He was pale and trembling, and he glared wildly about, as though expecting to see the ghosts of his victims, or the real return of Batavsky to drag him down, as he had done in that awful dream.
"Have you any further orders, sir?"
"No; but stay—come to me again just before dark—I may want you," said Kanoffskie, hesitatingly.
"Very well," replied Barnwell, bowing himself from the room.
He understood very well that the iron had entered the tyrant's heart, and he resolved to work upon it.
That terrible dream was not all for nothing, even though he did not believe in dreams, and the young American made up his mind to humor the man, and see what would come of it in the future.
Barnwell mingled with his fellow-servants in the hospital, and answered their questions regarding Batavsky.
Concluding that it was best to humor the prevailing idea, he half-way admitted that the old man belonged to a noble family, and that he had been given a Christian burial at the instigation of the Czar himself.
This, of course, produced food for comment and controversy for a long time, during which Barnwell, now able to speak the Russian language, was able to converse and to learn much.
The short days of Siberia give one but a moment's warning between daylight and total darkness, and although this is not known or felt away down in the gold-mines, where they work from four o'clock in the morning until ten o'clock at night—where night and day are all the same to the poor victims—those on the surface of the earth understand that when the sun goes down darkness follows, save when the Aurora Borealis comes with its weird light to illuminate the frozen world of Siberia.
Kanoffskie waited with impatience.
Somehow or other this young American had wormed himself into his cold and beastly nature, and even exercised more influence over him than he knew of.
Darkness came on, and Barnwell went to his master, as ordered.
He found him pacing his office in a highly nervous state.
"I am here, surgeon," said Barnwell.
"Stay here. Do not leave me," said the surgeon, with a sigh.
"I will do so, sir," replied Barnwell. "You seem nervous."
"No, well—you saw him decently buried?" he asked, stopping before Barnwell.
"And there was a prayer said over him?"
"Yes, by the chaplain from the government house," said Barnwell.
"And you buried him deep?"
"Fully five feet underground."
"That is well. And a prayer was said?"
Kanoffskie seemed entirely at sea.
"Will you retire, sir?"
"No, I shall remain here all night, and you will remain with me," replied Kanoffskie, timidly.
"But you will not sleep in your chair?"
"Yes, and so must you. But he had Christian burial?" he asked, anxiously.
"Yes, everything was all right."
"Thank goodness! But that dream troubles me, Barnwell," said he.
"Let it not, my dear sir—it was only a dream."
"But the coincidence!"
"True, it is a strange one; but only think, my dear sir, how many dreams you might have—many dreams you have had, or may have hereafter, in which there has been, and will be, no coincidence. It is merely a happen-so, my dear sir."
"No—no, Barnwell. I cannot believe it. But I feel better now that he has had a Christian burial, and you assure me that a holy prayer was said over his dead body."
"Rest assured on that point, sir."
"But it was such a dreadful dream."
"So I grant you, sir."
"And happening just at the moment of old Batavsky's death!"
"As I said before, simply a coincidence."
"Oh, if I could only think so! Light the lamps."
"Yes, sir," and he at once proceeded to light a chandelier of oil-lamps.
The gloom of coming night had weighed upon him, but now that there was light in the room, he felt better, and more composed, but still ill at ease.
Finally he fell asleep, but it was long past midnight, and after he had gone through with all sorts of mental misery, and then Barnwell ventured to sleep himself.
But it was a wild sleep that came to him, for all that he had passed through during the day had so wrought up his feelings that it was next to impossible for him to sleep.
But both of them got gradually quieted down, and slept, one an honest man, and the other a rascal, and for an hour or more they kept it up, until Kanoffskie again fell into a nightmare.
Barnwell was awakened.
"Help! help! Take him away!" cried Kanoffskie, in his sleep. "No, no! do not let him drag me down to that pit! I know it, I know it, but do not let him drag me down! I repent!"
And much more he said that Barnwell was perforce obliged to listen to, and of course he could not sleep.
But the night went on, and finally the doctor awoke.
He glared wildly around.
"Have you slept all night?" was the first question he asked, looking at Barnwell.
"No, doctor; you kept me awake."
"In what way?"
"You were talking in your sleep, sir."
"Indeed; what did I say?"
"Your mind seemed to be on old Batavsky."
"Did I mention his name?"
"No, sir, not directly; but you recalled portions of your horrible dream."
"Did I?" and he fell to musing.
Nothing further happened at this time, but the next day Kanoffskie visited the governor, who was startled by his altered appearance, and at once inquired the meaning of it.
"Your Excellency, I am not well. I am overworked, and have come to ask you to grant me a year's leave of absence," replied Kanoffskie.
"You certainly do look ill, doctor, but who can fill your place in the interim?"
"Waskoff is fully competent, sir."
"Very well, then; I will appoint him to fill your place for a year," replied the governor, writing the order.
"Thanks, your Excellency. And may I take a servant along with me, for I am not able to travel so far alone."
"Yes; but on arriving at St. Petersburg, report the fact and the servant's number to the Prefect of Police."
"I shall obey you, sir."
"When do you propose to set out?"
"By the next convoy."
"Very well, but let me see you again before you start, for I have several private commissions which I wish you to undertake for me."
"With the greatest pleasure, Excellency."
"And I trust you will return in better health, and well rested."
"I hope so, sir," replied Kanoffsky, bowing himself from the room.
He was indeed a changed man, and the governor did not fail to notice it, as did others who noticed him.
Some of the old hospital inmates whom he had abused at various times, as he had the dead Batavsky, said among themselves that the spirits of his dead victims were haunting him, which was pretty nearly the truth.
And to get away from them was, now that he had received leave of absence, what now urged him in the preparations.
He dared not encounter those horrible dreams again.
KANOFFSKIE AND HIS SERVANT.
"Barnwell, come here," said the miserable surgeon. "I have obtained leave of absence, and shall set out for St. Petersburg at once, taking with me a servant. Now make haste with my packing."
"Going to take a servant with you?" asked the young American, anxiously.
"Oh, will you take me?"
"Yes, I shall take you. But why do you manifest so much anxiety?"
"Well, sir, I think it only natural that I should do so. I abhor this place, as you must know, and even a temporary change would be agreeable, and make me more reconciled to my fate when I return with you."
"But I may not return at all."
"And, Providence keeping me, I will not," thought Barnwell.
"If I can get the ear of the Czar, and his favor, I shall never return to this accursed place," said Kanoffskie, shuddering.
"I do not blame you for not wishing to."
"But on arriving at St. Petersburg I must report to the Prefect of Police, and procure a permit from him to retain a convict as my servant."
"Your number and personal description will have to agree with your sentence and commitment, and ever after that, while you remain, you will be under police surveillance."
"True, I dare say."
"So you must not become elated with the idea of liberty."
"No; but it will be such a change, my dear sir, and I am so thankful to you for taking me. I will be a true and faithful servant to you."
"Did I not think so I certainly should not take you, and any attempt on your part to escape would not only consign you to the mines for life, but very likely get me into serious trouble also."
"I shall not forget it, sir."
"Very well. Now, set at work without delay and get my effects boxed up," said Kanoffskie, going from the room.
Collecting Kanoffskie's effects took Barnwell to various places, and among others to the governor's palace.
Here he encountered Zora Vola, the girl whose knouting he had witnessed and resented.
It appeared that the governor had inquired into her case after the occurrence, and had taken her to the palace laundry.
The recognition was mutual and instant.
Just then she chanced to be alone, and she sprang joyfully towards him.
"Oh, sir, I am so glad of an opportunity to speak with you, and to thank you, as I have so often done in my prayers, for shielding me from those cruel thongs," said she earnestly.
"I would that I could do even more than that for you," said he, taking her hands.
"You are not a Russian?"
"No. I have learned the language because it may assist me, not becausse I love it," said he bitterly.
"Then you are not a Nihilist?"
"No, only in heart."
"How long were you sent here for?"
"Goodness only knows."
"And for what, pray?"
"For nothing wrong. I am an American, but was foolish enough, supposing I was doing no harm, to bring a letter from New York to St. Petersburg to Prince Mastowix."
"The wretch! I know him well," said she bitterly.
"But he was somehow caught in his own trap and afterwards executed, though not until he had sent me here, fearing, probably, that I knew the contents of the fatal letter."
"And what brings you here?" he asked.
"I am a Nihilist, and was betrayed with others by that same Mastowix, who claimed to be one of us, and here I am for life," she added.
"What a shame. The conduct of Russian tyrants produces the very enemies they try to exterminate."
"Yes, and we shall never get away from this frozen world until the Nihilists have their heels upon the tyrants' necks.
"It would seem so. But I am going to St. Petersburg to-morrow."
"To St. Petersburg?" she asked, eagerly.
"Yes. Dr. Kanoffskie is going on a leave of absence, and I am going with him as his valet."
"To dear old St. Petersburg! Oh, how I wish I could see it once more! Stay, will you take a letter to my brother there?"
"I have it here. It was written nearly a year ago, and I have carried it in my bosom, hoping to find some way of sending it to him. Tell him how it is with me here, and he will bless you for the message."
"But, come to think of it, would it not be better for both your brother and myself if I simply took a verbal message from you to him? I shall be under the police eye all the time, and the letter might be found and get us both into trouble."
"Yes, you are right," she said, after a moment's reflection, and then she told him the message she would have him deliver.
Then, receiving his address, he charged his mind with it, and started to go.
"One moment more; tell me your name, that I may remember and pray for you always," she said, appealingly.
"William Barnwell; and yours?"
"I shall not forget it."
"As I shall never forget yours."
"I have hopes, Zora, and if I ever live to realize them, you shall benefit thereby."
"God bless and keep you, sir!"
"And may He give you heart and hope in your misery," replied he, again shaking her hands and returning to the hospital.
The next day Kanoffskie and his valet started with the government train that makes that terrible journey from St. Petersburg to Siberia twice every year, and at the end of three months they reached the capitol.
And, oh, what a relief it was to Barnwell, who had all but given up the hope of ever seeing a semblance of civilization again. How his heart thrilled as he nursed his hopes!
Kanoffsky seemed greatly altered, although for the past two months he had lost much of the nervousness produced by old Batavsky's death, as though from leaving the scene of it further and further behind.
His confidence in Barnwell seemed to grow stronger every day; but, on arriving at St. Petersburg, he obeyed the governor's instructions relative to reporting to the prefect of police, without an hour's loss of time.
This he did as a measure of personal safety as much as for his promptness in obeying orders, for he was determined to keep himself entirely above police suspicion.
Should he fail to do so, and it should come to the ears of the authorities, it might not only annul his leave of absence, but get him into other difficulty.
He had made up his mind never to return to his post of duty, and if he could not bring influence enough to bear upon the minister of war to get him another assignment, he resolved to take advantage of his year's leave of absence and escape the empire.
He took lodgings in a respectable quarter; and Barnwell enacted the part of a valet there with even greater perfection than he had while journeying from Siberia.
But he was watching his opportunities, knowing that he was a marked man with the police, and known to every member of it.
The first thing to do was to insure confidence in Kanoffskie and the police, and this he exerted himself to do, feeling certain that the time would come before the year was up for him to carry out his plans.
With Kanoffskie it was an easy matter, and as he was a government officer against whom there was no suspicion, Barnwell was allowed greater latitude on that account.
So, one day, after they had been in St. Petersburg about a month, he managed while carrying a message for Kanoffskie, to get near the official residence of the American minister, over which the Stars and Stripes of the great republic floated proudly. It thrilled him to the heart as he once more beheld that ensign of liberty, and, suddenly changing his direction, he rushed into the building and demanded to see the representative of the United States.
An attendant directed him to that officer's chamber, just as two officers of the police, who had observed his movements, entered the outer room.
"You, sir, are the American minister?" said Barnwell, rushing hurriedly into his presence.
"I am. What do you wish?"
"I claim the protection due to an outraged citizen of the United States."
"Who are you?"
"William Barnwell. My name is on your books, and you personally saw my passport."
At that moment the Russian officers entered.
"Ah! I defy you now! The Stars and Stripes once more wave above me!" shouted Barnwell, as the officers approached him.
A FREE MAN ONCE MORE.
"Stand aside, officers, until I investigate this case," said the American minister, in a tone of command that the tyrannical minions of the law knew too much to disobey, for at that time the United States and Russia were on exceedingly friendly terms.
"Now, what is your story?" he asked, turning to young Barnwell.
"It is this, sir," he answered, and thereupon he proceeded to give the representative of his native land the history of his case, so well known to the reader.
It was a startling story of cruel outrage, as we all know, and the recital of it made the minister very indignant.
Turning to the officers, he said:
"You can shadow this man if you think it your duty, but you must not arrest or interfere with him in any way while he is under the protection of the American flag. I shall take him at once before the prime minister," and without loss of time he proceeded to do so.
He was instantly admitted to the august presence of that high functionary, where the story was again told and verified.
The minister of state was astounded, both at the audacity of the outrage and the fact of his being a victim of Prince Mastowix, the very letter he had innocently brought being the one that sealed the traitor's fate.
The whole business was confirmed by Tobasco, the police spy, who secured the letter and gave it to the prefect of police.
Search was at once made for the passport and money belonging to Barnwell, and after a deal of red tape had been unwound the property was found and restored to him.
And not only that, but the Russian prime minister ordered him to be paid five thousand rubles for indemnity, and the American minister rendered a most abject apology for the the outrage.
This was followed at once by orders from the prefect of police to all his subordinates touching Barnwell's case; espionage was withdrawn, his "Number" obliterated from the secret records, and in a short time he was one of the freest men in the Russian empire.
In justice to Surgeon Kanoffskie, he cleared him of all complicity in the matter, although he promptly withdrew, of course, from the menial attitude he had so long occupied towards him, and which had enabled him to escape.
Yes, he was a free man once more, and had, through the dictates of his country, been the recipient of an apology almost from the throne. Yet all this did not efface the cruel stripes left by the knout, or efface from his heart the wrong and misery he had endured.
Indeed, he felt quite as bitter towards the tyrannical government as ever, and there was awful bitterness in his heart.
A few days after regaining his rights, he remembered Zora Vola and the message he had agreed to carry to her brother, and without loss of time set about finding him, a task he soon found to be an exceedingly difficult one, on account of his being known to the police as an active and a dangerous Nihilist.
Nor was this all. After spending a whole week without finding him, he became convinced that he, as well as other Nihilists, had other names than, their own, by which they were known only to undoubted and trusted ones of the mysterious brotherhood.
This discouraged him to such a degree that he was on the point of giving up the task and resuming his own greater one—that of securing the million rubles secreted so many years ago by Batavsky.
But so perfect and secret is the Nihilist organization in the larger cities of Russia, that they employ spy for spy with the government, and their enemies are watched as carefully as they are themselves, which, in a measure, accounts for their great success and the infrequency of their being detected.
In this way it became known to Vola that an American was seeking him under his real name, and a spy was at once put upon his track to learn about him.
This, of course, he did not know. Indeed, he had at one time made inquiries of this very same spy regarding the object of his search, but, although questioned closely, he would reveal nothing relating to his business.
Finally Vola, being convinced that the man seeking him was not an enemy, nor in any way employed by the authorities met him purposely one day at his hotel—the very day, in fact, on which he had concluded to abandon the search.
He approached and addressed him in Russian, which by this time Barnwell understood quite well, as the reader must know, and asked him the direction to a certain street.
"I am a stranger here," replied Barnwell, "but would gladly direct you if I could. Most likely the men at the hotel office can direct you," he added, politely.
"Ah, thank you; but I would not like to inquire of them for the person I am in search of," and looking around, as if to make sure that he was not likely to be observed or overheard, he lowered his voice, and added: "I am in search of a man by the name of Vola."
Barnwell leaped to his feet.
"Peter Vola?" he asked.
"Hush! The same. Do you know him?"
"Yes, if I could but find him. It is remarkable," mused Barnwell.
"What is remarkable?"
"Why, that I have been unsuccessfully searching for a man by that name for a week."
"Do you know him?"
"I do not."
"Have you business with him?"
"No; but I have a message for him."
"Indeed; from whom, pray?"
"Pardon me, that is my business and his."
"Pardon me also, for asking the question. But if I can find direction to the street I asked you about, I can present you to him," said the stranger, who was a distinguished-looking man, about fifty years of age.
"You would greatly oblige me by doing so."
"Wait a moment; perhaps that dismounted cossack can direct me," saying which, he followed the soldier into the cafe.
There was a crowd in there, and Barnwell would have been puzzled to see whether the stranger actually spoke with the soldier; but after a minute or so he returned.
"I have learned it. Follow me," said he, turning from the room.
Barnwell did as directed, and together they walked three or four squares, and then turned into a side street.
A short distance down it he found the number, and knocked upon the door in a curious sort of manner, and presently it was opened by an attendant.
"Show me Vola's chamber," said the man, in a low tone of voice, and the attendant conducted them to it.
"Remain here a moment, and I will bring him before you," said the stranger, pointing to a chair that stood in the plainly-furnished room.
Being left alone, Barnwell could but reflect upon the strangeness of the stranger's behavior, for, indeed, he did not seem like a stranger there at all.
At the expiration of five minutes the door opened, and, apparently, another person entered the room.
"I am told you are in search of one Peter Vola," said he, taking a seat in front of him.
"I am, and have been for several days," replied Barnwell.
"What do you wish with him?"
"That is his business and mine, sir."
"Indeed? Might I ask what it relates to?"
"You might, indeed, but I should not inform you unless you were Peter Vola."
"But do you not know that he is hunted by the police, and that it is positively dangerous on your part to be even inquiring for him?"
"I was not aware of it, sir."
"But it is a fact, nevertheless."
"I am sorry to know that. But I am a stranger here."
"I observe that you are not a Russian."
"No, I am an American just discharged from Siberia."
"Siberia!" exclaimed the man, starting.
"Yes; I agreed to deliver a letter, of which I knew nothing, to Prince Mastowix, from Paul Zobriskie, of New York."
"Yes. He accosted me on the steamer as I was about to sail and asked me to deliver the letter, which I did, and fearing probably that because I was not a Nihilist that I might betray him, he had me arrested and sent to Siberia, where I suffered the tortures of the damned for more than a year, until chance took me here again, as the valet of a surgeon on leave of absence, when I managed to escape long enough to reach the American minister, who quickly secured my liberation, together with an official apology and indemnity."
"You astonish me, sir."
"But I am telling you too much, perhaps."
"No, you are not, young man, for I am Peter Vola," said the man, leaping to his feet and extending his hand, "I am the same man who accosted and conducted you hither, for I have had a spy on your track ever since you imprudently inquired for me. But I feel that I can trust you."
"You can. I am not a Nihilist in form, but I am one at heart, and will yet make these despots feel what I have undeservedly felt," said he, vehemently.
"Good. We need you. But you spoke of a message you had for me."
"Whom do you think?" asked Barnwell, resolved to put a final test to the man's identity.
"Perhaps from my poor sister, Zora."
"Heaven be praised!"
"She had a letter written to send you, but I thought it might be unsafe to have on my person, both for you and myself."
"You were right."
"So I took her verbal message."
"Oh, tell me of my poor dear sister!" the man almost cried, and thereupon Barnwell related his acquaintance with her, together with the story of his life in Siberia, as already known to the reader.
Then he repeated the message Zora had entrusted him with, while tears streamed down the brother's face.
"Poor girl, what a fate is hers! But if she lives she shall yet be free. Oh, sir, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your kindness to her and to me, and if we are never able to repay you, Heaven surely will do so," said Vola, greatly moved.
"I am amply repaid by being able to do someone a kindness. But my mission has not yet begun. I have a trust to keep of which I have not yet spoken. You, of course, know of Batavsky?"
"I have heard of him, but he worked and was exiled before my time almost—at least, before I began to work."
"Well, at his death I received from him a certain charge that may possibly enable me to benefit his compatriots in Russia; but he told me to become an active Nihilist, that I might be the better able to work successfully."
"And so you shall, my dear brother, for I feel that I may call you so," said Vola, at the same time embracing him. "Put yourself in my charge, and you shall be initiated into the Order of Liberty."
"I will do so, and there is my hand," said Barnwell, earnestly.
"Which I take in the name of humanity. But in our order one brother can initiate another. We have no lodge-meetings, no names, being simply known by numbers, and those numbers known only to a trusted few. Night shall not come upon us before you shall know how to send and receive a communication—how to act, and how to avoid detection."
"Good! Just so soon as that is done I shall go to Germany, and most likely work altogether outside of Russia for the present."
"It shall be as you wish, for I see your heart is in the matter."
"Aye, my very soul!"
"Good!" and leading him into an inner room, he proceeded to initiate him into the mysteries of that mysterious order, known the world over as Nihilists.
TUE YOUNG NIHILIST.
A week from that time, and after William Barnwell had made himself thoroughly familiar with the secrets and the workings of this great and mysterious order, the order that has shaken thrones and hurled tyrants to their final account, he started for Germany.
The reader knows something of the cruel sufferings of our hero. Being a free-born American, a natural hater of tyranny in all its forms, and enduring it as he did, it is no wonder that he sought revenge, and that his heart should naturally go out in behalf of oppressed humanity, when he had tasted of that barbarian oppression himself.
With his identity thoroughly established, his passports all correct, and his heart full with the new doctrine that his initiation had developed in him, together with the mission which poor old Batavsky had intrusted him with, he bade good-by to Russia.
From St. Petersburg he went to Warsaw, and from there to Posen, Germany, where he felt for the first time since leaving his native land that he was in the domain of freedom.
Before leaving Russia he had sent home for his entire fortune, and at Berlin had it converted into German money, and it was so considerable that he soon became known as the rich cosmopolitan.
Gradually he made his way towards the little hamlet of Merz, near the border, and when the warm season began he went there with his servant, horses and carriage (one built to order for a special object), and took up his residence in a small town patronized almost entirely by the few travelers who find their way to this part of Germany.
He was now near the alleged hiding-place of Batavsky's rubles, and while seemingly only rambling over the wild country, he was studying the diagram that the old man had given him and trying to locate the hiding-place by the aid of it.
The location most nearly agreeing with the diagram was about a mile from the little tavern, and every day he would visit it with his gun, or sometimes with a sketch-book, the better to enable him to throw off suspicion should he chance to encounter anyone—a very improbable thing, however, since it was a desolate, uninhabited region, without roads and with nothing to attract anyone save its cragged grandeur.
Indeed, it was so barren of game that the landlord advised him to go in any other direction when in search of it.
But day by day he visited it, and the oftener he did so the greater the fascination of the rugged hills became to him.
The thought that a million rubles lay hidden away somewhere in the vicinity was a fascination in itself, but the more he went the more he felt that the spirit of the old exile was hovering about the place.
Often and often he wished that he but possessed the means—which so many claim nowadays—of communicating with the departed, for the feeling grew upon him so that he could not resist its influence.
"Batavsky!" he said one day, involuntarily, and the echo of the word from half a dozen peaks and crags so startled him that he did not try it again.
But for some reason or other, the last of the echoes was the loudest, and the name came back to him as clearly as he had spoken it, from a hill of verdureless rocks some two thousand yards distant:
"Goodness, how distinct!" he mused. "But why more distinct from that inaccessible hill than from the others? Was it the work of—ah, pshaw! I am allowing the absurdity of spiritualism to get the better of my reason. And yet, after all, who knows? There be more things in Heaven and earth than are dreamed of in our philosophy. But it was only echo."
He was seated on an opposite eminence, holding the worn old diagram in his hand, and trying to get at a certain point which would be the key to the location, but could not find it.
Finally, almost involuntarily, he started down the declivity and began slowly to make his way towards the forbidding pile of rocks which had sent back the echo so startlingly.
Why he sought the place he did not know. It was no more promising than other immediate locations, and besides, he had visited it a day or two before, although from another direction.
Slowly he approached and surveyed it, comparing it with his diagram. At length he saw a point that seemed to resemble the one he sought, and after studying it a moment, started to see if he could find the succeeding one.
Coming close to a dark opening, he was startled by fierce growls, and the next instant half a dozen fierce wolves sprang from it, and set upon him savagely.
A VICTORY DEARLY BOUGHT.
It was about three o'clock in the afternoon, and the attack was so sudden and unexpected that Barnwell was completely off his guard at the moment.
One of the fiercest wolves, hungry, huge and gaunt, sprang at his throat and bore him to the earth.
Seizing the brute by the throat with both hands, he with almost superhuman strength dashed him away long enough to rise to his knees and to pull his revolver, the other wolves having by this time joined savagely in the attack.
Unable to get upon his feet, he poked the muzzle of his pistol straight into the mouth of the now risen wolf, as he again came towards him, and fired.
It was a fatal shot, and the wolf fell dead.
Still he was pinioned by others, and for a long time he was so placed that he could reach only one of them with his weapon, but this one he sent to the shades quickly.
Then one after another he dispatched them, although, unlike the generality of wolves, they fought until the last one was dead, being undoubtedly nearly starved.
Meantime his clothing and flesh had been dreadfully torn, and the blood was flowing from at least a dozen ragged wounds, and he was so overcome with exhaustion that he could scarcely rise to his feet.
But the first thing he did was to refill the chambers of his trusty revolver, in case he might be attacked again.
His next thought was to attend to his wounds, but finding these required a surgeon, he made his way sorely back to the tavern, and dispatched his servant for one.
After relating the story of his adventure to the landlord while waiting the surgeon's coming, that individual said:
"I should have told you about it, sir, but you men of the world do not believe in such things."
"What things—wolves?" asked Barnwell, between his groans of agony.
"Well, sir, not that exactly. In fact, I hardly know how to explain myself to you, since I know nothing save by hearsay, and what mountaineers say."
"Well, it has become folklore in these parts that there is a cave somewhere in the Hardt Bergs, containing a vast amount of stolen gold, every coin of which is spotted with human blood, that is guarded by a pack of fierce wolves placed there by the devil. It has been said that desperate men have tried to reach the treasure, but that they have always been slain and eaten by the guardian wolves."
"Nonsense. Simply a story told in the twilight to frighten children, who after growing up come to believe it true."
The landlord shook his head.
"I see you also believe it. Well, I will not dispute or argue with you regarding the legend, but you must see that I did not come upon that particular cave, since I killed the wolves and am here with but a few scratches."
"Rather hard scratches, sir."
"But I shall survive them, and neither this nor the danger of coming upon the real devil-guarded cave will deter me from visiting the hills whenever I like."
"You are a brave man, sir."
"No; simply a sensible one. I am not superstitious, nor do I believe in such legends. I would be ashamed to do so."
"Well," replied the landlord, shrugging his shoulders, "you can afford to do as you please, but you are sure to have no company when you go hunting in that direction."
"And I want none—at least, not the company of persons who believe in such nonsense."
"Ah, the surgeon has come."
"Hurry him here, for my wounds pain me exceedingly," said Barnwell.
The surgeon was soon at his side, and proceeded to dress his wounds, exchanging only sufficient words to learn the cause of them, for he was a man of medicine, not words.
"When will you come again?" asked Barnwell.
"When your hurts need redressing."
"And that will be?"
"How long will I probably be laid up?"
"A week," and he went away.
Barnwell experienced great relief from the skillful dressing his wounds had received, and he was presently able to collect his thoughts.
And naturally enough they ran back to the wolf's den, where he had found the starting point that corresponded with Batavsky's diagram, and the legend which the landlord had told him of. What a startling coincidence it was, to say the least of it!
Of course, he did not for a moment believe the supernatural part of it, but it certainly was strange that he should have been met by a pack of hungry wolves just as it seemed that he was on the threshold of success.
But the more he thought the matter over, the more reasonable did it seem to him that, even if that were the location of Batavsky's buried treasure, it was only natural that wolves should rendezvous there. But how superstition should locate money there was more than he could understand.
Then the thought came to his mind—what if that gold had been discovered by someone and removed? In what other way could the legend of bloody gold have come into existence?
But speculation was not congenial to his temper just then. He had gone, so far, and nothing short of success or failure would satisfy him now.
That night his wounds pained when he lay down, and he slept but little. Indeed, it was nearly morning before anything like sound slumber fell upon his eyelids.
And even then he dreamed wild, exciting dreams, occasioned, of course, by the events of the day before. But in one of them he thought he saw Batavsky, and he smiled upon him, and while uttering no word, encouraged him by his looks to persevere. With this he awoke, and the thread of the dream ran through his mind again.
"This will never do," said he, calling his servant to light a candle. "There is something in the very air of mountainous Germany that is not real, and that kindles superstition. I will read until morning."
But after reading awhile on a drowsy romance he fell asleep again, and the sun was shining in at the lattice when he awoke.
When the surgeon had dressed his wounds again that day, he felt so much better that he was assisted to a chair that stood under a broad linden-tree, where, a part of the time, he read and restudied Batavsky's queer diagram until it was fairly burned into his memory.
Then he would smoke, and make glad the landlord's heart by indulging in a bottle of wine, and again employ his servant in setting up targets for him to practice upon with his pistol.
Already he had become somewhat famous for his eccentricities, but when the landlord and his one or two guests saw with what ease he shot a hole through the Ace of Spades at fifty paces, they were unbounded in their applause.
Barnwell was indeed a wonderful shot, both with a rifle and a pistol, having won several prizes in shooting tournaments at home, and it seemed as though the experiences he had gone through during the previous two or three years had toughened his muscles and steadied his nerves to a remarkable degree.
And thus he employed his time for five days, all the while impatient at the delay, and on the sixth he was so far recovered that he could walk with the assistance of a cane, and he celebrated the event by telling his servant to hold a lighted cigar in his fingers at the distance of fifty paces, and from it he shot the ashes so deftly that the bullet scarcely raised a spark of fire.
This convinced him apparently that he was all right again, and in the afternoon he and his servant went out to ride.
This servant of his was a Russian, to whom he had been introduced by Vola, and he was a character for fidelity and secretiveness. His name was Ulrich, and Barnwell had saved him from going to prison by paying a fine that he would never have been able to pay, and he at once became attached to his new master by all the ties that bind a lesser intellect and fortune to the two degrees higher.
He never questioned, never told Barnwell's affairs, even if he knew them, and was ever quick to know his slightest wants.
He was a Nihilist, and knew in a general way that his master was one, from seeing him so much with Vola, and so he silently worked and waited, fully believing that he would in time do good work for the downtrodden of his native land.
On the afternoon of the sixth day Barnwell seeing to be almost wholly recovered, and Ulrich drove him out, going in the weird hills once more.
This time he was armed with two revolvers, and his rifle was ready to hand in the body of his wagon, the peculiarity in the build of which has been mentioned before, and which consisted principally in a strong iron box, incased by a fancy wooden one which was fashioned for a seat.
It was slightly odd in its build, but it was admired by everybody for the superiority of its make, and generally regarded simply as a tourist's carriage, made on purpose and in a superior manner.
Arriving at the end of the road that led up into the hills, they halted.
IN THE DEVIL'S CAVE.
"Remain here, Ulrich, until I return," said Barnwell, alighting.
Armed for almost any encounter, young Barnwell started to find the cave in front of which he had had such a sanguinary struggle a week before.
He had no difficulty in finding it; but he was on his guard this time.
There lay the carcasses of the wolves he had slain, and the very fact of their not having been devoured was positive evidence that there were no other wolves in the neighborhood.
Glancing around, and listening for a moment, he became convinced that the cave was now tenantless, and so he passed on beyond the first point that he had before discovered, and began looking for the next.
Holding the diagram in one hand, and a revolver in the other, he was not long in finding it, and thus two points were gained that corresponded with it.
Again he consulted and compared.
Ten feet marked on the diagram, and then there was an index finger pointing east.
He paced the distance as accurately as he could, but by this time he had entered the cave so far that he could scarcely see about the place.
But he had come prepared for just such an emergency as this, and taking a candle and match from his game-bag, he proceeded to make a light.
He glanced cautiously around the dark and somber cave, and the first thing his eyes rested on were the forms of two dead wolf cubs, evidently belonging to one of the mothers he had slain the week before, and undoubtedly starved to death in consequence.
But this attracted his attention for only a moment.
Standing at the distance of ten feet from the last-discovered point, he held up a little compass that he wore as a charm to his watch chain, in order to ascertain in which direction east lay.
The tiny magnet finally stood still and pointed. The east lay to the right.
Again, by the aid of his candle, he searched for indications.
The walls were damp and seemingly solid.
Had he lost the lead? With the butt of his pistol he began rapping along the stone wall.
It seemed like original adamant.
Then he paused, and again consulted the diagram.
He seemed to have followed it correctly.
There were no further marks upon it, and he finally began to fear that he was on the wrong scent after all.
Again he went to the mouth of the cave, and retraced each point carefully.
There could be no mistake about it, provided he was in the right place; and if he was not, it was a strange coincidence that two such peculiar points should exist in more than one cave.
Once more he approached the side of the cave to which the index finger pointed, and made a still closer examination of it.
But it was as solid as granite could be, as indicated by sounds.
He was about to give up, with the idea that he was in the wrong cave, and began slowly to walk towards the opening.
Suddenly he remembered that in the Russian language "erweldt" signified west, a thing he had not thought of before.
With a glad cry he retraced his steps to the point indicated, and then began to examine the walls, which he found more broken than those on the other side.
There were faint indications of mosses in one or two places, and on sounding them he came upon one large rock that did not seem so firm as the others.
Holding his candle closer, he saw what might have been cement or something of the kind, and with a throbbing heart he drew a stout burglar's jimmy from his bag and began prying into a seam.
It was a powerful tool, worked by a powerful man, and soon the rock, which was fully two feet square, but of irregular shape, began to show signs of getting loose.
"Ah! this must be it," said he, as he saw bits of cement crumble and fall.
But it was no child's-play to move that stone, weighing, as it probably did, five hundred pounds, and held by the cement that had hardened for more than thirty years.
Little by little, however, he worked one end of it partially free, and saw that it stood out at least three inches beyond where it was, and in addition to this, the cement had now lost its hold, and with one powerful last effort the rock fell with an echoing thud some three feet to the bottom of the cave.
Within there was a rough chamber, five or six feet in irregular diameter every way; and if this was the Devil's Cave, as it was called, this one must surely have been his oven, so very like one was it.
Reaching in to allow his candle to light the place, he saw numerous bags, made of reindeer hide tanned without removing the hair.
"Thank heaven I have found it! Batavsky was as true as steel, and I will be true to his memory!" said Barnwell, holding the candle aloft.
It was fully a minute before he could summon sufficient courage to proceed further, so startled were his nerve over the sudden fruition of his hopes.
Then, mastering his emotions, he reached in and lifted one of the bags from its long resting-place.
It weighed fully ten pounds, and when he set it down upon the sill of the opening, there was a confused rattling and clinking inside of the hair-covered bag, a sound that only one coined metal in the world will emit—gold.
There was no need of opening it to make sure that the contents were genuine. The sound told that; and old Batavsky's truth, proved up to the point, was a further guarantee for it.
Taking out another one, he started with one in each hand for his wagon, by which Ulrich was waiting, like the patient, honest soul he was.
Nothing that Barnwell did surprised him. He honestly believed him to be more than an ordinary man, and capable of doing anything short of raising the dead; and when he him approaching with those unique bags in his hand, his curiosity was not aroused sufficiently to make him ask any questions.
Barnwell understood and had faith in him of the strongest kind.
Setting down the bags by the side of the wagon, he wiped the perspiration from his brow, and then, taking a peculiar key from his pocket, he proceeded to throw back the wagon-seat and to unlock the iron chest beneath it.
Now, Ulrich had never known that such a contrivance existed in the wagon before, although understanding that it was a very heavy vehicle; but he evinced no surprise, asked no questions.
Getting up into the wagon, Barnwell told him to hand the bags up to him, and without a word he did so.
Barnwell stowed them carefully away in the large iron box. Then closing it and locking it again, he motioned Ulrich to follow him.
The horses were securely fastened, and there was not a sound, even of birds, in that desolate locality, so all was safe.
Without exchanging a word, they went back to the cave and brought each two more of the bags, which were placed in the strong-box.
It was but little past noon when they began, and for two hours they robbed that golden cell of its treasures and transferred it to the wagon.
The bags were in an excellent state of preservation, for the place was perfectly dry, and besides, they had evidently been prepared with some unusual treatment which made them almost indestructible.
Finally the chamber was emptied, and Barnwell could but think of the toil and risk in transporting so much gold to such a far-off place. It seemed to him almost as marvelous as that it had remained there all those years without being recovered. But Batavsky was no ordinary man, and undoubtedly knew exactly what he was doing.
Ulrich's face was a study.
Had they been transporting bags of stones it could not have been more stolid.
He worshiped the young American, and for him it was to obey without a question, and this he readily did.
He often looked upon his position as an exalted one, as compared with what it would have been had Barnwell not saved him from a debtor's prison, which is only another name in Russia for a poor debtor's grave.
Well, when all the bags had been removed, it was found that the box was too full to admit of the last four, and these Barnwell placed at his feet after the seat had been returned to its place, showing nothing unusual.
"Now, then, back to the tavern, and not a word of this to anyone," said Barnwell.
"Sir, I am your slave," said Ulrich.
"Say not that. You are my servant, my companion and friend. We are both of us members of the same great order. You work in your way, I in mine. There are no slaves in our order, Ulrich."
"It must be so, sir, for you say it," he replied, turning the horses homeward.
This was conclusive.
The bags of gold made a heavy load, and bent the springs well down, but the horses and the wagon were strong, and these would have deceived almost anybody regarding the amount of weight they carried.
The roads being rough for some distance, they drove slowly and just before getting out into the open they met a hunter with a good string of game.
Remembering that he had gone out to shoot, and that they had no game, Barnwell stopped the peasant and bought his choicest birds, after which they drove to the tavern.
Barnwell handed the game to a servant, who afterwards held the horses while he and Ulrich carried the four bags of gold to his room.
Then the wagon was carefully housed, as usual, and the horses taken care of, after which Barnwell strolled leisurely into the bar-room, where the landlord and his wife were examining the game.
"Good luck to-day, I see."
"Oh, yes, I've had very good luck to-day; and will you oblige me by having one of those pheasants cooked for my supper, together with a stew in your best German style made of one of those hares?"
"Certainly, sir," replied the landlady, at the same time bustling away with the game.
"I am tired and hungry, so let me have the best you can do."
"With all my heart, sir."
"And, landlord, bring me a bottle of your choicest Johannisberg out here on the porch, where I can enjoy it in the shade."
The landlord hastened to comply.
"What an appetite it gives, and how generous a good day's sport makes a man," he mused. "A few such customers as this one is would make us rich, and enable us to pay off the thousand marks due on our place."
He set the delicious wine before him, and Barnwell drank a hearty draught.
"Ah! nowhere in the world can such wine be found as in Germany."
"I am glad you think so, sir, for I hope you will stay long with us, and be so well pleased that you will come again."
"I shall certainly remain with you, if I ever come back again, for I like both you and your good frau. But to-morrow I must away to Berlin on business."
"Yes. My life is made up of business and pleasure. Business must have an inning now."
"I am sorry, sir," said the old man, sadly.
"Oh, well; others will come."
"Visitors are rare here, sir. Now and then a poor artist stops here, and sometimes tourists wander this way; but it is a life-time rarity to meet with a rich cosmopolitan like yourself, who is willing to help us along a bit."
"But you must be well off in any event."
"No, sir; although we should be if the thousand marks' mortgage was paid off."
"When it is due?"
"Within a week."
"And how much have you towards it?"
"All right; keep the five hundred, and here are a thousand to free you from embarrassment," said Barnwell, counting out the bills.
The old landlord was so overcome that he fell upon his knees speechless, seeing which, his wife ran to him, thinking him ill.
"Oh, Gretchen! Look at him; the good American gentleman has saved us and our home!"
"Oh, sir, what induced you?"
"The idea of making somebody as happy as I am myself. Take it and be happy. All I ask in return is that you be good to the poor and unfortunate."
"Oh, sir, bless you!" cried the landlord.
"Amen! And you shall have just the nicest dinner you ever had in your life," said his wife, brushing the tears from her eyes and hurrying away.
TRUE TO HIS TRUST.
That night, after all had retired, William Barnwell, in the privacy of his own chamber, untied one of the bags, and emptied its contents upon his bed, so that the noise of the jingle might be smothered.
He was a good judge of Russian gold, and this he found to be genuine, coined in double roubles, with dates mostly before and during the reign of Czar Nicholas, the tyrant par excellence of Russia, which is saying much.
He was a ruler who knew nothing of humanity or justice, who was quite as bad, save in form and outward show, as Catherine or her barbarian predecessors, always excepting Peter the Great.
It took England, France and Sardinia to teach him the rudiments of civilization, and even then he died a barbarian at heart, as he had always lived, leaving a conquered monarchy to his son, who tried to appease the world by abolishing serfdom, although he probably never would have done so had not the teachings of Batavsky and others taken root in the hearts of the Russian people, creating a diversion in favor of political liberty, which he thought to smother while freeing the serfs.
So much for history, but it had to come in, this being in nearly all respects a historical story.
"Slightly mildewed, but every one of them genuine," said Barnwell, after he had tested several thousand dollars' worth of them. "And if poor old Batavsky's spirit is hovering near to me, and to the yellow coin he devoted to the advancement of human liberty and equality, it shall see that I shall prove true to my trust. To-morrow I will away to Berlin, to place this to my credit, after which—well, after which, we shall see!"
Then he fell into a reverie. He dreamed a thousand things and considered a thousand possibilities, but as he pushed them away for future consideration, the form of the beautiful Laura Clark filled his mental vision.
What had become of her, and what did she think of his conduct?
Beautiful and rich, it would be strange, indeed, if she had not long ago found a mate, but he resolved to write to her father in New York, explaining the whole business, if only to clear himself of any blame that his mysterious disappearance had produced.
Yes; but not until after he had deposited this gold in the Royal Bank at Berlin.
The next morning he rode away with his golden freight, and at the first regular railroad station that he came upon he placed his wagon and horses in the hands of the Royal Express, engaging that the whole equipment should be delivered safely at the Royal Bank of Berlin, it being understood that his servant, Ulrich, should sleep in the car containing the horses and carriage until their safe delivery as agreed upon.
The journey occupied two days, but at the end of it Barnwell had the satisfaction of landing his gold in the vaults of the Royal Bank, and having his credit established there for an almost unlimited amount, although the old Russian coin, coming in such a strange way, excited much comment with the bank officials who counted and weighed it.
There was a mystery surrounding so much money, deposited all at once and in such a way, but the depositor proved himself all right so far as his papers and nationality were concerned; and in a very short time young Barnwell came to be known as the Fairies' Son, a man to whom they had given unlimited wealth, every rouble of which would double itself at their bidding.
This, of course, did not obtain with the officers of the bank. They simply looked at the gold, counted and weighed.
But Barnwell was pleased to be regarded as a Fairies' Son, for it would enable him to work more effectually.
And it was not long before he became known to the Nihilists residing in Berlin, and, naturally enough, he soon became a leading man among them.
He took modest lodgings, supporting only his servant, but in spite of all precautions, he was shadowed by Russian police agents, who seem to be everywhere.
It is one of the most perfect and far-reaching police systems in the world, and before Barnwell had been there a month they learned all about him.
And this, of course, showed them all he had so unjustly suffered, and they could well understand then why he associated with well-known Nihilists, having undoubtedly become one himself for revenge.
But they could not penetrate the mystery of his enormous wealth, unless, indeed, he were one of those famous American bonanza kings, or at least the son of one, and obtained his wealth directly from America.
Try their best, however, they could not entrap him so that the German authorities would molest him, for in a very short time he was surrounded by as faithful a set of detectives as those employed by the Russian police, and the game soon became diamond cut diamond.
But while all these moves were being made—one to find out what the other was doing—other and unsuspected moves were being made which were to astound the world.
Suddenly, and without any visible or traceable reason, the spirit of Russian Nihilism began to flame again, and with greater fierceness than ever before.
Nihilist papers and documents, printed both in the Russian and Polish languages, were scattered broadcast, and in such a secret manner that the police were wholly at fault, and the despots of Russia began to tremble as they had never done before.
Money seemed to be plentiful, and a more perfect organization effected than were the Russian police.
Day by day it grew, and a dread uncertainty pervaded the society of the aristocrats, and the utmost precautions were taken to protect the life of the Czar Alexander and the royal family.
Now and then the police would discover Nihilists at work; but all the branches worked independently, and the detection of one could not lead to what the others were doing.
But what astonished and bothered the Russian police was the simple perfection to which the Nihilists had been reduced in their way of working, showing unmistakably that a skillful organizer was at their head.
The great mystery surrounding everything completely baffled the Russian police, and though they half suspected Barnwell, they were not able to bring anything home to him, and he all the while maintained the appearance of a rich cosmopolitan, and if they followed him in his many journeyings they were unable to see that he was doing more than traveling for pleasure.
One day, while riding in "Unter Linden," who should he meet but Mr. Clark and his beautiful daughter riding in the opposite direction, but he was so changed that neither of them recognized him, although looking directly at him.
Laura Clark was also somewhat changed, but by her being in her father's company, Barnwell came to the conclusion that she was yet unmarried, and had most likely proved true to their betrothal, nearly three years before.
He was determined to present himself, and so ordered his coachman to turn about and follow their carriage.
In a few moments it stopped in front of a fashionable hotel, which they entered, and were soon lost to sight.
Calling a servant, he told him to take his card to Mr. Clark, and quietly waited in the parlor for a reply.
Presently that gentleman came down with the card in his hand, and a look of inquiry on his face.
"Mr. Clark, you do not recognize me," said he, rising.
"No, not as a young American gentleman, bearing the name of William Barnwell, whom I met some three or four years ago," said the old man.
"Well, sir, I am the same individual."
"Indeed, but you have greatly changed."
There was an unmistakable coolness visible in Mr. Clark's conduct towards him, but he readily understood why it was so, for after betrothing himself to his daughter he had disappeared mysteriously, and given no sign.
"Well, sir, when you learn what I have been through since last we met, you will not wonder at the change in me. Is Laura well?"
Mr. Clark looked at him a moment without making any reply, then beckoning him to follow, led the way to their parlors.
"Are you sure she will welcome me, sir?"
"That will depend; Laura, please come this way a moment," he called.
"Yes, papa, dear, what is it?" she asked, as she came from her chamber, and her sweet voice thrilled him just as it used to.
"Do you know this gentleman?"
She gazed at Barnwell a moment, and then sat down in a chair without speaking.
"Do you not recognize me, Miss Clark?"
"It is barely possible that you are Mr. Barnwell, but if so, you are greatly changed," she said, calmly.
"Yes, I am William Barnwell; there is good cause for the change you see in me. I saw you driving out, but now, and resolved to see you both, if for no other reason than to explain my conduct to you."
Then he proceeded to relate the story of his life since parting with them, the story that the reader knows so well, holding them spellbound for an hour or more with it, after which he was forgiven, and their old relations resumed, greatly to the delight of all three, and especially of Mr. Clark, who had noticed that his daughter was becoming more and more low-spirited as the time grew longer, and Barnwell not heard from.
THE DEATH OF AN EMPEROR.
One thing, however, Barnwell did not tell Mr. Clark or his daughter; and that was how he was making use of the vast amount of money that had been given him by Batavsky. That was always to remain a secret within his own breast.
He felt that he was simply fulfilling a sacred trust, and gaining revenge for his own terrible suffering.
He loved his beautiful countrywoman, and as soon as he had finished his work he would make her his wife, and resume the travels he had set out upon years before.
Naturally he was much in her company after their reunion, and this again threw the detectives from the scent, for before long it became known to them that they were to be married, and start for France and other countries of Europe.
And yet the Nihilists in Russia and in Poland continued to be more active and aggressive, and the police authorities made but little, if any, headway in arresting them.
At length the aristocracy of St. Petersburg, Warsaw, Moscow, and other large centers became almost panic stricken—not even daring to trust their oldest servants.
This feeling was increased when the Czar found a note on his dressing-bureau, which read as follows:
"Alexander.—My life was as good as that of your tyrant father, Nicholas. He murdered me. My spirit will murder you.—Batavsky."
That the note was placed there by some bold Nihilist, a member of the emperor's household, there could be no doubt, and although his personal staff and ministers advised him to take no notice of it, it struck terror to his heart.
Every member of his household was taken in hand by the police and questioned, and each one made to give a sample of his handwriting, but nothing could be found out.
Extra precautions were taken, however, and the Czar never ventured forth without a double guard, and even the streets were guarded by the police to insure his safety.
But another warning came, as if to show him that even those who guarded him needed guards for themselves, when one day the prefect of police was killed on the steps of his official residence, and no clew of the assassin could be found, although lying near his body was found a paper with the simple name of Batavsky written upon it in Russian.
Then the Czar began to question who this Batavsky was, and it was finally ascertained that an influential man by that name had been transported to Siberia by the Emperor Nicholas for engaging in a revolution—in fact, that he was one of the first Nihilists of Russia, and was supposed to be enormously rich.
But those riches were never found, and the old revolutionist had died in Siberia, and so nothing came of the inquiry save a deeper mystery.
Two or three attempts upon the Czar's life were made and failed. Those who were caught or suspected were put to death, but so soon as one was taken from the work two more were ready to fill his place.
And while in this terror, the Czar and his official household instead of doing anything towards relieving the burdens under which the people groaned, and which drove them to these bitter acts of revenge and reprisal, took all means possible to bind their chains closer yet, and to stamp out Nihilism with an iron heel.
"Laura, you know I told you of poor old Batavsky in Siberia?" he asked of Miss Clark one day.
"Yes, Will, I remember," she replied.
"Well, I dreamed of him last night, and have a presentiment that his presence will soon be felt on earth."
"Oh, Will, you are such a dreamer, you are. Let us talk of something else:."
"As you please. I merely mentioned it; so let's wait and see have arranged everything."
"Oh, that will be so nice! You are so good!"
"As I should be, to one who has waited for me so faithfully and so long. But the dark clouds are rolling by, Laura, and after a little I shall be my own master again."
"And are you not so now?" she asked.
"Not wholly. I have had a sacred duty to perform, and it will soon be finished."
Of course both were busy with their preparations for departure, and she paid but little attention to what he said, as it was upon a subject she knew nothing of, and yet her woman's wit and insight told her that her lover was engaged in something of a mysterious nature, and she hailed with delight the prospect of getting out of Germany and back to America.
The following day the whole world was startled and monarchs trembled at a dynamite explosion in St. Petersburg.
The Czar Alexander was riding along in a carriage, closely guarded by soldiers and mounted police, when, without an instant's warning, a cartridge exploded directly under his carriage, killing everybody and everything within a radius of fifty yards, producing the greatest havoc and devastation.
"Quick—the czar!" cried those who had escaped the terrible explosion.
And a rush was made to the scene of the wreck, where lay mangled horses and human beings, and out of that chaos of desolation they dragged the mangled body of the Czar of all the Russias!
Panic and consternation seized St. Petersburg, seized all Russia—the whole world, in fact.
Instant search was made for those who perpetrated the terrible deed.
One or two suspected individuals were put to the sword without judge or jury, yet they were innocent of the deed.
Detectives and secret service officers took possession of the spot and examined everything—every shovelful of snow even.
Out of the ruin wrought by the terrific explosion one of the officers pulled a small metal plate, crooked and bent by the concussion.
The dead emperor had been borne tenderly to the palace, and all Russia was in tears, either of joy or sorrow.
The officers read an inscription on the plate they had found.
It was graven deep and clear in pure Russian. It read:
"The spirit of Peter Batavsky, raging for revenge, calls for the Czar, the son of his murderer! Long live the Russian people!"
That was all, but it amazed those who read it, for it bore the same name that had so terrified the Czar on another occasion.
Never before had such a shock been given to the world, not even the assassination of Julius Caesar was a comparison to it.
But while the excitement was at its burning height, William Barnwell and his affianced left Berlin for London.
"Batavsky, you are terribly avenged!" said he, as they sped from German soil.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
This story naturally ends here.
But a few words more need be said.
Marriage, happiness, wealth became the portion of the Boy Nihilist, and here falls the curtain on this strange and romantic drama.
Read "LUCKY DICK GOLDEN; or, THE BOY MINERS OF PLACER CREEK," by An Old Scout, which will be the next number (577) of "Pluck and Luck."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
SPECIAL NOTICE: All back numbers of this weekly except the following are in print: 1 to 5, 7, 8, 10 to 20, 22, 24, 25, 27, 29 to 31, 34 to 36, 38 to 40, 42, 43, 48 to 50, 54, 55, 57, 58, 60, 62, 64, 66, 68, 69, 75, 81, 84 to 86, 89, 92 to 94, 100, 107, 109, 110, 116, 119, 124 to 126, 162, 163, 166, 171, 179 to 181, 212, 265. If you cannot obtain the ones you want from any newsdealer, send the price in money or postage stamps by mail to FRANK TOUSEY, PUBLISHER, 24 UNION SQUARE, New York, and you will receive the copies you order, by return mail.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
PLUCK AND LUCK.
32 PAGES Contains All Sorts of Stories Beautifully Colored Covers PRICE 5 CENTS
507 The Doomed City; or, The Hidden Foe of Plummerdale. By Howard Austin.
508 The Pride of the Volunteers; or, Burke Halliday, the Boy Fireman. By Ex-Fire-Chief Warden.
509 The Boy Mutineers; or, Slavery or Death. By Capt. Thos. H. Wilson.
510 Always Ready; or, The Best Engineer on the Road. By Jas. C. Merritt.
511 Branded a Deserter; or, Boy Rivals in Love and War. By Gen'l Jas. A. Gordon.
512 A Scout at 16; or, A Boy's Wild Life on the Frontier. By An Old Scout.
513 Diamond Dave, the Waif; or, The Search for the Great Blue Stone. By Richard R. Montgomery.
514 The Little Corsican; or, The Boy of the Barricades. By Allan Arnold.
515 Headlight Tom, the Boy Engineer. By Jas. C. Merritt.
516 The Sealed Despatch; or, The Blind Boy of Moscow. By Allan Arnold.
517 The Swamp Rats; or, The Boys Who Fought for Washington. By Gen'l Jas. A. Gordon.
518 Nino, the Wonder of the Air. A Story of Circus Life. By Berton Bertrew.
519 A Fireman at Sixteen; or, Through Flame and Smoke. By Ex-Fire-Chief Warden.
520 100 Feet Above the Housetops; or, The Mystery of the Old Church Steeple. By Allyn Draper.
521 The Boy Explorers; or, Abandoned in the Land of Ice. By Capt. Thos. H. Wilson.
522 The Mystery of the Volcano. A True Story of Mexico. By Howard Austin.
523 Fighting with Washington; or, The Boy Regiment of the Revolution. By Gen'l. Jas. A. Gordon.
524 The Smartest Boy in Philadelphia; or, Dick Rollins' Fight for a Living. By Allyn Draper.
525 The White Boy Chief; or, The Terror of the North Platte. By An Old Scout.
526 The Boy Senator; or, How He Won His Toga. By Allan Arnold.
527 Napoleon's Boy Guardsman; or, A Hero at Eighteen. By Richard R. Montgomery.
528 Driven Adrift; or, The Trip of the Daisy. By Capt. Thos. H. Wilson.
529 Rob the Waif. A Story of Life in New York. By Howard Austin.
530 The Wildest Boy in New York; or, Saved at the Brink. (A True Temperance Story.) By H. K. Shackleford.
531 Bushwhacker Ben; or, The Union Boys of Tennessee. By Col. Ralph Fenton.
532 The Night Riders of Ravenswood. (A Strange Story of Arizona.) By Allan Arnold.
533 Phil, the Boy Fireman; or, Through Flames to Victory. By Ex-Fire-Chief Warden.
534 The Boy Slave; or, A Young New Yorker in Central America. By Howard Austin.
535 Dunning & Co.; the Boy Brokers. (A Story of Wall Street.) By A Retired Broker.
536 Daniel Boone's Best Shot; or, The Perils of the Kentucky Pioneers. By An Old Scout.
537 Ollie, the Office Boy; or, The Struggles of a Poor Waif. By Allyn Draper.
538 The Two Boy Stowaways; or, A Strange Voyage on a Doomed Ship. By Capt. Thos. H. Wilson.
539 Columbia; or, The Young Firemen of Glendale. By Ex-Fire-Chief Warden.
540 Paddling on the Amazon; or, Three Boy Canoeists in South America. By Richard R. Montgomery.
541 Happy Jack, the Daring Spy. A Story of the Great Rebellion. By Gen'l Jas. A. Gordon.
542 Nameless Nat; or, A Millionaire in Rags. By Allyn Draper.
543 The Boy Mail-Carrier; or, Government Service in Minnesota. By An Old Scout.
544 The Boy Messenger of Russia; or, The Czar's Secret Despatch Bearer. By Allan Arnold.
545 Monte Cristo, Jr.; or, The Diamonds of the Borgias. By Howard Austin.
546 The Boy Privateer Captain; or, Lost on a Nameless Sea. By Capt. Thos. H. Wilson.
547 The Boys in Blue; or, The Football Champions of Cherryville. By Allan Arnold.
548 From Bootblack to Broker; or, The Luck of a Wall Street Boy. By a Retired Broker.
549 The Block House Boys; or, The Young Pioneers of the Great Lakes. By An Old Scout.
550 The White Boy Slaves; or, The Student Exiles of Siberia. By Richard R. Montgomery.
551 A Coral Prison; or, The Two Boy Hermits of the Indian Ocean. By Capt. Thos. H. Wilson.
552 Dick "I will!"; or, The Plucky Fight of a Boy Orphan. By Allyn Draper.
553 Larry of the Lantern; or, The Smugglers of the Irish Coast. By Berton Bertrew.
554 My Chum Charlie; or, The Strange Adventures of Two New York Boys. By Howard Austin.
555 The Boyhood Days of "Pawnee Bill"; or, From the Schoolroom to the Frontier. By An Old Scout.
556 The Young Deserters; or, The Mystery of Ramsey Island. By Capt. Thos. H. Wilson.
557 The Bowery Prince; or, A Bootblack's Road to Fame. By Howard Austin.
558 Jack Mosby, the Guerilla King; or, Riding and Raiding in the Rebellion. By Gen'l. Jas. A. Gordon.
559 A Lawyer at 17, and the Fee that Made His Fortune. By Richard R. Montgomery.
560 The Houseboat Boys; or, Stirring Adventures in the Northwest. By Allyn Draper.
561 The Dark Sons of Ireland; or, Plotting Under the Shannon Water. By Allan Arnold.
562 Young Karl Kruger; or, The Richest Boy in the Transvaal. By Berton Bertrew.
563 The Phantom Fireman; or, The Mystery of Mark Howland's Life. By Ex-Fire-Chief Warden.
564 Ben Brevier; or, The Romance of a Young Printer. By Allyn Draper.
565 The Signal Service Boys; or, Fighting Above the Clouds. By Gen'l Jas. A. Gordon.
566 The Red Privateer; or, The First to Float the Stars and Stripes. By Capt. Thos. H. Wilson.
567 The Iron Spirit; or, The Mystery of the Plains. By An Old Scout.
568 The Sons of the Sword; or, The Watchers From the Rhine. By Richard R. Montgomery.
569 The Lost Island; or, A Romance of a Forgotten World. By Howard Austin.
570 The White Wolf of the Gaitees; or, A Mystery of the Mountain. By Allan Arnold.
571 The Senator's Secretary; or, The Brightest Boy in Washington. By Allyn Draper.
572 Whirlwind Jack; or, Captain Heald's Boy Messenger. By Gen'l Jas. A. Gordon.
573 The Gypsy's Son; or, The Double Life. By Howard Austin.
574 The Transient Island; or, Cast Away in the Sooth Sea. By Capt. Thos. H. Wilson.
575 The Boys of Black Bay; or, The Young Lumber King of the North Woods. By Berton Bertrew.
576 The Boy Nihilist; or, Young America in Russia. By Allan Arnold.
For sale by all newsdealers, or will be sent to any address on receipt of price, 5 cents per copy, in money or postage stamps, by FRANK TOUSEY, Publisher, 24 Union Square, New York.
IF YOU WANT ANY BACK NUMBERS
of our Weeklies and cannot procure them from newsdealers, they can be obtained from this office direct. Cut out and fill in the following Order Blank and send it to us with the price of the weeklies you want and we will send them to you by return mail. POSTAGE STAMPS TAKEN THE SAME AS MONEY.
FRANK TOUSEY, Publisher, 24 Union Square, New York
DEAR SIR—Enclosed find cents for which please send me: copies of WORK AND WIN. Nos. " " WIDE AWAKE WEEKLY. Nos. " " FAME AND FORTUNE WEEKLY. Nos. " " WILD WEST WEEKLY. Nos. " " THE LIBERTY BOYS OF '76. Nos. " " PLUCK AND LUCK. Nos. " " SECRET SERVICE. Nos. " " Ten—Cent Hand Books. Nos.
Name __ Street and No. ___ Town __ State __