounded from last night's slaughter. Posted in the drawing-room of the Galland house were the congratula tions of the premier to Westerling, who had come frotmin the atmosphere of a' staff that accorded to him a mill tary insight far above the analysis of ordinary standards. But he was too clever a man to vaunt his triumph. He knew how to carry his honors. He accepted success as his due, in a matter-of-cone manner that must in spire confidence in turther success. "You were right," he said to Marta easily, pleasantly. "We did it-we did it-we took Bordir with a loss Of 0oly twenty thousand men!" Only twenty thousand!. Her revul sion at the bald statement was re lievedI by the memory of Launy's word over the telephone after breakfast that the Browns had. rost only five thonu sand. Four to one was a wide ratio, she was thinking. "Then the end-then peace is so much nearer?" she asked. "Very much nearer!" he answered earnestly, as he dropped.Q the bench beside her. He stretabed his arms out on the back of the sest and the relaxed atti tude, unusual with him, brought into reUef a new trait of which she -ad been hitherto oblivious. The con queror had become simply a compan ionable man. Though he was not sit ting close to her, yet, as his eyes met hers, she had a desire to move away which she knew would be unwise to gratify. She was conscious of a cer tain softening charm, a magnetism that she had sometimes felt in the days when she first knew him. She realized, too, that then the charm had not been mixed with the indescribable, intimate quality that it held now. "In the midst of congratulations after the position was taken last night," he declared, "I confess that I was thinking less of success than of its source." He bent on her a look that was warm with gratitude. She lowered her lashes before It; before gratitude that made her part appear in a fresh angle of misery. "There seems to be a kind of fa tality about our relations," he went on. "I lay awake pondering it last night." "I'm Not a Human Being." His tone held more than gratitude. It had the elation of discovery. "He is going to make it harder than I ever guessed!" echoed her own thought, in a flutter of confusion. "Yes, it was strange our meeting on the frontier in peace and then in war!" she exclaimed at random. The sound of the remark struck her as too sub dued; as expectant, when her purpose was one of careless deprecation. "I have met a great many women, They were simply women, witty and frail or dull and beautiful, and one meant no more to me than another. Nothing meant anything to me except my profession. But I never forgot you. You planted something in mind: a memory of real companionship." "Yes, I made the prophecy that came true!l" she put in. This ought to bring him back to himself and his ambitions, she thought. "Yes!" he exclaimed, his body stif fening free of the back of the seat. "You realized what was in ma You foresaw the power which was to be mine. The fate that first brought us together made me look you up in the capital. Now it brings us together here on this bench after all that has passed in the last twenty-four hours." She realized that he had drawn per* ceptlbly nearer. She wanted to rise and cry out: "Don't do thisl Be the chief of staff, the conqueror, crushing the earth with the tread of five against three!" It was the conqueror whom she wanted to trick, not a man whose earnestness was painting her deceit blacker. Par from rising, she made no movement at all; only looked at her hands and allowed him to go on, con jclous of the force of a personality hat mastered men and armies now warm and appealing in the full tide of another purpose. "The victory that I was thinking of last night was not the taking of Bo dir. It was finer than any victory in war. It was selfish-not for army and country, but born of a human weakness triumphant; a human weak ness of which my career had robbed me," he continued. "It gave me a joy that even the occupation of the Browns' capital could not give. I had come as an invader and I had won your confidence." "In a cause!" she interrupted hr rledly, wildly, to stop him from going further, only to find that her intona. tion was such that it was drawing him on. "That fatality seemed to be working itself out to the soldier so much older than yourself in renewed youth, in another form of ambition. I hoped that there was more than the cause that led you to trust me. I hoped-" Was he testing .her? Was he play~ ing a part of his own to make certain that she was not playing one? She looked up swiftly for answer. There was no gainsaring what she saw in his eyes. It was beating into hers with the power of an overwhelming masculine passion and a maturity of Intellect as his egolism admitted a com ride to its throne. Such is ever the way of a man in the forties when the clock strikes for him. But who could know better the craft of courtship than one of Westerling's experience? He was fighting for victory; to gratify a desire. "I did not expect this-I--" the words escaped tumultuously and chok. ingly. He was bending so close to her that she felt his breath on her cheek burn ing hot, and she was sickeningly con scious that he was looking her over in that point-by-point manner which she had felt across the tea-table at the hotel. This horrible thing in his glance she had sometimes seen in strangers on her travels, and it had made her think that she was wise to carry a little revolver. She wanted to strike him. "Confess! Confess!" called all her own self.respect. "Make an end to your abasement!" "Confession, after the Browns have given up Bordir! Confession that makes Lanny, not Westerling, your dupe!" came the reply, which might have been telegraphed into her mind from the high, white forehead of Par tow bending over his maps. "Confes sion, betraying the cause of the right against the wrong; the three to the conquering five! No! You are in the thing. You may not retreat now." For a few seconds only the duel of argument thundered in her temples -seconds in which her lips were part ed and quivering and her eyes dilated with an agitation which the man at her side could inter'pret as he pleased. A prompting devil-a devil roused by that thing in his eyes-urging a finesse in double-dealing which only devils understand, made her lips hyp notically turn in a smile, her eyes soften, and sent her hand out to Wes terling in a trancelike gesture. For an instant it rested on his arm with tell ing pressure, though she felt it burn with shame at the point of contact. "We must not think of that now," she said. "We must think of nothing personal; of nothing but your work until your work is done!" The prompting devil had not permit ted a false note in her voice. Her very pallor, in fixity of idea, served her purpose. Weeterling drew a deep breath that seemed to expand his whole being with greater appreciation of her. Yet that harried hunger, the hunger of a beast, was still in hip glance. (TO BE CONTINUED.) SAVING THE VEFUS OF MILO Extraordinary Precautions Taken to Guard Art Treasure Impos sible to Replace. When, during the war of 1870, the German army drew near the French capital, one of the first measures the Parisians took was to place the art treasures of the Louvre in safety. The paintings of Raphael, Titian, Paolo, Veronese, Rembrandt and Rubens were carefully packed and shipped to Brest. There they could, if necessary, be put on shipboard and taken from the country. It was not so easy to save the pieces of marble statuary, for their weight and fragility made them difficult to .a d l.. A n -them. , 01m00nd0 the famous Vens of Milo, at least, should not fall into the hands of the Prussiane. So they took her down from her ped estal and laid her in a casket carefully padded and wrapped. At night the casket was taken out through a secret dbor and hidden secretly in the cellar of the police prefecture, at the end of a certain passageway. They walled in the casket and clev erly gave the wall an appearance of great age and dilapidation. In front of this wall they laid a number of val uable public documents, so that it they should happen to be found their im portance would lead the discoverers to think there was nothing else hid den there. In front of the papers they built another wall. Here the Venus of Mile remained, much to the distress of those patriotic Parisians who did not know where she was and supposed that she Bad been stolen, through the siege of the city by the Germans and through the disorders of the commune. One day the prefecture caught fire and was pretty completely destroyed. The distress of those who knew that the Venus was concealed there can be imagined. As soon as the fire was extinguished they hastened to the sink ing 'ruins and after some digging found the casket, buried in heaps of dirt and stones, but uninjured. It is understood that the Venus has gone into hiding again this year, not to reappear until peace is restored and Paris is free from danger of the in vader.-Youth's Companion. Actlvltles of Women. Fifteen women are seeking seats in the Washington legislature. The former sultan of Zansibar is stranded in Paris with his 15 wives. Baku, Caucasus, has a population of 217,863, of whom 93,988 are women. Under the provisions of the will ot Mrs. Emily Zoller of New York city, her pet dog Is left $200 for his keep during the rest of his life. Textile workers In Japan threaten to go on a strike unless the 32 women who were discharged from one of the mills are reinstated. To avoid the use of the name of a. German town a Paris magazine has opened a competition asking French girls to find a new name for Cologne. - Helping the Youngsters. One of the Chicago municipal court judges has established a library for foreign boys in the boys' court. Ar rangements have been made by him with the public library to furnish books written in the native tongues of the nationalities most frequently represented in the court---The Living Church. Interrupted Communication. "You don't mean to say that this is the first you've heard of it?" "Absolutely." "Why, it's the talk of the neighbor hood." "Yes, but my wtfe is away on a visit" MOTHER! LOOK AlT CHILD'S TONGUE If cross, feverish, constipated, give "California Syrup of Figs" A laxative today saves a sick child tomorrow. Children simply will not take the time from play to empty their bowels, which become clogged up with waste, liver gets sluggish; stomach sour. Look at the tongue, mother! If coat ed, or your child is listless, cross, fev erish, breath bad, restless, doesn't eat heartily, full of cold or has sore throat or any other children's ailment, give a teaspoonful of "California Syrup of Figs," then don't worry, because it is perfectly harmless, and in a few hours all this constipation poison, sour bile and fermenting waste will gently move out of the bowels, and you have a well, playful child again. A thor ough "inside cleansing" is ofttimes all that is necessary. It should be the first treatment given in any sickness. Beware of counterfeit fig syrups. Ask at the store for a 50-cent bottle of "California Syrup of Figs," which has full directions for babies, children of all ages and for grown-ups plainly printed on the bottle. Adv. DOWN TO BASE OF SUPPLY Manager of Supply Company Forced to a Compromise With Receipt of Large Order. The tea companies were fighting each other for the trade of the town. The Bee Tea company gave premiums with each pound of tea, while the Gee Tea comlfany did not. The result was that the latter concern was being pushed to the wall. Finally the Gee Tea people realized that they must give premiums or quit. So. after careful consideration, they decided to give a quart of milk with! each pound of tea. Business picked up at once. "I understand you give a quart of milk with each pound of tea," said a lady one day. "Quite right," answered the mana ger. "Well, I'm Mrs. Ketchem of Holdem & Starvem. We operate a ,gring of ten boarding houses here. I want 150 pounds of tea. Do I get 150 quarts of milk?" "Why-er-I think so," stammered the manager. "Will you wait till I go back and look over the supply?" In a minute he came back. "Madam," he whispered, "I have fig i00 pounds of tea we can give you a cow." Her Travels. Two little Los Angeles girls were talking about the big cities of the United States. Rosie, whg had trav eled a great deal, and had been in many of these places, was telling Goldie about them, at the latter's re quest. "I want to go to Mexico very much," concluded Rosle. "I have never been out of the United States." "Haven't you?" asked Goldie, in tones of superior pity. "Why, I have. I have been in San Francisco and Ne braska." Limits in Literature. "You've read 'The Heavenly Twins?' asked an Englishman of an Irishman. "Yes, I have." "And the 'Sorrows of Satan?' " "Yes." "And you have read 'Looking Back ward?'" "How the devil could I do that?" asked Pat. KNOW NOW And Will Never Forget the Experience. The coffee drinker who has suffered and then been completely relieved by changing from coffee to Postum knows something valuable. There's no doubt about it. "I learned the truth about coffee in a peculiar way," says a California wom an, "My husband who has, for years, been of a bilious temperament decided to leave oft coffee and give Postum a trial, and as I did not want the trouble of making two beverages for meals £ concluded to try Postum, too. The re sults have been that while my husband has been greatly benefited, I have my self received even greater benefit. "When I began to drink Postum I was thin in fleshll and very nervous. Now I actually weigh 16 pounds more than I did at that time and I am stronger physically and in my nerves, while husband is free from all his pils. "We have learned our little lesson about coffee and we know something about Postum, too, for we have used Postum now steadily for the last three years and we shall continue to do so. "We have no more use for coffee the drug drink. We prefer Postum and health." Name given by Postum Co., Battle Creek, Mich. Read "The Road to Well ville," in pkgs. Postum comes in two forms: Regular Postum-must be well boiled. 15c and 25c packages. Instant Postum-is a soluble powder. A teaspoonful dissolves quickly in a Cup of hot water and, with cream and sugar, makes a delicious beverage In. stantly. 30c and 50c tins. The cost per cup of both kings is about the same. "There's a Reason" for Postum. --sold by Grocers.