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THE GUNMAKER i
OF AtOSCOW. |
SYLVANOS COBB, JR. 3
KWAmk VrttofeMk O
THWABtkh. cut not srm-OFT).
It was long nfter midnight, ?n8
yet the Widow Nevei had not
so^gM lier bed. She was now pac
ing to anil fro across her kitchen,
fed the boy Paul sat nodding in hi*
cl .tli. Suddenly the woman stup
1 d, and Paul -i n ? <1 up.
"l)o you think tiiat message was a
false one?'' she ngked, looking the
boy hi the fare.
"I don't know," he returned. "If
he game from the black monk, as ho
said he did, then I think he spoke
"Oh, they would not have de
"No, my mistress; I am sure they
"But it is very late."
"Hark! There are bells."
The widow heard them, and, with
a wildly fluttering hcawt, she sank
into A chair.
"They have stopped in front of
the house," uttered l'aul, whose ears
Paul started. The widow heard
the door opened, and she heard
voltes in the hull. In * moment
more the inner door was opened,
end she looked up. She saw a tnan
lv form; she heard the magic word
"Mother!" trembling upon the air.
With one low cry of joy she started
to her feet, and in the next moment
she was clasped to the bosom of her
"Did I not fell you I'd bring him
bask to you?" cried Vladimir, rub
bing his hands with joy.
"Oh, God b'es you, sir!" the wid
ow murmured, gazing through her
tears into the monk's fsee.
"So, so," returned the strange
man. "The blessing of an honest
6onl is reward enough for one night,
to I'll take myself oil for the pres
"No, no," cried Ruric. "You'll
remain here till morning."
But the monk could not lie pre
vailed upon so to do. He had busi
ness to attend to, and he could not
stop, and he hurried away as quickly
as possible to avoid the thanks that
were showered upon liirn.
After Vladimir was gone Ruric
sat down and related to his mother
all that had occurred since that day
on which he left her to go and see
the count. She trembled fearfully
m he related the diabolical attempts
that had been made upon him, and
when he had concluded she sat for a
few moments like one in a painful
"And do you think," she said at
length, while n cold shudder ran
through her frame, "that the Duke
of Tula was the cause of all this ?"
"1 am sure of it, mv mother."
"Then you are not sate yet."
"But I shall see the emperor."
"1 have seen him. my son."
"Ah! And what said he?"
"Why, he said if we could find out
who had done you harm he would
punish them. Then 1 asked him,
"Suppose it was a duke V and he said
in tliat case he should have to look
into the matter. Oh, 1 fear he would
not dare to punish the powerful
"Perhaps not, but yet, my moth
er, 1 will give him credit for tetter
things. Vet," the youth continued
in a sad tone, "there ie one for
whom I care more than self and
who is now within the wicked duke's
power. Oh. she is his beyond any
pdwer of the emperor!"
"Not absolutely beyond his pow
er, is she?" the mother asked.
"Why, of course, Peter haa tire
power to set aside any wardship, hut
'twould not te policy for him to in
terfere in the domestic affairs of his
j owerful nobles. 1 feel sure that
jiis heart would bid him interfere,
btw his judgment would oppose it.
Ytu have so. n Rosalind?"
"And w , i .nhappy when she
knew 'hat 1 v ,s t i-sing?"
"Ah, IIu V returned the moth
e.. with a b lit ? eye, "you do not
know how that noble girl loves you! |
Ob, her h . rt was almost broken j
when she km v that evil had tefall- !
en you 1"
The wi' v 1 1 it in her mind to
tell o,f tin oene v ,ich had transpir
ed upon the duke's coming into the |
maiden's pr< -once when 6hc w-as ]
il ? re, bu! thought a second time
ere she s; ' e. end she then conclud
ed not to rpsi of it at present, foi
she knew :! 1 only serve to give
her son i oional pain without be
stowing any benefit.
uttered Ruric at i
t! i end a ti bled reverie and at'
ti -a i ' - claeplaj his hands
v ? u.cii ?? together, "waa ever man,
in 'im : v impenetrable mys
nr i fi. ? i ii - monk is surely a
good Da; JIj has served me well,
slli would serve me |
more if opportunity ottered. Win
irlio is lie? life y >u found out nil*
thing concerning him?"
"4 hare not, my eon."
"Hut is it not strange ?"
And sothcv conversed u-ntal theii
drooping lida would no longer re
main apart, and then, having finet
rendered up their thanks to God and
asked his help for the future, they
retired to their respective places of
rost. Ituric had strange dreams, and
for the life of him he could not tell
whether they were good or bad.
Once he dreamed that he was a duke
himself and that he had a wife
whose face he had never seen. She
would not raise her veil until the j
ceremony was performed. Then she
removed the obstruction, and ituric
started on beholding the face of
Vladimir, the monk! And then
Vladimir seemed to say, "All this 1
1 have done for thee. Do you like
it?" And Ruric dared not object,
bccuuse Vladimir had done so much
And now while Ruric awakes j
<rom his dreams and wonders wlrnt
they mean let us look in and see
what is going on in the ducal palace.
It was early morning, and the \
Duke of Tula was once irvore in his
own private apartment. lie had not
slept well, for he, too, had had
dreams, and they were troublesome
ones. They hung about him even
now, and they filled his mind with |
dark and gloomy forebodings. lie
paced to and fro across the apart
ment, sometimes stopping and bow
ing his head and then starting on
again with new clouds upon his
brow. Thus he walked and pondered
until he was aroused by a stealthy
footfall close bv the door. He stop
ped and listened, lie knew the step.
'Twas the one lie had been waiting j
for. He moved to the door and
opened it, and the humpbacked |
priest, Savotano, entered the apart
"By St. Paul, Savotano, I feared
you would never come," the duke
uttered as his workman closed the
door behind him.
"I would have come sooner if I
could, my lord, but even now it is
early morning. The sun is hardly
above the city walls."
"Well, it is early, I know, but I
have not slept'well."
"I have not slept at all, my lord."
"No, Savotano. Von look worn
and weary. But you have been at
"Ave; I have."
"And you have come to tell me j
the result of that work. ? Does it
move you so to do such work ? 1
thought you were used to it ?"
The priest gassed into his master's
face, but he did not speak.
"Hah!" uttered Olga contemptu
ously. "What is the killing of a
man? But tell me, did you conceal
the body so that no one will find
It was some moments before Sa
votano spoke. His frame trembled,
and his hands worked nervously to
gether. Rut at length be said in a
"He is Dot dead, my lord."
"Not dead yet? But you promis
ed me he should be."
"1 know, but we could not do it."
"Bah ! 1 gave you credit for more
firmness. Not kill a man? What is
there so terrible in that ?"
"You misunderstood me, my lord.
We did all we could toward killing
him, but he escaped us."
"Hold!" cried the duke, starting
forward and grasping the priest by
the shoulder. "You do not mean
that Ruric Nevel has escapdd you?"
"He has, my lord."
"But not entirely. You do not
mean that he has fairly gone from
out your hands?"
"He has, my lord. But listen"?
"Listen, thou bungler! By the
saints, what story can you tell to
make that smooth and reasonable?
You had him in your power, and you
should have kept him."
"But, my lord, the devil himself
is working for that man. We went j
last night to kill the fellow, and 1 }
waited all of two hours for Totina
and Viska, but the rascals did not
come, and 1 engaged others."
"And did they prove treacher
ous?" cried Olga in sudden passion.
"No, my lord; they did their best,
but thev were interrupted bv that
accursed monk, who came bucked by
some dozen men."
"What! Do you mean that Vladi
mir came there?"
"And with a band of armed
"Then, by the gods, there's
"1 know not what to think, mv
lord," returned Suvotano in Hn un
easy, perplexed tone. "The only
men who are absent are I.esko Tot
ma and Frederic Viska, and they arc
surely our best men."
"But you see plainly that there
must have been treachery," exclaim
ed the duke passionately. "Oh, how
I would like to know the man I And
did this monk carry off the gun
"lie did. And Le captured four i
of our men. I escaped without be
'"That is for? unate"?
"I mean tliat I lie monk did not
see inc. nor did aiiv of his followers.
Rut lie gunmaker muv ma"
'Ami ilo vou ll iiik he mistrusted |
you hud any h.i.-J in the matter -of
"1 siAiuld jst! :o so," r-'turncd the
pri'-t, willi 11 | ecu liar twinge of
vengeance about the lips. '"The vil
lain knocked n;e down.
"Ave; the moment he raw me."
"But do you think he knows any
thing about it ?"
"No. 1 do not think he does. lie
can only suspect."
"Then we'll be prepared for hiin j
if your own men are to be depended
upon. But leave that to ine. I'll fix
that matter with the emperor. I'll
see him this very day, and be sure he
shall have a story that ean destroy
all evidence which these fellows can
"But I must flee, my lord."
"Not yet, Savotano. 1 must have
yoirr help with in n very short time.
Bv the true (iod, I swear that the
Countess Rosalind Valdai shall be
mv wife within the present week.
I'll place tire seal of fact upon that
matter at once. Fear not, for 1
know iny influence over the emperor
will shield you from al'l harm. Why,
Peter would sooner lose his right
hand than lose roc."
"Then most surely I will remain,
my lord, for 1 much wish to perform
that ceremony for you. But who is
this black monk?this Vladimir?"
The duke started across the floor,
and for some moments lie continued
pacing to and fro. When he stop
ped, he brought his hands together
with an energetic movement, and,
looking the priest sternly in the
face, he said:
"Let that monk be who he may,
whether man or devil, God or saint.
I'll destroy him! I have the power,
and I'll use it. As warden of the city
I have the power to arrest him upon
suspicion of conspiracy. I'll do it!
Where is he now ?"
"1 know not."
"Never mind; I'll to the emperor
first. I'll study my p'an, and ere the
sun sets it shall he carried out. By
heavens, I'll he Ladled thus no more.
I could have wished that this gun
maker had been quietly out of the
way, for then all would have been
clear and plain, and I should not
have feared the trouble of his clam
oring about my ears. But let him
go. 1 would not give much for the
life he has left. I'll dispose of him
soon. But that monk I By heavens,
he dies at once and without consul
tation with the emperor, for I can
swear he is a conspirator."
"Good!" ejaculated the priest.
And thus the business was ar
ranged for the present. Passion
helped the duke wondrously in his
conclusions, and the wish was made
into the power. But even before
the priest left the stout nobleman
began to wish that he had a very lit
tle more power. In fact, as he came
to reason he began to doubt, but he
gave up not one idea of the plan he
had formed for the vengeance his
soul so madly craved.
TRANSACTIONS OF A NIGHT.
"I dare not! Oh. I dare not1"
"But it is your only hope."
"And whither shall we go?"
"Anywhere rather than remain
here. Oh, my mistress, if you do
stay here you know the fate which
awaits you. There is no other
means of escape from the wicked
"And I must thus east myself
among strangers, lose my all of
"Hold, Rosalind 1 By St. Paul,
there is surely one in Moscow who
will help you! I*et us go to the em
peror. Oh, if he be the man I have
heard, he will surely listen 1"
"Ah, Zenobie, the duke is high in
power, and his influence is great at
court. Peter would not dare to
"It may be so, but I do not believe
it. And yet, my mistress,-just think
for one moment how you stand in
that respect. You have nothing to
lose. This life of earth, with all its
pains and sorrows and with it - most
exquisite tortures, holds nothing
worse for you within the bounds of
possibility than to become the
duke's wife. If there were but one |
chance in the thousand, you had !
belter try it. Remembe r, you can
not possibly lose anything, but the
chances are for you. Let us go to
"But how. Zenobie?"
"This evenin". after the darkness
of night ha? gu;!n i, J over the city,
let us go. I t<'.! vui ! do no: believe
the emperor will d iibc-itelv s ilr; r
a great wrong to il for the
sake of pacifying the d :ke lie hus
more nobic indepen! are than
The young countess did not an
swer at once. She pressed her small !
white hand hard upo,n her brow, and
thus she remained for some time
buried in profound thought At |
?II ?!:? r I her head, and the
: re of i . [ci iii.1.1! i'lii was in her eye.
"I v.. ' ^ 1." she said. "I* will go
? lie wiR help me if
el * a I 11 un li irt."
"Vn.i one satisfaction, my
listp * ? in <ai !.<?! harm yuu."
"I mean that you can, but be made
to marry with 01;: . and all other
harm would be as 110 hing compared
"Aye; you are r'-M, "enobie. We
will go this very r i ht."
The more Rosalind pondered up
on this new resolve the more hope
did she derive from it. Ere long she
conversed more freely with her at
tendant, and at times that old smile
would struggle for a moment upon
her face. Yet she had gloomy mo
ments too. Her fear was too deeply
fixed to be swept away so easily.
Hie afternoon passed away, and
as the shades of night gathered over
the great city the two girls were
astir. Zenobie gathered together
such articles of clothing as would he
needed and then proceeded to pre
pare her mi.-dress for the adventure.
"Fear not," she said as she drew
on Rosalind's robe of fur, "for there
can be 110 danger worse than that we
flee from. Try only to remember
that you floe from the duke's foul
This served to nerve the fair
young countess up to the task, and
her frame ceased its trembling.
"I shall not falter now," she said.
"Hut shall we find the emperor at
this late hour?"
"Bless me, 'tis not late! But even
if we do not see him tonight we can
do it in the morning. We shall find
plenty in the imperial palace who
will shelter us till then."
The girls were now ready, and all
that remained was to start on their
strange mission. With noiseless
steps they left the apartment where
they hail dressed and proceeded
along the corridor to the great stair
case. Zenobie knew there would be
less danger there than to go down
the other way among the servants.
Having descended these stairs, they
came to the great hall which opened
one way into the saloons. They
took the former course and were
soon in the court. The only trouble
now was in passing the porter's
lodge at the gate, for they knew the
great gate was not open, and to gain
the street they must pass through
the room where the porter always
staid. Zenobie went ahead and look
ed in. The porter sat by the fire
playing with his dog.
"My mistress," whispered the girl
as she came hack, "old John is in the
lodge, and we need have no fear. He
is a simple, good natured fellow, and
I ain sure I can get by him. Do you
go in advance; cover up your face;
don't look at him, and be sure you
don't tremble. Leave it all to me.
Rfmember, now, you have"?
"Fear not, Zenobie. Go on."
So on they went, and when they
reached the lodge lb>salind went in
first and stood by the wicket, while
Zenobie followed and opened the
door that looked into the porter's
"Good John," ?he uttered in anx
ious tones, "come and open the wi<!k
et for me, quick. My good mistress
is very ill, and Tilda and I are going
for the doctor. Come; be quick."
"But why don't some of the men
go?" asked John as he started up
and forced his dog back.
"Because 'twould take them lon
ger to do the errand than 'twill us.
But don't detain us. We shan't be
The honest porter had orders not
to allow the countess to pass out,
but he thought not of that now.
He had known the gentle girl from
a child, and so well did he love her
that he might not have stopped her
even had he known she was then
waiting to pass out. At all events,
he could not refuse the present re
quest, so he came out and opened
tlfe wicket without further ques
tion, and the girls passed through.
"Now, now," uttered Zenobie in
nervous haste, "we are clear of the
palace. Here is the street. Our
walk is not long."
Rosalind answered not; but. draw
ing her robe more closelv about her
to keep out the cold, biting wind,
she hastened along by the side of
her companion. Hope was now alive
wi'hin her. She turned one glance
behind her, and she could see the
.?g!:. which she had left burning in
Iter chamber. It seemed at that mo
ment to !>e the ficrv eye of a demon
gazing after her, and in-tinqtively
-he quickened her pi: c.
Twice during the day did tlse
Jtuke of Tula call at the imperial
I a'.ace without b ing ab'c to find the
emperor, but in the evening he was
mere for; , c.t'" The <1 peror was
ru, an J tilga ?j.- ii'.milled Ht. once
to his pre.-i r.oc.
"Well, niv 'oid ?! ' iid Pi'ter
as Oiga upproHi "it business
calls you from home it tin- hour?"
"Business of im .. ru m e, sire?
business of less num. ut to me tiiun
to the state."
Onlv two attendants were with
the emperor. one of whom ifns t>
metriu.i Hftv Greet. ami the place of
audit nc< was in one of llie private
^ttr: nr iTf- agar the Utlel.aiula'r.
where o^ili [>r?iloged ones were e\er
Eiltrnvetl o i'mne.
"tiire,' tai'nit need the dube,
?you remember the gimnmkorwho
was before )xwi sot long since?"
"Ah, yea?the arte wbo nxrk my
Greek's swwrti from liim?"
"The same, sire. Have you heard
from him aince?"
"By my soul, Olga, I had well
nigh forgotten the fellow. \ es,
yes; I remenrtier him well now. He
was a right stout knave."
"Aye, and a dangerous erne, too,
sire?a dangerous man," said the
duke, with a dubious 3hake of his
"Ah! WTiat has he done?"
"Why, he has been engaged in va
rious robberies to my certain knowl
edge, and only a few evenings since
he knocked dawn one of our holy
priests and robbed him of all he
had. He is at the head of a numer
ous band of desperadoes."
"Is it possible?"
"I know; ft, 6ire."
"By St. l'aul, I should not have
"Nor wfiild I have believed it, '
sire, had 1 not received proofs not :
to he quesHoned. I, as is my ditty,
have long been anxious to ferret out 1
this gang of robbers"?
"But I never heard of them, 01- '
ga," interrupted Peter.
"Ah, sire, because I gave direc
tion that you should not he troubled
with the alfair. But 1 have them 1
now. It is only last evening that I
got a clew uyion them. We found i
them in an old building near the
river her.' in the Kremlin, and this i
same Iturie Nevel was with them. 1
But he made his escape."
"I do retnember me now that the :
fellow lrarf a bold hearing and a
fearless look," said the emperor half j
to himself, "and if such a man turns
villain tlfcre must be danger in it."
"Aye, sire, you speak truly, and
now, with your order, I can appre
hend the feliow at once."
"I can send and have it done, my
"But your officers may not find I
him. I know where he is and can
have him taken at once. He has j
several hiding places."
"Well, then you might do the |
work with more advantage."
"Aye, and I can have him tried j
and "disposed of without further
trouble to you, sire."
"No, no, I wish to see him," re
turned the emperor. "I will give
you the nesessitry order, and you
may bring him here."
Peter then turned to his secreta
ry and balls him fill an order for Ru
ffe N evel's arrest. The stout mas
ter at arms looked on with a trou
bled countenance, and his glances
toward the duke were anything but
loving. He did not seem to relish
the business at all, and the expres
sion of his countenance would seem
to indicate that he did not believe
all that th.e duke had said.
However, the order was soon i
made out and in the duke's posses
"Remember," said Peter, "you
will bring him before me."
"You shall be obeyed, sire."
If the emperor did not notice
the strange, dark look of the duke 1
m he turned away, the Greek did,
and he fancied, too, that he knew
what it meant. But he said nothing
Olga bowed low ta he clutched the ,
order, and, having once more prom
ised obedience, ha hurried from the
imperial presence. As he passed
out through the aide court he walk
ad slowly ahd t ho eight fully and with
his head bowed. But soon he start
ed up, his hands came together with
an emphatic movement, and lie mov
ed on more quickly. He had gained
the street and approached a small
oourt within which stood a house
f>f enter?mtiment, where he stopped.
In a few moments more a man came
out from the inn, and as soon as he
had satisfied himself that the new
comer was fhe duke he spoke.
"Olga, m't you ?"
It netfded but a 6inglc glance in
the dim starlight to recognize the
form of the humpbacked priest. He
walked quickly to where the duke
stood, and the two moved off to
"Now what luck?" Savotaflo ask
ed as the gained the street once
"Good?as good as I could even
hope," returned the duke. "I have
the powr for arresting the gun
"And for executing him ?"
"It amounts to the same. 1 am
ordered to bring him before the em
peror, but that is easily managed."
Here the duke stopped and gazed
about him, and then, bending his
head so that no word could possibly
pass beyond his companion's ears,
"You can call upon three of your
best men,and I can furnish two from
among my own servants. Early in
the morning, by the time the sun is
up, tney must oa at tne gunmaaers
dvqllini;. Thcv must make him un
,jfv?of course he will resist?and
tlven kill him. It is very cni'ple-?
very. Thev cun easily <Ii>|m11*hr hiin
thus, ami then we have only to (fell
the emperor tllal he resisted the im
perial authority even unto deittti.
So, you see, this is even better th^n
it would have been had I received
direct authority for his death, for
then some form of trial would have
been necessary, but now we have
only to go to his house, provoke him
tp quarrel, kill him and then tell
the emperor how it happened. What
"Why," returned the priest, with
a wicked chuckle, "I can only say
that Master Nevel is done for?he is
a dead man."
"Exactly. Nothing could be bet
After the explanation of thia
fiendish, hellish scheme the two
walkgd on some distance in silence.
"Stop!" uttered the duke, catch
ing hrs companion by the arm,
"'] nere come two persons this way.
We must not meet them. Hece?
into this passage?quick!"
It was a narrow, dark passage
leading U> the next street, into
which the duke dragged his compan
ion, and here he meant to remain
until the two persons had passed.
The fact was the duke did not wish
to be seen with the priest at that
hour in the street, and it is no mat
ter of surprise that he should at
that moment have been influenced
by guilty fear. The two pedestrians
came on and passed the spot where
(he men stood. They were females,
and one of them the priest saw in
the face. The features were upturn
ed to the 6tarlight, and he recogniz
ed them. He caught the duke quick
ly and nervously by the arm.
"By the host of heaven," he whis
pered, " 'twas the countess!"
"Rosalind ?" gasped Olga.
"Yes, as sure as death!"
"Then come, quick!"
Savotano understood the mean
ing of this, and he followed the duke
quickly out. At a few bounds Olga
reached the females, and one of
them he caught by the arm. She
uttered a sharp, quick cry, and as
she turned her face up she revealed
the fair features of the Countess
Rosalind Valdai. The priest had no
need to stop the other girl, for she
stopped of her own accord as soon
as she found that her mistress was
"Aha!" Olga uttered when he saw
that pale face. "What now, eh?
Where are you bound at this un
U uoa v it was all tne poor girl
could utter. She taw the dark face
of her hated and feared guardian,
ond the last glimmer of hope faded
from her goul.
"By my soul," the duke resumed,
fastening his grip surely upon the
maiden's arm, "it is fortunate 1 have
found you, for you might have fall
en into difficulty else. You were
bound for the imperial palace, eh ?"
At first Rosalind thought of
struggling for escape, but she lelt
the strong grip upon her arm, and
she knew that such a movement
could result only in her own harm.
"Say," repeated the duke, "were
you not bound for the palace ?"
"Aye, proud duke, 1 was," the
countess replied, gazing up into the
man's face. "I was trying to es
cape from your accursed power P*
Aha! But come; we'll turn to
ward home^ You'll be better off
there. Ana this is our little Zeno
bie, is it ?"
The attendant looked up, but she
made no reply. Then Olga turned
to the priest.
"Savo'tano, hurry off your men in
the morning, and then come to me.
I'll have work for you tomorrow.
By St. Paul, the work delays no
And then, with a sinking, break
ing heart, Rosalind Valdai was led
back toward the ducal palace.
TO UK CONTINUED.
>,*7'r- I ?,
Butcher?Are you sure that your
mother said a pound of the toughest
Rtcak i have In my shop?
"Yes, 'cos father he's got poor teeth,
and If I takes back tender steak he'll
eat the lot, but If It's tough the rest
on us will 'ave a chance of getting
The Herald and HomcS Farm
">np year for $1.25.