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The Mystery of 
a Shipyard 

A NOVEL 


‘By 

Col. Richard Henry Savage 

iit 

AUTHOR OF 

“MY OFFICIAL WIFE,” “THE KING’S SECRET,” 
Eitc., Etc. 


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NEV YORK 

THE HOME PUBLISHING COMPANY 

3 EAST FOURTEENTH STREET 




THE LIBRARY OF 
CONGRESS,: 
Two Cowea Received 

SEP. 26 1901 

Copyright entry 

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CLASS H<*. 

COPY a ! 


Copyright, 1901 
by 

A. C. GUNTER 
All Rights Reserved 


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THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 




BOOK I. 

The Sealed Packet. 


CHAPTER. PAGE. 

I. Carte Blanche ----- 5 

IL Berry of the Artillery - - - - 29 

III. " He Is My Chum in Paris^^ - - 63 

IV. A Breakfast at the Marine Ministry - 91 


BOOK II. 

A Strange Alliance. 


CHAPTER. PAGE. 

V. We Will Meet Again, Soon'' - - 122 

VI. The Fastest Boat Ever Built - - - 147 

VII. ‘‘To Order" 172 

VIII. The Tiger Hunt ----- 192 


CONTENTS. 


BOOK III. 

Held for the Owners. 

CHAPTER. PAGE. 

IX. A Record Run ----- 221 

X. An American Appeal - - - - 246 

XI. Half the Truth ----- 273 

XII. A Dinner of Surprises - - - - 291 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


A NOVEL 

By Richard Henry Savage. 


BOOK I. 

The Sealed Packet. 


CHAPTER I. 

CARTE BLANCHE. 

“ Telegram, Sir,” said “ Handsome Jones,” the 
prince of colored bellboys and the autocrat of the sixth 
floor at the Palace Hotel of San Francisco. He had 
entered Major Walter Wardlawe’s corner suite with 
his customary signal of two double knocks. 

Wardlawe threw down his vernier rule and com- 
passes and then rose from a huge table drawn into 
an angle of the room for the best light. 

“ Wait ! There may be an answer ! ” wearily said the 
Major, glowering at the forbidding exterior of Market 
street, seen through the pitiless rain gusts of a January 
morning of “ eighty-five.” 

“ All right ; no answer,” dreamily remarked Ward- 
lawe, as he dropped the yellow paper with its warning 
imprint '‘Cable,” and a single written written word, 
“ Come,'’ followed by the signature “ Ixion.” 


6 


THE MYSTERY OE A SHIPYARD. 


The mulatto’s eyes followed this princely master of 
tips, as the Major, opening his desk, thrust a folded 
parchment into his bosom and then carefully selected 
three mild Trichinopoly cigars. 

“ I am going away, Jones,” seriously remarked the 
alert veteran, “ for several months. I will leave you 
my private latch-keys. 

“ Of course, the office will have all the others. I am 
rather particular that no ‘ parties ’ shall be given here 
in my absence, and you must prevent the surreptitious 
letting of this suite for poker parties, mining deals, or 
‘private conferences’! You will accumulate your re- 
ward — on my return — just in proportion as you sail 
close to these orders ! ” 

“ There’ll be no monkeying. Sir I ” began Jones with 
an eager protestation. “ Spare me,” curtly said Ward- 
lawe. 

“ After my Australian trip I found three poker decks 
and an empty whisky flask hidden in my bookcase. 
After the South African voyage — I regret to say — a 
shell side-comb and a pink powder puff stowed away 
in one of my tobacco boxes ! ” 

“That was other people, Major!” said Jones, with 
his gleaming eyes fixed on the floor. “ I always blamed 
Lena. 

“ Of course, you’ll have your own story,” blandly 
remarked Wardlawe, grasping his hat and stick ; “ and 
you know I don’t believe a word of it ! ‘ Quod facit 
per ahum, facit per se.’ Look out for all!, Call a 
coupe into the court! Come in to-night and pack me 
up. I take the morning train to Virginia City.” 

“ Mail to follow, Sir,” earnestly demanded Jones. 

“ Turn all in at the office. I do not know where 
am going, and mark me, young man, I am simply ‘out’ ; 
that’s all you know ! I do not wish even a book or 
paper moved till I return. Air the rooms yourself ! I 
shall cut off Lena’s prowling around here! No more 
‘ lese-majeste.’ ” 

“Very good, Sir!” the valet answered. “I’ll earn 
your good wishes and obey you. Them women is 
witches ! They make all the trouble in this world ! ” 
, “You have unconsciously uttered a great truth, 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


7 


Jones said the Major with mock gravity as he strode 
away. 

Jones followed his retreating master with an ad- 
miring eye, and, when he heard the clang of the “ ele- 
vator,” sighed in disappointment and quickly selected 
two Trichinopolies with a far less critical scanning 
than the man who had paid for the whole box. 

“ I wonder where he is going? ” mused the captain 
of the “ sixth floor watch,” as he gazed around at 
the splendid corner suite. 

The five rooms were littered with books, scientific 
instruments, traveling outfit and a workman-like as- 
sortment of guns, canes, whips, and even a pet Mc- 
Clellan saddle was tossed carelessly in the farthest 
corner. 

A superb portrait frame, closely veiled from the 
vulgar eye, indicated the home of a not yet forgetful 
widower, while a battered battle swprd and a tattered 
war flag told of the stormy days when Wardlawe had 
earned the right to ride as a boy Major, at twenty-five, 
in the grand review which closed the “ late unpleas- 
antness.” 

Peeping out of the new Montgomery street comer, 
Jones cautiously removed his appropriated cigar as he 
saw Major Wardlawe emerge from the railroad ticket 
office near by, under the Grand, and the coupe then 
dash down Market street. “ He’s got his ticket !” 
sadlv said Jones. “ And he’s as silent as a stone 
Injun ! I wonder where he is going to ! ” 

Roused to a sense of the imperilled reward, Jones 
sharply rang the maid’s bell and proceeded to deliver 
himself in good round words to the strangely attractive 
Lena, a winsome quadroon who had achieved the du- 
bious honor lately of attending a masked ball with her 
millionaire stock broker friend of the sixth floor taste- 
fully arrayed in his absent wife’s diamonds and best 
opera cloak. 

Hy’ars an end, Lena, of all funny business ! ” se- 
verely said Jones. “ The Major’s goin’ away for three 
months, and only I am to -enter these rooms ! I carry 
the latch-keys. To-morrow you’ll fix all up! Then no 
more meddling ! I’m held responsible ! ” 


8 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


“Where do I come in, Frank?” softly said the 
quadroon, fixing her splendid eyes upon him. 

“ ril get a hundred when he comes back and, Lena, 
you get twenty of it if you watch these other yellow 
devils ! It’s business — from the word go ! The old 
man got mad and was firing Latin at me! He found 
some of the things left over from these little ‘ off color * 
parties ! ” “ Very good ! ” frankly said Lena. “ It’s a 
go! We’ll use Mr. Van Rensselaer’s rooms now! 
He’s always down to Menlo, anyway! Remember, I 
cash in a twenty ! ” 

While the servants sauntered out to furtively watch 
the seething intrigues of the ungainly hollow cube, 
which is the social “ omnium gatherum ” of the Oc- 
cidental city, Walter Wardlawe was rapidly nearing 
the Russian Consulate General on Battery street. 

He had already a New York railway ticket, with its 
through “ sleepers,” in his pocketbook, and he had 
telegraphed to retain a cabin on the “ Aurania.” for 
Liverpool. 

“ Let me see — passport — bank — I think that is all ! ” 
mused Wardlawe. 

“ Orders to the great Count Smith, and I will surely 
find the Chief at the Union Club at his one o'clock 
luncheon. 

“ It is a long road and an unpleasant trip at this 
season of the year ! ” 

The soldier engineer sprang out, nimbly, as the 
coupe stopped under the consular blazon of the double- 
headed eagle of the Romanoffs. 

A lean, sad-eyed Vice-Consul mechanically took 
Wardlawe’s passport and reluctantly pushed back the 
change of a five-dollar gold piece. “ The Consul-Gen- 
eral will sign it at once. Sir,’’ he meekly said, with the 
dejected air of the Muscovite minor ofeial. 

There was the sound of a chair quickly pushed back 
in the inner room, the odor of a never extinct pap- 
yrus ” of volcanic power, and Dimitri Gorlitz, H’s 
Imperial Russian Majesty’s Consul General, bustled to 
the door. 

“ Come in here, Major,” he heartily cried, throwing 
open the sacred gate. 


tHE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


9 


Round, stocky, with a bushy yellow beard and 
gleaming spectacles, the official was a man of marked 
personality. 

A leader of society, a master of all languages, a 
dilettante in all the arts, a “ first nighter ” from “ Nob 
Hills ” beauty shows, to the most surreptitious “prize- 
fight ” and, sportsman, gambler, “ viveur,’’ man of the 
world, par excellence, Dimitri Gorlitz was heartily dis- 
liked by many, feared by more, and beloved for his 
astounding mental gifts by those who could see the 
philosopher hiding under the Tartar shell. 

“Where are you going to, in Russia?'’ demanded 
Gorlitz witffi his customary abruptness. 

Major Wardlawe eyed the study Slav of fifty-five, 
equally strong as gourmand and devourer of the belles- 
lettres. 

“ I prefer not to answer,” the American coldly said, 
his bronzed face flushing crimson. 

Wardlawe, at forty-five, was still as lithe as a pan- 
ther, and yet older than his years, for he had never 
recovered the fatal drain of living on his young man- 
hood, in the Army of the Potomac. 

Dark eyes gleamed fixedly under his waving curly 
hair; a sweeping soldierly mustache hid the firm lines 
of his mouth, and he was gifted with that squareness 
of jaw and “ plenty of nose ”'which the mighty Bona- 
parte desired in his select “ food for powder.” 

Athletic, yet elegant in his build, traveler, horseman, 
sportsman, linguist and dead shot, he was an ugly cus- 
tomer to meet in the “ Bad Lands ” or out on the sandy 
wastes of the Rio Grande. 

Silent, self-contained, true to the memory of a sweet 
woman buried ten years before, the American soldier- 
engineer was still a persona grata in the Four King- 
doms, as well as on the Rhine, Seine, Danube, the Tiber 
and the Spree. 

“ Excuse me. Major,” hastily interjected Gorlitz. 
“ I will finish your passport first and then, explain my- 
self!” 

With a flowing hand he affixed his cabalistic en- 
dorsement under the blue official stamp of the mighty 


10 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

Alexander III., the Czar and the Autocrat of all the 

Handing it briskly to the still agitated Wardlawe, 
the sly Consul-General said : “ I must see you before 
you go ! When do you leave ? 

“ To-morrow morning,” curtly said the American, 
slipping the document in his passport case. 

” Can you be at your rooms at three this afternoon ? ” 
anxiously said Gorlitz. “ My own are on the same 
floor.” 

Wardlawe hesitated — there was both resentment 
and suspicion in his defiant glance. 

Opening his monogram-covered silver case, Gorlitz 
lit a huge paper tube and, with his blue eyes beaming 
behind the protecting mask of his glasses, quietly 
handed Wardlawe an open cablegram. 

The American sprang to his feet in astonishment as 
he read the words, ” Major Wardlawe leaves at once 
for St. Petersburg; see him immediately.” The sig- 
nature ” Ixion ” concluded the mystification. 

” How do you know ” the American began. 

But, Gorlitz quickly stopped him with a warning 
gesture ! 

He leaned over and whispered; “ Walls have ears, 
especially in San Francisco. I have fourteen subor- 
dinates here — *11 of them spies ! Shall I come to your 
rooms at three? I am the Western American agent 
of the Arnoor Navigation Company, only second to the 
head at St. Petersburg, for our Minister at Washing- 
ton only acts as an aid to me ! ” 

The Major silently handed back the telegram. 
” I will be there at three ! ” he muttered, and then 
mechanically returned Gorlitz’s hand clasp as the bust- 
ling official loudly said at the door: “You will find 
Odessa a very nice place, and there are even several 
Americans there ! I will give you some personal 
letters ! ” 

On his way downstairs the astonished American 
murmured, “Lies! Thieves! Frauds! all these for- 
eign officials. 

With a quick rebound of conscience he sank back 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


II 


in the coupe, briefly calling, To the Bank of Cali- 
fornia ! ” 

“ If any place on earth, any society, can equal San 
Francisco in duplicity and deviltry, then,” amiably 
finished Major Wardlawe as he stepped out at the 
bank, “ St. Petersburg must be a particularly ‘ rapid ’ 
locality ! ” 

He had not recovered from his astonishment, when 
five minutes later he stepped out with a London draft 
for i 1,000 folded up in his pocketbook and ^500 in 
Bank of England notes stuffed, in his passport case. 

On his way back to the hotel he caught a glimpse 
of the earnest face of Consul-General Gorlitz in active 
conversation with the Honorable Everett Marsden, as 
that millionaire ship owner and politician rolled leis- 
urely uptown toward the Union Club for his serene 
mid-day lunch. 

“ I wonder if he wished to avoid my gaze,” mused 
Wardlawe, as he descended in the court of the Palace 
to give Draconian orders as to the inviolability of his 
soon-to-be-deserted apartments. 

“ I wonder what Gorlitz is up to with my friend 
Marsden ! ” mused the still unsatisfied Wardlawe. “ He 
seemed to shrink away out of my sight. 

Placing his valuables temporarily in the hotel safe. 
Major Wardlawe “laid down the law” to the head 
clerk. Count Smith, he of the umbrageous whiskers, 
the benign smile, the phenomenal memory, hiding be- 
hind a giant sapp-hire and diamond cluster scarf-pin, 
temporarily “ out on bail,” from Colonel Andrew’s 
Diamond Palace. 

“Yes, Major!” sighed the urbane chief clerk of 
the vast caravansera, “ I know ! You want your 
raoms kept inviolate! I will hold Jones responsible; 
and on your return if there is any meddling I’ll clean 
out the whole force of ‘ smoked diamonds ’ up there ! 
I will ring him down now, and order that no human be- 
ing but himself or ‘ the office ’ inspects your apartment. 
I’ve my hands full with the ground and parlor floor, 
and God knows what goes on up there on the sixth.” 

“ Very good, Smith ! ” laughed Wardlawe. “ It does 
seem strange that, reversing the usual order, the ‘ tern- 


12 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


perature ’ rises in the higher altitudes of your * truly 
palatial family resort ! 

Th€ florid German Israelite bowed and smiled his 
perfunctory approval of a good customer’s joke. 

“ Letters? ” he briefly said. “ Keep them all! ” vig- 
orously remarked the Major. 

“ Callers? ” growled the curious human jackdaw. 

“ Let them wait I ” chuckled Wardlawe with a fine 
sense of humor. 

“ Singular fellow, that I ” reflected the Major, glanc- 
ing at the clock and hastening away to the Union 
Club. “ Dresses like a* prince — new jewels weekly — 
daily cravat a la mode — box at Opera — same in all the 
theaters I Knows every man entitled to a ‘ desirably 
located ’ parlor and bath-room between here. New 
York, Kandahar, Timbuctoo, London, and Calcutta!” 

The simple veteran knew not that the ‘ jewels ’ were 
but portable advertisements of various wily tradesmen, 
the “ Tyrian purple and fine linen,” the tribute of un- 
willing “ Schneiders,” and that, as to the lighter 
amusements of life, the Count’s motto was “ Base is 
the slave who pays.” 

The gorgeous Count publicly ignored his wife, a 
stately and still beautiful Semitic Rachel of majestic 
appearance, who “ came down like the wolf on the 
fold ” and. purveyed “ rich spoil in ring and gear and 
hose ” to the passionate-hearted Aspasias of that great 
Vanity Fair, the Palace Hotel of San Francisco. 

Swinging up the side street. Major Wardlawe, in 
five minutes, entered the Union Club and proceeded to 
a private breakfast room, where “ the Chief ” merely 
nodded as Wardlawe entered. 

‘'Any news?” demanded the sole breakfast guest 
as he viewed his hand, inquiringly noting Wardlawe’s ' 
graceful declination of the table courtesies. 

“ This ! ” calmly said the engineer as he handed the 
capitalist the brief cablegram. 

“ Good ! ” ejaculated the Chief. “ And when do you 
start?” 

“To-morrow morning!” answered Wardlawe with 
an air of relief. 

“ I’ll put Loomis in charge of your affairs here,” 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 13 

said the Iron King of the Pacific coast. “You will be 
away at least three months! Do you want anything? 
You have my full powers, you know I Use my private 
cable cipher; then only you and I will know of the 
‘ Amoor Navigation Company.’ ” 

“ I drew fifteen hundred pounds — Bank of Califor- 
nia — left them my sight draft on you, Sir,” thought- 
fully said Wardlawe. “ I am anxious to get out of 
the State I ” 

“Why so?” quickly said Sterling Mott, wheeling 
his chair and catching the note of Wardlawe’s voice. 

“ In the ten years of my engagement with you, Mr. 
Mott,” slowly said the veteran, “ I have never sought 
to pry into your designs I I know that you have ex- 
tended your business from China and Australia to 
South Africa, and even Europe; that the Rockies, the 
Cordilleras, the Andes, Alaska and the Arctic echo the 
sound of your steam whistles ; but it’s only fair to say 
that others are on the track of your Amoor Navigation 
Company’s affairs I ” 

Mott bounded from his chair and quickly grasped 
his general agent’s hands, while he cried, “ Tell me 
at once all 1 Be sure that you forget nothing 1 ” 

In five minutes Mott sank back relieved, when the 
Major had recounted all of Gorlitz’s strange persist- 
ency, even to his uptown carriage ride with Everett 
Marsden. 

“ And this meddler comes to me at three o’clock I ” 

Striding up and down the room, a compact, manly 
figure at fifty — calm-faced, gray-eyed, with a boyish 
smile and a collegian’s mustache, the Iron King wres- 
tled long with the problem. 

“ I cannot make it out I Consul-General Gorlitz is 
a man who will not be easily shaken off! You must 
‘ stand pat ' and listen to him ! Quietly ignore all 
knowledge of the Amoor Navigation Company. Just 
tell him that you are going to St. Petersburg to do 
some expert work in high calculations for projected 
public constructions, the character or locality of which 
you know nothing. Everett Marsden is all right, Gor- 
litz is not ! And yet, he is a fellow of unerring sagacity ! 
He smells out a good thing and wants some of it, with 


14 the mystery of a shipyard. 

the true hunger of a Russian official. I will warn 
Marsden! You must simply stand off this Russian 
wolf Gorlitz ! See here, I will take the night boat for 
Sacramento and meet you there on your train and go 
up as far as Reno. I wish to look over the machinery 
on the Comstock. So I will have your last report, and 
Gorlitz cannot suspect our conference ! ” , 

“ True,” uneasily said Wardlawe, “ but he will set 
the whole official pack on me in St. Petersburg! I 
never can escape the chase of those tireless wolves ! 

“ As you have told me, I have business with no one 
but Baron Knorp, Governor-General of the Trans- 
Baikal, and the Count Nicholas Ignatieff! Then, one 
or both of these men must have posted Gorlitz, for he 
showed me Ignatieff’s own cipher signature, a signa- 
ture which both Tolstoi and Loris Melikoff have failed 
to probe, by the Grand Duke Nicholas’ special favor. 

“ Only these two or General Michael Annenkoff 
could have betrayed us to Gorlitz ! And if we cannot 
trust to our new friends, where are we, ” 

Five minutes of self-questioning brought Sterling 
Mott’s ready genius into active operation. “ There is 
something hidden under the surface here ! I must see 
both the Senators and Marsden! The latter is in. my 
lodge and commandery,^ and he will hold nothing 
back. 

“ I have it ! Our Russian friends may be playing 
^ au large,’ as the Frenchman would say, I will send 
all my letters to you sealed, in the dispatch bag, to our 
Minister at St. Petersburg. 

“ Paul Kurtz, our First Secretary, is our local agent 
there. You will get all my orders, papers, cablegrams 
and letters through Kurtz. I will cable to him from 
Sacramento, and the two Senators will telegraph to 
Marshall Jewell, our Minister. Kurtz will have orders 
to aid and protect you in every way. You have my 
carte blanche; and now say nothing to any one about 
the Amoor Navigation Company, save to Count Igna- 
tieff and Baron Knorp. 

“Deal with them singly. If there is any need for 
joint action, call in Kurtz, who will show you my full 
written instructions to him on your demand. Yours 


The mystery oE a shipyard. 


15 


are in your head, and Kurtz will be ordered not to 
dissent when you decide; so you are two against the 
two Russians. Remember, you are to sign no papers. 
Both the Russians know how to get my assent and that 
of my associates to confirm your local decision. 

“ So let none of Gorlitz’s wiles, none of Ignatieff’s 
or Knorp’s outside intrigues move you a hair ! 

“ If they wish you to go anywhere with them, go to 
the ends of the earth, reporting to me in cipher. Jewell, 
our Minister, will have orders to protect you and to 
put your ciphers through. 

“ Remember, he knows nothing of the Amoor Nav- 
igation Company. He only acts at the bidding of the 
two Senators ! 

“ Very good,” quietly said Major Wardlawe. “ My 
mind is now at ease. I have only your clear directions 
to follow. I only wish that -you had an abler instru- 
ment.” 

“ Don’t mention that, Wardlawe ! ” heartily said the 
Iron King. “ We are on the eve of a tremendous up- 
heaval ! I know that, in fifty years, London, San Fran- 
cisco, New York and some port on the Yellow Sea — 
probably Port Arthur — will be the four marts of all 
around the world trade. 

“ China may be dragged down or else violently 
decrepitate. 

“ But, the Pacific, the Indian Ocean, will be relieved 
of the British commercial yoke of Melbourne, Calcutta 
and Hongkong. 

“ Japan will compete on the sea with England, and 
Russia, with Annenkoflf’s railway, will soon absorb the 
heart of China while the other foreign nations are 
nibbling away at the coast line.” 

“ And, the Amoor Navigation Company? ” smilingly 
said Wardlawe. 

“ ‘ Time and I,’ said William the Silent,” remarked 
Mott with vigor. 

“ In five years we will be building vast battleships 
in the National Works ; our Yankee machinery, with 
American railway supplies, will soon feed the enor- 
mous Asian and Siberian trade ! There is coal, gold — 


1 6 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

everything in Nature’s treasury to be unlocked, far 
above the junction of the Shilka and the Arguin. 

“ Our own works now use three thousand men ; in 
fifteen years the force will be five to eight, and in 
twenty-five, an army of ten or twelve. 

“ The whole of Alaska and Northern Siberia is a 
gold mine! The interior wealth of Manchuria and 
Northern China is measureless! Even our own plaijs 
must wait on conquests to come! 

“ The American flag will yet dominate the middle 
Pacific, while the Japanese and Russians rule the 
Northern ; and England will be squeezed back in India 
and confined to holding on to Hongkong. 

“ So go and meet your Russian bear ! Humor him ! 
Do not quarrel with him ! 

“ He may have caught at the fringe of our secret 
purposes ; but you yoursdf, do not even dream what 
the ‘ Amoor Navigation Company ’ is or may be ! 

“ Ignatielf and Knorp will deliver to you the signed 
and sealed contracts, of which, as to the lettering and 
detail, Paul Kurtz is to be the judge. 

“ He has been twelve years on the Neva as Secre- 
tary of Legation^ and they cannot delude him! 

“You are right! Get swiftly, silently, safely away, 
and beware of betraying yourself on the voyage! It 
might even be dangerous. 

“ There may be some elasticity in Knorp and Igna- 
tieff’s ideas. They can use Gorlitz as a pawn, not as 
an equal, for Ignatielf only dreams of pulling down 
Tolstoi as the new Czar’s Minister of the Interior and 
becoming dictator again ! He is the uncompromising 
foe of ‘ la Dolgourouki,’ the sweet way to the heart of 
the new Czar, Alexander III. ; a man who has not for- 
gotten his own outraged mother, an empress buried as 
a neglected beggar, only a worn out human soul ! ” 

The clang of the telephone called Sterling Mott 
away, and so master and man shook hands. 

“ I am armed against the Bear,’-’ contentedly said 
Major Wardlawe. 

“ Strange,” he mused as he slowly returned to the 
Palace. “ Here is a diversity of human gifts. 

“ Sterling Mott is a general of industries, a man 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


17 


whose victories of peace demand all the nerve, skill 
and organizing power of the great general. 

“ Unknown as a politician, avoiding theoretical dis- 
cussions, he has reached out to grasp the four quarters 
of the globe in enterprises which prove that America 
is soon to wear the iron crown and sway the steel 
sceptre of the world, and that she will resistingly as- 
sail the world’s markets. 

“ A Richelieu of the technical arts is this same hu- 
man steam engine. 

“ On the other hand, Everett Marsden, his friend, 
evidently his secret backer here, is the merchant prince, 
the man who deals, the one who grasps at the ' un- 
earned increment.’ 

“ And lands, ships, franchises, trade, the spoils of 
sear and shore, drift his way easily, while laurel after 
laurel — politically — drops upon his head. 

“ Governor and Senator — both soon to be ! 

“ And with two Senators and one Minister to Rus- 
sia as their mute agents, what vast powers may not be 
locked up in the shadowy Amoor Navigation Com- 
pany, an enterprise whose franchise only needs the 
seal of the Czar of a hundred millions, the ruler of 
thirty nations, whose business drags in a mighty noble, 
and an ex-Dictator as mere agents. 

“ What lurks behind this elastic veil ? At any rate, 
my own task ds easy ! ‘ Straight and sweet my path- 
way lies ! ’ 

“ Only to do my duty, guard nty own secrets and 
fulfill Mott’s orders when I get them ! 

“ As for protection, with Jewell and his First Secre- 
tary I will be ‘ free of 'the town.’ ” 

Slowly ascending to his rooms, Walter Wardlawe 
sat down to await the arrival of the wily Consul-Gen- 
eral. 

The bright afternoon sun had driven away the 
morning mists, and long he stood with reverent hand, 
lifting the veil which hid Isabel Wardlawe’s vanished 
face from the eyes of the curious. 

God be with you, my lost darling ! ” he whispered, 
as if he could invoke her shadowy presence. 

“ What is life but a voyage from nothing to no- 


1 8 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

where ! No more sunlight for me ! It is only the long 
march, the few last stages and then a soldier’s rest, 
until the Great Reveille ! ” 

Proud and silent, Wardlawe hid his loyal heart from 
all men ; yea, and from most women, too, in this golden 
seething maelstrom of the Occidental City. 

He veiled the beloved picture again reverently, mur- 
muring the words of an old love lament ; 

“ Shall* I take comfort ! Dost thou live ” 

“A. spirit, though afar,” 

“ With a deep hush about thee, like ” 

“The stillness round a star?” 

“ ‘ Fais ce que dois ! ’ My old motto ! I must go on 
to the end ! ” he murmured, starting as a loud knock 
aroused him. 

From the hand of a blue-coat messenger lad he took 
a telegram: 

“ . Dine with me this evening. Bo- 

hemian Club. Imperative. Seven o’clock. Do not 
fail.” 

The signature, “ Everett Marsden,” quickly decided 
him. 

“ Answer? ” demanded the shock-headed lad. “ I’m 
to return.” 

“ Say I will be there,” briefly replied Wardlawe, 
who had mentally decided to throw his pen away. 

He was standing gloomily, gazing out of the win- 
dow, wondering if the acute Gorlitz was trying to trap 
him through the merchant prince, when the bustling 
Russian rang the bell. 

“So, we are alone! You are sure?” remarked 
Dimitri Gorlitz, already busy with that infernal cigar- 
ette case, perpetually throwing people off their guard 
with its wilderness of fantastic golden monograms af- 
fixed to the work of Outchinikoff. 

“ We are ! ” quietly remarked the American with a 
scant pretense of hospitality. 

“See here. Major Wardlawe!” frankly cried the 
keen-witted official. “ I can see that you distrust me ; 
that you consider me only a prying busybody.” 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


19 


The Major paused in his walk and drew up a chair. 

I come to prove to you the negative,” boldly de- 
clared the Consul-General. “ I have long since learned 
that the easiest way, to mystify people is to tell them 
the truth ! This world is only a mart of lies ! Now I 
am going to astonish you. It matters not how or why 
I happen to be connected with the Amoor Navigation 
Company. You cannot break down my defenses, nor 
can I conquer your reserve. 

“ Perhaps the scope of that company to-day is un- 
known to both of us. 

“ Perhaps even the leading men here are blinded. 
I wish no confidences! I came here to tell you that 
your life is in danger from the very moment that you 
start, if you betray yourself, as an agent of the com- 
pany.” 

Dimitri Gorlitz laughed as Wardlawe started. 

“ So your masters have told you this already! Well, 
I repeat it, for my own sake — our interests lie together 
— mine is not a pecuniary one,” he said with a forcible 
dignity. 

“ Listen ! Here we are in the middle of January. 
England and Russia were never as near their final war 
as now, a war which will end either in England losing 
India or, in the wreck of the Russian Empire. 

“ I know that you speak French, ‘ not, that of Strat- 
ford-atte-Bowe.’ 

“ Be sure that you are not mistaken for an English- 
man in Russia! You may be quietly assassinated or 
languish unknown in a prison. Take no English 
books, nothing to betray you. Speak French only, or 
if you cannot avoid it, German,” he added with a 
grimace of disgust, although you do not look like a 
‘ kaufifman.' 

“ In St. Petersburg let Count Ignatieff or Baron 
Knorp choose your every associate, man or woman, 
save those selected by Paul Kurtz. Dear old Mar- 
shall Jewell is only a figurehead; he is steeped in 
leather ! Let him alone ! ” 

Wardlawe gazed helplessly at this friendly tor- 
mentor. 

“ This is some wild dream ! ” he murmured. 


20 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD* 


“ Only too true ! ” briskly said Gorlitz, attacking his 
second papyrus. 

“ I wish that the fight could be deferred till we have 
tied China to us with a rope of steel. 

“ In twenty years our navy will be tripled — we will 
liave the Siberian Railway, Annenkofif’s last dream of 
conquest ; and then, we can snap our fingers at the 
British Lion ! ” 

The gallant Consul-General airily kissed his finger- 
tips to an imaginary Queen Victoria. 

“She fancies herself the Kaisar-i-Hind ! Wait! 
Only wait ! ” 

“ There is no opium in those cigarettes ? ” quietly 
demanded the Major. 

“ Do not trifle ! ” said Gorlitz, in an earnest voice. 
“ It is because your life is valuable to Russia, to this 
strange company, that I warn you ! There are English 
agents here, spies everywhere — men who would mur- 
der you when we need you most. You are to pass 
through England — a mistake! 

“ You should have gone by the French Line. See 
the yawning gulf now! As soon as the snows melt 
there will be a terrific struggle for the Pamirs ! You 
may not know the ‘ Roof of the World ! ’ General 
Komaroflf is down there with eighteen thousand men 
and sixty guns ready to drive the English out of the 
thirty thousand square miles between the Hindu 
Kush, the Himalaya, the Kuen-lun and the Tian-Shan 
Mountains. 

“ Fenced in between Afghanistan, East Turkestan, 
China and Turkestan, it is the gate to India, China and 
Siberia. There, among mountains from six to twenty- 
five thousand feet high, we will meet England, and 
even now, fight her to a finish, to prevent an English 
control of this ‘ place of arms.’ 

“ We can take it whenever we wish to. We have 
the railroad to Merv and Tashkend, with eighty thou- 
sand men ready to pour in. 

“ England will growl ; yet we will not recede ! Ko- 
maroff has the Czar’s own orders, and all over the 
whole world Russian and English secret agents are 
now fighting to defeat each other’s plans. 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 21 

** So you will see perhaps both England and Russia 
in war time! 

“ Now, as you risk your life first as a Russian 
agent in England and later, as an English spy in 
Russia, I bid you to beware. 

“ Be ruled only by Ignatiefif and Knorp ! Prudence 
will take you safely through England, with silence 
added. 

“ In Russia, distrust all men, more especially, all 
women ! ” he laughed. 

“ No, I am not unpatriotic. I am a Siberian, born 
in Tomsk, and have passed my whole official life in 
China and Japan. 

“ But, such traveling divinities as I have met, until 
transferred here, lead me to believe that the Russian 
woman is the most delightful devil incarnate in the 
world, always excepting the Polish Delilahs.” 

“ And, the Amoor Navigation Company? ” fervently 
said Wardlawe. 

‘‘ I thought that we were not to speak of that I ” 
archly replied Gorlitz. “ You see, I will let you down 
easily. Ring, for a bottle of champagne — ‘ vin brut.’ 
I am preserving you for this company’s purposes, a 
concern about which I neither know nor care. 

“ Circurnstances, not inclination, make us friends. 
I am taking every desperate means to cripple England 
in the case of this war, which finds us unready. 

“ But we will meet them ! Mark me, England will 
only growl and retire I Komaroff is our fiercest 
fighter. England pokes the lion’s paw out under the 
cover of the Afghans. Komaroff will cut the tribes 
and their secret backers to pieces. 

“ We are in for a nasty row, and yet, our strongest 
weapons are our secret ones. You remember the 
Treaty of .Paris? Russia has many reserved means 
of attacking the mistress of the seas ! ” 

The arrival of “ Handsome Jones ” with the Per- 
rier-Jouet “ brut ” caused Dimitri Gorlitz to sink the 
sage in the bon-vivant. 

When the bumpers were finished the Consul-General 
hastily lit another of his seductive tubes. 

am off — dinner and the opera. Ah! I forgot! 


22 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


You are not a lady’s man. Such women here! What 
fire I Sweet ardent souls 1 Russian and Pole blended 
in their devil may care jollity! 

“ Remember, don’t be astonished at a war crisis ! 
But, we will hold to the Pamirs! It is so written in 
the stars. And, I may see you later on the Neva. You 
may linger there. Remember, only use the French 
tongue in our Russian territory. In case of trouble, 
telegraph in French to Count Nicholas Ignatieff, 
Moika 21, St. Petersburg. He will at once smooth 
your pathway. 

“ He is an intellectual giant. Baron Knorp is only 
‘ means to an end,’ Ignatiefif’s harvester, for, like all 
great men — Wellington, Napoleon, Frederick, Caesar — 
Ignatieff is avaricious.” 

With a quaint Muscovite half bow, Dimitri Gorlitz 
bustled down the hallway humming an air from 
“ Perichole,” the red gleam of his papyrus lighting his 
way. 

“ Tireless wolf,” cried Wardlawe, dropping into a 
chair. 

“ This is a strange visit ! There is dot even any 
public intimation of this international tension. And 
he never even mentioned Marsden ! ” 

Major Wardlawe smothered an unworthy desire to 
convict Gorlitz of lying. 

“ No, he was luxuriating — for once in his life — in 
telling the truth. There was conviction in his very 
eyes.” And he strangely corroborates Sterling Mott’s 
suggestion of danger. 

“ Marsden ! No ! There is no connection between 
these men. What can his business be ? ” 

Before the Major donned his dinner dress the alert 
Jones had packed the trunk and portmanteau which ' 
constituted Wardlawe’s whole traveling outfit. 

“ Nothing there to betray the American or English- 
man,” he proudly concluded, save this eight-inch 
edition of international law of 44 caliber according to 
Smith & Wesson. I will buy me a few hats, a trav- 
eling pelisse and a bundle of yellow novels in Paris — 
just to give a local flavor.” 

“Now, Jones!” sternly commanded Wardlawe. 


THE MYSTER? of a SHIPYARD, ^3 

“ Herein fail not ! Breakfast for me here at seven, the 
baggage door and carriage at eight. You will go over 
the Bay with rne to find that yellow double eagle which 
is now soaring about Oakland wharf for you. 

‘‘ On my return you shall be dealt with according 
to your deserts.” 

“ All your maps, drawings, plans, books — ^the whole 
caboodle,’ Sir — will be in tip top order. I am the 
man now to blame if anything goes wrong. There’ll 
be no ‘ song and dance ’ business in these rooms ! ” 
grinned the expectant valet. 

With a sigh Walter Wardlawe left the rooms which 
for ten years had been his atelier as general traveling 
agent of the great National Works. 

With a fine reticence even the heads of some depart- 
ments at the National did not know the man whom 
Sterling Mott sent out over the world to hazard mil- 
lions in *hose great capitalistic combats in which thou- 
sands of distant toilers are mere pawns in the hands 
of the directing generals of the modern army of 
Midas. 

“Now for the Bohemian Club ! ” mused the Major. 

“ Everett Marsden has not the cool, masterly way 
of Mott, nor the inky cuttlefish slyness of my Mephisto 
Dimitri Gorlitz, but he ‘ hath a way,’ like Shake- 
speare’s sweetheart — a way all his own — to judiciously 
economize the truth, on occasion. 

“ Will he, too, feed me with half disclosures?” 

The veteran gaily scorned all possibility of entangle- 
ment, as he sought the long low rooms on Bush 
street, sacred to the memory of Colonel John Cre- 
morny, still lit up by the magic of Robert Louis 
Stevenson’s mystic smile, and later, irradiated by Rud- 
yard Kipling’s caustic wit. 

“ Going over the water? ” cried Robert Grogan, the 
cheery chief of a millionaire banking clan, seizing 
upon Wardlawe as he entered the vestibule. 

“ I saw you buying your tickets, and the steamer 
agent told me you had telegraphed for the best cabin 
on the ‘ Aurania.’ My sister Frances is going over 
with you.” 

Stifling his surprise, Wardlawe gaily accepted, 


24 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

when Grogan, after the sacrifice to the owl ” — the 
pouring out of libations — sat down to dash off a half 
dozen introductory letters to “ our fellows in London.” 

It occurred later to the secret agent to remember 
that the high-spirited Grogan was the “ fidus Achates ” 
on the Pacific coast of Parnell, Michael Davitt, Tom 
Power O’Connor, Redmond, and other men of brilliant 
talent but doubtful loyalty to the “ meteor flag of Eng- 
land.” 

And yet, as Everett Marsden modestly pushed his 
way through the crowd, Wardlawe pocketed the let- 
ters with hearty thanks and a brotherly adieu as Mars- 
den led the way to a private dining room. 

In the happy halls of Bohemia, the grave, preoccu- 
pied face of the multifarious millionaire Everett Mars- 
den was a foil to the happy-go-lucky expression of the 
gathered free lances of the Pacific coast. 

And yet, all men crowded around Marsden, who had 
“ arrived ” at the pinnacle of financial and political 
success by the old fashioned methods of industry, 
economy and sterling character. 

The path from being “ cabin boy ” of a Maine fish- 
ing smack to the triple honor' of millionaire, mighty 
ship owner. Governor and self-succeeding Senator, is 
a long one, a weary ascent. 

And so, Wardlawe studied the cheery face of the 
dark-haired and dark-eyed man, whose soft voice, 
simple greeting and affability made him a general fa- 
vorite. 

Strangely enough, Marsden’s warm friendships 
were all distributed among men, for he distrusted the 
dolls of Fashion, finding them too frequently padded 
with sawdust and other more dangerous things. 

At this dinner hour — “ blest truce with daily cares ” 
— the rooms over the old market were crowded with 
the “ best and gravest ” of the Cosmopolis of the Pa- 
cific. Financiers, lawyers, doctors, political leaders 
and mining magnates, with great merchants, thronged 
this neutral ground where a “ truce of. God ” reigned 
under the unblinking eyes of the club owls. There, 
solid men fondly fancied themselves the best — 
potent of name and plethora of purse — while the 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


25 


“ bravest ” — were the amorphous squads of explorers, 
adventurers, artists, journalists, “ rising writers,” men 
of the. two “services,” pioneers and the other bold, 
self-reliant natures who had carved out the Empire of 
the West with no other reward than scars and the 
marks of many “ scapes by flood and field.” 

These warm-hearted souls thronged around the 
cheery ex-Governor, as he gravely took Wardlawe’s 
arm. 

Finally Marsden escaped, by a general libation to 
that ancient god Bacchus, whose temples are never 
shut and whose worship needs no fiery Savaronola to 
gain proselytes. 

After the manly chorus of “ How ! ” Marsden, nod- 
ding to the grave and reverend seigniors, pocketed his 
invitation to the next High Jinks and led Wardlawe 
into the passage filled with cubby hole dining rooms, 
where affairs of vast moment were often adjusted over 
the Chambertin. 

. Flimsily thrown up to secure an alleged privacy, 
these thin partitions but partly separated men whose 
sly schemes often intersected in their careening orbits. 

The grave butler bowed Everett Marsden and his 
guest into No. 2, as the capitalist said : “ I fancy there 
is no club in the world as frankly Bohemian as this 
same Palace of the Owls.” 

Wardlawe started as he caught the direct glance of 
a sturdy man, in tweeds, entering alone the compart- 
ment No. I. 

, The old soldier days came back to the Major. “ That 
man has served,” he mused. 

“ Sized me up wifli a single comprehensive glance ! ” 

But, he soon forgot all his surroundings, in Mars- 
den’s grave concern over the business in hand. 

“ I have taken the liberty of asking the steward to 
serve us his very best dinner, with his own selection 
of wines, to gain time, and so,” laughed Marsden, “ we 
can only do as Peter — when the cloth was let down, 
“ Arise, slay — and eat ! ” 

“ Now, I feel that I owe you an apology for stealing 
you last evening. Major Wardlawe; but I must ask 
you to do a favor for me, which I would not entrust 


26 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


to any other living man. You go direct to St. Peters- 
burg?” 

Feeling that Destiny was sweeping him on, Walter 
Wardlawe quietly nodded as he listened to Marsden’s 
sonorous and penetrating voice. 

Both men would have risen in alarm, could they 
have seen the occupant of “No. i ” crouching beside 
the panels on the other side of the flimsily set up 
factory panels, listening to Marsden’s regularly recur- 
rent speech. 

“ In the interest of the Amoor River Steam Naviga- 
tion Company,” softly said Marsden, fixing his dark 
eyes upon the astonished Wardlawe. 

“Did Sterling Mott tell you this?” gravely whis- 
pered the Major. 

The soldier’s heart was raging with a hatred of 
Consul-General Gorlitz’s cool betrayal. 

“Yes! ” said Marsden. “ And I wish to trust you 
in a matter of the gravest importance. Major; one 
that must remain sealed in our own hearts, because 
the gravest events may depend upon your prudence ! ” 

The oyster soup and fish courses were served before 
Wardlawe, anxiously watching the adroit gar(;on, 
gloomily replied, in a silence which was maintained 
even in “ No. i,” where the solitary occupant sat with 
his chair drawn close to the thin partition. 

“ It seems to me, Mr. Marsden, that I am not free 
to do anything of moment without Sterling Mott’s or- 
ders or approbation,” gloomily answered Wardlawe. 

“ Just the man who must know nothing of it ! ” cried 
Marsden in a genuine alarm. 

“ The Amoor Navigation Company may assume 
Protean shapes! Mott is the autocrat of the technical 
future of these vast plans to open the basin of the 
Amoor, but the company may take a hand in matters 
which may wreck an empire or shape the future of 
Asia and contest the control of the sea ! I will say no 
more. I dare not! Dkl Gorlitz call on you to-day?” 

“ Yes ! ” moodily said Wardlawe, while the shame- 
faced man on the other side of the partition gripped 
his heart to still his heavy breathing. 

“ When the events he speaks of happen the Pacific 


tHE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


27 


Ocean will be clouded with privateers , and England’s 
commerce ruined ! ” 

“ Ah ! ” gasped Wardlawe. “ The Treaty of Paris ! ” 

“ Precisely ! ” calmly said Everett Marsden, all his 
commercial keenness showing in his face. “ The 
Amoor Company may need a fleet of ocean steamers. 
I control the only one available on the whole Pacific. 
Spain, Mexico, Russia and the United States did not 
abolish privateering ! ” 

The velvet-footed servant entered — a Deus ex ma- 
china — and discreetly spread the next service with a 
critical eye at the half-emptied wine bottles, his own 
future harvest. 

“ What am I to do for you ? Loyal, always, to Ster- 
ling Mott and the National Works?” demanded 
Wardlawe. 

“ Only to guard with your life, a packet of sealed 
papers addressed for mere safety to Paul Kurtz, First 
Secretary of the American Legation at St. Peters- 
burg. I have had them sealed officially by Gorlitz, 
so you are safe from annoyance once in Russia, as far 
as opening them goes ! 

“ But these priceless papers must not leave your 
body ! I dare trust to no one else. It is vital ! Millions 
may be won or lost ! States saved by this ! ” earnestly 
cried Marsden. “ You have carte blanche to name 
your reward ; for expenses, absolutely a carte 
blanche ! ” 

His voice was pitiful in its pleading. 

A helpless millionaire I 

“ Why don’t you send them through the Legation ? 
Marshall Jewell is under your control. You own the 
Senators I You can make a fence of Senators about 
you,” said Wardlawe. 

“ Because our Government must be kept free of 
England’s Alabama taint! 

“ These documents must never pass through the 
hands of an American official ! You are to deliver 
them to Count Ignatieff himself or, at his bidding, to 
Admiral Chestakoff, the Minister of Marine of Russia. 

“No receipts — nothing — only get them at once to 
either of these men I 


28 


THE MYSTERY OP A SHIPYARD. 


“ It’s only fair to say your life would be endangered 
as far as the Russian frontier, should any one know 
of the Amoor Navigation Company’s agent! 

‘‘ Beyond that, Gorlitz’s fiery patriotism protects 
you! He is the sole American agent in the West, of 
De Giers, and rumor has it that he is the son of a 
former Governor-General of all Siberia — his mother 
a Russian countess exiled as a girl conspirator, in 
’thirty-three! He to-day is England’s bitterest, most 
dangerous secret foe. 

“ Now, Wardlawe, will }^u do this for me?” 

The Major bowed his head in ascent as the plovers 
and champagne were served. 

“What will be your recompense?” said Wardlawe 
when they were alone. “ I wish it to be magnificent !” 

“ I am like Simon Cameron’s ideal honest man,” 
slow.ly rejoined Major Wardlawe. “ A fellow who 
stays bought when you have bought him once! The 
National owns me. 

“ Let this be an outside favor. I may some day ask 
you for some steamboat passes for some of my old 
soldiers. All right. I’m your man ! ” 

“ Then,” said Marsden, when the crushing hand 
grasp had ended and a glass of champagne sealed the 
one-sided bargain, “ I’ll bring the papers to your train 
myself at Oakland to-morrow morning. 

“ I will put them in two packets, so they will bal- 
ance in your breast pockets. 

“ Gorlitz comes to my house to-night with his seals 
and paraphernalia.” 

“ Liar ! ” mused Wardlawe. 

“ He said dinner and the opera, with a ‘ rosebud 
girl ! ’ The normal man is a phenomenal liar ! ” 

“ Full instructions for your guidance will be sent 
in Mott’s private cipher to you by me through Gor- 
litz, who will get the papers, in his own way, to Count 
Ignatieff. You know all the dangers now. I will see 
that, willy nilly, your reward reaches you later. Re- 
member, silence ! secrecy ! discretion ! ” 

“ All right,” laughed Wardlawe. “ My nerve is 
faultless, if my brains only hold out ! ” 

You ! ” gaily answered Marsden when they de- 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


29 


parted, with scant attention to Chef Vefour’s “ Tim- 
bale a la Petit Trianon.” 

“ I know you need all your time,” gratefully said 
Marsden, at the door of the little den. 

” Steal away ! I will put in a half an hour in the 
club parlors to throw off any suspicions. 

” Then I go straight to Oakland ! Gorlitz is at my 
house in waiting now ! For I knew I could count on 
your gallantry ! ” 

While Wardlawe was wondering over this strange 
mission on his way to the Palace, a red-faced Briton 
emerged from compartment “ No. i,” having finished 
his dinner with a stiff brandy and water. 

“ I must have a shy at this fellow,” he murmured. ' 

“ Pm no d d assassin, but hang me if I don’t 

detain him a month or thwart him! Pll have him fol- 
lowed to the Czar’s own dinner table if needs be! 
Allan Law is the very man ! ” 


CHAPTER II. 

BERRY OF THE ROYAL ARTILLERY. 

As scrupulous, as cheery old Count Considine, as 
“ to being first on the ground,” Major Wardlawe took 
a ferryboat the next morning a half hour before the 
regular run. 

His last evening hours had been devoted to casing 
and packing his drawings and prpjets and prudently 
sealing up all his drawers and rolls. 

By some premonition he took down his old army 
bowie knife as he made his morning toilet, and slipped 
the Cossack loop of the cord over his neck and one 
shoulder. • 

“A pistol misses fire,” mused Wardlawe; “a knife 
never does, and few care to face it.” 

The well-worn chamois note-case hung around his 
neck, concealed his “ sinews of war,” and the “ inter- 
national law ” of Smith & Wesson was easily reachable 
under his traveling jacket. 

It was a bright morning, and Wardlawe’s spirits 


36 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

rose under the influence of the unrivaled panorama 
of the Bay of San Francisco. 

Late roues and early toilers crowded this matutinal 
“ early bird ” boat as it swept on past Yerba Buena 
with fhe “ faithful Jones ’’ in charge of Wardlawe’s 
pet black bag with its hand-made double brass clasps 
and patent locks. 

The valet was thinking only of the bright twenty- 
dollar piece awaiting him and of the greater “ reward 
of merit ” on Major Wardlawe’s return. 

At the last moment, before entering the ferry, 
Wardlawe had seen in a slop shop the very thing he 
desired — a buckskin undervest, with capacious pock- 
ets plentifully supplied with flaps, buttons, buckles and 
strings ! “ That is the very thing I need for my mys- 
terious papers,” was the soldier’s prompt decision, and 
a five-dollar gold piece left Mr. Abraham Levy bow- 
ing and scraping. 

“ Turned inside out, with this I can defy the neatest 
‘ grafter ’ in the profession,” mused the Major as the 
train at last sped up the long mole. 

There had been much ‘‘ local merriment ” when from 
Marsden’s splendid carriage were unearthed several 
hampers, turned over to the smiling Pullman car 
porter. 

“ Enough cigars and ‘ tonics ’ to last me to Bagdad 
or Bassora,” cried the Major when Everett Marsden 
beckoned him into the close carriage. 

“ Here you are ! ” he hoarsely whispered. 

“Two sealed packages! Gorlitz has made them 
‘ Kosher ’ for the ‘Russian inquisitors. Remember, 
they are never to leave your body, your own eyes, till 
Chestakofif gets them. A million in betterments de- 
pends on your fidelity, and perhaps, a nation’s existence 
on your promptness.” 

“If aught happens?” whispered Wardlawe. 

“ Destroy them only if death clutches you, at the 
very last 1 ” gravely said the capitalist. “ As for inter- 
ference or delay, cable me direct. The whole power 
of the United States will free you at once. 

“ Use money like water if needs be. Wells, Fargo 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 31 

& Co.’s bank in London lias my orders to pay any 
drafts on me personally which you draw. 

“And Gorlitz sent a cipher cable of three hundred 
words last night. Once in Russia you will be treated 
like a king! 

“ Only,” he solemnly adjured, “ Ignatieff and 
Chestakoff are the only two men to whom you must 
talk. Kurtz is your slave, not your go-between. He 
knows absolutely nothing, save to deliver to you intact 
any mail. But Gorlitz will : 5 end all tidings direct to- 
Ignatieff. Use the Mott cipher and let Count Nicholas 
have the letters all sealed triply with your private 
seal and corded strongly 1 The Russians are as sly as 
the Germans in letter opening. Now, go! There’s 
your whistle ! ” 

“I will keep this trust with my life ! ” solerhnly said 
Wardlawe as he sprang into his car, only to see Ev- 
erett Marsden’s team placidly trotting on the ferry- 
boat. 

The faithful Jones had decided to “ ride up the road ” 
two or three stations to arrange his master’s section, 
having pocketed the double eagle with a golden smile. 

In some amusement Major Wardlawe now observed 
the efforts of the two conductors to eject a burly Eng- 
lishman who, with a smart evil-looking valet and a 
mountain of luggage, occupied the central aisle. 

Loud grew the tumult as the train approached the 
main land, while ladies craned their necks and the 
dogged Briton, like Ajax, “defied the lightning” and 
even the autocratic S. P. R. R. Co. 

“ There’s nothing here for you ! Everything sold 
out ! You must go forward to the day cars ! ” growled 
the conductor, nippers in hand, and with his eyes on 
the thronging brakemen. 

Entrenched upon his luggage, the sturdy English- 
man put up his eyeglass while the “ officials ” stormed 
and swore. 

“There is an empty drawing-room!” quietly ob- 
served Major Wardlawe when hostilities were about 
to open actively. 

Tipping his “fore and aft ” tweed helmet, the Briton 
dropped his eyeglass, produced a bulging pocket- 


32 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


book, and the “ oil of gladness ” was soon poured on 
the troubled waters. 

The alert valet hurled his master’s luggage into the 
dark hole usually reserved for “ bridal couples ! ” and 
then Peace spread her snowy wings. 

Some remarks about a ‘‘ blasted country ” were soon 
wafted from a- half open door, where the 'son of Brit- 
tania sat puffing a pipe of phenomenal chubbiness, 
filled with a “ mixture ” evidently compounded in 
Hades. 

“ Where have I seen that face? ” mused Wardlawe, 
now intent only upon the two packages resting in his 
breast pockets. 

“ I can leave the train at Sacramento and don my 
buckskin armor after that. I am safe as long as life 
and sanity stay with me,^^ mused the old soldier, not 
wondering now why these same papers had not been 
sent on by express by some bank or other fiduciary 
agent. 

“ I seem to carry Caesar and his fortunes,” he de- 
cided, his spirits rising as the train flew along to Niles’ 
station. 

Here it was that “ Handsome Jones ” took his smiling 
departure, having arranged the traveler’s private sup- 
plies, and with the deft freemasonry of the colored 
race “ squared the Major as far as New York ” for 
his master’s fame as a “ liberal giver of tips ” diligently 
preceded him from change to change. 

“ You kin trust your rooms to be all right, sah ! ” 
eloquently pleaded Jones. ‘‘ I’ve all the keys. Lena 
is a ‘ perfect lady,’ and any ‘ conversaziones,’ small 
‘ pahties ’ or other little affairs will be held in Mr. 
Van Rensselaer’s rooms ‘foh the future.’ He’s a young 
gentleman huntin’ a rich gal wife, an’ he’s no time for 
housekeeping.” 

“ All right, Jones,” affably remarked the Major. 
” See that you fall not by the way ! Take this ten dol- 
lars to Lena, which I forgot to give her. Tell her if 
you betray me, I’ll return and pulverize you both. My 
chattels are henceforth sacred to myself. My room is 
to be a hermit’s cave. No more side-combs, poker 
decks, powder puffs or, ‘ horresco referens,’ empty 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


33 


whisky bottles ! Drink my own good stuff ; don’t 
bring that corner grocery poison in there! Yet, drink 
with discernment and moderation! It is a good ser- 
vant’s lawful spoil of war.” 

Lena, the sleek Venus of upper servantdom, dove- 
eyed and yet vicious as a panther, later received the 
” stern commands,” but not, alas ! not the ten dollars ! 
Handsome Jones was something of a genius in a small 
way — money never passed him ! 

The delightful lethargy of travel soothed Major 
Wardlawe as the clicking wheels rolled on over a steel 
pathway, of which the engineer knew nearly every 
vista to New York; three thousand miles away. 

He only awakened from his reverie to extricate the 
Englishman from a fruitless battle of words with the 
recalcitrant and profane “ newsboy,” a fellow of the 
baser sort. 

“ Fancy now ! ” cried the Briton. “ He claimed he 
had no Bradshawe, d’ye know ! Must, by Jove — must 
have a Bradshawe everywhere — here, you show it up 
kindly. ‘ Pacific Coast Railway Guide,’ only another 
name, sir, for Bradshawe. 

As Wardlawe nodded off in a new nap, he recalled 
this energetic tourist’s face. 

“ Yes! ” he mused. “ At the Bohemian Club! The 
party who ‘ sized me up ! ’ I’ll see if he is as expert a 
liar as Gorlitz ! It’s hardly to be expected though! 
Dimitri Gorlitz is the limit, like ' Three-Star Hen- 
nessy,’ the ‘ non plus ultra ’ of liars ! This rnan is 
probably only an amateur ! ” 

In which comforting conclusion Major Wardlawe 
dropped off to sleep, ignorant of the keen glances of 
Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Seaforth Berry of the Regi- 
ment of the Royal Artillery, the pride and boast of 
England, the star of Great Britain’s forces, until a 
stem conviction of its inferior armament was forced 
upon the public mind by Krueger’s Gallic experts 
handling the magnificent modern guns of Creuzot. 

“ I must devise a plan to hoodwink this frank-faced 
Yankee officer,” mused Colonel Berry. “ How to ac- 
count for my presence in America requires cool and 
properly adjusted lying. But, the cards are with me! 


34 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


Five pounds to this pretty colored maid Lena has 
given me Major Walter VVardlawe’s whole history; 
and Consul William Lane Booker’s card at the Bohe- 
mian Club has perhaps made my fortune. 

Strange that chance should throw in my way what 
all the British Consul’s spying on Dimitri Gorlitz 
could not effect. 

‘‘ That a thin partition should release me from play- 
ing the ‘ society man ’ and chasing the Russian Consul- 
General from Sausalito to Del Monte, from the 
‘ White Sulphur ’ to Santa Barbara, and from Menlo 
Park to every gilded labyrinth of Nob Hill’s redwood 
palaces. 

“ And Sam Norris and I must have those same pa- 
pers; a ten minutes’ shy at them would mean a C.B. 
for me! 

“If we cannot trick him, then Allan Law’s the only 
man in Her Majesty’s Secret Service who can!” 

And so, while Major Wardlawe slept in peace, with 
a veteran’s eye half open, the man who had followed 
Wardlawe to the sixth floor of the Palace and bought 
the contents of Lena’s rattle brain, as to the sleeper’s 
whole surroundings, after a night’s' lodging, this 
adroit globe-trotter — patriotism in his manly heart — 
swore to circumvent the schemes of the only man on 
the Pacific coast feared by the now excited English, 
the sagacious Dimitri Gorlitz, brooding behind his eye- 
glasses and concealing his infinite finesse by his loud 
“ society racket ” and “ barbarian ” love of pleasure. 

“ Can Gorlitz be connoted with these London dyna- 
mite explosions ? ” mused Berry, of the Artillery. “ It 
would be just like the Russian Bear to stir up a row at 
home for us! Ah! these Irish! As clearly unamal- 
gamated after seven hundred years of conquest, as the 
Gulf Stream in the chilly Atlantic! 

“ Ought to ship the whole lot over to Yankee land, 
where they seem to thrive. Admirable ‘ hunting coun- 
try ’ Ireland would make ! A dozen of their leaders 
have been ' raising funds ’ in California within the 
last year. 

“ I saw this man with Grogan, of the Hibernia 
Bank, last night. Colonel Robert is a friend and host 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


35 


of all these Irish chiefs. Perhaps I can complicate 
this matter ! And Grogan gave him a bunch of letters. 
If I could only delay him, then Scotland Yard would 
do the rest. We will see. Now he is waking up! I 
must prepare my lies with a skill, so they will hang 
together.” 

Colonel Berry was mystified at Wardlawe’s hasty 
plate of soup at Sacramento, while the calm-eyed 
Sterling Mott enjoyed a hearty meal. 

Fifteen minutes of the half hour wait was devoted 
to Wa-rdlawe’s donning his buckskin armor in a pri- 
vate room. 

“ Now I ” joyfully mused the Major when he had 
reversed his jerkin with the documents properly se- 
cured, “ they will have to cut me open like a turtle to 
get at my fat.” 

The undervest was laced and belted, and Wardlawe 
could feel the pressure of the two packages at every 
movement of his lithe athletic frame. 

Coffee and cigars followed, with a stroll up the 
platform, till Sterling Mott and Wardlawe entered the 
latter’s section. 

The great head of the National Works breathed 
freely. 

Major Wardlawe had already decided to keep Ev- 
erett Marsden’s mission a sacred secret. 

” Gorlitz 1 ” carelessly said the Major. “ He only 
desired to make it pleasant for me in St. Petersburg, 
and he has taken some private steps to insure my free- 
dom from many annoyances. He seems to be in con- 
fidential relations with some of your principals over 
there.” 

Full of special information,” Wardlawe was as 
coquettish as a newspaper “ war correspondent.” 

“ I understand all,” quietly said Mott. “ Gorlitz 
has some old romantic story back of his paternity. 
He wishes to ‘ sow his wild oats ’ and then, get into 
the Diplomatic Corps on a final promotion.” 

“ He is putting in a good crop of the ‘ oats,’ ” grimly 
said the general agent. 

“ I fancy so,” dryly said the dispassionate Iron 
King. “ I understand Monsieur De Giers wishes him 


36 THE MYSTERY OE A SHIPYARD. 

to marry some beautiful American and ‘ settle down ’ 
before the transfer. But, he has his local uses! No 
man knows the Chinese, the Corean, Asian and Jap- 
anese questions better. And, he is a guide-book of 
Siberia. 

“ I fancy there is some bar sinister in his birth, or 
else some dark-eyed Russian dame of rank would have 
already taken him up and advanced his career. He is a 
man of wonderful gifts.” 

“ As for the sudden call for you, I had a cipher 
cablegram last night,” whispered Sterling Mott. 
“ They wish to lay out all that coal-handling ma- 
chinery over at Dui, on Saghalien Island. You re- 
member your plans of last year. 

They wish to be able to coal a whole war fleet in 
twenty-four hours, or a fleet of a hundred transports 
in a week ; and so you may be sent out there at once. 

“ On your fiscal explanations, your expert testimony 
alone, the Russian Government will give its final or- 
ders. They have had three-foot contour surveys made 
of the whole regions, exquisite harbor maps, and some 
hundreds of photographs prepared with samples of all 
the coal, timber, building materials and all brought to 
the Neva in readiness for you. 

“ Wonderful people I ” said Wardlawe, deeply re- 
lieved at heart. 

“ So, as this is your special subject, Tve nothing to 
say to you but go ahead. You will have to come back 
here, to go over to Saghalien surely ! ” smilingly said 
Mott when they reached Alta,^ climbing into the lovely 
foothills of the Sierras. 

“ ril jump off here and examine my iron mines, 
then go on to Copperopolis and Virginia. 

“ Telegraph me openly from New York of your de- 
parture. 

“ After that, use the cipher only.” 

And then, master and man parted with a cheery 
American halloo of “Take care of yourself!” from 
the Iron King, who risked three millions of capital in 
the great projected works on Wardlawe’s sole judg- 
ment. 

“ Td give a thousand pounds for your conversation,” 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


37 


mused Colonel Henry Seaforth Berry as he easily rec- 
ognized the great Iron King. “ That chap does all 
the confidential work of the Russian Government here. 
I wonder if he wishes to sell them a pirate fleet ! ” 

The stout-hearted British soldier sighed, as he 
thought of the few weeks before the snows would 
melt on the Pamirs. “ It will be a jolly go of a fight 
or else a backdown out and out, for some one.’’ 

And then he returned to his projected “ lying,” al- 
ready very fairly skeletonized. 

” I think it will hold together,” he mused that even- 
ing when they ran into the “ dark olive depths ” of 
the majestic Sierras pines. 

“ But I’ll ride him with a light hand ! Not for a 
couple of days.” 

So it was that the fast speeding train had reached 
the sink of the Humboldt before “ Berry of the Artil- 
lery ” had exchanged visiting cards with “ Mr. Walter 
Wardlawe.” 

At the end of the second day, Sam Norris, Colonel 
Berry’s cockney valet, was handling the private “ sup- 
plies,” a feast of good things — Marsden’s tribute — 
while the two men chatted shop, in Berry’s state- 
room. 

With a judicious economy of the truth, the Amer- 
ican Major only admitted that he had “ seen four 
years of fighting,” and yet, loyal and single-hearted, 
was deeply interested in Henry Seaforth Berry’s mag- 
nificent pyramidal lie, worthy of the French term 
“ mensonge,” a veritable classic work of the lost arts 
of Ananias and Sapphira, worthy of that sleek He- 
brew beauty, Rachel, who lied “ to beat the band ” 
in the old patriarchal days. 

Berry had “ left a yacht at Buenos Ayres,” ridden 
over the Andes to Valparaiso,” steamed up to San 
Francisco ” with ‘‘ delays in Mexico.” 

He “ had done the whole State of California ” — 
Yosemite, big trees, the mines and all — even dabbled 
in “ stocks,” passed over the red hot ploughshares ” 
of Californian society, and with a tender twinge here 
and there, having used up his leave, was now on his 
way home to the headquarters of the world’s greatest 


38 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

regiment of twenty-one thousand soldiers at Wool- 
wich ! 

“ Had a jolly good time, that’s all,” concluded the 
Colonel. 

“ Know the Eastern States. Oh ! Rather ! ” he 
frankly agreed. 

Berry of the Artillery had sketched out his lying 
with a free hand, and he frankly acknowledged every 
bit of the local information gained in his seven months’ 
stay on “ secret service ” orders. 

“ It is your d d inconsistencies that ruin other- 

wise well constituted lying,” mused Berry, ‘‘ and 
eagerness — undue eagerness — spoils the best game in 
the world.” 

Society beauties, local notables, even the Bohemian 
Club, sacred to memories of dreamy Charlie Stoddard, 
and many a “ silver-tongued orator,” to the august 
George Bromley and many “ good men before Aga- 
memnon,” all there. Berry languidly sketched. 

“ Think I saw you at the Club. Went there to wait 
for Lane Booker to take a farewell bachelor stirrup 
cup with me. 

And so, over the wines of the astute Marsden, 
soothed with good tobacco — your great leveller — 
Wardlawe drifted into an easy travel friendship with 
Berry of the Artillery. 

Concealing his own technical knowledge, Wardlawe 
soon found that the nonchalant Englishman was a 
master of his profession, a thorough man of the 
world, one who had opened the oyster ” with his 
sword to some purpose. 

Berry, though unpretentious, was “ good form ” in 
every juncture, well read, an expert linguist, and with 
many “ pearls ” to be fished from the ‘deep sea of his 
phlegmatic calmness. 

Sternly adhering to his rule of self-repression, 
Wardlawe did not even indicate his trans-Atlantic 
voyage while the two men amused themselves on the 
train, which had its usual polyglot features of stereo- 
typed peculiarities. 

And so, beauty and age, wisdom and folly, care and 
the light heart jostled as they swung along down past 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


39 


Green River in that weird kingdom which once was 

Brother Brigham’s.” 

Perfectly secure in his own land, feeling the in- 
vincibility of his buckskin armor, Major Wardlawe 
slept behind the worsted curtains of his “ section,” at 
peace with all the world, and yet with the heavy knife 
reachable on its loose cord slung around his neck and 
shoulders. 

So it was, that with a sudden start, he quickly awoke 
as they were nearing North Platte station, in a terrible 
midnight storm, as a stealthly hand softly dallied with 
the fastenings of his buckskin vest. 

Wardlawe’s slight motion of reaching his knife 
alarmed the furtive thief. 

The soldier had recognized a master touch. His 
first impulse to clutch the thief’s wrist he gave up as 
useless, for, lying down, it was impossible ’ to use his 
whole strength. 

'' I fancy that I will just mark him,” was the vet- 
eran’s next thought as he reflected that a quick jerk 
might carry away the chamois bag with the fifteen 
hundred pounds, loosely hung within the vest. 

And so, with a deft clutdi, he grasped the fore arm 
of the intruder, and, by chance, drew the keen blade 
sharply across the back of the thief’s hand. 

A smothered groan, the slowing of the train at the 
station, and then. Major Wardlawe leaped out into 
the empty aisle! 

Beyond a trail of blood to the door and the deluge 
in his berth, there was no sign of the wounded man. 

Throwing a rug over his couch, Wardlawe, every 
fiber tingling with a new alarm, lay pondering until 
morning. 

He had quickly decided to await developments. 

And so it was that he was keenly attentive to the 
passengers at breakfast. No one fathered the secret 
attempt ! 

No sign of trouble appeared, and the conductor had 
been duly silenced. 

The long train was under way before Colonel Berry 
sought his friend with a rueful face. 


40 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


Vague rumors of some midnight trouble now agi- 
tated the' whole train. 

“ Sorry to have to bother you, Major Wardlawe,” 
said the rueful Briton. “ P'ancy, Sam Norris, a fellow 
I took up the Nile, a man who has watched my cham- 
bers for five long years, has levanted with my dress- 
ing-case, eighty pounds in it, my top coat, a watch and 
my gun case! There’s two hundred guineas gone to 
pot ! Is the fool crazy ? ” 

More in sorrow than in anger, the American told of 
the midnight effort to rob his person. 

Cockney wit,” said Berry. ” He fancied that he 
might get your wallet also. What can we do ? ” 

Beyond the blood stains on the floor there was 
nothing ever recovered of the valet’s spoils. 

And both grown 'strangely reticent, the two tourist 
friends spoke but briefly of the occurrence. 

An uneasy feeling at first agitated Wardlawe, who 
now redoubled every personal precaution. 

“ I suppose that the beggar has quietly stolen him- 
self rich in three years ! ” mcJurned Berry. “ I’ve a 
good bit of property at home — a bachelor — and this 
lad had the daily outgo in his hands.” 

But Wardlawe was easily disarmed by Berry’s help- 
lessness. You’ll have to be my banker till I reach 
New York,” the Colonel said. By luck I had my 
cheque book in my coat pocket ! And you must divide 
up your toilet supplies, I pray you! ” 

Keenly alive now to every wink of an eye, Major 
Wardlaiwe reached New York with no further neces- 
sity to use the “ lex talionis.” 

Telegrams from the “ local authorities ” had warned 
Colonel Berry of their ill success in finding the erring 
Sam Norris. “ He will carry my mark, at any rate, 
for his life,” sternly said Wardlawe as the friends sep- 
arated at the Grand Central Station. 

The American went to the Fifth Avenue, the “ old 
reliable,” where he promptly placed his who^le valu- 
ables in the safe. “You’ll breakfast at the Astor 
House with me to-morrow,” heartily said Colonel 
Berry, “ as I drive at once to the Consul’s. There I 
am at once all right,” 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 4I 

Some Strange reluctance caused Wardlawe to con- 
ceal his ocean voyage, and he never fathomed Colonel 
Berry’s purposes. 

The nexft day Berry, with graceful politeness, re- 
turned the Major’s funds and presented the American 
new toilet articles. 

“ I’d like to get you once with your feet under the 
mahogany of the Woolwich mess,” heartily cried 
” Berry of the Artillery.” You were my savior on 
the trip. I wonder where that wicked beggar Nor- 
ris is? ” 

Two weeks later a discontented-looking young Eng- 
lishman, clad in rusty Western “ store clothes,” called 
at the English Consulate in New York City and quietly 
picked up some very interesting letters and a hundred 
pounds in bank notes. 

Few of the local Gahymedes cared whether Sam 
Norris drank his “ bitter beer ” with his left hand or 
not ; but the Cockney, with his arm in a sling, did so 
imbibe for many a long month, after he had reached 
Colonel Berry’s “ town chambers ” in foggy London, 
where he objurgated wrathfully all Yankee Majors. 

“ Beastly cuttin’ sneak ! ” growled the disappointed 
thief. “ An’ the old man had promised me five hun- 
dred pounds to swipe the two envelopes ! I could feel 
’em under the beggar’s vest, and, by Jove, he had 
lashed ’em down ! Who’d a thought the Yankees sleep 
with one eye open and a bowie knife in their hands-! 
But he has crippled me for life, and I’ll have his life 
yet — to even that score I ” 

Tired and weary with a few city commissions. Ma- 
jor Wardlawe never looked to the right or left when 
he reached the “ Aurania,” and, thoroughly startled 
by his overland experience, he sealed and deposited 
the two packets of papers and his own funds with the 
purser in the massive safes.- 

“ These are impregnable 1 ” sighed Wardlawe in re- 
lief. “ And yet, if the ship goes down ? ” he mused. 
“ Then,” he sadly smiled, “ Caesar must send another 
messenger. I’ll go down with them 1 ” He reflected 
that the English Government had been twice slyly 
robbed of an official Legation mailbag and other docu- 


42 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


ments of vital importance, from the steel-lined mail 
rooms of the liners, and yet he fek safe in his trust. 

Sandy Hook was far down astern when, cigar in 
mouth, Wardlawe paced the deck, recalling every tele- 
gram exchanged, every hurried detail of his two days 
in New York and the few hours passed with a beloved 
sister. 

“ No ! No ! ” he finally concluded. “ This English of- 
ficer could not have known of his servant’s thieving 
attempt. I might easily have shot the man dead or 
grappled him, and he has robbed the Colonel also. 
The brute threw himself off the train, too, at the risk 
of his life.” 

Suddenly the American started back as a well- 
known voice exclaimed to a swab wielder : ‘ I say, my 
man! Look out where you’re going, you grampus!’ 

Glass in eye, with the well known fore and aft on his 
head, a binocular strapped on, and a red book in his 
pocket, stood “ Berry of the Artillery,” whose purse 
even now contained a telegram from Sam Norris at 
Omaha. 

Major Wardlawe was visibly disconcerted, and he 
fek himself taken at a disadvantage. 

For some new dignity seemed to have settled upon 
“ Berry of the Artillery,” rubicund, sturdy, standing 
with his feet planted wide apart, and now fumbling 
for the binoculars with which he had directed the fire 
of his brigaded batteries, four years before, at Tel-el 
Kebir. 

“ Suddenly called over to Woolwich,” placidly mur- 
mured Berry. “ Mysterious explosions are creating 
wild alarm in London. All ‘ leave officers ’ of the 
Royal Regiment of Artillery are ordered to their 
posts. 

“ Great fears for Woolwich, Deptford, Portsmouth 
and Chatham arsenals. 

“ Dynamite fellows, crazy Fenian devils can do 
much harm ! Let’s have a glass of grog ! ” 

As the “ Aurania ” plunged along past Fire Island 
Wardlawe recovered his shaken nerve. 

Over the well screwed-down tables in the smoking 
room the two secret enemies deftly “ swopped lies.” 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


43 


Wardlawe was taking a run over to the Continent 
to look at the Creuzot works ” and “ make contracts 
with Krupp for raw materials for the great National 
Works at San Francisco.” 

“ That’s a fair yarn,” mused the Major, “ and it 
gives me freedom of movement.” 

But the American was outclassed by ‘‘ Berry of the 
Artillery,” who distantly referred to the death of his 
uncle. General Griffith Ap-Griffith of Pen-Gryffyth, 
Penhallon, Wales. “ The good old boy left me a tidy 
sum in the Three Per Cents, and so, I must see my 
solicitors, as well as go and take i>ossession of his 
funny old rat hole! By the way, I find that rascal 
Norris got away with two or three thousand pounds’ 
worth, after all. I forgot I had left all my useless 
case fittings at home, and the papers and vouchers 
which he took were invaluable. I suppose that he is 
laying back for a reward. Will give the case to my 
London solicitors. But, how did he ever conceive the 
idea of robbing you? ” 

Wardlawe swallowed these gilded lies without a 
gulp and said : “ Colonel, I have thought deeply over 
it. Norris shaved me once or twice and also trimmed 
my hair. He must have felt the little sack under my 
singlet, in which I carried some notes. Bank of Eng- 
land notes are the best money to take anywhere. A 
slight premium all over the world.” 

“ Yes,” gravely said the Englishman, “and the dog 
fancied he only had to cut a tape around your neck 
to draw the bag away I ” 

“ You are right ! ” cried Wardlawe. “ That explains 
the presence of the pair of dressing scissors which I 
found in my bed.” 

“ Funny devils,” sighed Berry, “ ‘ these ’ private 
gentleman’s gentlemen. Seymour of the Engineers, 
an awful swell, had a fellow named Warner. Invalu- 
able, ten years with him, handled everything, even his 
confidential matters. By Jove! cut his stick at Rome 
two years ago during the carnival — cleaned all out! 
Left Seymour on the street with a Pierrot suit on and 
only a few lire in his pocket ! 

“Jewels, papers, wardrobe were gone, and a huge 


44 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD, 

payment on forged drafts was taken up on a letter of 

credit ; then, he disappeared ! i ^ u 

“ Had the impudence to send Seymour later by mail 
from America the Chubb’s keys of all his private yau^lts 
at Milner Castle and to complain that the clothes 

stolen were not quite a fit.” i , -ixr n 

“ It has been a lesson to me! growled Wardlawe. 

I defy any man to rob me now ! I would have shot 
this man but for fear of killing some one in the car. 
He has only succeeded in becoming ‘ a man of mark, 
that’s all. The next midnight robber will drop dead 
in his tracks ! I am armed I ” 

‘‘ Be very careful,” kindly said Berry, as to car- 
rying weapons in the United Kingdom. ^ All strange 
Americans are now looked on with suspicion, on ac- 
count of the mysterious dynamite attacks. Poor crazy 
Irishmen ! ” 

As the “ Aurania ” shot past the foggy banks Ward- 
lawe dropped into the safety of a shilling whist game 
and avoided the peevish, nervous “American beau-^ 
ties ” cooj>ed up in the great cabins by the wild winter 
weather. 

An uneasiness which he could not defined possessed 
him, however, and he* thrust the bundle of letters given 
to him by Colonel Robert Grogan of the Hibernian 
Bank deep into his black horsehide traveling bag. 
The addresses were of a most compromising char- 
acter. They covered a half dozen of the very wildest 
leaders of the Irish party, both in Parliament and out. 

“No one shall see these,” smilingly vowed Ward- 
lawe. “ I do not fancy Newgate or Pentonville as an 
hotel.” 

On his person he now carried nothing but his reg- 
ular letter of credit on the National Work’s foreign 
bankers — the Rothschilds — and a sealed enclosure 
given to him by Everett Marsden. 

“ Help in time of trouble,” the capitalist had quietly 
said. “ This man is an alderman of London ; he will 
be the next Lord Mayor, and so, is a Knight in ex- 
pectancy. He controls one of the largest hotels in 
London. Go there; you will be safe at the Royal at 
Blackf riars. Polydor will take care of you ! ” 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


45 


Mere curiosity caused Wardlavve to glance at the 
“ carte blanche ” letter to Wells, Fargo & Co.’s agency 
in London. 

“ Marsden is a game fellow ! ” gratefully concluded 
the Major. 

And so, soughing winds and swirling seas bore them 
on to Liverpool at last, after an excitable landing at 
Queenstown. 

Self-communing, Wardlawe was, however, amazed 
at the general ability, the profound culture of the un- 
pretentious “ Berry of the Artillery.” 

The expert lying ” had ceased ; they stood on 
their hands ” as played at the first encounter on the 
boat, and a mere passing military good fellowship took 
the place of personal friendship. 

And yet. Colonel Berry was a delightful reconteur, 
a thorough good fellow, with a blended dignity and 
bonhomie. 

The dignity was uppermost at Queenstown, where 
Berry led Wardlawe down into his own cabin with a 
great sheaf of London and Dublin journals tucked 
under his arm. 

“ See here, my dear boy ! ” he said, closing the door, 
“ there’s the very devil to pay in London. Here we 
are at the 27th of January. 

“ On the 24th these dynamite fiends blew up the 
crypt at Westminster Hall, the Strangers’ Gallery of 
the House of Commons and the second floor of the 
White Tower. 

“ Great damage and frantic panic ! If the mad 
brutes had been experts they would have wrecked 
Westminster Hall and the House of Commons! It’s 
bad enough as it is. Gladstone’s seat was blown up. 
Now, be very wary ! Watch over yourself I 

“ There is a crazy indignation over supposed Amer- 
ican accomplices in this. If I can be of any use to you 
at Liverpool or London, let me know. Do not speak 
of this to a soul. Do not even discuss it in London I 
It may get you into trouble.” 

I ,will get out of England at once ! ” wrathfully 
said Wardlawe. ‘‘ I am not accustomed to be chased 
around as a malefactor.” 


46 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

“ Sorry ! ” murmured the stolid Artillery officer. 

“ Our people are in a blue funk about this. We de- 
spise all underhand work.” 

And so thanking Berry, Wardlawe betook himself 
to his deck-walking as the steamer ploughed her way 
up the Irish channel. 

Penned up thirty hours later with a horde of Amer- 
icans, on the sloppy docks of Liverpool, Walter Ward- 
lawe grimly watched the grave-faced British customs 
inspectors sternly eying all the trans-Atlantic pas- 
sengers. Before going down to the tug Colonel Berry, 
with a soldierly air of command, said: “ Wardlawe, 
give me your revolver and cartridges ! You could not 
explain their possession satisfactorily.” 

The American silently handed over his “ six- 
shooter ” and his box of cartridges, by some impulse 
hid ng the Irish- American letters of introduction in a 
pocketbook in his black bag. 

“ Berry must be a man of mark,” mused Wardlawe 
as the chief inspector chalked Wardlawe’s handbag 
without opening it. 

The other travelers will be kept here for a day 
and all strictly examined,” said Berry as the two fa- 
vored men were ushered through the lines, where 
beauty in tears and stalwart men loudly cursing af- 
fected not the inspectors with their attendant squads 
of ‘‘ bobbies.” 

There’s my trunk and the large portmanteau,” 
suddenly said Wardlawe. “ Give me your London 
address, sir,” said the chief inspector. “ I will send 
them on by the evening train. You can get the ex- 
press by hurrying.” 

So Colonel Berry smiled softly as the address, “ De 
Keyser’s Royal Hotel, Blackfriars Bridge, London, ' 
E. C.,” was labeled on the two pieces. 

“ Keys,” said the American. 

Any friend of Colonel Berry’s is ^ persona grata,’ ” 
answered the chief with a wave of the hand. 

fp tfic four-wheeler, the Englishman was busy ex- 
amining a mass of letters and telegrams handed to 
him at the dock. 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


47 


“ You see, I wired fro/n Queenstown,” he absently 
said, lighting a cheroot. 

And before they reached York, the American had 
read all the penny dreadful accounts of the “ terrific 
explosions.” 

“ I shall not stay lor:g in London,” reflectively re- 
marked Wardlawe. “ Qnite an upheaval in high so- 
ciety ! ” 

“ Just so ! ” assented Berry; “ and worse than all, my 
boy, there’s a great racket about the Pamir quadri- 
lateral. 

“If England and Russia fight, the world’s wreckers 
will be kept busy for years cleaning up the battle 
fields! God help us! War is a fearful thing! We 
are all ordered to join ! ” 

Tired and weary, the travelers stepped out on the 
great platform at Charing Cross station in London on 
a gray wet morning, when a view of the smudgy river 
and the tiled house tops was by no means inspiring. 

The world’s most fashionable “ parting place ” 
looked dreary enough. 

They were running into the modern Babel, when 
Colonel Berry handed to Wardlawe his revolver and 
cartridges. “ Keep them on your person till you reach 
the Royal Hotel,” he gravely said. “ I’m glad that 
you wired for rooms from Liverpool. The town is 
over full.” 

A half dozen officials and a group of men in plain 
clothes surrounded Berry of the Artillery, while Ward- 
lawe hesitated in making his farewells. 

Suddenly Berry strode up to Wardlawe, who was 
astonished to see such an official group. “ I telegraphed 
from York; there is much to do at Woolwich. Dyna- 
mite has been found mixed with the factory coals ! If 
that arsenal were exploded it would level half of Kent. 
I’m to be chief inspector for the present. See here, 
Major, I want to have your legs under our mahogany 
for once. 

“ Leave your sack here in the waiting room ; they’ll 
give you a brass check for it. Perfectly safe ! 

“ Only nine miles ; you can run over, take luncheon 
with me ; we will dispatch your arrival to the hotel ; 


48 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

you will be back by sundown, and so you can take the 
midnight Folkestone and Boulogne train back if you 
care ! ” 

Colonel Berry’s erect and soldierly figure, the air 
of deference of the officials impressed Wardlawe. 
“ A good man to know ! ” he mused. “ I’ll go ! ” 

And so in ten minutes, they were gliding down the 
Thames, on the eastern bank, whose queer old Kentish 
inns gave a mediaeval air to the gloomy river reaches. 

“ Singular ! ” mused Wardlawe, ‘‘ none of the jour- 
nals refer to the Russo-English war over the Pamirs ! 
Only strange Americans with ‘ black bags,’ who are 
going to blow up all London ! ” 

There was a gleam of contentment in Berry’s eyes 
as he gazed on the still romantic figure of the ex- 
soldier. 

And at ease in his mind, Walter Wardlawe felt not 
the burden of his buckskin jerkin with the double 
packets of dangerous papers; for he was safe now 
under “ official protection.” 

But they had left behind at Charing Cross a group 
of grave-faced men who whispered, “ That’s him, the 
head devil; sure enough!” as they read over Berry’s 
telegram from York. 

” I think he’s good for a two to four weeks’ delay,” 
mused the Artillery officer. “ It must be done ! Eng- 
land forever I And I’ll see that no harm comes to him ! 
1 ne Pamir cloud will soon blow over, and so. I’ll foil 
Messrs. Gorlitz, Marsden and Mott, and a jolly good 
job! ” 

The new friends were soon deep in Berry’s sketch 
of the great arsenal as the nine miles were quickly 
traversed. 

Major Wardlawe threw up his hand mechanically 
as the stern sentinels came to a ringing present and 
the “ guard turned out ” for a field officer. 

Two miles on the river — a half mile deep — the vast 
arsenal lay sullenly in the wet fog, with its hundreds 
of idle cannon, its roaring shops, its guarded store- 
houses. 

A brief handshake with a grizzled officer, and they 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 49 

were off to the brow of the hill, where the mess rooms 
and barracks were visible. 

“ Neither dockyard, naval works, shops nor arsenal 
is open to any one to-day,” gloomily said Berry. 
“ There is my ticket as Senior Field Officer Inspector. 
Without such a billet, not even ambassadors can enter ! 
These are very grave times indeed ! ” 

But they were at the splendid mess hall before 
Wardlawe could reply. 

A crowd of officers in the reception room simply 
fell on Colonel Berry, while Wardlawe, with som.e 
pride, wrote his old designation — “Iron Brigade, Sixth 
Corps, Army of the Potomac.” 

“ Now you’ve seen the outside of gun factories,^ car- 
riage department, laboratories, Wardlawe,” heartily 
said Berry, “ and the Queen — God bless her ! — trusts 
twenty-five millions of dollars here to us ! Come into 
the guest room.” 

When the “ sherry and bitters ” were gravely dis- 
cussed the Colonel led the American into a magnificent 
dining hall. 

Twenty soldiers, in full dress, armed to the teeth, 
guarded the magnificent plate of the richest mess in 
the world. 

The table was already set for two hundred. “ His 
Royal Highness, the Duke of Cambridge, honors us 
to-night ! ” simply said Berry. 

The bewildering splendor of the display astounded 
Wardlawe, accustomed only to the republican sim- 
plicity of those who “ drank from the same canteen.” 

“ There’s a bit of plate here,” fondly said Berry, 
“ from every officer, alive or dead, who ever served in 
the Royal Artillery.” 

Leading his guest to the luncheon room, the Amer- 
ican was soon surrounded by a score of men, not to 
be matched in the world for grit, bone and breeding. 

A table for forty “ seniors,” round tables for sixty 
“ subs,” in groups of four, were “ en evidence,” while 
the bewifdered Wardlawe, with a Marquis and a V.C. 
man on either side, gazed at the splendid mess dress 
of the celebrated corps. 

Suddenly he saw Berry opposite, spring up as a tall 


50 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

athletic man of twenty-seven, en civile, quietly made 
his way through the crowd. 

“ Here you are, Allan,'’ the Colonel cheerfully said, 
and then, two heads went down in a whispered aside. 

Over the table Wardlawe bowed to the “ Honorable 
Allan Law,” whose gray blue eyes were dancing with 
youth and manly vigor. 

“ Just the chap to lead a forlorn hope ! ” mused 
Wardlawe. 

In the rattling fire of mess chat Wardlawe only 
gathered that “ good fortune ” had taken Lieutenant 
Law out of the corps some years before. “ No end of 
a gold spoon fellow is Law ! ” whispered the V.C. man. 
“ A great loss to us, but he hibernates here and roves 
the wide world in summer. “ Once a captain, always 
a captain,” you know ! Strange compound of sybarite 
and shikaree, dandy and daring explorer. Tell him a 
fellow can’t go to a place, then, Law is off by the 
next train! Nationality? Oh, North Country — I 
fancy, a bit of English, Danish, Scottish and Irish in 
this Hotspur! He has twenty good strains in him.” 

“ He looks the thoroughbred every inch,” mused the 
Major, gazing at Berry as an orderly came in with a 
sealed dispatch. 

The Colonel’s brow darkened as he broke the seal, 
and then, sending the order around, he watched the 
faces of the assembly as each man signed the 
envelope. 

“ Only you and I, Major, are out of this ! ” pleas- 
antly said Law in a musical, well-toned vojce. 

“ Jolly good job, too! ” growled the Marquis as the 
slanting rain came down. 

But a half hour later Major Wardlawe wondered, 
when one by one the officers stole away, each new 
comer signing the envelope and then disappearing until 
sixty signatures covered the long folds. 

Cheroots and the genial “ peg ” had carried Law 
and Wardlawe into a friendly “modus vivendi ” while 
Colonel Berry gravely conferred with a kn6t of cap- 
tains gathered around him. 

Insensibly drawn to the young civilian, Wardlawe 
laughed when Law gayly parried his linguistic 


TIJE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 51 

fencing. “You wouldn’t fancy it!’’ he simply said. 
“ But, I’m an English Russian 1 ” 

Suddenly a mounted orderly dashed up, and, after 
this messenger had reported. Berry of the Artillery 
frankly came forward. 

“ Wardlawe,” he said, his voice sounding strangely 
muffled, “ every officer of the Regiment is ordered at 
once on duty ! Now, I’ve given you a flying glimpse 
of our Artillery mess ; Law will see you safely back to 
London, as ‘ the pot boils ’ rather violently here just 
now ! ” 

There was no mistaking the grave shadows on the 
Colonel’s face. 

“ We can just catch the 3:30,” sharply cried Law as 
the carriage drove up. 

When the traveling companions parted it was with a 
soldierly hand grip. 

“ I know that we will meet again ! ” 

Major Wardlawe was seated in the carriage before 
Law had finished a few words with the stern soldier 
who had donned his mess uniform and looked like a 
Red Prince as he waved his hand in adieu. 

“ I’ll meet you again in the Bohemian Club some 
day, and you must dine with us when this scare is 
over — address me always here! I’ll write or wire to 
the Royal.” 

The carriage was half-way to the station, when a 
mounted orderly overtook it. By Jove! Niles! My 
old sergeant ! ” cried Law, flushing with delight. 

“The Colonel’s compliments. Sir! Telegram just 
come for you,” said the soldier, proud of the stranger’s 
greeting. 

The whole parade was alive with movement as the 
carriage descended the hill. 

“ Pretty good shake-up, I fancy,” mused Law ; then, 
finding speech, “ I may have to take the tidal train. 
Are you long for London? ” 

“ I will only stay a day or so,” absently said Ward- 
lawe, still dazzled by. a peep into England’s cheeriest 
military mess. 

Leaning back, enjoying the incomparable cheroots 
of the mess, Wardlawe curiously eyed Law. “ A diplo- 


52 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

mat, a lover, a poet, a traveler, a man of the world, a 
‘ hig’h life ’ specimen, hardly the type of a rough- 
working Artillery officer,” he fancied. 

And soon he fell under Law’s winning charm and 
learned how the marriage of a relative with a great 
South Russian magnate had caused the visit of Law’s 
mother when a girl wife to her patrician kinswoman. 

“ My father was on a long foreign tour in Her Maj- 
esty’s service, and so, strangely enough, I was born in 
Kiev, Russia, and was three years old before my father 
saw me. 

“ Up to my tenth year, I studied at Kharkov and 
Kiev, visiting Odessa, where my august relative was 
Governor, and later, Constantinople, where he was 
Ambassador. 

“ And then I ran the gauntlet of Harrow, Woolwich, 
the service, and with a bit of the Foreign Office dawd- 
ling, have now relapsed into a citizen of the world, a 
‘ man without country.’ 

“ I have never found my niche as yet, the one which 
fits me exactly. I scorn harness and have looked over 
the world a bit, but so far I have missed my groove ! 

I would have remained in the service if they would 
promise a fellow fighting, but the ‘ damnable itera- 
tion ’ of garrison routine would- kill any man of 
spirit ! ” 

When the train slid into Charing Cross Station, Law 
had remarked : “ I can’t understand your Yankee sys- 
tem! You keep a corporal’s guard army. .You raise 
vast forces, you develop mighty Field Marshals 1 

“ When the wars are over, it’s every man for himself ; 
generals become once more editors and preachers. 
You, for instance, a veteran Senior Major, are ” 

‘‘An ironmonger, a jobbing engineer,” modestly • 
said Wardlawc a^ they edged their way to the window 
where the Major claimed his black bag. 

I will drive down to ‘ De Keyser’s Royal ’ with 
you, pleasantly said Allan Law, “ amd see you rightly 
‘ fixed,’ as you Yankees say.” 

“ And share an old soldier’s dinner, I hope,” heartily 
cried Major Wardlawe as a heavy hand was laid on 
his shoulder. 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


53 


I beg pardon, but, I must detain you,” said a tall 
individual in plain clothes, while two robust policemen 
stepped up to Wardlawe’s side. 

“ What the devil does this mean ? ” angrily cried the 
American. 

“This is your bag?” gravely asked the delegate 
from Scotland Yard. 

“Most assuredly!” said Wardlawe, wrenching 
himself loose as he seized his bag, only to lose it. 

“ There is some strange mistake here,” quietly re- 
marked Allan Law, putting up his glass and fumbling 
for a visiting card. 

“None whatever!” firmly answered the Inspector 
of Police. 

“ Drive me to the American Minister’s ! ” sternly 
said Wardlawe ; “ this is an outrage ! ” 

But Allan Law had drawn the chief officer aside. 
The two returned together. “ You claim to be socially 
accredited to the owner of the Royal ? ” said the officer, 
hesitating. 

“ I do! ” roared Wardlawe in a rage. 

“ Then let’s have no more row here, remarked Allen 
Law. “ Let us all three drive down to the Royal ! The 
officers can follow in a cab. If my friend (who is 
vouched for to me by one of Her Majesty’s officers) 
cannot clear himself, then it’s full time to take him into 
custody and to send for the officials of the American 
Legation.” 

“ And you are not ^ McNamara of Chicago? ’ ” said 
a red-faced policeman, gazing earnestly at Wardlawe. 

After a peal Qf laughter, the Major said to the 
astounded Allan Law : “ I wish to God I happened 

to be that deadly individual! I would give the whole 
force here a good ‘blowing up! ’ Come on ! ” 

Shouldered through the gathering crowd, the party 
were soon whirling along the Thames Embankment. 

“ To be ‘ pulled ’ as a malefactor under the very 
sound of Bow Bells is laughable ! I think I will leave 
this, land at once ! ” said Wardlawe, turning to the 
young English-Russian. 

“ Say nothing! ” remarked Allan Law when the In- 
spector grimly remarked : “ I fancy you 'are in for 


54 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


Pentonville, with ten or fifteen years across the 
water ! ” 

There was an excited convocation in the courtyard 
of the circular front sweep of De Keyser’s Hotel as 
the two carriages drove in. 

A score of neat young Belgians hovered around the 
entrance, where a helmeted fireman and a silver-chained 
butler stood in state. 

“ They have telegraphed down ! ” whispered Law. 
“ Keep cool ! I will see you through !” 

Ushered into the private office of the millionaire 
young alderman, the three men soon faced the courte- 
ous proprietor, who sat sternly mute, while the In- 
spector guarded the suspicious-looking bag. 

The officer spoke plainly — “ easy words to under- 
stand.” 

Allen Law, with a hand grasp of consolation, 
warmly interfered, and Major Walter Wardlawe sat 
motionless until the intellectual face of the Lord 
Mayor to be, was turned inquiringly to him. 

Without a word, the American laid his keys before 
the proprietor and then handed him an open letter of 
credit. “ There is my signature. Sir ! ” he said. “ Here 
my passport! You can open this bag and examine its 
contents I You are a Magistrate,' I believe. Please 
read this ! ” 

Wardlawe had placed Everett Marsden’s letter be- 
fore the Belgian-born millionaire. 

“ Some mistake here. Inspector Addison,” cheerfully 
cried the Alderman as he said to his cashier, speaking 
from the door: “Drive down to the Rothschilds and 
have their assistant manager return with you. It’s 
only half past four! Tell him that it is a life and 
death matter ! ” 

“ In the meantime, gentlemen,” he said, “ let us ad- 
journ to my private parlors. Send those men away! ” 
calmly continued the magnate. “ I will be responsible 
for Major Wardlawe, Mr. Addison!” 

In a single file the party silently ascended the marble 
stairway, Addison clinging firmly to the bag. 

“ Is there any Paris train to-night?” haughtily de- 
manded Wardlawe, when the Alderman asked him to 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


55 


command him. “ Yes, the midnight, by Folkestone 
and Boulogne ! ” 

“ I will take that,” placidly said the American. 
“ I would like my other luggage to be sent out of the 
country sealed ! It was to be inspected here.” 

“ ril make the arrangements, Wardlawe, if you will 
honor me,” politely said Allan Law. “ I am going 
over to Poland to hunt bears with my foster brother, 
who recalls an old pledge. 

“ A few days makes no difference, and I’ll take a 
run on to Berlin, at any rate. You go to Paris? ” 

Wardlawe bowed in silence, then said : “ Please 

open the bag, Alderman ! I waive all rights as long 
as you alone touch it. Show this gentleman everything 
in it.” 

“ First, you must break bread in my house. Major,” 
cried the millionaire, leading them to a sideboard 
where Law and Wardlawe accepted a glass of incom- 
parable Hollands and an Imperial cigar. 

Inspector Addison sat like the human statues of the 
Horse Guards, open-eyed and lost in silent wonder. 

Five minutes later, Allan Law burst into a loud laugh 
as the Alderman, with alarm, showed him the super- 
scriptions of Colonel Robert Gro; an’s letters. 

“ Read them ! ” defiantly cried Wardlawe. “ There’s 
something about his sister Frances. She did not 
materialize on the trip. Delayed, I presume ! ” 

The American glumly watched the face of the In- 
spector as the Alderman read the rollicking introduc- 
tions to the leaders of “ Young Ireland.” 

There was an awkward pause when the examination 
was finished. 

“ My dear Baron,” cried the millionaire, as a portly 
gentleman puffed into the door. “ So kind of you !” 

Five minutes later the sub-manager of Rothschilds 
said : I will be this gentleman’s recognizance up to 

a hundred thousand pounds ! That is the exact sum 
of his letter of credit from the National Iron Works 
of San Francisco. This has been a brutal faux pas ! ” 

“ And here is a ‘ carte blanche ’ from Everett Mars- 
den, the multi-millionaire steamship man of San Fran- 
cisco,” said the Alderman, “ and also, a personal re- 


5^ THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

quest that I make London comfortable for this gentle- 
man.” 

“ So you can, by getting me out of it,” remarked the 
wrathful Wardlawe. 

“ If the gentleman would only answer a few ques- 
tions,” began the crestfallen Addison. 

“ Not one ! ” said Wardlawe with a rising dignity. 
‘‘ General Adam Badeau, our Consul-General, was my 
battlefield comrade. If I am detained, I shall beg him 
to help me to file a claim for the heaviest damages ! ” 

Allan Law led the astounded Inspector aside. 

When they returned the Scotland Yard official began 
an humble apology. 

And then Wardlawe turned his back and resolutely 
said: “ Go and hunt up McNamara of Chicago! ” 

Poor Addison, crept away, crestfallen and without 
a word. 

It was the jolliest dinner imaginable, when Baron 
Sternberg, the Alderman and Allan Law had re- 
counted to Major Wardlawe the recent blowing up of 
a railway room by a ‘‘ ferocious American,” who had 
left a black bag with peculiar locks on “ temporary 
storage,” a few days before. 

“ Everybody cannot be a thief, or a midnight as- 
sassin, or a deadly dynamiter,” i^marked Wardlawe. 

Sorry not to fill the bill! This is my twentieth visit 
to London ! Hereafter I will land at Cherbourg direct, 
ril have that bag painted red in Paris and never set 
my foot on English soil again ! ” 

“ Nonsense ! ” cried Law as the Burgundy warmed 
their hearts. 

“We will have you at ‘ a guest night dinner ’ yet, at 
the Royal Artillery Mess, and I propose to show you 
my old place in the North Country! ” 

“ I shall claim you also,” remarked the Alderman. 
“ I will show you a bit of London; our sober commer- 
cial people have their ‘ off moments ’ when thev ‘ sink ' 
the shop ! ” 

“ And I will take you down to Sir Moses Monte- 
fiore’s,” genially remarked Baron Sternberg, “ and try 
and surfeit you with good pictures — a home welcome — 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


57 


and perhaps a drop of the Imperial Johaniiisberger ! 
This whole thing has been a clumsy outrage! ” 

“ Poor Berry I ” laughed Allan Law as he rose to de- 
part and make the traveling arrangements. “ He will 
never forgive himself I But for leaving that unlucky 
bag to excite these numbsculls, you would have not 
been chased away in such a humor!.” 

I think that I will leave my letters to the ' Irish 
Chiefs ’ safely sealed with you, Mr. Alderman,” said 
the mollified Wardlawe, “ for, I will not return till 
this Russian war cloud blows over.” 

‘‘Do not jest upon that!” sadly said Baron Stern- 
berg. “We men of money know that this flame of 
war, once fairly under way, may set Europe back five 
hundred years ! 

“ Some day England and Russia will fight it out. 
God grant it not in our generation, not in fifty years ! 
Delayed so long, it may be only a trade war. Now a 
rupture would drench all Europe with blood. For 
France and Germany would soon be dragged in ! ” 

Four hours later the two strangely-made friends 
parted with the financier and the budding Lord-Mayor 
at the Blackfriars Station. “ I have privately tele- 
graphed to the Hotel Choiseul,” said the Alderman. 
“ Go there ; use my name ! ” Wardlawe bowed his 
thanks. “ You hold the only incriminating thing which 
I, possess ! ” he said ; “ and I may come back, in happier 
days ; but this time I shall return to America by Cher- 
bourg ! ” 

Baron Sternberg led Major Wardlawe aside. He 
whispered : “ I did not mention before them the 
‘ carte blanche’ telegraphed to us by Everett Marsden. 
With your double letters on us you are safe every- 
where on the continent. 

“ And if you go on to St. Petersburg,” he whispered, 
“ our local agent there will protect and advise you. 
He’s a friend of Mott and Marsden and the ‘ Amoor 
Navigation Company.’ Here is a letter written in He- 
brew to him. 

“ No, do not start back ! We are all partners in the 
Alaska Fur Company together and its Russian double. 
This war must not be! And the Rothschilds will not 


58 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


permit it. But be silent, secret ; guard yourself ! Your 
very life is in danger if they find out about your docu- 

ments!” n i i i • 

Stunned and silent, Major Wardlawe sank back in 

the train, having pocketed the letter and the Aider- 
man’s cigar case filled with the Imperiales. 

“ I am following a blind trail ! ” he murmured as he 
gazed at Allan Law’s handsome head, with the silken 
blond mustache and the clustering side whiskers, “ un- 
touched by the barber’s shear.” 

“ It’s a strange London experience; a bit of ‘baccy 
and a nightcap ’ is a good counselor,” remarked Law 
as he unfolded his rug. 

Major Wardlawe was like a homeless wolf until the 
fiacre, next day, deposited him at that most quiet of 
resorts, the Hotel Choiseul, where a truly Parisian 
welcome awaited him, made doubly obsequious by the 
secret mandates of the great Alderman. 

Allan Law had learned the gentle art of effacing 
himself. 

“ I will look in at our Embassy,” he said, “ and join 
you later at dinner. I’ve a stray cousin, a youngster, 
there on the staff.” 

Before sundown Wardlawe had secured his through 
ticket to St. Petersburg without leaving his room. 

And two guarded cablegrams had flashed back his 
safety to America before he critically examined all his 
belongings. He had not forgotten the Parisian hats, 
the fur pelisse of Gallic elegance, a score of yellow 
literary masterpieces from Melchior de Vogue down 
to Paul Bourget, and also neckcloths and waistcoats of 
Boulevardian magnificence. 

“ Henceforth I am a Frenchman! ” he gayly vowed, 
when he dismissed the haberdashers — a bas les An- 
glais ! ” 

But his face grew strangely stern as he rearranged 
his steamer luggage. Everything had been secretly 
ransacked in his trunk and large portmanteau, those 
pieces still sealed and “ passed ” by Allen Law’s magic 
bonhomie at Boulogne. 

Turning out his black bag, he found that the bottom 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


59 


had been deftly taken off and carefully replaced. There 
was the fresh riveting- and new stitching. 

“ So, so ! ” he growled, “ attacked by one and doubly 
betrayed by others, could Berry have had any hand in 
this?” 

He spurned the insulting thought when a telegram 
was handed him. It was dated at the Royal Hotel, 
Blackfriars, and signed by the bluff artillerist. 

“ Called to town to explain here officially as to your 
visit to Woolwich. Brutal outrage ! Police stupidity ! 
Will inform Allan Law when I see him. Set it all 
right in the clubs — and at the Mess! You must return 
here as my guest.” 

“ This is all square,” mused the American. “ Colonel 
Berry does not even know that Allan Law has crossed 
the water with me.” 

“ And, Law shows no desire to follow me up ! ” 

It was clear that the police and customs had thor- 
oughly ransacked all his luggage; this pressed upon 
Wardlawe’s mind, but le%s than Baron Sternberg’s 
reference to the elastic “ Amoor Navigation Com- 
pany.” 

“ A shapeless mass, like Polonius’ cloud ! ” mused 
the startled American. 

“ Now for the fox’s skin to eke out the lion’s hide! 

“ From Paris to St. Petersburg, with no break, and 
even Allan Law must not know ! ” 

Alas! at that very moment the patrician ex-artillery 
subaltern was gently squeezing a hundred franc note 
into the hand of Madame Celeste Dacre, the strangely 
handsome wife of the head porter of the Choiseul. 

“ To Petersburg, direct, by Berlin and Eydtkuhnen ! 
He goes — I saw the billets de voyage,” murmured the 
blushing matron as Allan Law gazed into her dark 
velvety eyes. 

“ Taken, a haut prix, through a special messenger 
of I’Agence Cook. Ah ! He spends money like a 
prince, this farouche American ! He has bought like 
a Grand Duke — all day.” 

The exquisite little dinner was over at last, and at 
9 o’clock, Allan Law took his leave. Lascelles and 


6o 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


the other fellows have trapped me for the Embassy 
Ball, and so, here we part ! ” 

“ You go on to Berlin. Now this address, ‘ Hotel 
de TEurope, Warsaw,’ will reach me for a month, and 
Junior United Service Club, Charles street, London. 
Send a wire to each address of your movements. I 
will ask Berry to set you right in London when I see 
him ! ” 

“ See here. Law,” said the Major, “ Fll never forget 
the way that you stood by me over there beyond that 
tossing channel.” 

“ Don’t speak of it ! There’s no obligation ! ” an- 
swered the young Alcibiades. “ I will yet show you 
what I can do for you — up in our own North country.” 

They parted at the gateway of the Choiseul, Ward- 
lawe alleging his preparation for the midnight train. 
“ I won’t go to Dresden, Breslau and Varsovie for a 
week — perhaps not at all — if the situation gets ugly ! ” 
said Allan Law. “ My passport is at our Embassy, 
and the Russians may not visa it for a week, if at all. 

“Where will you be, at Berlin?” 

“Kaiserhof!” sententiously said Wardlawe, and 
then the young Englishman drove aw’ay murmuring, 
“ It’s a shame to drag such a noble stag down ! He is 
as free and open as the starry- heavens ! ” 

Tired and weary, Walter Wardlawe reached the 
Grand Central Bahnhof at Berlin thirty-six hours 
later, changing to his Petersburg train after eight 
hours’ delay, while “ Berry of the Artillery ” read a 
closely written dispatch handed to him at Woolwich 
by a Queen’s messenger, who had arrived from Paris. 

“ Thank Pleavens ! I have cut all the wires behind 
me ! ” mused Wardlawe. “ Neither Berry nor Law 
can trace me ! ” He had not spoken to a chance voy- 
ager from Paris to Abricour, nor from Frankfort to 
Hanover. “Two days more and I can say, like Vich 
Alpine true, ‘ I have discharged my trust ! ’ ” 

He smiled at the offensive sniffs of the German offi- 
cials, returning his polished French with their guttural 
growls. 

He gazed at a tall German doctor of philosophy, 
muffled to the neck, blue-goggled and with a hat of 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


6i 


antediluvian blocking, who fumbled an adieu at the 
door of the first class compartment in which Wardlawe 
sat alone. “ Stupid this public affection — a bearded old 
Hirsutus Major slobbering over a departing brother.'’ 

There is your man,” whispered the disguised Allan 
Law to his attentive listener during these embraces. 
“ The papers are in a jacket under his clothes. Re- 
member, no blood, no bodily harm to him ! Two thou- 
sand pounds for their contents ! ” 

“ Look out! ” involuntarily called out Wardlawe as 
the train, starting, nearly overturned the begoggled 
Herr Professor. 

“ I’ll be only six hours behind,” mused Allan Law, 

and this Queen’s messenger passport is my best pro- 
tection ; but I will first give a dark brovyn to these 
golden locks of mine, and then I think the ‘ blue glass ’ 
goggles will carry the rest off I Only the Countess 
Dachkoff could recognize me in this guise ! That fas- 
cinating Polonaise has a bone to pick with me ! Now, 
if Jules Devroche has not forgotten his cunning as a 
‘ rodeur,’ the papers are mine I This elestic Com- 
pany must be baffled till we get the torpedo destroyers 
and the three cruisers up from Valparaiso I After that, 
va banc! It’s twenty miles against fifteen, as to the 
two fleets every time ! ” 

While Wardlawe buried himself in a Revue des 
Deux Mondes, the stalwart young German stranger 
drew out a cap of the fighting ‘‘ Franconia,” lit a long 
betasseled pipe, and, producing a well thumbed copy 
of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason — in the language 
of Goethe and Schiller — began to secretly study his 
intended prey. 

“ Just how to do it,” mused the disguised Devroche, 
“ I can’t see without strangling him and tossing the 
body out of the window. But there must be no vio- 
lence! Ah, I must think! That money shall be 
mine ! ” Monsieur Devroche was the cleverest thug 
of all Pari.9. 

Colonel Berry sighed as he laid down Allan Law’s 
dispatch. It was ominous of a possible future. 

“ Our man has taken the alarm,” wrote Berry’s fel- 
low conspirator. “ His tremendous financial backing 


62 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


made the whole accusation ridiculous. The Irish bank- 
er’s letters of introduction were only provocative of 
‘poteen ’ and a ‘ night off ! ’ And Sternberg and the 
great Alderman simply smashed the possibilities! 
Nothing in his luggage. The papers must be on his 
person. He has dined me and wined me — not himself ! 
He is armed with a revolver and that damnable bowie 
knife, of whch you spoke. Sober and alert, he leaves 
apparently for Berlin. I have traced his tickets to St. 
Petersburg! Now the Ambassador, to whom I stole 
away, has given me Jules Devroche, an Alsatian . ‘ ro- 
deur,’ equally French and German at will — a master 
of disguise, an athlete, once a champion wrestler, and, 
a master of every black art in the ‘ basse monde.’ 

“ This man will haunt Wardlawe from Berlin to the 
Neva! If he can get in a compartment alone with 
him after passing Eydtkuhnen we will have those pa- 
pers. Jules has orders not to harm a hair of his head, 
to use anything but violence. And he swears that he 
will win the fifty thousand francs. I follow on the 
next train as a ‘ dark-haired stranger,’ hiding at the 
Embassy in Petersburg till I can approach Wardlawe. 
So, I’m there till we are ordered out! All’s fair in 
love and war ! ” 

“Is it?” gloomily mused Colonel Berry, burning 
the paper and rising to dismiss the jaded messenger. 

“ Only to save our commerce in the Pacific would 
I violate the laws of hospitality! Am I right? This 
gallant American is the innocent messenger of that 
unknown dragon ‘ The Amoor Navigation Company.’ 

“ As their agent, I have every right to baffle him ! 
Yes, for the Queen — ^to destroy the secret mandates 
of the plotters of the Czar ! Oh ! that Treaty of Paris ! 
Fatal loophole! We sowed the teeth of Cadmus 
there ! 

“ Yes, Allan Law is right — ‘ all’s fair in love and 
war ! ’ ” 

Out on the lonely Amoor, long months later, Mr. 
Allan Law suddenly and irrevocably changed this 
lightly delivered opinion, then, gayly adhered to by one 
who ruled his very life, swaying the scepter of the 
empire of his being, in capricious white bejeweled 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


63 


hands, in a practical application of his own chosen 
motto. And so, while Colonel Henry Seaforth Berry 
stuffed his pipe and took a moody ‘ peg,’ the “ schnell 
ztig ” dashed along eastward with Walter Wardlawe 
dreaming, under the keen eyes of the murderous Jules 
Devroche. 


CHAPTER HI. 

HE IS MY CHUM IN PARIS.” 

While Major Wardlawe, now on unfamiliar ground, 
keenly watched the face of every stranger as the Ber- 
lin train sped on toward dreary Konigsberg, he was 
doubly mindful of the seriousness of his trust. “ One 
more long pull and I am safe ! ” he mused, thinking of 
Consul-General Gorlitz’s secret preparations for his 
safety in Russia. 

Two cipher cablegrams sent home had announced 
his safe passage through Berlin to the Iron King and 
the anxious Marsden. 

A good German scholar, still, Wardlawe feared the 
lonely voyage to the Neva after passing Wirballen. 

I fancy that the mioujiks do not speak either French 
or German, and so I may have to resort to the ‘ sign 
language ’ of the plains.” 

He mused at ease over his possible trip to Saghalien, 
to lay out the great coal handling works at the bay of 
Dui. 

“ They can give me all the interpreters I need out 
there, with a convict colony of twerity thousand.” 

Assuring himself of the safety of his two sealed 
packets, his money hung around his neck, the Major 
eyed the little cross compartment with disgust. “ I’m 
glad that I have my revolver and knife,” he murmured. 
“ It would be ugly enough to be locked in one of these 
man-traps with a malefactor ! ” 

And yet he smiled in disdain as he gazed at the 
beaming face of the stocky German in the Franco- 
nia ” cap, poring industriously over his volume of 


64 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


Kant “ He s a brave chap that! ” mused Wardlawe. 

“ Kant is ‘ sudden death ’ to the ordinary intellect.” 
The Major had rebounded from a few pages of the 
“ Critique Upon Pure Reason ” once with a realizing 
sense of his own intellectual inferiority. 

“ Density, maximum I ” he groaned. 

And yet, as they neared the dreary Russian frontier, 
the two^ voyagers fell into an easy chat. “ Herr Hugo 
Wandel ” was on his way to join a great Russian noble 
at St. Petersburg as German tutor for three young 
princelings. “ So it is, that I travel first class. I re- 
flect my new master’s glory. Hein ! ” contentedly 
cried Wandel, munching various sausage sandwiches 
with delight and imbibing floods of thin beer at all 
the stations. 

“ Simple good natured soul,” mused the engineer 
when he had learned of Wandel’s first visit to St. 
Petersburg as a translator in the German Embassy. 

“ I learned Russian from an old refugee noble who 
rented rooms from my mother in Dresden. And so I 
may be able to be of use to you when we change at 
the frontier into the great arks which they call railway 
cars.” 

Nature had gifted Jules Devroche with a true vaga- 
bond’s artlessness, and his “ expert lying ” over- 
matched the cautious performances of Colonel Berry 
and Wardlawe. 

The bitter blasts of an icy February whistled around 
the snow-mantled station at Eydtkuhnen, when Major 
Wardlawe, with a happy heart, seated himself in a 
compartment of the wide Russian railway car. 

His mind was filled wth a pleasurable glow, for the 
doubled railway station common to Germany and Rus- 
sia was thronged with servants speaking French, 
English and German with polyglot ease. The mere 
exhibition of his passport caused two colonels to ap- 
proach him with a cordial politeness. “We have a 
private order from the Minister of the Interior to 
facilitate you ! ” said the senior, passing instantly all 
the Major’-s luggage unopened. 

Here was a warm welcome to the icy land of Eng- 
land’s bitterest foes! 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


65 


And they had dinner, in the farther restaurant, where 
the pictures of the great Alexander IIL, stalwart son of 
Anak, and of the lovely Dagmar looked down majestic- 
ally upon the four hundred famished voyagers. 

With Wandeks Heidelberg stories, surrounded by 
pretty fur-toqued ladies, lively officers, quaint boyars 
and nondescript merchants, the Major sighed in a 
happy relief, “ This is not so bad ! ” 

And Fortune smiling, gave to the American the 
German tutor as a sole companion in the new car. 

“ ‘ Second and third ’ are the grades usually patron- 
ized,” simply said Wandel ; ” only our grandees, with 
the English and Americans, use the ‘ first.’ ” 

Thoroughly Gallicized in his Parisian habiliments, 
Wardlawe, chatting easily in French, felt himself se- 
cure, and so he gave himself up to his French copy 
of Baedeker’s Russie and to gazing out at the dreary 
frozen lakes, gloomy birch forests and log huts flying 
by them as the day faded. 

“ Supper, breakfast and dinner we get at stations of 
the first class,” said the tutor, “ all de rigueur,” but 
coffee or tea, a toss of cognac, the man will bring us 
at any time. They are always on duty at each end of 
the car. Let me know if you wish anything.” 

Wardlawe was fain to trust himself to this simple- 
hearted German tutor, for with a sense of childish help- 
lessness he found himself powerless in the hands of the 
guards, and even the red-shirted, high-booted moujik 
with the vacuous grin of the Russian peasant. 

“ There can be no danger here,” he thankfully de- 
cided as he stuffed the unfortunate black bag under 
the low broad bed, which, with its opposite companion, 
were the only ones made ready in the cross compart- 
ment. 

'' A door, a good inside bolt, and the long covered 
aisle at one side of the car, with a guard at each end — 
verily, these Russians know how to travel, and there 
is an alarm gong in each compartment. 

“ A thousand new impressions flitted over his mind 
after the supper at Wilna, where mosque, synagogue, 
Catholic, Greek and Protestant churches attest the 
strange medley of the thirty-three nations of Russia. 


66 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

“ This is not so bad ! ’’ laughed Wardlawe, when 
Wandel announced breakfast at Pskov and a little 
dinner on the Neva. “ I fancy that I will drive like the 
wind to Moika, twenty-one, get these papers out of 
my hands; after that, Paul Kurtz will be my shield 
and buckler. But I am all safe here ! ” he mused with 
a glance at the benevolent face of the German tutor 
lying with his coat off, musing on his Kant. 

The rich half moonlight flooded the stateroom, and 
the murmur of humanity was easily audible through 
the thin partitions. 

And the Russians, with a rank disregard of others, 
were carrying on all the scenes of la Comedie Hu- 
maine. 

Though howling blasts swept by, the long car was 
-viciously overheated and Wardlawe -dazed off intioi 
uneasy dreams with his coat for a pillow and a rug 
thrown over him. 

“ A sorry spring season for England,” he mused. 
“ This London Bridge attempt adds to the horror of 
the other explosions ! With the frightfully devastating 
storms, the impending Gordon horror, the mutinous 
Irish, the rampant Dervishes, the Gladstone Ministry 
is tottering to its fall ! 

And now, the Russian war cloud follows the Span- 
ish earthquakes! 

“ Tiber inundations and ghastly hurricanes haye 
crippled trade, with other horrors still in the womb of 
Time! 

Is England drifting toward catastrophes, with 
neither a Nelson nor a Wellington?” 

And then his mind drifted away to the grim storm- 
lashed Saghalien, the mystic valley of the silent 
Amoor, mighty flood haunted by the memories of 
Genghis Khan, the cradle of the Tartar world con- 
querors ! 

He roused himself with a start as Hugo Wandel 
touched his arm. “ A cup of the incomparable Russian 
tea, and then, sleep, my friend! You are weary! ” 

Raising on his elbow, Wardlawe watched Wandel 
give the order to the obedient moujik. The car was 
quieted down now. Both care and flirtation had 


0^ A rntpYAm, 


d7 

§otight their pillows ! The rattle of gold and cries of 
merry gamesters had subsided; only the monotonous 
click of the wheels punctuated the night as the train 
sped over the low lands. 

The windows were all thick with' frost rime in ex- 
quisite tracery, and the warmth of the long car was 
stifling ! 

When Wandel brought the tea in himself, Ward- 
lawe gazed in wonder. “ Every good Russian travels 
with his own tea ! ’’ the tutor smiled. “ I have some 
of Count Nadaroff’s very best! The house only fur- 
nishes you the hissing boiling water. 

Seated opposite each other, the two men chatted 
while they slowly sipped the fragrant restorative. 

“ A sort of a Zinzendorf, an ideal moral reformer,” 
mused Wardlawe as he listened to Wandel’s simple 
fortunes. 

And yet, there was a pretty blue-eyed Bertha down 
in Wurtemberg, who was yet to share the tutor’s pros- 
perity on the great estate of Ilianka. 

Teacup in hand, the German babbled on with a se- 
rene smile on his face. 

And yet that same infantile bonhomie had often 
aided Jules Devroche, renegade collegian, driven out 
for theft, seducer, valet de place, communist, murderer 
of an aged master, robber, ex-mouchard, and now se- 
cret service spy at Paris, drifting for safety into the 
hands of a reckless young English attache, desirous 
of seeing the “ inner life ” of Paris. 

“ Rodeur ” — yes, a deadly one — and withal a man 
of the smoothest aspects ! 

“ We stop for wood and water twenty miles from 
here,” murmured Wandel. “ The other train passes ! 
It’s a good place to catch your beauty sleep while we 
are halted for a half an hour ; there is no hurry here ! 
Ah!” 

The agile scoundrel leaned forward and caught 
Wardlawe’s falling cup and saucer. 

“ So soon I ” he whispered, as he glided out with 
the teacup, and then returned, softly closing the door 
and yet fearing to slip the bolt. 

For there, before him, lay Major Wardlawe gasping 


68 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

gesticulating and yet, struggling with an appealing 
glance in his eyes ! 

“ My poor friend ! ” murmured Jules Devroche, 
firmly bearing the American’s shoulders back to the 
rude pillow. 

The wheels were already stopping as, with a self- 
satisfied grin, the midnight thief saw Wardlawe ex- 
hausting himself with trying to rise. 

“ Only twenty minutes here ! I must hasten ! ” 
muttered Devroche in his natal French, as the train 
ran past straggling lines of squared log-houses, with 
a few lights feebly blinking in the storm. 

“ Diinaberg! ” whispered the thug. “ My Jew friends 
will hide me here in the bazaar. And from Riga to 
Memel is only a few hours ! Allons ! That fifty thou- 
sand francs must be mine ! ” 

Then bounding like a tiger on the drugged victim, 
Devroche muffled the American’s head in the rug. 

Holding his faintly struggling victim down, he 
quickly explored the bosom of the prostrate man with 
the skill of a professional thief. 

A knife flashed out as the French miscreant ripped 
the lightly belted buckskin jacket. “Inside! Ah! 
inside ! ” he murmured. 

There was a heavy jar as the train ran on into the 
“ bumpers,” and the knife, turning on the leather 
bands, deeply scored Wardlawe’s bosom. 

The crash had thrown the two men from the couch, 
and the pain of the deep rasping flesh wound instantly 
brought back Wardlawe’s consciousness as Devroche 
tugged at the flaps of the inside pockets. 

A dozen passengers had sprung into the side aisle in 
a wild alarm as Wardlawe’s last frantic cry, “Help! 
Murder ! ” rang out in a desperate agony ; 

A gust of icy air blew through the aisle as a door 
was torn open, and then a stalwart young American 
leaped into the deserted compartment. 

“ Let that American alone ! ” resolutely cried the 
stranger, as he dragged the frightened moujik away. 
The car porter’s hands were covered with blood as a 
tall man in a flowered silk nightgown, with a pince- 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 69 

nez on his nose, said calmly in English : “ What’s 

this trouble ? ” 

“ They have murdered this man, among them ! 
Can’t you see ? ” wrathfully replied the intruder. 

And then, Dr. Alexis Pauloff, shaking up the trem- 
bling moujik, gave rapid directions in Russian. 

“ Clear out all ! ” testly exclaimed Pauloff, as he 
leaned over the sufferer. 

“ I am an American, and I’ll not leave this man ! 
Here is foul play ! ” said Robert Standiford, res- 
olutely holding the door. But, Pauloff was already 
busied with the bleeding victim. 

“ Attempt at robbery ! ” he murmured ; “ a painful 
flesh wound,” and then his face grew grave as he 
watched Wardlawe’s cataleptic eyes. “ There’s worse ! 
Poison — some narcotic poison ! ” he shouted as the 
squad of police, gray-coated, turbaned, with diagonally 
slung swords, crowded to the door. “ Take away this 
fool! "Get the man who ran out of here! Quick! 
This IS a terrible crime ! ” 

With a few stern words, Pauloff hastened away. 
Running back with a cup of mixed mustard and hot 
water, he forced it into the helpless man’s mouth. 

“ The wound is nothing ; here, ,the towels ! ” and he 
swathed the sufferer’s lacerated chest. 

“ Can we remove him ? ” anxiously said the Amer- 
ican. 

“ I am Robert Standiford, foreign agent of the 
Hotchkiss Company of Paris.” 

“ I, Alexis Pauloff, private physician to the Grand 
Duke Michael ! ” 

“ No ! Strong coffee and a good beating will coun- 
teract the narcotic ! It was clumsy to give it in tea ! 
And only a half dose, too, for the assassin was quietly 
finishing his work with the knife.” 

In all the clamor, the old army surgeon alone kept 
his head. 

“ Let us secure the valuables of which the thug 
would have robbed him ! ” 

It was the work of a moment to strip the blood- 
stained chamois jacket and then cut away the note- 
bag. 


mu MVBfmY A gMimm 


'JQ 

Papefs ! A gef lous crime ! growled the Surgeon. 

Now, to our work ! ’’ 

In half an hour, the train proceeded upon its way 
with the old Russian doctor, the strange American 
and a- captain of police watching the exhausted Ward- 
lawe. 

“ Tell me, do you know him? ” said Pauloff. He 
will live ! It was a close call ! The knife wound and 
the jarring with the heat sickened him! Nature had 
our work already half done for us ! ” 

“ Here is his passport 1 ” said Standiford. “ Walter 
Wardlawe I ” And these sealed papers are all ad- 
dressed to the First Secretary of the American Lega- 
tion.” 

While the Surgeon and Standiford conversed in low 
tones, the Police Captain handed Dr. Pauloff a slip 
of paper pinned to the parchment. 

“What is it?” eagerly cried the young American. 

“ He is a person under the especial protection of 
our government,” gravely said Pauloff. “ I will tele- 
graph from Resbitza to the Minister of the Interior 
and also to my friend, the American First Secretary. 
Let us make a list of all his articles and place all these 
things in our joint custody with Captain Schereme- 
tieff as the custodian.” 

Wardlawe’s faint groans punctuated the long exam- 
ination of the frightened moujik who served that end 
of the car. 

The alarmed voyagers had all been driven into their 
cells, and two soldiers sat, with their muskets ready, 
on stools in the side aisle. 

“ The other, the other did it ! ” wailed Ivan Ivano- 
vitch, fearful of a six months within the “ Polygon.” 

“ The German man with blue eyes and golden 
beard — there is his book lying, his hat and coat ! That 
is his own bundle and bag! He fled away with this 
poor Barin’s new fur pelisse and soft hat ! He nearly 
overturned me at the door, and I ran in, hearing the 
yell, and so my hands were covered with blood! ” 

“Stupid! You are, of course, innocent!” cried 
Pauloff. “ Did you find no traces ? ” 

“ There are acres of wood piles, Barin,” said Ivan. 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


71 


Our soldiers are so slow ! The snow is very deep, 
and blinding as it falls ! He got away for a time ! ” 

It was indeed so. The flakes were whirling down 
without as the train ran on with muffled wheels. 

“ The whole force at Dunaberg is on the alert ! ” 
ventured the Captain. 

Pauloflf’s fine sneer was not lost on Standiford, as 
the old man snorted: “ Imbeciles! Tchinoviks! Fools! 
Then, he is safe ! ” 

And the Grand Duke’s physician was right ! 

Before they reached the telegraph station to warn 
the police at Pskov of the crime, a man clad in a 
Jewish gaberdine sneaked out of a low Polish-drinking 
booth and boarded the midnight train for Riga at 
Dunaberg. 

Jules Devroche regretted the splendid new fur-lined 
pelisse and Parisian hat exchanged for the greasy 
foxskin cloak and vile rags. But he had seen his pass- 
port as Hugo Wandel crackle in the flame, and “ Isidor 
Hertz, cook,” was possessed of a passport duly visad 
to leave Russia by Riga and Memel. With the blond 
wig and beard stripped off, Jules Devroche looked the 
vaurien cook to his grime-stained hands. He never 
regretted the golden Imperial coin tossed to Rebecca 
Einstein as he grasped her last bottle of vodki. 

“ I can telegraph from Memel to this English 
milord ! ” snarled Devroche. “ Curse him ! He must 
put up a few thousand francs or I’ll sell this story to 
the Russian Ambassador ! Lascelles will pay me later 
at Paris but I’ll frighten a few thousand out of this 
young fool ! Damn that collision with the bumpers ! 
He waked up like a ‘ stuck hog ’ when the knife 
slipped. What a yell ! ” 

When the train slowly ran into the great Peters- 
burg station, Walter Wardlawe was gazing wearily in 
the face of the good-humored Robert Standiford. 

His groan of pain, when he displaced the swathing 
bandages, his aching head, his sickening qualms left 
him as helpless as a child. “ Be calm, my dear Sir ! ” 
You are among friends! You have been a little ill! 
All is safe ! ” soothingly said Dr. Pauloff, at whom 
Wardlawe gazed in a blank wonder. “We will cut 


72 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


the car off and side-track it when the people all go 
away/’ cheerily said Standiford, “and your friend 
Paul Kurtz of the American Legation will be here to 
meet you.” 

“ Who hurt me? What is the matter? ” feebly said 
Wardlawe, gazing at Robert Standiford’s cheery face, 
with the dark eyes, the Vandyke beard and “ a Yankee 
cut of the jib ” all around. “ I am Robert Standiford 
of Bridgeport, Connecticut,” slowly said the young 
arms dealer. “ I travel for Hotchkiss ! I found you 
ill! Just be quiet! Your stuff is all right! Fifteen 
hundred pounds — your loose money — your letter of 
credit and passport, your sealed papers (the dis- 
patches),” he whispered. “You are Walter Ward- 
lawe? ” 

“ Yes ! ” gasped the wounded man. “ San Fran- 
cisco ! Find Paul Kurtz quick ! ” and then, he sank 
back exhausted. 

Half an hour later Paul Kurtz bent over Wardlawe, 
when the sufferer opened his eyes under the stimulus 
of a draught of brandy. “All right. Major! It’s 
Kurtz! Just keep up a little! ” 

“ Where will you take him?” asked Standiford. 

“ To my house,” cheerily said Dr. Pauloff. “ I’ll 
have him on his feet in a week, better than ever ! 

“ And my own valet shall watch with you,” said . 
Kurtz, whispering a few words in Wardlawe’s ear. 

“ That’s right, that’s right ; bring him ! ” gasped 
Wardlawe. 

In five minutes, a stern man of sixty-five, with pierc- 
ing black eyes and a Tartar mustache, leaned over 
Wardlawe. 

On the shoulders of the General’s coat were the 
glittering straps of an Imperial aide-de-camp. 

The collar and cuffs of the gray surtout were a col- 
onel’s ransom, and a matchless blue diamond glittered 
on the ex-Dictator’s finger. 

“ It is the Count Nicholas Ignatieff ! ” solemnly said 
the Captain of Police. “ Give us the bundle ! ” cried 
Robert Standiford. “ He wants the papers ! ” 

With wolfish eyes, Wardlawe gazed on Paul Kurtz^ 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


73 


examining the intact seals of the blood-stained 
packages. 

Then, after a whispered colloquy with Ignatieff, 
Wardlawe said : “ Give the two envelopes to His 

Excellency ! Bear witness that I have kept my faith ! ’’ 
“Major!” said the great Ambassador, “if you 
were a Russian you would be made a hereditary Count 
for this ! I myself will take you later to Admiral 
Chestakoff ! Now, Pauloff will guard you! When he 
gives you over as well, you belong to me! Your 
fortune is made ! I will call on you every day ! ” 
Turning with gravity. General Count Ignatieff said: 
“ As gentlemen, I now request an absolute secrecy 
from all ! Not a word of this, or the babbler will leave 
Russia forever! I will take Captain Scheremetieff 
away with me ! I go direct to the Minister ! ” 

“ See here. Major,” gaily said Kurtz, “the Russian 
ladies will soon cure your wounds, and then, you’ll. for- 
get the railway accident, you know ! I’ll take all your 
valuable funds and everything loose. Your luggage 
and other things. Dr. Pauloff takes with you ! ” 

“ The poor Professor, my companion, ‘ Hugo Wan- 
del ’ of Heidelberg, the man who was with me ! ” 

“I fear that he was killed in the collision! The 
floor was bloody! We did not find his body!” said 
Paul Kurtz, with a sly wink at the genial Robert 
Standiford. 

“ Ah ! He was coming as tutor to Count Nadaroff, at 
Ilianka Chateau, at Rovno ! ” mourned Wardlawe, 
covering his face with his hands. 

“ It was dreadful, that sickening crash ! ” 

Dr. Pauloff drew the two gentlemen away. 

“ You see, I was right! He was followed for mur- 
der and robbery! There is no Count Nadaroff, no 
Ilianka Chateau. I am from Rovno! The Lubo- 
mirskis are the only nobles there ; they own the whole 
town ! I was born there. They are my own cousins ! 

“ Let him come slowly out ! Better so ! And Gen- 
eral Count Ignatieff demands our silence! Let him 
tell Wardlawe all later ! ” 

“ Very good,” gayly cried Paul Kurtz. “ Doctor, 
we leave your patient with you ! As for you, Standi- 


74 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


ford, IVe had telegrams and mail for you, for a week ! 
Your firm has wired me to take charge of you ! Mr. 
Jewell wants to see you at once ! But to-night you 
dine with me and, Mademoiselle Petitpas of the Opera, 
that angel of prima ballerinas, will teach you Rus- 
sian ! ’’ 

After a few words to Wardlawe, the rich young 
American exile — a diplomat by mere choice — dragged 
away the man from Bridgeport. 

“ See Chestakoff at once ! ’’ whispered Wardlawe to 
the Secretary of the Legation. 

“ When he acknowledges the papers, just telegraph 
to Everett Marsden : ‘ Papers safely delivered ’ and 

‘ Safe arrival ’ to Sterling Mott. 

“ Wardlawe,” whispered Kurtz, “ Your Amoor 
Navigation Company may change the world’s history ! 
War will be declared in a month ! The English Em- 
bassy is even now packing up! The Czar has sent 
eighty thousand men to Astrakan to reinforce Koma- 
roff ! You have barely escaped the chase of the tire- 
less wolves ! You will go to the Grand Duke Michael’s 
palace and you have earned a whole nation’s- grati- 
tude! Your star is in its zenith! Your fortune is 
made ! Russia never forgets ! I will come every day ! 
Leave all to me! Then, when well, you come to my 
bachelor home on the Nadenjskaya. Pauloif is an old 
angel in gray, a jewel! Trust him! He has handled 
the Czar’s life, and that alone ! ” 

“ See here, Standiford! ” faintly babbled the Major, 
“ I know that I would have died in that horrible 
wreck but for you! You saved my life! Pll get even 
with you ! ” 

“ Paid in advance ! ” said the man from Bridgeport. 
“ Oniy get well and help me stand off the Russian 
ladies ! I am told that they give no quarter ! ” And 
here Paulolf interrupted with a glass of champagne — 
the great cure all! 

Carefully wrapped in furs, lifted tenderly into a 
great sleigh, Wardlawe wondered at the magnificent 
station, the splendors of the Nevsky, the broad street 
where an army could march in divisions, and the 
jingling troika bells lulled him to a gentle sleep. 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


75 


When he awoke again, Wardlawe ga^ed in wonder 
at the magnificence of the bed chamber in the state 
wing of the Grand Duke Michael’s -palace. 

The stars were shining in at the doubled windows, 
while by a feeble taper a beautiful young nun was tell- 
ing her beads. 

“Do they have angels as nurses here?” mused 
Wardlawe when the silent sister arose and, gliding to 
his side, asked in musical French for his wishes. Sis- 
ter Agatha was only an embodied angel! 

Walter Wardlawe never knew of the sorrow of a 
lover lost at the Grivitza Redoubt, which sent the rose- 
bud beauty of the Catherine Institute into the dark- 
robed ranks of the Sisters of Mercy. 

But he did know that “ angels came and ministered 
unto him.” 

While he vainly tried to unravel the mystery of his 
voyage from Berlin, a secret fear of disaster weigh- 
ing on him, the Honorable Allen Law was lounging be- 
fore the great Russian stove in the magnificent draw- 
ing room of the English Country Club at Tosna. 

Only thirty miles from the capital on the Neva, the 
haughty Britons of the Embassy had a little “ pied-a- 
terre ” of their own, free from the daily visitations of 
the Third Section. 

The cheroot fell from Allan Law’s handsome lips 
as he read the long telegram slip handed him by a 
sturdy English servant. 

“ The damned clumsy fool ! ” he shouted. “ My life 
may pay for this I ” He feared nothing personally 
as yet, for he was on English ground, as the “ Country 
Club ” was flying the flag of the Embassy. 

In a stupor he read : “ Business a total failure ; 

nothing done. I go to Paris. Letters through friend. 
Send money. Have suffered much.” 

There was the signature “ G. Caisson,” as agreed. 
“ I wish I had him on a gun caisson. I would run him 
over a precipice ! ” growled Law. “ And so, I have 
failed to outwit Wardlawe ! He has had a whole day 
in St. Petersburg I Enough time to dig my grave and 
to bury me ! I must lie perdu here ! 


76 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

“ And yet, I must warn our Ambassador ! My dis- 
covery as an agent in this would mean my death ! 

“And so to conceal my F. O. character, I must 
stand out of the war and all the fighting ! I will wait 
for a few days and then, meet Wardlawe ' on the 
friendly basis/ 

“ Only by deceiving him and lulling him can we 
gain time to get the two Chilean twenty-knot cruisers 
and the three torpedo destroyers safely up to Esqui- 
malt from Valparaiso. 

“ Yes,' our navy must have that fleet, at any price ! 

“ And the telegrams must go off at once ! Fll call 
Rutledge, and the Chief must use his cipher direct to 
Downing Street! 

“ So this renegade brute got away to Memel ; he 
must have failed at Diinaberg, and it will be four to 
six days before I can get his letters from Paris. This 
frank American was born under a lucky star!”' 

Standiford and Paul Kurtz, Dr. Pauloff and Gen- 
eral Ignatieff had all ocularly verified Major Ward- 
la we’s rapid recovery before Allan Law learned the 
reasons of the total failure of Jules Devroche. 

The Major was triumphant in the awarding of the 
great Dui coal mine constructions, and had even been 
honored with Admiral Chestakofif’s call of half an 
hour, his cablegrams to San Francisco all duly veri- 
fied, when General Ignatieff said : “We will now 
place you at Paul Kurtz’s as his personal guest, to allay 
any suspicions in society! Your own entree will be at 
a splendid dinner given by General Michael Annen- 
koff, where you can meet all our secret friends ! This 
will explain your presence thereafter anywheres. 

“My own home on the Moika is open to you, but you 
rnust give all your mornings to the ‘ Amoor Naviga- 
tion Company.’ 

“The war is imminent! Two weeks will decide! 
The campaign will open in eight weeks in its full rage, 
unless England withdraws her bold ultimatum ! 

“ Before a week, Chestakoff must know every detail 
of each one of the thirty-seven steamers of the 
‘Amoor Navigation Company’ now at San Fran- 
cisco.” 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


77 


I did not know that they had even one, Your Ex- 
cellency,” faltered Wardlawe. 

General Ignatieff handed Wardlawe a cigar from a 
gold case with a diamond coronet emblazoned therein, 
the gift of a grateful Emperor. 

“ By transferring five millions of dollars in gold 
through Consul-General Gorlitz to your friend 
Everett Marsden, we can become the owners of every 
seaworthy steamer now available on the Pacific 
coast!” calmly said Ignatieft*. “We have just paid 
him one million dollars for an option on these boats for 
one year. One cablegram closes the purchase when 
the English Ambassador asks for his passports ! 

“ And so, -thirty-seven privateers will be loosened at 
once on the British commerce of the Pacific ! ” 

“Ah! the Treaty of Paris!” cried Wardlawe, in a 
fever of excitement. 

“ Yes, the one invincible arm which Russia will use 
to cripple England to its financial ruin. Russian 
‘ Alabamas ! ’ ” sneered the great ex-Dictator. 

“ The papers?” cried the Major. 

“ Dimitri Gorlitz has fifty sealed letters of marque 
in blank in his bank vaults at San Francisco, and he 
only waits to insert the chosen names! You will later 
take the original warrants over to him ! ” 

“ I fancy that I have been an innocent dispatch 
bearer for the last time! The wolves were on my 
track more than once ! ” said Wardlawe. 

“ Your reward waits for you ! I will tell you all 
later. You have foiled the whole English Secret Ser- 
vice since you landed at Boulogne ! ” 

“ But, you have no crews, guns and arms ! ” per- 
sisted Wardlawe. 

“ Our whole Siberian and Asian fleet sets sail at 
once on our telegraphed order to Vladivostock, and, 
with crews, supplies and arms, will meet the Amoor 
Navigation Company's fleet at the islands off Sitka! 
The steamers will be armed there and begin their 
work! We have effectually closed by mines Vladi- 
vostock, Emperor's Bay and Nicolaievsk.' An English 
fleet attacking would be blown to atoms. 

“ And our own heavy fleet will assail Esquimalt 


78 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

and capture the unprepared cruisers and boats which 
the English have secured at Valparaiso! Our best 
Secret Service men are now watching them I This is 
all Dimitri Gorlitz’s work, and it makes him a Foreign 
Minister! He has just captured a lovely American 
wife. I had the cablegram yesterday.” 

“ And, the Amoor Navigation Company? ” said the 
American. 

“ Is the Czar, is Russia, is anything we choose to 
call it! ” proudly cried Ignatieff. “ Your future works 
for Sterling Mott, several other vast projects and 
much of our final advance on China, Corea, Man- 
churia and the Yellow Sea are veiled under the name 
of this nominal corporation, which has only a half 
dozen little trading steamboats on the mighty Amoor ! 

“ We can do anything that we choose under that 
cabalistic name! It has given Marsden an easy mil- 
lion ! It will give the National Works several, yet ! 

“ Mines, towns, bridges, railways, barges, steamers, 
warships, trading stations — all these are merely syn- 
onyms in this name, for the Czar, which is, all the Rus- 
sias — a united hundred millions of loyal people. 

“ It is under that segis that you will go back to Sag- 
halien as in sole charge of the great Dui works, des- 
tined to coal our whole war and trading fleet with our 
privateers of the future ! Now, not another word till 
you are a guest under the American flag, with Paul 
Kurtz. 

“ Then you belong to Chestakoflf and myself ! I am 
' on extraordinary foreign duty,' though without port- 
folio, until we have backed up Komarofif or have been 
beaten ! Let me tell you the hero already has disputed 
the valleys ! He has cut the Afghans all to pieces ! 

“ England now knows it ! And so, we are to-day 
preparing lists of every Englishman in Russia, with 
orders to them to leave in twenty-four hours! 

“ Come to me ; let me present you to Madame Ig- 
natieff, and she shall tell you all the strange story of 
your peculiar accident! 

But never mention the name of the * Amoor Nav- 
igation Company ! ' If you do it means disgrace, ex- 
pulsion, the betrayal of your friends! Only Chesta- 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


79 


koff and I are permitted to name it ! My home is 
open to you ! I will give you my own library for your 
private work. The Countess will show you the flower 
of our land — the ladies ! And as to this, beware ! For 
they are irresistible! At least I found them so in my 
youth ! ” cried the conqueror of Schamyl with a sigh 
as he departed. 

“ A land of witchery, of fascination, of barbaric 
splendors I I have been here a week, and save a Grand 
Ducal bedroom and an angelic nurse, I am without a 
glimpse of the glories of the Neva! 

“ A land wherein to guard both head and heart, it 
seems! I wonder if Law is hunting his bears! » Gal- 
lant fellow ! ” mused the too trustful American. 

When Dr. Pauloff bundled Major Wardlawe into 
the sleigh, which was at last to take him away to Paul 
Kurtz’s bachelor home, the American’s eyes were 
filled with a grateful mist. 

“ You owe me nothing, my dear boy,” said the old 
Surgeon. “ It is only to save you from perhaps future 
troubles that the Grand Duke sends you to Kurtz! 
You are one of us! And you shall have palace lodg- 
ings for your life if you ever .need them ! 

“Later you can send me some of the incomparable 
books on the new American surgery ; I have a ‘ cen- 
sor’s permit ’ from the Grand Duke. 

“ And I shall see you three times a week ! You 
nearly lost your life for our cause ! 

“ In days of trouble, Russia is but one united family ! 
Nihilism ! Bah ! In forty years we have murdered 
one Czar ; you, two Presidents ! Is it an English poet 
who says, ‘ We always kill the thing we love ! ’ Three 
days from now. I’ll show you a sample of Russian dis- 
affection.” 

Sister Agatha had departed, wearing a ring which 
had been worn by the Major’s gentle mother. 

“ Far above rubies, I will prize it ! ” she whispered. 
“You risked your life for Holy Russia!” 

And now, strange lurking suspicions followed 
Wardlawe in his musings as he was driven to the 
superb apartment of the rich bachelor First Secretary. 

That his roughly incised wound was caused by a 


So 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


piece of loosened steel in the wrcek of the railway car, 
seemed all natural enough, and the torn and blood- 
stained buckskin vest had been promptly burned by 
the Doctor, on General Ignatieff’s suggestion. 

And thus, Wardlawe never saw the clean knife cuts 
of the desperate Devroche ! 

Unable to read the Russian journals, he, of course, 
had seen no details of the wreck of the train at Diina- 
berg. “ Poor Wandel ! ” he sighed, his ‘ maid Ultru- 
da ’ will wait long for him in vain ! ” 

For Surgeon Pauloff had only dryly remarked. 

The German’s body was not found ! His fate is un- 
known ! ” 

It was a bewildering ride to Paul Kurtz’s home, 
where Standiford and the host now awaited their con- 
valescent visitor. 

Glimpses of a great courtyard, with straw-swathed 
trees, statues, winter wrapped, in strange cerements, 
half frozen sentries, dashing sleighs and great granite 
walls, the sounds of clanging bells, and the evening 
gun from the “ Polygon ” were all Wardlawe’s mem- 
ories as the great magnificence of the Winter Palace 
and Hermitage, the Champ de Mars and the noble 
river burst upon him. 

Apple green sky, towering spires, vast fagades, cop- 
per green cupolas, great temples, huge columns — all 
these stunned him. 

“ These vast granite squares seem builded by giants 
for a Titanic Court ! Here is indeed the frozen lair of 
the Ice King ! ” 

But, bewitching faces peeped out from their fleecy 
wraps, and a wild romance clung to every corner with 
the four silent Cossacks mounted on shaggy ponies 
and holding their cruel lances in a deadly menace. 

Major Wardlawe was now able to hobble around 
Paul Kurtz’s splendid rooms without difficulty, his 
onlv suffering being the straining of the tender wounds 
of his breast. 

“ Your good stout ribs saved your life ! ” gaily cried 
the Secretly as over a real open wood fire, 'Kurtz 
and Standiford proceeded to “ swap ” their memories 
of Cambridge and Yale with their Princeton visitor. 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 3 1 

“ Here you are in America ! ” gayly cried Kurtz. 
“ Fve been an exile, a diplomatic slave, for seventeen 
long years! Rome, Vienna, Paris, and Lisbon have 
not denationalized me ! Rove at will over my posses- 
sions 1 ” 

And a jolly supper it was when Wardlawe found 
that Standiford was about selling sixty full field bat- 
teries of Hotchkiss cannon to the Czar. “ It’s an ill 
wind which blows nobody good 1 ” winked the man 
from Providence. 

“ War or no war, if I make my sale, Ethel Raynor 
signs herself Ethel Standiford in three months, for I 
will be made for life. There are five hundred tons of 
fixed ammunition included with my offer. 

Cautious, cool and sly, Paul Kurtz coached the Ma- 
jor when Robert Standiford had departed. “ I’ve 
duly inscribed you ! Registered your passport I Left 
your cards for His Excellency, our Minister, Marshall 
Jewell. Next week he will dine you ‘ in a group.’ 
Keep away from him I Plunge into all purely Russian 
society I And so you will escape notice ! 

‘‘ You will have my carriage and man to take you 
daily to Count Ignatieff’s. He will send you to Ches- 
takoff’s private bureau. 

“ And you and I will talk our business over daily 
before you leave ! All your papers will be- locked in 
my private safe! Now, one word of advice! Never 
mention England or Russia! Speak of business to 
no one but the three I name. Baron Knorp has been 
sent away to Saghalien and the Amoor to conduct the 
defence there ! Prince Wittgenstein will lead the 
troops defending Vladivostock, Possiette and Em- 
peror’s Bay. 

“ General Michael Annenkoff will be your social 
sponsor, and, for eight weeks, all you have to do is 
to wait, watch ; be prudent, and enjoy yourself ! All 
your mail comes in my sealed Legation bags.” 

“But can I not go out alone?” demanded Ward- 
lawe ; “ that is, when I get a new fur-lined pelisse ! 
It -appears that mine was cast away in the railroad 
wreck ! ” 

“ Yes ! ” said Kurtz, “ I will give you a Russian 


82 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


‘ Special permis de sejour en ville,’ obtained through 
Ignatieff, a paper which will make you the king of 
the town! Simply exhibit it! You will we absolutely 
invincible everywhere, just as long as you guard your 
tongue ! Say but three things : 

“ ‘ Russia, the finest land on earth! Petersburg, the 
handsomest city! The Russians, the heartiest race 
on the globe ” 

“ And — the ladies ? ” mischievously cried the Ma- 
jor. 

“You’ll carry many a heartache away from here!” 
solemnly said Kurtz. “ Never jest about the Russian 
women! They will interject either a paradise or a 
tragedy into your life, unless you lock your heart’s 
door! 

“ And now as to General Ignatieff and Chesta- 
koff ! ” anxiously said Kurtz. 

“ Every day at ten you will go to the great ex-Dic- 
tator and he will ‘ pull the wires ! ’ Beginning to- 
morrow I will provide you pelisses, fur turbans and 
every local need ! I am showered with gifts of these ! 

Late they talked over the glowing embers with old- 
fashioned “ hot Scotch ” grog to break the ice. 

Dilettante, poet, student, antiquary, author, sports- 
man and man of the world, Paul Kurtz was a favored 
child of fortune ! His superb library, pictures, bronzes 
and trophies, his art and travel collections were all of 
wondrous beauty. 

The confidant of a docen reigning beauties, it was 
only months later that Wardlawe learned of Kurtz’s 
singular celibacy, his bride-to-be having been burned, 
years before, in a girlish trial of her wedding robes. 

And so, serene and lonely, the cultured diplomat 
had reached forty, with no forgetfulness of a sundered 
tie, grown doubly dear by watchful memory. 

Suave, distinguished, a Spanish cavalier in his 
gravity, a dark knight of courteous mien, Kurtz was 
as cosmopolitan a man as America ever sent out to 
wander under its diplomatic aegis. 

“ Now you are duly warned ! ” said the host. “ This 
house is yours! You will be kept there at least three 
months ! Make all the love you want ! Make no new 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


83 


business friends ! I will ‘ post you ’ on every one ! 
Distrust all roving Americans ! Tell Standiford none 
of your affairs ! He is a very fox of the foxes ! And 
his fortune is made! He is Hotchkiss’ right hand 
man I Your personal -writing room will be here, be- 
hind your bedroom, and each morning all goes into 
my safe. 

“ So your secrets are well guarded ! I know my own 
rooms are searched by servant spies every day, and I 
calmly prepare for it! I have learned to dissimulate 
here ! All of Russian social life is only easy dissimu- 
lation ! Enjoy the passing moment and waste no words 
on any one ! Tell me nothing of your affairs ! Mott 
and Marsden have bade me serve them through you ! 
Our government must know nothing of these vast en- 
terprises of your duplex chiefs!” Wardlawe bowed. 
” You are their guest here really, not mine! For they 
back me with all I need — the influence of power and 
capital at Washington, to keep me in, and to change 
me around till I reach the ‘ falling out ’ halting place ! ” 

“ As to the English,” anxiously said the Major, 

God help the two great countries, allied in marriage, 
foes by policy, destiny and every warring interest! 
There will be a terrible clash some day. Each land is 
kept ready for a. bloody war ! 

“And I hope it will yet be averted! Yet they say 
the Rothschilds support the Czar secretly, and other 
money kings! It is sad! England bungles all under 
Gladstone ! Look at the Gordon butchery ! And after 
all our high life here is modeled entirely on the Eng- 
lish idea ! So many friendships to break, so much rend- 
ing of kindly ties ! We are doubly courteous to the 
English Embassy, which is really packing! 

“ Now, your keynote is a cordial friendship to all. 
Never mention this war cloud! Their staff here are 
delightful fellows, beloved and esteemed ! You are 
supposed to be a mere looker-on in Vienna! So you 
may disguise your real status here ! I have had a Rus- 
sian hoodwink me for ten long years ! Just give your- 
self out as an American traveling for mere pleasure. 
And be especially friendly unto the English attaches. 
You’ll meet them all at Annenkoff’s dinner. 


84 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

“At the Yacht Club, the Two Bears’ Restaurant, 
the Guard’s messes, the Country Club, the Island — 
you’ll soon see them all ! For you’ll be kept here till 
the end of May surely ! For the works at Dui will not 
be built till the fortifications .are done! There are 
twenty thousand men making the three ports impreg- 
nable to-day to any naval attack ! ” 

While they spoke, Allan Law was busy glowering 
over the letter of Jules Devroche at Tosna. The baf- 
fled Secret Service volunteer had received a reproof 
from “ Berry of the Artillery,” which told him that 
his functions “ had been indefinitely suspended ! ” 

“Our ultimatum is being prepared! You could 
have stopped off Wardlawe’s communications by 
prompt action! The past never returns with its one 
golden opportunity! I am sorry, but your official 
career is at an end ! No resignation is necessary, as 
Sir James Clarke told me that you had been dropped — 
that’s all ! ” 

“ All’s fair in love and vyar ! ” sadly repeated Allan 
Law, pacing up and down before his crackling fire. 

“ Here is this clumsy Devroche with his explana- 
tion. For the last time he read the spy’s long letter: 
“ I had him for hours at my mercy ! I knew where 
the papers were! I could have qui.etly knifed him, 
dropped off the train then with the papers, and so 
made your future and mv fortune. You would have 
no violence! There you are — a fool’s scruple! Now, 
with feet crippled by freezing, broken and penniless, 
you and Lascelles must keep me ! But for the drunken 
engineer running into those ‘bumpers’ with a crash 
I would have succeeded! And so, a bottle of vodki 
may have lost England a whole campaign ! ” 

Tossing the papers into the fire, Allan Law scorn- 
fully said : “ Cast adrift ! W ell, I have both gear, 

place, and money! I am glad that I did not plot 
Wardlawe’s murder, and I would act in the same way 
again i 

“To steal those papers was a fair military game! 
To murder him would have been an outrage ! I may 
as well mix up here in with the Petersburg whirl ! 
No one cares ! And at the last, I can go out with the 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 85 

Embassy in safety. P'or I am really a stranger in a 
strange land now ! No longer the right to a secret 
official protection. ‘Je ferai mes malles!’ There’s 
the winter hunting, there’s always jolly Vienna! I 
fancy that the American has ‘ cleared out,’ as the 
Yankees say, and so the Hotel de I’Europe can give 
me my old room I It’s a defeat though, ‘ all along the 
line I ’ 

‘‘ Outfought, out-maneuvered, out-generaled, and 
>et. Berry failed on the overland trip, even with Sam 
Norris to aid him, and the London arrest was a pitiable 
farce ! They found out nothing I Wardlawe is a cool 
chap, after all, and he deserves his success I I wonder 
where he is ! He is a nice chap enough ! ” 

Two weeks later Major Wardlawe, who had cast 
his “ Gallic disguise ” in every way, was a romantic 
feature of that “ one society of St. Petersburg, which 
meets only at different times and places.” 

Pouting beauties declared him to be “ un ours Ame- 
ricain,” and yet, they signaled him back to their feet ! 
His cool courtesy both alarmed and disarmed them! 
The friendship of , the great Ignatieff, the open social 
fatherhood of the versatile General Annenkoff had 
been soon noised around. 

Only the highest circles knew that he had been for 
a two weeks a guest at the Grand Duke Michael’s 
palace, and that his mornings were passed with Ad- 
miral Chestakoff at the Ministry of Marine. 

To be admitted to the “ petite cercle ” of Madame 
la Comtesse Ignatieff was the seal of the highest social 
value. 

And still jealously guarded by Paul Kurtz, though 
a factor in the coterie of the proud English attaches at 
the clubs, the Opera and in the gilded Vanity Fair, 
the American Major seemed to be a favored son of 
Fortune, for no cabal found him in word or deed ob- 
jectionable. 

Toiling under the cabled daily orders of his distant 
chiefs, he was happy at heart, for both his missions 
were successful. 

In the feverish excitement of the now burning crisis, 
Wardlawe moved serene and happy! He could say 


86 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


with the French philosopher, questioned as to what he 
had done during the Reign of Terror, J’ai vecu ! 

Wardlawe did live in a new world of strangest phan- 
tasmagorias. Scenes of dazzling splendor showed him 
vistas of an indescribable luxury, passion and beauty! 

He only realized its full magnificence at the dinner 
given by General Michael Annenkoff to the flower of 
the noblesse at his stately home. 

Without, the wild March winds howled along the 
Neva’s banks, where, far away, the red battle lanterns 
burned over the gloomy fortress of Petropavloski. 

Within, a hundred and twenty of the children of the 
gods sat down in the splendidly trophied hall ! 

Only the Loyal Legion’s star shone on Wardlawe’s 
dark attire, where all the other cavaliers blazed in 
jeweled orders and silken scarfs. 

Lustrous-eyed women with “ shapely silver shoul- 
ders,” gazed at the men who had made history, while 
eyes brighter than the jewels on their breasts looked 
love to eyes that spoke again ! 

“ The golden age come back again ! ” mused Ward- 
lawe. 

“ All that’s best of dark and bright ! ” 

With a mischievous smile, Madame Annenkoff had 
assigned a young goddess with eyes like “ the eagle 
soaring to the sun ” to Wardlawe’s care. 

“ You now can talk republicanism ! ” she said, with a 
meaning tap of her fan, as she presented her American 
guest to the Princess Esme Chilkoff ! 

Wardlawe gazed timidly at the startling beauty of 
the woman of twenty-two, whose appellation of the 
“ Beautiful Rebel ” was the legacy of a deceased Em- 
press. 

Paul Kurtz, at the Opera, had told Wardlawe of the 
singular history of this Circassian Star. ‘‘ Her father, 
a Governor-General of the Caucasus, married a captive 
Princess, the last of her line, one whose ancestry is 
lost in the legends of Elburz and Kasbeck. 

“ Born to enormous wealth and a vast patrimonv, 
the Princess Esme was educated at the Catherine In- 
stitute after the death of her father by a fanatic as- 
sassin’s hand. 


THE MVSTERV OF A SHIPYARD. 


87 


“ True to the policy of the Romanoffs, Prince Agar 
Chilkoff, her only brother, superbly trained, was made 
a Commander in the Imperial Navy, and so separated 
from the fierce ttibes of his wild birthplace. I have 
not seen him for four years ! He once commanded the 
Czar’s yacht ! But the dazzling Esme, the daughter of 
the Rose of Circassia, is at once the wonder and mys- 
tery of the whole Court ! Her princely mother died in 
the proud seclusion of the splendid castle near Dariel, 
calmly ignoring even the mighty Czar! This young 
eaglet — the ‘ Tcherkess Queen,’ they call her — has 
resolutely declined alliances proposed even by the 
Autocrat of all the Russias.” 

“Eagles do not mate in captivity^ Your Majesty!” 
she replied to the mighty Alexander. “ Send me back 
to my mountains ! ” 

Some wild strain of the blood of the fire worship- 
ers — the Daghestan riders, the mountain mystics — 
makes her as unapproachable as the silvery summits of 
Elburz ! And yet all graces, arts and beauty’s gifts 
cling to her! 

“There she is! Judge for yourself!” 

On this evening, when Paul Kurtz had remained at 
home, to hide Wardlawe’s especially American ante- 
cedents, Major Wardlawe was thrilled by the low 
musical voice of the fair rebel. 

They had glided at once into a strange intimacy as 
the feast proceeded. “ You must tell of your great 
land! You are free, are you not?” said Princess 
Esme. “ Only England and our brave America are 
free ! And, only freedom is life ! ” 

“ Madame,” stammered Wardlawe, “ a Russian 
Princess can hardly understand.” 

“ Stay ! ” cried the Circassian, transfixing him with 
her eyes. “ I am no Russian ! Prisoner here, in gilded 
chains ! They will not let me go ! They even control 
my visits to the Caucasus! They fear that Ayesha’s 
daughter will lift up Schamyl’s fallen banner ! ” 

“Your father!” murmured the Major, astounded 
at such open treason. 

“ Love has no laws ! ” coldly said Esme ; “ another 
form of slavery ! He was a gallant man ! My mother 


88 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIFYARD. 


adored the bravest of her captors ! And she reigned 
in his heart ! He was killed because she loved him ! ” 
“ No! My fetters are golden! ” said the Tcherkess 
Star. ‘‘ The* Czar steals kingdoms, principalities — they 
do not rob ' in petto,’ these fierce Romanoffs ! I have 
lands, gold, jewels, and yet my wings are clipped! 
The ‘ Imperial permission ’ keeps me here, for I must 
have it to visit Dariel! I will not ask for it! The 
Empress will not give it! And my last friend in the 
Imperial family died with the beloved Czarina, who 
preceded the murdered Alexander! 

“ You shall come to me ! You shall tell me of your 
free land ! I can never hope to see those blessed coun- 
tries ! I cannot ask to travel abroad, lest I find my 
wings ! And so, I am herded with these gilded slaves ! ” 
Wardlawe shuddered as the defiant Esme calmly 
proceeded : ‘‘ Madame Ignatieff is my one true friend ! 
Her great husband was a courtly captor to my dear 
mother when Schamyl’s last stronghold was stormed ! 
I go often to her home, for the Count Nicholas speaks 
our beloved Tcherkess tongue! He is my adviser, a 
wise one. She has told me of you! We must be 
friends! You will come! I avoid all crowds! Ah! 
do not laugh ! I have an Imperial duenna, one named 
by the watchful Czar Alexander himself ! And I fancy 
that this good old soul. Baroness Fadaieff, fears me a 
bit ! Yet we are friends ! ” 

Some indefinable impulse made Wardlawe trust this 
star-eyed rebel. “ I am honored. Princess ! ” he whis- 
pered. “ But I only wait here for Count Ignatieff’s 
commands. In a few weeks I go to Siberia, to Sag- 
halien — perhaps to examine the upper Amoor River.” 

There was no mistaking the ghastly pallor of Esme 
Chilkoff’s face, “ You go, so soon, to Siberia ! ” 

“It must be kept a- secret!” gravely whispered 
Wardlawe, recalled from the glamor of her beauty 
spell. “ I should not have spoken ! ” Here was a 
Circe a la mode — a Circassian princess speaking the 
purest English. 

Drawing off a magnificent pigeon-blood ruby ring, 
the Tcherkess Queen dropped it into Wardlawe’s hand. 
Her eyes were blazing with a fire beyond all mere 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


89 


coquetry when she murmured: “You must come to 
me! I will send for you! You are with Paul Kurtz, 
the woman hater ! A good man, a true man ! Ah ! I 
know ! Madame Ignatieff tells me all ! That ring 
was my father’s ! It was on his sword hand when he 
died ! You shall serve his orphan child ! You will 
not go away without coming to see me ! ” 

Wardlawe gave the pledge of his honor, in his silent 
eyes. 

“ I accept your trust of honor ! ” 

Esme Chilkoff was gloomily silent. 

It was only when they lingered as the great feast 
broke up that she whispered : “ Trust to none of these 
gilded slaves ! They all love their chains ! Only 
Natalie Ignatieff is free at heart. She was four years 
Ambassadress at London ! Even her great husband 
crouches to the Czar! Wait for my summons! 

“ And in society you can meet me as a friend — 
‘ en passant ’ — that is all ! At my prison home — my 
own palace — you and I will be free in our minds ! 
And you shall serve me ! ” 

Wardlawe raised the slender hand of the Princess 
to his lips in the Russian adieu de ceremonie! One 
kiss — the first — was of mere etiquette; the two others 
the consecration of his chivalric oath ! And yet, in her 
clearly shining eyes he saw no wanton flame — only the 
splendid bravery of her fearless nature. 

“ Remember,” she said, with an indescribable glance 
of entreaty and tenderness, “ silence to all, not even 
Natalie must know! One careless word from you 
would send me to a far-off residence! So, I trust to 
an American’s honor ! ” 

Escaping from the concert and reception, the cause- 
rie of the smoking parlors, the examination of the su- 
perb library and arms gallery, Major Wardlawe, with 
a few whispered words to General Annenkoff, drove 
swiftly homeward. 

His brain was whirling with the exciting confidences 
of this reigning beauty of the Court ! 

Not a word to Kurtz dared he speak, or to the Ig- 
natieffs, even to Chestakoff ! . 


90 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


“ This young eaglet has taken me dangerously near 
the sun ! Have I betrayed myself ? ” he mused. 

He was indignant when he recalled the pleading 
eyes ! Her voice was ringing in his ears, even now ! 

“ If I fall, I fall nobly ! ” he swore in his heart. 
“ There is a wealth of womanhood there ! ” 

Exquisite in figure, gifted with the haughty grace 
of her race, her noble features shaded by dark silken 
hair, the startling beauty controlled by the Asiatic 
repose of her Circassian ancestry, Esme Chilkoff had 
harvested all the advantages of the world’s most 
famous school “ pour les jeunes personnes,” the Cath- 
erine Institute, perhaps only equaled by the Sacre- 
Coeur. 

Languages, arts, graces — all were there — all that 
Kurtz had spoken of ! 

“ She holds the mirror up to nature — a youthful 
queen by right divine ! ” 

“ I can harm no one but myself ! ” mused Wardlawe, 
who felt intuitively that this rare maid was not for 
him. ‘‘ If I can serve her, in honor and loyalty, I will 
— so help me God ! The Czar’s prisoner, helpless in 
golden chains ! ” 

He was still dreaming as Kurtz’s famous valet, 
Luigi, stripped him of his furs. Rejoicing in his 
now complete recovery, he sauntered into Kurtz’s sup- 
per room. 

There was a broiled bone and the click of wine 
glasses. The Secretary calmly said, “ Another service 
here, Luigi ! ” as Robert Standiford reached a wel- 
coming hand. 

But who was this, in evening attire, calmly rolling 
a huge cigarette — the man who paused in his story? 

Hello, old chap ! ” quietly said Allan Law. 

“ I thought you were back at the Golden Gate.” 

“ So you know each other ! ” cried Standiford, sink- 
ing back in his chair. “ Law and myself are great 
chums in Paris ! ” 

'' And I fear the war clouds will blow us both over 
the border soon ! ” said the tall North Countryman, 
reaching out a warmly grasping hand to Wardlawe, 
who was stricken dumb, 


filE MVStEKV OP A BiimAm 


gt 


CHAPTER IV. 

A BREAKFAST AT THE MARINE MINISTRY. 

Two anxious weeks dragged away until the first -of 
April found every human being in the Russian capital 
quivering in an anxious suspense. 

Only 4he urbane Marshall Jewell, the American 
Minister, was free to dine and wine both friend and 
foe in an innocuous impartiality. Wardlawe had taken 
his courtesy meal, talked American politics and then 
left the relieved Minister, wondering whether his quiet 
visitor wished a free passage home or desired to sell 
locomotives, sewing machines, patent pills or fifteen- 
inch guns to the Czar! This perfunctory social duty 
done, Paul Kurtz immersed in suddenly increased 
work. Wardlawe, Allan Law and Robert Standiford 
vibrated between Allan Law’s parlors at the Hotel de 
TEurope, Standiford’s own rooms at the Hotel de 
France, the Yacht Club, and the dashing evening 
amusements. 

The afternoons and evening were given up to these 
friendly diversions, for the Major desired to conceal 
the feverish mornings now spent in Admiral Chesta- 
koff’s great “ salle de reception ” down by the English 
quai. 

There, in a corner formed by rich Japanese screens, 
the old Minister of the Marine had a cosy private nest. 
A well-spread table adjourned his working desk. A 
dozen officers always awaited his bell. A company of 
orderlies on guard awaited his messages, and five hun- 
dred telegraphers and clerks, on the three floors above, 
were busied working with feverish zeal I 

All the peculiarities of every American ocean- 
going boat in the Pacific had been explained. 

Sheafs of cablegrams passed between the engineer 
and his two San Francisco principals, for the whole 
civilized world, with bated breath, now watched the 
duel of the Lion and the Bear! 

Admiral Chestakoff, a peace lover, piously crossed 
himself as he recounted to Wardlawe the haughty ulti- 


92 


THE IsfYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


matum of England! The medals and stars clattered 
on the snowy-haired veteran’s heart as he told of the 
Czar’s famous rage at Gatschina Palace! 

All the world knew of the fury of the London press, 
of the day and night work at the dockyards and ar- 
senals of Britain, of the calling out of all the English 
reserves, of the fifty-one million dollars voted for “ in- 
stant purposes ” of the war with Russia and of the 
assembly of huge steel clad fleets ! » . 

“ There is Russia’s answer ! ” said stout old Admiral 
Chestakoff, as at a window he stood bareheaded, with 
Wardlawe at his side, while eighteen regiments, fifteen 
hundred men each, of gray-coated Muscovites trudged- 
cheeTily by in the snow, their bayonets twinkling blue, 
in the pale winter daylight. 

The chorus of their wild song, “ Life for the Czar ! ” 
touched Major Wardlawe’s heart. 

It recalled the day when, sword in hand, one man 
of a column of nine solid regiments, he had “ marched 
down Broadway ! ” And yet though so long ago, it 
seemed the waving banners, the gleaming bayonets, 
the wailing martial music — all came* back. “ The old 
immortal Soldiers’ Chorus of Faust!” sighed the 
American. Brave hearts and true ! And to-day, Eng- 
land also musters its best ! ” 

“ They came to the Czar,” growled Chestakoff, puff- 
ing his cigarette fiercely, and said : ‘ England de- 

manded, first, the instant evacuation of Penj Deh ! Sec- 
ond, the recall of all our Russian troops ! Third, the 
public disgrace of General Komaroff ! ’ Only a slave 
could bear that! Even De Giers turned pale as the 
Council crowded around our Emperor Alexander at 
Gatschina, in a revolt ! ’ 

“ What was the Czar’s answer. Excellence ? ” quietly 
asked Wardlawe. 

“We are on the brink of war this very moment! 
The English P2mbassy has received the ‘ twenty-four 
hour notice ’ ! For the Czar, in rage, raised his mighty 
arm and struck a heavy malachite table ! It flew into a 
thousand fragments ! Princes are fighting for a piece 
of that table to-day! 

“ Alexander then swore a mighty oath : ‘ I will not 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


93 


give tip Penj Deh ! I will send forty regiments more 
to reinforce my troops ! And/ he growled, ‘ I now 
make Komaroff a Lieutenant-General ! Send him one 
hundred thousand roubles in gold and a diamond- 
mounted sword ! That is my answer ! ’ 

“ Taking the arm of the Grand Duke Alexis, the 
Czar then sent De Giers off, with this stern defiance. 

“ And so the Grand Duke, as head of the Navy, has 
bade me telegraph orders to extinguish every light on 
our whole coasts and to close our Asian, Baltic and 
Black Sea ports! 

“ Besides, every ingoing and outgoing British pass- 
port is cut off ! We are on the brink now ! 

“ So, go you to Ignatieff ! Tell him that I will send 
for you through him 1 And you do not leave your 
quarters till I send for you, only to go to Ignatieff’s I 
I may wish to send you back' to San Francisco in- 
stantly ! Come here to-morrow at noon without fur- 
ther summons I All will be over then I ” 

As the sleigh dashed away to the Moika, Major 
Wardlawe saw proofs of the leakage of official Russia ! 
The streets were all filled with crowds of excited 
people, and every hotel and cafe was swarming. 

Over the wide world a thousand telegraph instru- 
ments were clicking off the wildest rumors ! 

Admitted by the obsequious butler. Major Wardlawe 
was at once shown into General Ignatieff’s breakfast 
table. 

On the verge of Russia’s death struggle, the mighty 
Tartar diplomat calmly waved his guest to a seat at the 
table. 

‘‘A la bonne heure, Major!” he gaily cried. “I 
was about to send for you to explain some American ' 
political books to me ! ” 

Pale as death, Wardlawe bowed over Madame Ig- 
natieff ’s jeweled hand, for there, at her side, sat the 
radiant rebel Esme Chilkoff, the princess of his 
dreams, the divinity who as yet had made no sign. 

Bowing deeply, Wardlawe did not approach the 
younger lady, for Allan Law, in irreproachable Lon- 
don morning dress, was calmly pouring out a flood of 
compliments in Russian to the “ Tcherkess Star! ” 


MYStESV OP A 


Law laughed as he bowed to his stupefied frienci. 
“ It may be a visite d’adieu, Wardlawe ! he laugh- 
ingly said. 

And then, Madame Ignatieff said, with a consum- 
mate grace : “ I hope now to return some of your 
London courtesies. Monsieur Law, for my stay in the 
foggy city owed much to you ! ’’ 

“ It seems that you know every one, Law,’’ re- 
marked Major Wardlawe, as the young Briton replied 
with his eyes dreamily fixed upon the Princess Esme. 

I know a whole lot of people ; I am a world rover, 
and yet, I know not those whom I would ! ” 

The luncheon over, the great diplomat carried Major 
Wardlawe off in triumph to his great library, where 
the spoil of the literary world was gathered in a vast 
apartment. 

Only for a brief moment, in the anteroom, did the 
eagle-eyed Circassian recall their secret ! “ Wait here 
in Petersburg! I will send for you before you de- 
part ! Natalie will watch over us ! Remember your 
promise I ” 

And yet, all Wardlawe’s philosophy vanished when 
he saw the Countess’ magnificent sleigh bearing her 
away, with Allen Law and the Princess Esme. 

Wardlawe sighed for his lost youth with an invol- 
untary protest. 

There was no mistaking the “ bright lexicon ” of the 
dialogue of the dark-eyed rebel and the handsome 
young Englishman. 

“ I hope that we will not be forced to thrust Law 
out with the Embassy,” musingly said Ignatieff. “ He 
is a charming fellow, very highly connected, and the 
Countess tells me that he was unwearied in courtesies 
while she was in London. I knew his relatives here — 
many years ago — dear and valued friends, now gone I 
And his delightful knowledge of Russian makes 
him a valuable man and a title in expectancy keeps him 
from embracing a definite career 1 He has good ideas, 
too, and has labored in these last weeks to reduce the 
bitter friction between the Embassy and De Giers ! 
Their rough ultimatum was very unfortunately 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


95 


couched! We have too rashly returned the insult in 
kind ! 

“ Now, we will either fight or negotiate, as seems 
best. I only sent for you to tell you to wait my direc- 
tions at home until this crisis is over! Til send you 
to the frontier on a special train if we wish you to 
go west. Be ready ! ” 

On this “ day of days ” in the Russian capital, Wal- 
ter Wardlawe was morose at heart as he drove slowly 
home to the cosy bachelor apartment of Secretary 
Kurtz. 

The young official’s days and nights were now spent 
at his desk, and Wardlawe, Robert Standiford, and 
Allan Law made a sort of triangular “ mess,” visiting 
all the great places favored by the “ bon vivants ” of 
the icy capital. 

“It is all well that we should separate for the time 
being,” prudently said Paul Kurtz. “ Every knot of 
noticeable people is now closely watched ! ” 

And so Wardlawe, waiting Admiral Chestakoff’s 
momentous decision, accepted the invitation of Standi- 
ford, waiting him at the rooms, for a good-by dinner 
at Pierre Legrand’s “ Restaurant de la Cour.” This 
ex-chef of an Emperor was the Delmonico of the 
town of Peter. 

“ I have news for you, tidings to open your eyes ! ” 
said the arms agent. “ Law will be there, for he may 
go out with me ! ” 

“ I hope to God that he does ! ” savagely cried Ward- 
lawe. “ He seems to be neither fish nor flesh, neither 
Tartar nor Briton ; and for his own sake,” he more 
amiably said, “ it’s just as well that he avoids the 
upper and nether millstone! There’s a mystery about 
this English-born, Ukraine-bred subject of Queen 
Victoria ! ” 

“ Good fellow for all that ! ” heartily said Standi- 
ford. “ I must be off now to Rothschild’s Agency ! So, 
seven sharp, at Legrand’s ! ” 

Wardlawe blushed, left alone to feel that the bitter- 
ness of the “ sere and yellow ” middle age had 
prompted this revulsion of feeling at seeing “youth — 


g6 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

not to be denied ” seated by the dazzling Tcherkess 

beauty ! , , i ^ i 

“ And with a common language — doubly Greek to 
me — this boy has me at his mercy ! And yet, what is 
Esme Chilkoff to me? Only a bright particular star, 
far above me, as coldly bright as the blue planets 
swinging over Kasbeck ! 

“ An untranslatable human document ! A wild, 
lawless frontier Queen bereft of her realm and scepter, 
with her mystic Oriental nature overlaid with the ex- 
quisite dissimulation of Russian ‘ high life !’ 

‘‘ A fearless shooting star, a law unto herself ! The 
heiress of all her mother’s mystic lore, hoarded from 
the dead ages ! 

“ Mes beaux jours sont passes ! ” sighed Major 
Wardlawe that evening as he threaded the throng of 
brilliant diners in the Grand Salle at Legrand’s! Not 
an eye of all these brightening ones led him away 
from the fair face locked in his heart, the sweet dead 
woman whose veiled picture hung over his working 
table at the Palace Hotel. 

Once seated at table with Standiford and the debon- 
nair Allan Law, Wardlawe soon forgot his groundless 
jealousy of the man free to travel a road which was 
no thoroughfare for him. 

The secretive prudence of the three convives had 
kept each man’s secrets, and so Law breathed not the 
name of the star-eyed goddess in whose company he 
had visited the Winter Palace with the Countess Ig- 
natieff. 

Ignorant of the Englishman’s trap set for him at 
Diinaberg, the American felt bound to Law by grati- 
tude for his manly bearing during the ridiculous arrest 
at Charing Cross. 

‘‘ I have no secrets to hide now ! ” I care for none 
of his!” mused Wardlawe, and so he joined in the 
stirrup cups gayly emptied to the general host. 

“ When shall we three meet again ? ” cried Standi- 
ford as the final effort of Pierre Legrand’s “ cordon 
bleu ” was laid before them. “ It’s a good-by to you 
two men, for there is a hand you cannot see which 
beckons me away ! ” 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


97 


I fancy, never ! ” placidly said Allan Law, ‘‘ unless 
Major Wardlawe takes the head of the artillery corps 
with General Annenkoff, who, I hear, will command 
the Trans-Caspian army which backs up Komaroff! ” 

“ Where in God’s name did you hear this gossip ? ” 
cried the American. 

“ At the Winter Palace ! ” serenely said the English- 
man. A field command will be offered to you ! ” 

“ Only to be refused ! ” gravely replied Major Ward- 
lawe. “ All my fighting will be done under the “ flag 
which never goes back ! ” 

“We must hear the chimes at midnight! ” broke in 
Robert Standiford. “I do not dare to confide my 
good fortune to any one else! But, the great Hotch- 
kiss company does no dealing in the dark! We sup- 
ply England our cannon, and the Czar knows it! I 
have waited ten years for the cards to run my way! 
And the tide of fortune has touched me, at last ! 

“ England’s mobilization has been met with Rus- 
sia’s instant purchase of every available gun and cart- 
ridge that we have ! The goods trains are now loading 
at St. Etienne, and my commissions on the counter- 
signed order which I telegraphed to-day are a fortune 
for me ! 

“ A quarter of a million, and I have three months’ 
leave in which to find out if Ethel Raynor is ‘ of the 
same opinion still ! ’ The Russian military attaches 
are inspecting the shipments even now ! 

“ So, I pledge you — ‘ Sweethearts and wives ! ’ ” 

“ God bless you, old man ! ” cried Wardlawe, whose 
silent hand grasp attested his gratitude for the 
promptness of the man who “ stood by a strange 
American ” in the hour of his mortal danger. 

All this was a sealed book to Allan Law, who gaily 
said : “ Wardlawe and I must make a visit to Out- 

chinikoff’s to-morrow, for the future Madame Standi- 
ford must know us, if only by name ! ” 

“ Agreed ! ” cried the Major, who remembered a 
certain superb silver center piece of a wood fairy 
hidden in lilies of the valley. 

“ We must meet early, say at nine ! ” said the Eng- 
lishman, gloomily. “ I have my twenty-four hour 


98 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


departure ticket in my pocket I I fear that this hideous 
war will be declared to-morrow ! I shall never forget 
this 1 2th of March ! It will set back European civiliza- 
tion fifty years ! ” 

“ Come back to Paris with me, Allan ! ” said the 
eager host. “ If you’ll run over the ocean I’ll show 
you a genuine Yankee wedding ! ” 

The handsome Briton shook his head. “ I cannot ! 
I have a little pride left ! I do not wish to be hustled 
out of Russia, for my heart strangely clings to it ! But 
all my early friends are dead and gone — the protectors 
of my youth! 

“ To stay would be to seriously complicate my 
foster brother, Vladimir Platoff, and I would not dare 
to go back now to his hunting lodge in Poland. 

“ Colonel Berry gave me a telegraphic tip to get out 
a few days ago! 

“ And I find that the other guests of my chum 
have scuttled away, thus leaving poor Platoff free to 
join his regiment of the Calvary Reserves ! ” 

“ Your friends of the British Embassy here and the 
Ignatieffs?” suggested Standiford. 

“ I would not care to assume the hostile character 
of a man protected by international law ! ” sighed the 
Briton. “ I have broken bread and tasted salt too 
often here, under the blue and white St. Andrew’s 
cross in my youth ! But ' tout passe, tout lasse, tout 
casse ! ’ 

“ I must fare forth ! Even the gentle Empress could 
only obtain me the grace of going out by the pass of 
Dariel into the Caucasus ! I have always wished to see 
that witchery land! 

“ From Batoum, I can easily reach Constantipople, 
and I will have an old Circassian attendant to protect 
me ! 

“ So my fleeing will not be attended with public 
ignominy ! ” 

Law’s eyes rested upon the American’s troubled face. 

Pride kept Wardlawe silent, and yet he grumbled: 

I wonder if they have ever met before ? Or has 
Madame la Comtesse a plan to break the golden 
chains of Esme ChilkoH ! ” 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


99 


A vague distrust of Law possessed the American 
engineer, though he could not give it a firm founda- 
tion. 

And so he was all armed when the Englishman cor- 
dially said: I owe you a debt of honor, Major 

Wardlawe! Both Berry and I feel the shame of your 
rough handling in London! We desire to show you 
that ‘ hearts of oak ’ have a softer side ! Let me make 
a rendezvous with you in London ? ” 

Wardlawe shook his head gravely. 

“ I have been sufficiently misunderstood ! When I 
have seen the great steel works of Aboukhoff here, 
with the Whitworth fluid hydraulic process, I will 
get back to Essen, perhaps to Creuzot, and take the 
French Line home! The time will yet come when 
Europeans will learn that an American passport 
means ‘ Hands off ! ’ 

“ No, Berry is a charming host ! I thank you. But 
neither the clutch of the Lion nor the claws of the 
Bear suit me ! My professional tour once done, I will 
wandec back to the Golden Gate. So it’s ‘ shake, and 
break away ! ’ as we say in America. I doubt if I shall 
ever revisit England, for I found in Paris that my 
whole baggage had been ransacked, even the bottom 
of my black bag taken out ! I am a man of no mys- 
teries, and, I despise all double dealing ! ” 

Allan Law laughed nervously. ‘‘ Oh ! I’ve long 
been accustomed to French luggage visits, to German 
letter opening, and a few other things! I’ve grown 
callous ! But we will meet at the jeweler Outchini- 
koffs later, give this ‘ fortunate youth ’ a breakfast to- 
gether, and see him off to-morrow night ! ” 

I will come down to the station,” said Wardlawe, 
“ and meet you at the jeweler’s ; but I have a particular 
engagement for the morning.” 

And so for all Standiford’s innocent gaiety, a veil 
of distrust parted the others, as the sleigh deposited 
them at their respective lodgings. 

“ We will surely meet again ! ” warmly said Ward- 
lawe to Standiford, and as he drove home alone he 
mused : “ Singular that Law never mentioned my rail- 

LcfO. 


lOO 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


way accident ! What is he hiding ? I can be as dumb 
as he!^’ 

And Allan Law, smoking his last evening pipe at 
the Hotel de I’Europe, addressed a few private words 
to the gilt French clock on the mantel: “We have 
underestimated this cool American; he is both a shy 
bird and a cool hand ! Good fellow, too ! 

“ Well, the game is made ! And is it peace or war? 

The great bell of the Isaac Cathedral boomed two, 
as he drowsily said : “ Cui bono ! I have done my 

best for England and failed! And I must keep out 
of the fray, far away from the thin red line! For I 
have done England's secret work and the failure was 
beyond me! Wardlawe will never know that he lay 
helpless under Jules Devroche’s keen knife! That my 
scruples saved his life ! Confound all drunken Rus- 
sian engineers and railway ‘ bumpers ! ’ That golden 
moment so stupidly lost will never come back again ! 
This elastic ‘ Amoor Navigation Company ’ is free 
to loose its cruisers at will under a legalized pirate 
flag! And worst of all, Wardlawe now distrusts me! 
I must fight shy ! The Countess Annenkofif might 
set it right ! " 

He threw himself down to dream of eyes whose 
glances now haunted him ! “To see her old feudal 
stronghold will be a dream of her, and perhaps I may 
be of use to her ! Her future alliance ? There are the 

Grand Dukes ! I wonder if “ and then the mantle 

of Sleep wrapped the defeated 3^oung schemer in un- 
easy dreams. 

It was noon the next day when Wardlawe sat at the 
side of the old Admiral in the Ministry of Marine. 

The city was in a convulsion ! Every armed servant 
of the Czar was on duty ! 

The Champ de Mars, cleared of its snow, was filled 
with solid blocks of troops! Cossacks, police, hurry- 
ing travelers and excited crowds surged in the streets 
where the isvostchiks swarmed like bees ! 

At Kurtz's rooms, Standiford, Law, and Wardlawe 
had broken up their little coterie hastily, for the grave 
Secretary said : “ I only wait now to cable “ War 


tHE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 1 01 

to our Secretary of State! Standiford, my acknowl- 
edgments will meet your bride in due time ! ” 

Wardlawe and Law, keenly watching each other, 
had never even yet mentioned the name of the Circas- 
sian, whose thrilling beauty now enslaved the cool 
Englishman. 

“ I have my own adieux to make ! ” said Law when 
the wedding presents were duly chosen. “ And, Lll 
meet you at the station to-night ; so, au revoir 1 I am 
sorry you feel so about the English visit; but I can- 
not blame you. Major ! ” and a bright red spot burned 
on Law’s cheeks as he hastened away. 

“ The only underhand work of my life — the first 
and last I ” he growled, as he drove to the Moika in a 
resplendent ‘‘ voiture de remise I ” 

Around Admiral Chestakoff’s breakfast table were 
grouped that day many officers of the highest rank. 
A thrilling suspense reigned while the old chieftain, 
a Sebastopol commander of note, opened the mo- 
mentary telegrams from the Gatschina Palace I 

Major Wardlawe ate his breakfast in an assumed 
calm, only broken by the general acclamation, when the 
head of the Naval Ministry said : “ Gentlemen, you 
are dismissed until 2 o’clock ! Monsieur de Giers him- 
self is now on his way from Gatschina with the 
result ! ” 

Pallid but resolved, the crowd of Admirals sep- 
arated in silence, while the venerable Chestakoff found 
his teacup tremble in his hand and his cigarette bitter 
beyond all appetite. 

“ Remain, Major ! ” he said, when they were alone. 
“Your special train is all ready! I myself will send 
all your personal effects to our Legation at Washing- 
ton, where they will be forwarded to San Francisco! 
A French Transatlantic steamer will be delayed at 
Cherbourg for your arrival ! Our Ambassador there 
has made all arrangements ! ” 

“ And my duty to my employers ? ” said the excited 
Wardlawe. 

“You will have four of our secret agents as an 
escort to Washington; two to San Francisco. You 
are only to deliver two letters to your employers and a 


lo2 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

bundle of papers to Dimitri Gorlitz, losing not one mo- 
ment on the way! They are all advised by cipher 
cable!’’ 

In a weird silence the hands of the clock crawled 
around. The old Admiral threw himself in a chair 
before the magnificent portraits of their Imperial Maj- 
esties, while the great silent room slowly filled up be- 
yond the screens. 

Every man waiting there was the leader of a division 
of the fleet or a tried commander ! 

“ Great God ! How long ! ” groaned Wardlawe, re- 
viewing his strange voyage from San Francisco, until 
at last the two great doors were thrown open at the 
foot of the hall. 

The clash of presented arms echoed in the hall when 
the glittering throng started impulsively to their feet. 

Up the long room came tottering, a tall, thin man 
of sixty, clad in plain black, his silk hat trembling in 
his hand! No star or order, no button or medal 
marked the aged Prime Minister of Russia ! The face 
of De Giers was inscrutable as he neared the screens 
where Admiral Chestakoff stood tottering in his ex- 
citement. 

“ I bring you peace ! ” the Premier cried in a broken 
voice as he threw himself on the breast of t/he ven- 
erable sailor. 

“ It is all over ! ” gasped the statesman. “ The Eng- 
lish ultimatum- is withdrawn! Their Embassy is or- 
dered to remain! You are to recall the orders to the 
lighthouses and ports! Light the lights of peace 
again ! 

With a quick movement Chestakoff rang his bell 
thrice. A chief clerk darted from a passageway, port- 
folio in hand. 

Open all the ports, save those of the military colo- 
nies ! ” solemnly said the Admiral. “ Peace is ar- 
ranged ! Relax no vigilance ! Arrest all the extraor- 
dinary movements for defense ! ” 

Then, stepping out into the hall, the Admiral called 
the chief officer to his side with a wave of his head. 

“ Peace ! Peace ! ” he cried. God be thanked ! Re- 
port at eight o’clock ! Absolute silence ! ” And then 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. I03 

He silently pointed to the Minister of State, standing 
with tears of joy in his eyes! 

When the two dignitaries had found their speech 
after a frenzied embrace, the vast room was soon de- 
serted. 

Suddenly, casting his eyes on the American, the 
Admiral said : “ You have won the victory of your 

life! I will telegraph to Everett Marsden a duplicate 
credit of the price to be paid to retain the ships for six 
months longer, in readiness for our service! You will 
remain here two months, until I can send you to Dui ! 
Let this time be spent in enjoyment! You need some 
relaxation; your recompense will come later! Only 
I ask of you to forget this scene ! Noblesse oblige ! ” 

And now the old man cried : Take my carriage ! 

Hasten to Count Ignatieff! Give him this note! Tell 
him all ! My servant will conduct you ! We will meet 
there to-morrow night, at a private dinner, only the 
three of us ! ” 

When Major Wardlawe bowed over the little note, 
the Admiral handed him a golden cigar case. “ An 
Empress’s gift ! ” he smilingly said. “ Keep this to 
remember to-day. Remember, silence ! ” 

Clapping his hands, the old sailor gave Wardlawe 
over to his waiting Swiss valet, who saluted in silence 
as the Minister gave the directions. 

In a whirl of excitement Wardlawe gazed from the 
carriage windows at the crowded streets, as the car- 
riage dashed along the roadway cleared of its snow. 

“ No one as yet knows the good news ! ” he mut- 
tered, speaking as if in a dream. 

The American recalled the exact words of the 
courtly French used by the Prime Minister as he pre- 
pared to meet Nicholas Ignatieff. 

“ Two millions ! ” he mused, his mind reverting to 
Marsden’s enormous profits. 

For the option of leasing the fleet of this fan- 
tastic Amoor Islavigation Company! Surely, the vic- 
tory of a life ! ” 

Leaping from the carriage at the great mansion of 
the man who never lost a struggle save his battle with 
the Armenian Loris Melikoff (a brief court favorite), 


104 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


Wardlawe was amazed as he gazed into Count Igna- 
tieff’s splendid library. 

Fifty men, the flower of the oldest Russian nobles, 
were gazing at the intruder when the wary Ambas- 
sador led his visitor into a little curtained alcove, 
whence the graceful Countess could easily signal to 
her husband, in his library, with the adroitness of the 
Russian menage. 

Wardlawe’s whispered English words were no 
sooner uttered than the great diplomat grasped the 
note of his colleague ! 

With a gesture which left Wardlawe in silence, 
Nicholas Ignatieff closed the door of his library. 

With a beating heart, Major Wardlawe was forced 
to play the unwilling listener as the sound of two 
voices reached him from beyond the rich Persian 
portieres. 

Too well he knew the voice which had so charmed 
him at Annenkoff’s dinner with the perfect modulated 
English of the high-bred Russian. 

There, in the boudoir of the graceful Countess, the 
Princess Esme Chilkoff was again voicing her haughty 
scorn of these degenerate days! 

“ Knighthood died with the men who fell around 
Schamyl at Aul.Gunib,” the Circassian witch mur- 
mured. 

“ And yet, men live who would die for your slightest 
spoken word ! ” was the reply. 

Wardlawe flushed with very shame! The speaker 
was no other than Allan Law " 

“ Yes, to please their own reflected vanity ! ” sadly 
answered the Tcherkess Star. 

“ I would go to the ends of the earth for you ! ” 
earnestly protested this mysterious world wanderer. 

“ I may put you to the test! Be warned! I am of 
a race which knows no mercy. Men have ever been 
our slaves — warriors, too! The men of our wild 
mountains ! ” 

An ominous ring in Esme’s voice startled the har- 
assed listener. 

“ Trust me, try me, Princess Esme !” urged the 
young Lochinvar. 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. I05 

“ You shall see my home first ! I must know more 
of you ! ” sternly answered the hidden beauty. “ My 
service is dangerous ! Remember, I hold myself far 
above all the rules of small womanhood ! There is no 
bourgeoise blood in my veins, no trading boyars, no 
sleek tchinoviks, no lying courtiers in my ancestry — 
soldiers, warriors, princes, all ! Kings of the mist and 
the mountain gorge ! ” 

The trampling of feet recalled the agitated Amer- 
ican and Wardlawe breathed freer when the ex-Dicta- 
tor carried him off in triumph to describe the tableau 
at the Ministry of Marine to the Countess, whose 
lovely face was now shining as that of an angel ! 

“ You will remain and dine with us ; nay, no denial ! 
said the diplomat. “ I must give you your directions 
for the fall programme. Next year must find, at its 
close, the great coaling works completed! We will 
put ten thousand men on tlie improvements! You 
have been, Major, the harbinger of a great victory! 

“ In fifteen years, with our Siberian railway finished, 
Russia can defy the whole world ! Her two foes, Eng- 
land and Japan, will then be powerless ! We hold the 
key to the Pamirs now ; we will then wear the crown 
of Asia, the first cradle of the world ! ” 

“ I must be released then early,” said Wardlawe, 
“ to see Standiford off ! ” 

A good friend of Russia ! ” said the ex-Dictator. 

He secured us all the Hotchkiss’ arms ! Our sudden 
show of strength has saved us! Your reward is yet 
to come ! I will release you, as I go to the Winter 
Palace to meet the Privy Council and the Grand 
Dukes ! It is the happiest day St. Petersburg has seen 
since the fall of Kars and Plevna! And young Law, 
too, dines with us ! I am so glad ! He can now visit 
the Princess Esme’s domains in the far-off Caucasus! 

Resolutely schooling his face, Walter Wardlawe 
bowed gravely over the Princess Esme’s jeweled hand 
as Allan Law conversed in the great dining room with 
the enraptured Countess. 

“ To-morrow at ten, you must come to me! ” the fair 
woman softly said ; “ I need you now ! I summon you 
by my ring, with which you have sworn into my ser- 


Io6 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

vice ! We will be alone there. I have much to say to 
you ! I must show you my palace ! 

“ Later you shall see the mountain home which is 
closed only to its mistress! Great God! What a 
tyranny ! ” 

“ You have not needed me, for a fortnight! ” stub- 
bornly said the American, his tell-tale eyes turning to 
where Allan Law, a stately figure, was bending over 
the hand of the stately Countess. 

A rosy glow flushed the Circassian’s lonely face, but 
she impulsively seized both his hands. 

“ I knew that vou were held by your honor ! I left 
you free! Nicholas Ignatieff is my second father! He 
has told me enough of you ! And the Countess trusts 
me ! I am her other heart ! Now I need you ! You 
alone! No one must know! Not even these noble 
ones ! 

“Be my brother ! ” she said ; “ the brother of my 
heart! For on your help my whole happiness now 
hangs ! Son of a free land ! Child of a free flag ! You 
have sworn ! ” 

“ And, Allan Law ? ” smilingly said Wardlawe as he 
kissed her trembling hands ! 

“ Him, least of all ! He is to go forth blinded ! Only 
you and I ; none else in the world can know till I re- 
lease you ! ” 

“ Little lady, I am your brother ! ” sadly sighed the 
soldier. “ I will go to the world’s end for you ! ” 

“ And my heart and soul will go out with you 1 
Remember, it is a secret pact ! And no one shall know 
of our meeting ! He leaves to-morrow ! ” she said, 
glancing at the Englishman, “ and so, our confidences 
will be left undisturbed ! Not even Natalie Ignatieff 
knows ! It will be you and I against Fate and the 
whole world ! ” 

During the long dinner Major Wardlawe keenly 
watched the secretive face of Count Nicholas Ignatieff. 
The Arnerican had been well schooled, and so he de- 
voted himself to the social reminiscences of the grace- 
ful English-looking Countess, while the man who had 
juggled with both the Queen and Sultan in the great 
game for Constantinople communed with himself! 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. I07 

I will not disclose anything ! ” resolved the en- 
gineer. 

It was a strange quintette ; but, of the five, two only 
had eyes for each other! 

Allen Law’s subjection to the haughty Esme Chil- 
koff was touching in its frank self-surrender! 

“ A matter of temperament, not fate ! ” mused Ward- 
lawe. “ This cool Briton is simply fascinated ! His 
three weeks of frequent absences are easily explained ! 
He is lost to any world but the dark empire of this 
fair rebel’s eyes ! 

‘‘ It was easy to see the relief of Madame Ignatieff, 
for her husband had lifted the burden of a haunting 
sorrow from her heart. Only eight years since the 
flower of Russia had been garnered into the dark 
grave trenches of Plevna! 

But lost in each other, the young couple noted noth- 
ing until, with a sigh, Allan Law said : “ Major, you 
and I are to say adieu to Standiford at nine, and then 
my own exile begins to-morrow. Only memories will 
be left to bind me to Russia, for the olden ties are 
snapped and, as an Englishman, I am here against the 
laws of hospitality — my boyish nurture and even my 
heart, and yet classed as an enemy to the Czar ! ” 

“ You need not hasten away ! ” gravely said the stern 
diplomat as he opened a telegram brought to the table. 

“ The official announcement of an arrangement for 
peace is to be proclaimed ! Here is the Minister of the 
Interior’s sealed confirmation of it ! ” 

Thank God ! ” sighed Law, drawing a deep breath 
of relief, as Esme Chilkoflf sat fascinated as by some 
spell. 

“ I will see Minister Tolstoi to-night ! ” kindly said 
the General Count Ignatieflf. “ Give me your pass- 
port ! He will note a permis de sejour for six months ! 
There is a great Winter Palace council ! ” 

“ And, has England recoiled ? ” murmured Allan 
Law. 

“ We are ready to fight her at the drop of a hat ! It 
may be destiny ! It is Fate ! ” solemnly said Ignatieff . 
“ Your Government balked us at the gates of Constan- 
tinople, and the war of the nations is only deferred ! ” 


108 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

he sighed. “ This quarrel to the death is above even 
a national hatred ! It must come some day — the wreck 
of matter and the crush of worlds ! 

“ But at this juncture you have recoiled, perhaps 
only, ‘ pour mieux sauter ! ' ’’ the sly statesman said. 

“ At any rate, you have halted before the Czar 
Alexander’s frank defiance ! ” 

“ I am glad of it ! ” said Law, as his eyes fell before 
the flashing glances of the Tcherkess Star. 

“ Do not mistake my natural feelings for rancor, 
Allan ! ” said the worn ex-Dictator. “ I have seen the 
sword fail Russia in the hour of its triumph ! I knew 
those who loved you in your infancy! They have all 
passed away 1 I myself, will be only a memory soon ! 
It is merely a question of national coherence 1 Great 
Britain, with eleven and a half million square miles 
and three hundred and seventy millions of people, is 
handicapped by its continental divisions and your two 
hundred and seventy millions of secret foes in India ! 

“ Though we have but nine millions of square miles 
in area, and one hundred and fifteen in population, we 
amalgamate where you lose! 

“ In twenty years Russia’s realms will be knitted 
together by railways, and we can meet you anywhere 
with an irresistible force ! Peter the Great’s will, the 
Empress Catharine’s testament warns us wisely 
against holding any territories across seas! 

“ For that reason we sold Alaska ; and, built up in 
violation of the laws of geographical statesmanship, 
your vast empire will crumble. We are the central- 
izers of the world! 

“ There will be two months yet, of by-play, diplo- 
matic juggling, but, the war flags are furled! 

To-morrow the populace will be mad with a 
seeming triumph ! ” 

The Count whispered a few words to Ma'dame Ig- 
natieff and disappeared, saying, with a meaning smile : 

I think that we will keep Law here, at least for a 
time!” 

“ And you, Esme ? ” hazarded the happy Countess, 
freed from the war cloud’s dark spell. 

I care not ! ” the haughty Circassian defiantly said. 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


109 


“ England and Russia are the arch robbers of the 
modern world ! Let them fight or not, my country is 
enslaved, its name blotted from the face of the earth ! 
Only the air is free there, and Alexander Romanoff 
forbids me to breathe it ! ” 

“ Beautiful Prometheus ! ” Do not struggle with 
your chains ! ” kindly said the Count. There was no 
purpose in that incessant warfare of your wild land ! 
I have seen five long wars, and the Caucasus cam- 
paigns were the most horrible ! ” 

“ You make a solitude and call it peace ! ” quoted 
Esme, her eyes filling with tears. 

“ Strange human being ! ” sighed Madame Ignatieff 
as she drew Wardlawe away. “ A royal nature, born 
above all laws ! A queen by right divine, a peerless 
human soul ! Disdainful of all, and yet some Moses, 
one day, will smite the rock of her defiant heart! 
Love is the only modern sorcery! Even the Czar 
fears her ! For she would go even to the block 
proudly and without a word ! The wrongs of her 
race are her dower! She will not be enameled into 
a ‘ dame de la cour.’ And she could even be an 
Imperial Grand Duchess ! Now, you are my pris- 
oner, Sir,” the gracious woman said. 

“ May transforms this dreary winter city ! Nicholas 
tells me that you will be kept here and Admiral Ches- 
takoff wishes you to know the inner life ! The vast 
river, with this wilderness of palaces, bridges, fleets, 
forts, squares, streets and gilded domes ; the museums, 
churches, operas and theatres are not St. Petersburg! 

“ I am to be the Una to lead you, an American lion, 
through the jungles of our wild-hearted society. 

“ You will see it, seething now in a mad joy, for the 
people will feel that we have thrown the gage down 
to proud England and for once stayed its power ! 

“ So, now you belong to myself, and our passionate 
mountain goddess! 

“ Esme is a hostess par excellence, and the Baroness 
Fadaieff, her duenna, is the widow of an old friend ! 
This wild child really lives here, though her establish- 
ment, ‘ the Czar’s jail,’ as she calls it, is a most princely 
one ! Prepare, Sir, to be a Squire of Dames ! ” 


no 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


“ Allan Law? ” said Wardlawe, raising his eyebrows 
significantly. 

The Countess laughed. ‘‘ Esme has some strange 
quest of her own, upon which she will send him ‘ pour 
encourager les autres ! ’ Her suitors are numberless ! 
And she is a fleet Atalanta! No one has been able 
to match her Georgian stride ! A beautiful whirlwind, 
and, withal, womanly and tender — a golden heart ! ” 

“ I am yours to command, Madame,’’ dutifully said 
Wardlawe. 

“ And in this you will find your protection ! ” whis- 
pered the hostess, “ for, you have risked your very 
life for us! Remember, never lisp the name of this 
shadowy Company I It might lead on to a defeat, to a 
catastrophe! And by obeying me your voyage to 
Saghalien will be a princely progress ! There is a 
fascination in lonely Siberia which is like the cool 
air of the Alps — a breath of Heaven ! ” 

“I shall be your obedient charge, Madame!” sol- 
emnly said the American; “your willing subject!” 

When the sleigh was announced to bear the two 
men to the Moscow station, Wardlawe was forced to 
overhear the Princess Esme’s adieu. “ I shall see you 
here to-morrow ! ” 

And Allen Law bowed his head in silence. “ I will 
put your fine phrases to the test ! ” the fair Circassian 
said. 

“To the end of the earth!” said the calm Briton, 
raising her hand to his lips. 

With a deft gracefulness, Countess Ignatieff led 
Law away at an imperceptible signal of the fair Esme. 

“ You will come to me to-morrow, my brother ! ” 
whispered the Circassian, laying a burning palm in 
Wardlawe’s outstretched hands! 

“ He must only see me here, with Natalie Ignatieff, 
this young English madcap! But you shall share the 
splendors of the Czar’s golden prison with me ! Paula 
Fadaieff will adore you ! She loves serious men ! My 
home is my castle! Be my real brother! Share my 
golden chains ! ” 

“Your brother, the Prince Agar?” seriously said 
the American. 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


1 1 1 


“ It is of him that I would speak ! ” the radiant 
woman said, a finger on her lip. 

“ But not a word now ! You will be safe only under 
my roof to name him ! Not even Natalie or the Count ; 
to the Englishman, never ! Do not even speak Agar’s 
name! 1 am sending my old retainer. Ali Roustan 
down to Dariel for his annual visit of surveillance I 

“ And the Englishman can easily go with him, and 
so, bring his own head safely back! I only sent him 
away to be alone with you ! ” she said, with a noble 
womanly frankness. 

“ You are my last hppe ; you are a part of my life 
now ! You are not even to speak of me to Allan 
Law ! ” 

“ To-morrow, to-morrow, then, at ten ! ” faltered the 
Major, as he followed Law into the corridor. 

“ This is an astonishing turn of affairs ! ” quietly said 
Law as the two men seated themselves in the sleigh. 

“ And a juncture not to be freely discussed, I imag- 
ine ! ” moodily said Wardlawe. 

“You are right!” the young man said. “ Fll race 
back and see the fellows of the Embassy at Viatelli’s. 

‘ Paul Kurtz gives them a good-by dinner there ! 
Our Ambassador has quietly taken “ seven days 
leave ” so as to force the Secretary of the Embassy to 
‘ demand the passports.’ I am glad to get out of here 
for a time. 

“ The madness of the anti-English fever would 
make it dangerous for me to stay, and I do not care 
now,” he soberly said, “ to throw my life away in a use- 
less duel ! So, I will slip away to the Caucasus ! And 
sans adieu ! It has been a hot comer for the last two 
weeks ! ” 

Half an hour later Standiford’s train glided away, 
the good fellow beaming with his good fortune ! 

“ It is best,” murmured Allan Law, “ that you 
should not be identified with me any longer, Ward- 
lawe! I know the resentment of these same smiling 
patricians ! Look at that knot of guard officers ! All 
ready to fight a I’outrance! Alas! It’s the same in 
London ! 

“ Now, as you say you go away soon, I may not again 


II2 


THE mystery of A SHIPYARD. 


meet you ! I owe you some amends, and when we meet 
later— for the world is strangely small — you must let 
me pay both Berry’s debt and my own ! ” 

“ It must be in San Francisco, then,” said Ward- 
lawe severely, “ for, I did not have fair play in Eng- 
land ! ” 

Law started and colored deeply. 

“ Oh, the dynamite craze ! ” he stammered. “ Cer- 
tainly, for, of course, you take no sides in this great 
international hatred ! ” 

‘‘ The only quarrel I espouse is that of my own 
country ! ” said the Major, bowing deeply. “ America 
needs all her sons ; and so I’ll say good luck and a fair 
field and no favor ! ” 

“ We shall surely meet again ! ” lightly said Allan 
Law. ” For you will have yet much to do with Rus- 
sia, and I am tied by golden chains to this land of 
strange mysteries ! ” 

Left alone. Major Wardlawe mechanically called a 
single sleigh. A polyglot attendant enabled him to 
order a tour of the great throbbing city within the 
canal line. It was a night of the wildest excitement! 

“ Safe at last ! ” he said as he breathed a sigh of 
deep relief. 

“ Paul Kurtz is a mere mail bag for me, though, the 
best of good fellows 1 Sleepy old Marshall Jewell 
suspects nothing, and I fancy that both my home prin- 
cipals are more than satisfied. They should be ! 

” The great coal works will be only an opening for 
the National ! Thank God, I am rid of this stranger 
who travels under two hostile flags! The Honorable 
Allan Law is a dangerous friend — and for all that he 
knows he may be only the tool of keener minds! If 
he has been playing any double game the Ignatieffs 
will soon discover it ! As for the Princess Esme, she 
will raise this young turtle to a high altitude and then 
dropped from the eaglet’s claws, he will be dashed in 
pieces! He flies no manly colors! Berry, at least, 
was an ' out and out ’ Briton, with no false sailing 
papers ! ” 

His strange dislike of Law seemed to date from the 
advent of the Tcherkess goddess ! 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. II3 

Stifling a sigh, Wardlawe mused : “ And yet 

Standiford said he was a thorough-going good fellow ! 
So he may be, in Paris, or London! I wish he were 
there now ! 

“ I have nothing to fear now, for the Countess Igna- 
tiefif is a mighty social power, and her husband and 
Chestakoff are rocks of abiding strength I ” 

And so, Wardlawe visited all the great evening 
sights of the excited metropolis. 

It was at the Winter Garden that Surgeon Pauloff 
left a box party of friends to grasp his patient’s hand I 

“ I know all 1 ” whispered the delighted old veteran. 

You are to dine soon with the Grand Duke, who 
wishes to meet the man to whom Russia owes so much ! 
This is the revenge for Sebastopol, for the English fleet 
at Besika Bay ! W e will conquer, a la fin ! Remember, 
it will be a sans ceremonie dinner ! ” 

When Wardlawe awoke the next day St. Petersburg 
was in a tumult of wild joy, and Paul Kurtz, ex- 
hausted by the week’s suspense, was sleeping the sleep 
of the just as his guest sent Luigi for a ‘‘ voiture de 
la premiere classe. 

With peculiar feelings the American opened a su- 
perb smoking-set, a gift fit for a prince, which bore 
Allan Law’s card of adieu. 

‘‘ This was Outchinikoff ’s masterpiece I ” wonder- 
ingly said the Major, “ Wherein have I contributed to 
this youth’s welLbeing ? ” 

But in a singularly studied elegance of array, the 
veteran drove slowly down to the silent palace where 
the Princess Esme kept the stately seclusion next to 
the Annenkofif mansion, beyond the Summer Garden 
of the Czarina. 

Fifty miles away, Allan Law, gazing at the quaint 
garb of his stern old Tcherkess companion, mused. 
“ I owed Wardlawe some acknowledgment ! ” he 
mused. “ For, but for the chase of his unknown dis- 
patches I would never have worn this goddess’ golden 
chains.” 

And in the slavery of his lonely mind he knelt be- 
fore the throne of the captive mountain queen. 

‘‘ Life has a definite purpose for me now I ” mused 


1 14 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

Law as he thought of the grandly simple motto, '' Ich 
Dien ! 

Major Wardlawe, bewildered, walked through the 
splendors of Esme Chilkoff’s home until he faced 
waiting woman in that boudoir which was the envy 
of an Empress. 

The fair rebel frankly received him with both 
hands extended. 

In the perfunctory courtesies of a presentation to 
the demure Baroness Fadaieif, Wardlawe recalled 
Pirincess Esme’s agitation at the mention of her 
brother. 

“Is the same conspiracy on foot?” murmured the 
cautious American. “ Some scheme to detach the 
mountain fortresses of Circassia to Turkey, backed by 
the irresistible English fleet?” 

Even in his brief residence he had heard weird 
stories of Agar Chilkoff’s haughty magnificence, of 
his personal beauty and his mental fearlessness. 

The idol of women, the feared and envied of men ! 

And what foreign service of moment claimed this 
son of an untamed imperial womanly nature, the fiery 
Circassian mother who had defied all the seductions 
of the Romanoffs! 

And many disquieting thoughts harassed Wardlawe 
as he followed the capricious beauty through the 
stately drawing-rooms, the magnificent galleries of 
her home. 

Laughingly, Esme noted how the good Baroness 
Paula had given up the chase, and betaken herself to 
her French novel, and was soon deep in a cigarette 
and lost in Henri Greville. 

“ Even spies tire out, you see I ” gaily said Esme. 
“ We are alone at last, and when you have broken my 
bread and tasted my salt you can listen to me! Allan 
Law is gone ? ” she mischievously queried. 

“ I presume that you saw him after I did ! ” re- 
marked Wardlawe, gazing at the glowing face of the 
triumphant woman. 

“ I did ! I sent him away, and he will not escape 
from Ali Roustan! I intend to keep you apart, for 
the present ! ” 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


IIS 


Esme saw the clouds in Wardlawe’s eyes. 

“Listen, Major!” she said. “I have few secrets 
from Count Ignatieff and Natalie I Only one, and it is 
our business, my brother I ” was the softly uttered con- 
clusion. “ Law is of fine family, a man of mark ! He 
is high-spirited! And not here now, under the pro- 
tection of the grade of attache ! He would have been 
slain in a duel in a few days but for our pious deceit 
in sending him off ! The deadly Colonel Sacha Men- 
chikoff had sworn to avenge the insult of the British 
ultimatum upon this spirited youth ! Menchikoff is a 
cold Tartar murderer. He has already killed a dozen 
men. And I have future uses for Law ! I reserve him 
for myself ! It is different with you ! To you, I give my 
whole heart! Count Ignatieff had the brutal Men- 
chikoff ordered away to Tomsk forthwith, and Law 
is half way to Moscow now. If they had met, there 
would have been bloodshed. After the breakfast we 
will talk business, you and I ! ” 

“ Business ! ” cried the astounded American. 

“ Yes ! I have important affairs ! ” demurely said 
Esme. “ Among other things, I inherited from my 
father the control of the ‘ Amoor Navigation Com- 
pany ! ’ ” 

Wardlawe stood spellbound. 

“ It is some gigantic conspiracy ! ” he muttered. 
“ I may wreck both Sterling Mott and Marsden here ! 
Can this woman be an Imperial spy set on to test my 
prudence ? ” 

“ I do not understand you ! ” he said cautiously. 

“ You will, when I explain ! Paula Fadaieff always 
nods after luncheon ! ” she laughingly said. 

To the amazement of the visitor, in all the bewilder- 
ing vistas of the palace he had seen neither the pic- 
tured face of the great Governor-General Prince Boris 
Chilkoff, nor the mystic Ayesha, whom the moun- 
taineers still adored. Neither the portrait of the ab- 
sent Prince Agar, nor that of the bewitching woman 
at his side, not even the Czar and Czarina. 

Stranger still, neither pictured landscape nor statue 
enriched this Oriental labyrinth of luxury. 

And then, reading his thoughts, the beautiful Esme 


Il6 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

said simply: I am a Mohammedan! We make no 

pictured likenesses nor graven images ! ” 

Laughing merrily at Wardlawe’s dismay, Esme 
Chilkoff gravely said : Can you wonder that I ad- 

here to the belief which left my mother a splendid 
jewel of truth and beauty? Boris Chilkoff never 
asked Queen Ayesha to forswear our family faith ! 
And here in Russia, the Church is both tool and ally 
of the Crown! As in England, it is a solemn adjunct 
of the throne, its pathway, a beaten road to success 
for the common herd ! The stars of Kasbeck shone 
on my cradle ! They gleam always in my heart ! I am a 
child of Allah, blending the creeds af the Fire Wor- 
shiper and Mahomet — beliefs, not creeds ! 

“ Natalie Ignatieff will show you the golden luxury 
of the salons of the Neva — these women with hearts 
of fire and breasts of snow ! 

“ I will unveil to you later the gulfs of wretchedness 
in Imperial Russia ! ” 

Reading his thoughts, she solemnly said : Nay ! 

I am no Nihilist ! It is the code of the narrow-browed 
fool, the creed of nothing ! Only blood and death fol- 
lows its dark cult ! I am free and a ‘ true woman ! ’ 
“ For me there are no laws but God’s favor, my 
Allah — your God — and the promptings of my heart ! 
I am Ayesha’s child ! I bear her picture graven in 
my heart, and at night, alone under the stars, my 
mother talks to her lonely child ! ” 

An hour after the gay chatter of a perfect luncheon, 
Esme Chilkoff led the wondering American to the 
library. 

“ Listen,” she said ; “ you will leave here by the 
end of May! You go direct to Dui, by Nagasaki! I 
know all ! Do not ask me how ! I have made you my 
brother! You wear my father’s ring! And your 
word has been pledged to me ! ” 

Opening an escritoire, she drew out a roll of draw- 
ings and a packet of papers. 

“ Here is our secret ! ” she said. “ My noble father 
left us a vast estate — Ayesha also had princely posses- 
sions. My brother Agar is not here! I cannot reach 
him! 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. II7 

Our natures are blended, and we have no secrets 
from each other! He is far away — on the Czar’s 
business I And I know not when he returns I ” 

Her eyes were as dark as the wintry flow under 
the blue ice, as she said ; “ Boris Chilkoff, when Gov- 
ernor-General of Eastern Siberia, became almost the 
sole owner of the first ‘ Amoor River Steam Naviga- 
tion Com.pany.’ Its original franchises are mine, the 
sole property of myself and Agar! Twenty steamers 
built in England, a dozen bought on the Pacific coast 
were sent out there, and these are great interests of our 
house. 

“ The local agents, the officials, the banded Mus- 
covite thieves, have been for years plundering our 
patrimony ! 

“ Mark you, all my wealth here, all our possessions 
in Circassia are exposed to the clutch of the Czar ! 

“ Both Agar and I may be left beggared by his 
slightest official misstep, or by my refusal to marry 
an officially designated bridegroom ! 

‘‘ Dear as are the Count and Countess Ignatieff, 
they are still, at heart, Russians ! 

“ As I cannot leave this land, I must act through 
others ! I wish to send a secret agent this season to 
make an inspection of the whole region and to ob- 
serve all the workings of this nefarious scheme to let 
our franchise lapse ! 

“ Baron Knorp is my true friend — noble, serene, 
brave, and yet, a loyal Russion ! Fear chains all these 
people ! I must, be able to effect all my own designs 
without complicating or involving my beloved Agar! 

“To this end, I wish a steamer constructed — here 
are the plans, every direction, and the list of supples ! ” 

Wardlawe gazed in amazement at Esme, who 
calmly continued: 

“ While I cannot leave Russia I have secretly with- 
drawn great sums of money — mine and Agar’s — 
through Baron Sternberg, of the Rothschilds! He is 
my secret banker, through his personal agents here, 
and he knows the real value of this antiquated con- 
cession, a value doubling yearly ! ” 

“ I know him ! ” soberly said Wardlawe, still 


Il8 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

wrapped in astonishment. “I have confidential rela- 
tions with him ! ” 

“ The Jews are the real masters of Russian finance, 
behind all these gilded shams ! ” said the Princess. 
“ He and his fellow-religionists owe an undying debt 
of gratitude to Ayesha. 

“ I wish you to send the papers on instantly to San 
Francisco, to the National Works! Let this boat be 
built by night and day labor, so as to be ready to 
leave with all the supplies on your arrival. It can 
be carried on deck between the masts of the annual 
supply boat of Freeman Smith & Co. to Nicolaievsk. 

“ And twenty thousand pounds will suffice for the 
whole enterprise. Here is London exchange for that 
amount ! ” 

“ How can I aid you, Princess, beyond hastening 
this construction ? I can telegraph to the Works, they 
will begin fifteen days from now. We will easily built 
it in a month ! But I do not go to the mouth of the 
Amoor ! I only go to Dui, on the island of Saghalien, 
via Yokohama and Vladivostock 1 ” 

“ You will only assume the entire business respon- 
sibility ! ” placidly said the Princess. “ The boat and 
supplies will be shipped all prepaid ‘ To order.’ 

“ This done, before you sail to Vladivostock, you 
will be met by an agent of mine at Nagasaki, who will 
relieve you of all ! 

“ Baron Knorp and the Admiral governing the Lit- 
toral at Vladivostock will secretly aid you. 

“ But I am not to be known in the whole transac- 
tion. It would create a storm here. It might consign 
me to close seclusion and so defeat my purposes ! My 
brother must not know! It might prove his official 
ruin ! And he must never know the agent whom I send 
there ! ” 

She ceased speaking! Her eyes burned into his 
very soul ! 

“ I trust you with more than my life ! ” she said. 

“And why?” murmured Wardlawe. 

“The man who risked his life four long years for 
the flag of the free will not betray a defenseless girl ! ” 
said Esme. 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. II9 

“ Baron Sternberg has advised me ! Dimitri Gor- 
litz is his San Francisco secret agent. The rich Jews 
control the Alaska Fur Company and its Russian pro- 
totype, and so, the millionaire Jew and the American 
soldier must guard the Mohammedan girl! The 
world is small indeed ! 

“ Remember, it would be an end of our princely 
house, the ruin of Agar and I were this scheme 
known ! Sternberg sent me these plans on from Yar- 
row and Thornycroft ! 

“ You are a genius. Princess Esme ! cried Ward- 
lawe. 

“ But tell me, is there no other Amoor Navigation 
Company ? ” 

The soldier’s voice was vibrant with emotion. 

None ! ” firmly said Esme, “ and all the papers of 
the original franchises are now deposited at Frank- 
fort-on-the-Main, under the seal of all the Rothschilds, 
the men to whom kings bend, and without whom, even 
Emperors cannot make war ! 

“ But in the thirty years since Boris Chilkoff ob- 
tained the seal of the Emperor Nicholas upon the vast 
concession, a hundred abuses have crept in I And any 
one — every one — uses the name of the Amoor Naviga- 
tion Company ; and in Siberia it is the cloak of a hun- 
dred guilty officials. 

“ My chosen agent, secretly examining all, will re- 
turn, without remark, and reporting to Baron Stern- 
berg, the vast combination of the Rothschilds will 
thus aid me to reclaim and to reacquire all the rights. 

“ Two Czars have almost forgotten the existence of 
such a company I There is only a dim tradition of 
the Ministry of the Interior and of Domains that such 
an organization is still in force. 

“ VVill you be my one active ally? I know. Major, 
even of your great history 1 You have lost your wife, 
your other self 1 I, my mother, and I am now only the 
living Ayesha I In this way I will save the only great 
interest which is secured to Agar and myself ! I hold 
our capital hoarded aboard, subject to our joint order! 
Alas! Neither he nor I can ever reach it to enjoy it! 
He is even now kept abroad on secret service! It is 


120 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


the Kings of Gold against the Autocrat of all the Rus- 
sias! Our lives, our visible estates here, are all sub- 
ject to the Czar’s will, and the Privy Council holds 
Circassia as the Gate of the Empire ! 

“ To be given away with a marriage ring to some 
creature of the Crown, I never will comsent ! 

“ And I must now learn to be a Russian in dis- 
simulation, for my open resistance would either mean 
Agar’s death or his ‘ mysterious disappearance.’ 

‘‘ So, you see, I am the living pawn for the loyalty 
of the whole Tcherkess tribes ! 

“ And the arbiter of my brother’s fate ! Will you 
be the brother of my heart? I offer you only toil, 
without recompense, perhaps danger; but, you will 
have a Circassian girl’s gratitude ! ” 

“ I am your brother to the death ! silent, loyal true ! ” 
swore Wardlawe. 

“ Now you are my Ahmed ! ” she said. “ I give you 
the name of the dear first born brother who died by 
the Russian sword. He lives again in you ! 

“ Listen ! Send these off through Paul Kurtz, in 
the Legation bags! You can telegraph orders later! 
I have Sternberg’s cipher to Consul-General Dimitri 
Gorlitz! You can use him ! I can trust him so far' 
for without Sternberg’s influence Gorlitz will never be 
a Minister! The Rothschilds are the private treas- 
urers of the Imperial Family in all their morganatic 
marriages! We find safety only outside of Russia, 
up to the Czar and Czarina on the throne! You must 
now merely give me the passing notice of society ! 

‘‘ You will come here in future only with Natalie 
Ignatieff ! 

“ But we can have seclusion at her home always ! 
Her boudoir is the safest place in Russia! Only, be- 
ware of your American frankness! To dissimulate is 
the very primer of Russian life ! 

“ Ignatieff, Allan Law, Kurtz, Chestakoff — even 
the Countess — a word let fall in carelessness might be- 
tray and forfeit my liberty and Agar’s life! It is the 
only weapon to protect our independence that I can 
find, this secret alliance with the men, of gold!’' 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


I2I 


'' There is no treasonable design, no revolution hid- 
den in this? ” said Wardlawe solemnly. 

“ I owe a sacred duty to my secret employers, who 
handle millions, and they must keep faith with the 
Czar!” 

“By Allah! No!” cried the gallant girl as she 
crossed her hands on her heaving bosom ! 

“ How will you explain our close intimacy to Mad- 
ame Ignatieff?” doubtfully remarked Wardlawe. 

“ She shall be led to fancy that you please me ! ” 
murmured Esme, with her eyes cast down in a sudden 
confusion. 

“ I so deluded her with this English boy, the British 
youth with a Russian mask. Nam.e him to no one, but 
he is sacred to you, for he is my friend. I have seen 
fit to encourage him to outwit the Count Nicholas, who 
does me the honor to watch me — all too closely; and 
we both decided to save his life — Natalie and I.” 

And now, clapping her hands, she cried. As you 
will never see me dance in public, no ! not for a Czar- 
ina — I will show you a Circassian maiden’s love con- 
fession ! ” 

When a beautiful Georgian appeared, beginning a 
wild prelude upon a strange lute, catching up a scarf 
Esme Chilkofif glided into the center of the room. 

Five minutes later she threw the scarf down and 
stood transfigured and glowing before the bewitched 
American. 

“Are you of the earth, Princess?” he rapturously 
cried. 

“ Only a Circassian girl chained by the Neva, here 
in a golden prison, but, pining always for her mountain 
home ! ” 

‘ Go now, Ahmed! ” she cried. “ You are mingling 
your life with mine! For you are now sacred by the 
name of brother! And you carry in your heart the 
lives of Ayesha’s children ! See how I trust you ! ” 

She kissed him on the forehead, and with a noble 
dignity, said : “ Our lives flow on together in this 

sacred pact ! Until to-morrow, at Ignatieff’s ! ” 


122 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


BOOK II. 

A Strange Alliance. 


CHAPTER V. 

WE WILL MEET AGAIN SOON ! 

Four weeks from the Czar’s openly expressed de- 
fiance of England, Major Wardlawe was a favorite in 
the inner circles of the whirl by the Neva ! Though the 
English Parliament still growled, and shipyards ham- 
mered, fleets paraded, orators vociferated, and money 
was poured out, the grim clutch of the Bear was firmly 
fastened on the Key to India! 

Wise diplomats found the easy way of a “ modus 
vivendi,” and then, an accommodation to the difficulty 
to ease down he excited passions of the British public. 

With a grim smile, Nicholas Ignatieff said : “ Peace 
at last! Gladstone’s Ministry is breaking up, and 
‘ impotent godliness ’ will give way to the intelligent 
Philistinism of the robust Salisbury! One is never 
safe with a reformer; they may at any time blunder 
into any moral crime ! 

“ But Salisbury is a sensible pyramidal fellow ! 
Symmetrical from every point of view ! It is now 
‘ panem et circenses ’ instead of blood and ‘ the im- 
minent deadly breach ! ’ ” 

Plunged into a career of fascinating social pleas- 
ures, Major Wardlawe now spent his mornings in the 
detailed instructions of planning the great coal works ! 
His afternoons were passed with the sister of his heart, 
the fair Tcherkess rebel, whose frank womanhood 
astounded him ! Allan Law’s name, however, was 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


123 


never mentioned, and Wardlawe had received no news 
of that disturbing young rival. 

For he had early learned the useful lesson of for- 
getting the pen while in Russia. 

Beyond the safe medium of Paul Kurtz’s dispatch 
bags, Wardlawe’s only communications were the 
laug^hing challenges of passionate Russian eyes. 

Some inner current of confidential gossip had 
stamped him as one who was in an unfathomed way 
a loyal friend of the Russ, and so, many an eye grew 
brighter at his coming! 

With a mischievous sense of self-protection, the 
now radiant Esme sent her adopted brother ” into 
warmer corners than even the “ rebel works at Peters- 
burg.” 

“ You owe me something, Ahmed! ” she whispered, 
in one of their daily conferences in Natalie Ignatieff’s 
deserted music room. 

“ You cannot make love to dear old Chestakofif, to 
that confirmed woman hater, Paul Kurtz, only devoted 
to art, to the great Nicholas, and Madame Natalie is 
serenely seated ‘ in the heights,’ above us all ! You 
must appear to make love vigorously, if only to sup- 
port your name as ‘ un cavaliere galantuomo.’ 

“ So here is your ronde des visites : Countess Na- 
dine Aprakine, Baroness Alexi Laska, the French Am- 
bassadress — I permit you to adore all these ! ” 

“ And, if I am taken seriously,” gaily cried Ward- 
lawe. 

‘‘ Then I will come in and cut you out under the 
enemy’s guns ! ” 

They were both happy, for the cable had announced 
that the “ Water Witch ” would be ready before 
Wardlawe’s arrival. 

In these days of budding April, the Ice King was 
slowly relaxing her grasp on the Neva and Wardlawe 
yearned to be off for San Francisco. 

Patience, patience ! ” laughed Chestakofif and Ig- 
natiefif. But four weeks more ! We are marking 
every movement of England’s forces and fleet ! 

By the middle of May we will know if we can safely 


i24 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


trust five millions of dollars to the covering fortifica- 
tions of Dui. 

“ And we will not alarm our English rivals by any 
seeming undue activity! Give yourself up to enjoy- 
ment I Russia may go forward slowly ; but she never 
goes back! 

“ A taste of our magic May and then you can hasten 
off! It will bring you to San Francisco by June first 
and to Saghalien by July fifteenth, as early as you can 
operate there ! Three months will suffice you for your 
first work ! ” 

Lost in the whirl of a never ending gayety, which 
aroused the suspicions of even the blase Paul Kurtz, 
the American panted to be away upon the secret quest 
of the dark-eyed Tcherkess. 

In Esme’s eyes a somber slumbering fire now 
burned, for the cable had brought her the promise of 
Dimitri Gorlitz to have the “ Water Witch ” on its way 
to Nicolaievsk by June fifteenth, 

“ And, Ahmed,” she whispered, ” I count the days, 
for the sooner you go the safer our project will be! 
And you will then return to me next winter, crowned 
with success ! ” 

“ If I live, Esme,” sighed the American. 

Fulfil my wishes and you shall see Circassia as 
my private guest ; for when I have succeeded, do you 
not see, my brother, that I can make my own terms 
with the Czar ? ” 

“Through the Rothschilds?” cried the astonished 
American. 

“ This financial alliance, when sealed by my reas- 
serted privileges sold to them, will release Agar from 
the secret servitude of the Navy, a translation inge- 
niously devised only to separate us, and it will insure 
my freedom! 

“ It will mean freedom for us both — we will pass 
out from under the yoke ! But, one false step ! Ah ! 
God ! What horrors would follow ! ” 

Wardlawe was amazed at the sudden torrent of 
tears which veiled her splendid eyes. 

Left alone, he said : “ The Countess Ignatieff is 

right ! Esme Chilkoff is as wild a nature as Diana of 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 12 $ 

old ! And as a woman, still to me a riddle ! Only the 
‘ ro.und and top of sovereignty ’ would fitly reward 
her superb and undaunted courage.’’ 

Society saw her, splendidly framed, merely as a dis- 
tant and resplendent starl Less than the presence of 
the Czarina or the Grand Duchesses, she never hon- 
ored, save when visiting with Madame Ignatieff ! she 
impartially visited all the Embassies in stately guise. 

At the Court Theatre, the Opera, on the Island — 
a dream of beauty — she turned disdainful eyes upon 
the crowding suitors who sighed in vain. 

“ Allan Law has foolishly gone on to Turkestan ! ” 
suddenly said the Count Ignatieff one day as the 
quartette sat at dinner. '' I have had a telegram to send 
him as escort to Merv ! ” 

A mysterious smile curved the lips of the Princess 
Esme. And yet she gave no sign ! 

Old Ali Roustan had' returned, but the grim Circas- 
sian, following his princely mistress, silently made no 
mention of the young wanderer. 

“ He has passed out of her mind ! ” mused Ward- 
lawe. “ Her pathway is over human hearts ! It is the 
time of roses with her ! And no one has as yet found 
the open sesame of the wild heart ! ” 

Before the end of April, Major Wardlawe was 
fully equipped with the instructions of both Admiral 
Chestakoff and the indefatigable Count Ignatieff as to 
the Dui works. “ Centralization is a wonderful force, 
even if it abridges the individual liberty,” mused the 
engineer. 

For, seated in the Marine Department, he discussed, 
in detail, with the venerable Minister the superb skel- 
eton maps, plans and charts sent on from Dui, across 
Siberia, by an Imperial courier. 

“ How easy to work these seeming wonders ! ” 
calmly said the Admiral. '' We send our best talent 
professionally to Siberia, the officers receiving double 
pay and promotion. The offenders who, in other lands, 
are mere civil ciphers, dead to the world, immured at 
useless or fantastic toil, are poured over there to be 
human buffers in breaking the ice of ages. 


126 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


“ Even the talented convicts are used in all their 
special callings. 

“ These superb maps were made by an ex-Colonel 
of Engineers who murdered a beautiful Hungarian 
prima donna, five years ago, through a lover’s jealousy 
here! We treat him well there; he is only excluded 
forever from the order which he has disgraced. 

“ And Russia well knows how to moderate the lash I 
Pray observe. Major Wardlawe, that all these buga- 
boo stories of Siberian horrors are of purely English 
origin I 

“If you wish to compare our penal system with the 
horrors of Olmutz, Spandau, Sainte Pelagie, Cayenne, 
Botany Bay, the dens of Italy or the prison shambles 
of America, I will give you a few official Russian 
reports. 

“ As for Siberia, my happiest days were passed com- 
manding the fleet at Vladivostock, the Gate of the 
East. 

“ And Siberia has been the nursery of many of our 
ablest men 1 The great Muravieff was the father of 
our Siberian policy in ‘ fifty to fifty-six.’ 

“ It is that wonderful genius, Nicholas Ignatieff, 
who devised our whole Chinese policy from ‘ sixty to 
sixty-five ’ I 

“ Study well that man’s character! Fresh from his 
victories in the Caucasus, he went to China and Sibe- 
ria, and his genius has supplemented and extended 
the sacred wills of Peter and Catherine ! He gave us 
the southern ten degrees of latitude by his treaty with 
Prince Kung; he secured for us Possiette Bay, Em- 
peror’s Bay, peerless Vladivostock and then, pointed to 
Saghalien Island, as our one coal supply ! You are only 
working his will when you open the inexhaustible coal 
mines of Dui to our fleet ! The Japanese at Nagasaki 
have the only other available coal on the Pacific.” 

“ A wonderful man ! ” sighed Wardlawe. 

“ Yes ! ” said Chestakoff. 

“ Never outwitted but once, and that was when 
Loris Melikoff pandered to the late Emperor’s love for 
the Princess Dolgourouki. 

“ Ignatieflf is the one living martyr of Russia ! It 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 1 27 

was Alexander II. who in a fit of moral weakness aban- 
doned the great Peter’s policy when the gates of Con- 
stantinople lay open to us ! 

“ And then he dropped Ignatieff, a victorious Dic- 
tator,. to please the angered people, robbed of their 
greatest sipoil of victcory — Saint Sophia ! 

“This, too, at the whim of a bright-eyed girl ! 

“ But the great Czar died later by violence ! Loris 
Melikoff followed, by poison or suicide, in exile; the 
Princess Dolgourouki has been chased away into Ger- 
many, and Minister Tolstoi is only Ignatieff’s pupil! 
Nicholas Ignatieff lives to be the Nestor of Russian 
policy ! 

“ And he is far abler than Gortschakoff or De Giers, 
mere men of the Chamber ! Soldier, statesman, diplo- 
matist, courtier, Nicholas Ignatieff has been the Riche- 
lieu of Russia. 

“ It is he whose finger points us now to Peking I 

“ Our present Czar has the private map traced by 
Ignatieff, with all of Corea, all of Manchuria, the Yel- 
low Sea and Port Arthur in our hands ! 

“ Can you not see that with our railway finished, 
with the feeders crawling into China, that in three 
generations we will disintegrate and absorb China as 
we have all of Asia save Hindustan I 

“ China’s one million and a half square miles, its 
four hundred millions of people will make the Russian 
Empire greater than the English domains, and it will 
be laced together by railways! 

On interior lines we can baffle the British ; the rest 
of the world must then let us alone ! ” 

“ Germany ! ” doubtfully said Wardlawe. 

“We will balance France against that!” energet- 
ically said Chestakoff ! See here on the Neva! One 
hundred and seventy years ago this was a lonely 
marsh ! 

“ To-day it is the Northern Paris ! 

“ In a century, all China will be dominated by Rus- 
sia. 

“ Napoleon, our faithless foe, who was balked of a 
Russian marriage by the Emperor Alexander yielding 


128 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


to his mother’s dislike, said : “ In fifty years, all 
Europe will be Republican or Cossack! 

“ The great Peter pointed to the feeblest opponents 
for his extension ! 

“ In one hundred years all Asia will be Russian, 
save Hindustan, fenced off by the Himalayas! Ig- 
natieff is only a later Peter the Great ! Study him ! The 
world should never lose such a man ! ” 

“England’s opposition?” anxiously said Ward- 
la we. “ She grows weaker every year, we stronger ! 
I will quote one of their own classic poets: 

“ ‘ 111 fares that land, — to hastening ills, a prey. 

Where wealth accumulates, and men decay ! ’ 

“ Look at Ignatieff ’s giant mind ! It was he who de- 
vised the idea with the American Consril-General Col- 
lins, in ‘ fifty-four,’ of placing steamers on the Amoor, 
to run as far as the Shilka, nearly two thousand miles ! 

“ That brilliant Governor-General, Boris Chilkoff, 
was energetically beginning this, when the knife of an 
assassin laid him low ! 

“ And so the first ‘ Amoor Navigation Company ’ 
became onlv a traditional name ! It may be something 
yet ! ” 

Wardlawe was trembling, lest the secret of his heart 
should be unveiled. 

“We have used the elastic name in this trying junc- 
ture,” smilingly said the Admiral, “ and with good 
judgment, for twenty ocean steamers will soon ply 
from San Francisco and San Diego, from Portland, 
Tacoma and Seattle to Nicolaievsk, Vladivostock, Sag- 
halien and Port Arthur when the railway is done. All, 
all of this we owe to Ignatieff ! 

“ Our able secret agent at San Francisco is Dimitri 
Gorlitz, soon to be promoted a Minister! On his re- 
turn he will bring the whole plan, which he is working 
up with your capitalists. Sterling Mott and Marsden.” 

“ This is a gigantic scheme ! ” said the astounded 
American. 

“Yes, and it would have been carried through 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. I29 

sooner if the Government had left Ignatieff as Am- 
bassador in London! 

“ After his career in the Caucasus, China, Turkey 
and at Vienna, he saw the need of ready money for 
our various enterprises. 

While the Czar cannot officially ally himself with 
the great Israelite kings of the London, Amsterdam, 
Paris, Frankfort, Berlin and Vienna money markets, 
Ignatieff devised a way to baffle the hatred of the or- 
ganized Greek Church for the Jews. 

In London, his friendship with Montefiore, with the 
Rothschilds and other great Semitic capitalists made 
him really an Ambassador to the whole Jewish nation I. 

While Ignatieff was Dictator here, Baron Stern- 
berg, as local agent, held the Rothschilds’ purse open 
to us! Our funds rose at once. Alas! Prejudice — 
the weapon of fools — soon destroyed all this, the work 
of many years ! Loris Melikoff chased Sternberg 
away, to revenge himself on Ignatieff, who had been 
his own commander in Armenia. The sly Armenian 
upstart ruined our finances! 

“ And so the funds which would have been at our 
command for Siberian and Asian exploitation, are di- 
verted into American and other foreign enterprises! 

But, Baron Sternberg has an enormous influence 
near the Czar ! 

For, Major, the Imperial family often needs 
money, and ‘ gold has no religion.’ ” 

“ This is a strange alliance! ” mused Major Ward- 
lawe, as he drove down to the Moika. “ The union, in 
interest, between Esme Chilkoff and the Prime Min- 
ister of the Rothschilds ! ” 

“ Perhaps Sternberg and his masters have an eye 
on the enormous trade interests to be developed by the 
Siberian Railway. 

And they can play the game as adroitly as the 
Hebrews of the Alaska Fur Company did in their Rus- 
sian concession. They must have a Russian figure- 
head, a name, to operate under! Ignatieff is too old 
to handle the scheme now. His son is but a boy in the 
Cadet School ! And perhaps this Tcherkess Star, the 
inheritor of a valuable franchise, may be the one potent 


130 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


name under which Sternberg and his friends will dom- 
inate the interior trade of China and Siberia! The 
money handlings will be immense, the profits huge. 
Strange wayward girl! Devoid of every feminine 
weakness, when womanly passion once wakes her 
heart, she will be a human meteor ! 

“ And for what purpose does she hoodwink Gorlitz, 
the Ignatieffs, Chestakoff and all, even Sternberg, as to 
her secret inspection of these half-forgotten proper- 
ties? Has that girlish mind the nerve to checkmate 
the Czar by arraying the Jewish money kings of the 
world against him? 

“ If they do not rule the world of ships and fac- 
tories, of railways and mines, they are the true kings 
of the Bourse and the money exchanges ! 

“ ‘ On the Rialto ’ the word of a Sternberg is 
mightier than the fiat of a Romanoff! My Hebrew 
allies seem to have taken Shylock’s description of An- 
tonio's carelessly spread out ventures as their ‘ vade 
mecum ! ' 

“ Yes, there must be a reason for this seal of se- 
crecy, that even Agar Chilkoff knows not his brave 
sister’s plans! The daring girl would hold him free 
of all!” 

Major Wardlawe had listened to Ignatieff’s stories 
of the transcendently beautiful Caucasus. 

“ It has two hundred thousand square miles ! Its six 
million people are a greater heritage than that of 
Frederick the Great ! ” mused Ignatieff on this pleas- 
ant afternoon, taking up his favorite discourse.’ “ Only 
the separatist policy would ever quell these people ! ” 
reflectively said the great statesman. “ The great 
princes have been gloriously seduced into the Czar’s 
service and all scattered. The lovely women of their 
line divided in marriage among the loyal courtiers of 
Russia’s Czar and craftily located in the farthest limits 
of our sixty-six separate governments.” 

“Was it this policy which made of Agar Chilkoff, a 
mountain prince, a Russian naval oflflcer? ” laughingly 
said Wardlawe. Think of a Circassian Admiral ! ” 

“ I directed that ! ” answered Ignatieff with a resent- 
ful gleam of his dark Tartar eyes, 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 13I 

“ For, he was the next available kingly aspirant after 
Schamyl’s two sons. One of these was slain as our 
foeman in seventy-seven. He came too near winning 
back the Caucasus ! The other we have smothered in 
honors! He is a Colonel of Guards and an Imperial 
Aide-de-Camp. 

“ But this Agar Chilkoff was of a wilder flight ! 
And, strange to say, a superb sailor! He is kept at 
the antipodes ! 

“ The Princess Esme ? ” murmured Wardlawe. 
“ She is the failing case of all formulas! Neither fear 
nor flattery, force, nor Imperial favor has blinded this 
young eaglet’s eyes. Scorning even ‘ force majeure ’ 
in my own presence, she said to the late Czar : “ I will 
promise nothing till I am free! You could not tame 
Ayesha’s soul ! I am her daughter ! ’ 

“ It was the wise old Empress who counseled delay. 
‘ Let her fancy that she rules her own fate, but keep 
her out of Circassia ! ” said that august Czarina. 

“ And,” sighed Ignatieflf, “ Esme will not yield ! Her 
domains are open to her at any time with a Russian 
husband of her own selection, but, not the gigantic 
Alexander Third, not even the fashionable Dagmar 
dares voice the proposition of a ‘husband selected by 
the Privy Council!’ 

“ They all remember Esme’s intrepid threat : 
‘ There is always the river or the deadly “ sleeping po- 
tion ” of my. people ! Let your tyranny pause at my 
threshold ! ’ 

“ And, Wardlawe,” said the Count, “ half of her 
domestics are thes-e untameable children of the mist! 
They would obey her and die with her on a splendid 
funeral pyre made of this bewildering palace prison ! 
Alone against the world, Esme has never laid her 
head on any woman’s bosom, save that of my gentle 
wife. 

“ And wild girl as she is, she shames us in her de- 
votion to her Allah ! ‘ Leave to me the truth and 

courage of my race, my birthright ! ’ she cried. ‘ Your 
courtiers cringe, your priests are all liars ! You con- 
quered the Lesghian prophet king Schamyl; I am the 


132 the mystery op a shipyard. 

last of the Tcherkess monarchs, for even my brother 
wears your gilded livery. 

“ ‘ But, free was I born and free will I die ! ’ 

“ All the romance of the old Byzantine Emperors, 
the proud Georgian kings, is centered in this superb 
rebel, whose gallant father found an earthly paradise 
in Ayesha’s arms ! Love alone conquered her mother. 
If anything ever subdues the living fortress of Esme 
Chilkoif’s heart, it will be an overmastering love, and 
I fear that some tragedy will result! For the wild 
winds of passion will tempestuously sway her stormy 
heart ! 

“ Our Russian youth — the flower of our hand — are 
to her but the children of her hated jailers.'’ 

“ Closer than a brother now I ” murmured Esme 
Chilkoff when two weeks later the lively Circassian 
gave to Major Wardlawe her secret instructions, not 
to be opened until he reached Nagasaki. 

“ Here are my letters for Baron Sternberg, who will 
come over to Frankfort to meet you ! ” said the resolute 
rebel. 

‘‘ You are to tell him nothing ! He will only register 
your signature and take twenty duplicates, that you 
may draw drafts against my funds with Sternberg, 
payable in any port of the Orient! 

“ Fear not that the ' Water Witch ’ and her sup- 
plies will need your care! Dimitri Gorlitz has been 
ordered to inspect all of this ! He fancies that the 
boat is intended for the Governor-General of Eastern 
Siberia, at Habaroffka.” 

“But who will I deal with at Nagasaki, Japan?” 
said the mystified American. 

“ W e have had Sternberg’s nephew transferred there 
as Russian Consul from Amoy ! He will bear instruc- 
tions to blindly obey you ! Do not mention this to the 
Baron. For the transition from Levy to Levassoflf was 
gracefully effected to enable Isidor Levy, then Oriental 
partner, to marry a Polish Countess, who saved her 
estates,, as Levy won his bride by coming into the 
Greek communion! 

“ Receiving the name of ‘ Alexei ’ as a baptismal 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD, 


133 


present, you will certainly find Alexei Levassoff a Rus- 
sian a la mode. 

“ Such is Russia! A Jewish groom, a Polish bride 
(Both of them secret hypocrites) ; in two years Levas- 
soff’s purchased Bavarian baronial title will be offi- 
cially recognized by the Czar! I admire the honesty 
which makes no official list of the Russian nobles, save 
the Imperial family, and those created Counts of the 
Empire under patent.” 

“ Levy or Levassoff will be my firm friend then?” 
demanded Wardlawe. 

“ He will do your bidding, and, remember, Ahmed, 
never mention my name ! All is made smooth fgr you ! 
He will communicate by cable with me through Stern- 
berg, and he will send me in the official mail anything 
you wish ! Simply say, ‘ For Sternberg,’ and I will 
receive it quicker than if it were addressed to the Czar. 

‘‘ For gold is king, even in the Orient ! ” 

As in America,” sadly remarked the Major. “ But 
your secret agent! The one who is to take the boat 
and make the inspection ? ” gravely said the engineer. 
“ How will I recognize him ” 

“ That has kept me sleepless ! ” smilingly said Esme, 
“ while you have been paraded in the court circle as 
Madame Ignatieff’s protege! The whole project 
hangs on this vital selection! 

“ To make the trip to Ust-Streika, where the Amoor 
breaks through the Khingan Mountains, will be the 
work of all July, August, September, and October! 

“ My agent must be out of the Amoor by November 
first, and then on his way back to the P. and O. 
steamers to Alexandria ! 

“ Thence by Russian boat to Odessa and train here, 
I should have his report by December first ! 

I have secretly assembled a half dozen followers 
for this agent: four American engineers will be se- 
lected by Gorlitz, men who have been on the Amoor, 
for Gorlitz is the protector of Freeman Smith & Co., 
your one American Siberian house. 

‘‘ All that is easy enough ! These are only the pawns ! 
But the man upon whom this quest must depend for 
success ? Where can I find him ? ” 


134 the mystery of a shipyard. 

Wardlawe gazed at the glowing face of the fearless 
young beauty. 

“ He must speak Russian and know all our laws ! 
He must be a man of rank ! He must be brave, de- 
voted, young, true and a man of every resource! I 
cannot trust to a Frenchman or German! An Eng- 
lishman is out of the question ! ” 

There was a silence while Esme leaned her head 
upon her hand. “ You, I would have chosen, but that 
you would be the victim perhaps of some fanatic’s jeal- 
ousy of your speaking English ! I dare send no one 
from her out with you ! 

“ And your visit would mean the delay of the Gov- 
ernment projects; a dozen spies would follow you; 
your dear life would be forfeited perhaps! 

“No! You would be too great a sacrifice! You 
are now beloved closer than a brother! And I need 
you in my future! Agar, too, will need you! You 
shall yet learn to love him, as you love me ! ” 

“ A sailor — some bold officer, a Finn or Swede ! ” 
suggested Wardlawe. 

“ They are always brutalized by the officials, and are 
also men below the social grade that I need ! There is 
more here than the twenty thousand pounds at stake ! ” 
mused the Circassian girl. 

“ Cannot Baron Sternberg aid you ? ” asked Ward- 
lawe. 

“I do not wish a clerk or a factor, a banker or a 
tradesman ! I must have a hero, a man who would 
die for me, a man who would keep the faith and die 
in silence! 

“ No commercial man could be trusted ! The tempt- 
ing bribes, the dangers, the fatigues, the arrival of 
the unexpected — any of these things would wreck me 
for life! I play for a stake dearer to me than the 
mountain realm, which is mine, though my feet may 
never tread its enchanting vales ! ” 

“ Could not your brother find some naval officer, 
some golden-hearted Russian — no court dangler, but 
a man?” sighed Wardlawe. 

“Yes!” solemnly said Esme, “ but that I dare not 
pen a line of this project. It would insure my ruin ! 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


135 


‘'Its chance discovery would ruin Agar and work 
just the double forfeiture, which the Romanoffs, as a 
dynasty, would hail with glee! 

“ It would be, of course, the Privy Council which 
would despoil and sentence us — not Alexander Ro- 
manoff! Remember how they sent a half million of 
the fearless Adighe, out to the starvation of a Turkish 
exile when Schamyl fell. 

The vast estates of these loyal Mohammedan Cir- 
cassians were forfeited to the Government and quickly 
filled up with hardy Russian officers, who have mar- 
ried ‘ by order ’ our fairest maidens ! 

“ As the Queen of the Adighe and the Tcherkesses I 
have helped these martyrs of liberty and faith, through 
Sternberg, for, strange to say, the Sultans have been 
as tolerant to the Jews as the brave old Polish kings 
were! A noble lesson to the Orthodox! 

“ So a half million exiled hearts regard me as the 
sole heir of Ayesha, the last Queen of the Tcherkesses, 
the mystic Adighe ! My people are in Turkey, my 
realm is in Russia, and I only reign in loyal hearts, 
two thousand miles away! They believe my brother 
Agar to be dead, for in his splendid foreign career, he 
is hidden from us all. I see the deft touch of Igna- 
tieff’s master hand in that! 

" I have always loved my brave father’s memory ! 

" Though of the hated Russian blood, even as con- 
queror, he served Queen Ayesha on his bended knee 
till Love raised him to her heart ! ” 

And now the soldier of the star flag was on his 
knees before the startled Esme. 

“ Tell me, my child, my sister, my dear one ! ” cried 
Wardlawe. “For God’s sake, you are engaged in no 
mad scheme of revolt, no treasonable plot ! ” 

And then, Esme ChilkoflF fell sobbing into his arms. 

“ Before Allah, your God, I swear by my mother’s 
grave that I do no evil, that good may come ! 

“ It is the work of high Heaven ! A duel of love, 
of loyalty, of justice, that I may live and die free! 
Ask me no more, my Ahmed! The soul of my dead 
brother Ahmed beats now in your noble heart ! Trust 
me, keep me, or I shall die! ” 


136 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

“ To the last drop of my heart’s blood ! To the end 
of time ! You are dearer to me than life, and do I not 
prove it, Esme,” he whispered, “ when I can call you 
sister?” 

A rosy flush transfigured Esme Chilkoff’s face! 

“ I love you more than if the priests had joined our 
lives I ” she cried, “ for you are greater than self, and 
I will pay you a hundred fold ! You are a part of my 
life, though I may not be yours! Holier than that 
mere craving of the earth worm ! 

“ Listen ! In our life beyond the stars your soul and 
mine shall flow together, for, forget not, death un- 
clasps the arm of all earthly love! But I alone must 
find the needed man ! ” 

When she had refound her calmness, she whispered 
as if in fear of her avowal : “ There are loyal Rus- 

sians! I know a few gallant hearts! And yet men 
who would press me against my will to give them my 
poor self, in return for a service which might bring 
them to the gallows if malevolence should prevail ! I 
cannot lie ! I will not trap men’s souls ! Ayesha’s 
daughter cannot stoop so low ! 

“ And yet, for all that, I must succeed ! I will. 

“ One, one alone I could trust — Sacha Menchikoff ! ” 

Wardlawe started in a sudden surprise. 

/‘The duellist?’; 

“ Yes ! ” sadly sighed Esme, “ I had him sent away 
to Tomsk to save his life or that of Allan Law. You 
may not know it! Natalie Ignatieff loves Allan Law 
as a brother! I think she knew his English mother 
in her girlish days. Menchikoff is a fiery noble, the 
last of a great house ! He alone chivalrously refused 
to address me ‘ under an Imperial suggestion ’ ! He 
could mate with Russia’s proudest — up to the Impe- 
rial blood — and he has warned me of the pitfalls dug 
for me ! But, he is young and cruel ; the wine of life 
seethes in his veins ! He would be the one man of the 
world to do my bidding to execute this quest! And 
I could have him recalled by a single telegram ! 

“ But he has the pride of a hundred princes in his 
fiery veins ! 

“ He saw Allan Law’s favored intimacy when Count 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 1 37 

Ignatieff desired to save the friend of his wife from 
being chased out of Russia ! ” 

“The excitement is all over !” calmly said Wardlawe. 
“ Colonel Menchikoff might return and be placated ! 
Law^ is no longer here ! The English blustering, the 
Penj Deh clamor subsides from day to day ! London is 
busy with its new Ministry, its factious Irish, its last 
explosion of April twenty-third.” 

“ True,” said the Princess, “ and Ignatieff tells me 
that the Salisbury Ministry will soon take seals and 
kiss hands in a month ; in fact, on June twenty-fifth.” 

“ That ratifies a peace until the ' inevitable ’ comes 
— say in another generation ! ” 

“ But I could not call Sacha Menchikoff to my side,” 
softly said Esme. “ No man has pressed my lips in 
love ! My heart is still an unprofaned altar ! Menchi- 
koff would go at my slightest nod ! — ‘ Loyal jusqua la 
mort ! ’ But, Ahmed, my more than brother, when he 
came back — without a word of demand — could I look 
into his honest eyes? He serves the Princess, but he 
would crave the woman ! He is too young, too fiery, 
too ardent ! I could not keep him off ! I could not 
reward him ! I cannot live a lie ! My heart is an 
altar, my body a temper ! And yet he has sworn to kill 
any man to whom I give this poor hand in marriage ! 

“ And when he had given me a year of his life, when 
he had faced the bitter Amoor blasts for me, and I 
knew he would succeed : when he saw the coldness of 
my eyes he would go back to his caserne and then 
quietly shoot himself! 

“ No ! Sacha Menchikoff must live to find the 
woman whom he loves and the woman who loves him ! 
It cannot be ! It must not be I It shall not be ! I will 
not be a living lie ! I will not bankrupt his brave 
young life ! ” 

“ For,” she whispered, “ only the sacred isolation of 
my palace prison, only Paula Fadaieff’s ceaseless guard 
has kept this prince of rovers away! He knows that 
I love the high pride which armed his honor against 
his heart! That he would not throw the Czarina's 
veiled command into the scale against a friendless girl ! 


138 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

No, him will I spare ! For his own sake, for the sake 
of womanhood ! ” 

And I must go then on a blind trail ! Knowing 
nothing of your secret champion ! ” 

“ Listen ! ” cried Esme, springing up like a lioness 
guarding her young! 

“ Here is my own signet ring ! It is my mother’s, 
the seal of the divine Ayesha! It was the talisman 
between our dead parents I Its motto in our Tcher- 
kess tongue is touching! You see the graven stars! 
It reads : ‘ As long as the stars shine in heaven, I will 
love you ! ’ 

I have the duplicate which was made for my gal- 
lant father ! 

“ Agar left it on his last voyage as a thing too 
sacred to lose ! 

“ I will send the other ring to you by the man whom 
I choose ! He will have all his orders ! He will only 
say to you, ‘ In Agar’s name ! ’ and give you a sealed 
letter from me, in which- 1 will say to you, in my own 
handwriting, ‘ Ecce homo ! ’ 

“ The rest of the letter will be filled with the chatter 
of the court, the news of our circle perhaps,” she 
smilingly said, “ even messages from the warm hearts 
you leave behind you here ! ” 

Wardlawe gazed into the softened eyes of the beau- 
tiful enigma. 

“ Esme ! ” he softly said, “if any woman on God’s 
footstool ever heard me plead again in love it would 
be you, and, you know it ! 

“ And when I have put that dream by for you, at 
your own bidding, am I not your slave? Never speak 
of these bright-eyed banditti of Petersburg ! They have 
only pleased themselves in pleasing me ! It is the 
pleasure of the chase with them — -not the game ! ” 

The Princess sat with her eyes covered with her 
trembling hands ! Some spell seemed to be upon her ! 
Beneath her silken armor, her undaunted heart beat 
tumultuously, and her bosom rose and fell in some 
strange new emotion ! 

“Walter!” she said, grasping his hands, her eyes 
filled with a strange yearning sweetness, “ it is better 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


139 


as it is ! That you love me as you do, that you do not 
crave me like Sacha Menchikoff ! For do you not see, 
you alone reap what is denied to him ! Even Agar 
cannot share with you this love which is its own ‘ ex- 
ceeding great reward ! ’ I find all the peace and cour- 
age of my stormy girlhood in your loyal heart! 

“ And if you did love me like these others you might 
know regret some day ! For I might be tempted to 
show you all the weaknesses of my nature ! 

“ But you will always love me beyond measure, for 
I shall make you! You will never escape me! ” 

With a light foot she passed him, returning soon in 
a strange calmness. “ I will talk to the stars to-night ! 
There is an old Mollah here, one who knows my 
mother’s old charms! I will find out the man! 

“ And Sacha Menchikoff shall mate with some pas- 
sionate Russian who will keep his heart always aflame 
in Love’s torments ! When the love of a life reaches 
my heart it will be a tide which will bear me away at 
the hour of fate ! It will be Kismet !” 

“ You will succeed, Esme ! ” cried Wardlawe. 
“ There is victory in your own dear eyes ! And you 
have nobly spared Menchikoff ! You have a warrior’s 
soul and the honor of a Bayard ! Listen ! 

“ In three days I go away secretly ! I have all my 
instructions ! 

‘‘ Only Paul Kurtz, Admiral Chestakoff and Count 
Ignatieff will know ! I am telegraphed home ! The 
boat will be shipped on June eighth ! I will be at Na- 
gasaki on July first! 

“ So send all letters after me to this young prince 
of Judah and Mammon, the Russianized Levy with 
the Polish countess wife made over into a good Mus- 
covite ! ” 

“ I am glad that the serpentine Ilka Plessky is on 
her estate at Skierniwice,” mischievously said Esme, 
'' for she gave up none of her Circe-like ways, ‘ en Po- 
lonaise,’ when she carried the millionaire’s heir and 
nephew to save her estates and avoid the fierce wooing 
of an old Russian General ! She will await Levassoff ’s 
promotion to be Minister to Portugal! 

Even stoic as you are, I would not care to trust 


140 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


you with Ilka ! I remember her ways at the Catherine 
Institute, a very Delilah of the daughters of Sobieski ! 

“ You will give me the last evening, alone, at my 
own house ! ” sadly said Esme. “ Leave the Ignatieffs 
to me ; they are ‘ as wax in my hands ” 

And as Wardlawe kissed her hands, she said: 

“ I do this that you may not betray the over-measure 
of love in your heart ! So, you will make your adieux 
to the Ignatieffs and Chestakoff at breakfast, and give 
that agreeable doyen of bachelors, Paul Kurtz, the day 
before! You belong to me on your last evening! ” 

‘‘ Have I noit been a loyal man? demanded Ward- 
lawe. “We have outwitted the whole of St. Peters- 
burg ! 

“ True! sighed Esme, “ but the ordeal by fire is 
to come ! I know that Allah will send help ! To-night 
I spend in cornTnune with Ayesha’s soul ! She will 
guard her orphaned child from yonder bright stars ! ” 

It was not without secret misgivings as to his own 
self command that Walter Wardlawe entered for the 
last time the silent palace where no pictured face 
gazed from the walls. 

He had baffled the keen-eyed gossips of the gayest 
court in the world, and even the bluff Grand Duke 
Michael had no meaning jest to enliven his hearty 
farewell ! The gentle patronage- of the Countess Nata- 
lie Ignatieff had led the American on beyond the 
Scylla of dissipation and the Charybdis of intrigue! 

Perfectly calm in the possession of not a single docu- 
ment, the American complacently reflected upon his 
passage secured at Cherbourg and the welcome await- 
ing him in the proud banking city where Meyer An- 
selin Rothschild once lived in the Judengasse. 

Surgeon Pauloff’s claiming a return visit, the laugh- 
ing adieu of a score of charming women had cheered 
him, and neither midnight robber, farcical arrest, nor 
railway collisions now floated before his mind. 

He was leaving Russia with the certainty of an as- 
sured fortune awaiting him ! And yet his friends had 
prudently veiled the attempt on his life ! 

“ You will have an officer with you from the moment 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. I4I 

you reach Nagasaki, one who speaks English, French 
and German. 

“ And the Czar has personally directed a telegram to 
be sent to Admiral Lemacheffsky, at Vladivostock, as 
to your full powers in the matter of the Saghalien 
works ! You will be treated as one of the Imperial 
family, ‘ a guest of the Czar.’ 

“ I envy you,” said the old soldier-diplomat, for 
my youth was spent in China! Siberia and the Cau- 
casus knew my young manhood. My time of surging 
manhood, my only happy days ! ” 

Wardlawe was happy in that Paul Kurtz was going 
with him as far as Berlin as “ camarade de voyage,” 
for the factotum of the American Legation had borne 
the burden of these three months of the Penj Deh ex- 
citement. 

“ Komaroff gets a Lieutenant-Generalcy, a diamond 
sword, and a hundred thousand golden roubles ! For 
six years of service here I get the privilege of paying 
my way to Carlsbad and back, to get the Neva malaria 
out of my bones at my own expense ! The gratitude 
of republics ! So, meet me at the train. ‘ Luigi ’ will 
attend to all ! ” 

Wardlawe appreciated the art-loving Secretary’s 
kindly self-effacement, and now, in withdrawing him- 
self from the witching whirl of St. Petersburg, he felt 
only the fear of betraying to Esme Chilkoff the surg- 
ing passions of his heart ! 

“ I must learn to live without her ! ” he gravely said. 

First to serve her, then to learn again the lesson 
of life! Duty, self-denial, even, renunciation!” 

He started back in astonishment on his entrance, to 
find the great palace within its doubly shrouded win- 
dows lit up as for a royal festival, with Oriental lan- 
terns. 

Troops of Asiatic servants were ranged in the vast 
hall, where old Ali Roustan, in the chivalric armor of 
a Circassian warrior, conducted him to a set of state 
apartments. 

And there, by signs and entreaty, the old henchman 
forced Wardlawe, in loving kindness, to don an Asiatic 
dress of surpassing richness. 


142 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


“ Agar ! ” he muttered, as he pointed to the princely 
garb. 

“ It is some fanciful masquerade ! ” murmured 
Wardlawe, “ and I am for this one of the thousand 
and one nights, to be really Ahmed ! ” he concluded as 
he read the little note ‘ For my sake ! ’ 

He recognized Esme's strange chirography. 

As he was led down the banquet hall, there burst 
forth strains of wild martial music, and his heart 
stood still as Esme Chilkoff then appeared, a majestic 
beauty, clad in robes which rivaled a coronation dress 
of the Czarina. 

There was a coronet of diamonds and priceless tur- 
quoises upon her head as she swept forward to meet 
him. 

“ To-night, I wear for you,” she fondly said, “ the 
robes of Ayesha, the Queen of the Adighe — a dead 
queen, a lost kingdom, an exiled or a conquered race, 
divided even in their fall ! ” 

The amazing richness of the banquet, the splendors 
of this never-forgotten night bereft the secret envoy 
of his self-control. 

“ I am no longer a wanderer of the West ! I am 
Ahmed, for you, this night ! ” he vowed, as he sat on 
the divan at her side, where they were served in the 
royal state of her birthright. 

Fail me not, my brother ! ” whispered Esme in her 
thrilling voice, and you shall be adopted into our 
mystic tribe! One countersign will make you the 
heart brother of four millions I For, whom I love they 
will cherish and die for ! ” 

It was when the star dials pointed to morn that the 
last words had been spoken. 

The Baroness ! queried Wardlawe. “ I reign 
for one night, freed from all spies, even my loving 
jailer,” whispered Esme. 

“ I have talked with Ayesha ! The stars have been 
kind to me 1 ” said Esme when the parting moment 
came. “ Now you know all but the unraveled web of 
the future! I ask no pledges of my brother! For you 
now wear my signet ring! Remember, Levassoff, by 
dispatches or cable, will have all my orders! But I 


The mystery oe a shipyard. 143 

alone, Ahmed, am to be the judge of good and evil! 
The fierce play of events may raise storms around me ! 
Admiral Lemachelfsky, at Vladivostock, and Baron 
Knorp, who goes to Habaroffka, are the Czar’s vice- 
roys ! 

. “ It is as the Queen of the Adighe, your sister, 
that I order you to hold your hand olf there and let 
me work my will 1 

‘‘ For, what is written by Fate will be done, and if 
we meet again you shall know all; and Agar, free to 
act, will hail you as brother ! Let nothing dismay 
you I I have the alliance of the Kings of Gold against 
the ruler of the Icy World! 

“ And my dead mother, from the stars, will fight 
my battle! I shall know all! Remember, even in 
life and death I will be at your side, and I must work 
out my will! For you alone to-night I am the Queen 
of the Tcherkesses, a power above the Czar! These 
royal robes will never be worn again till Agar sits be- 
side us, in the bright days to come ! 

“ Now to Sternberg, to New York, San Francisco, 
Yokohama, Nagasaki, and Vladivostock. Even at Dui 
you can cable to Sternberg, through Levassoff. They 
will arrange all! Write me never a line!” 

They stood alone in the vast banquet hall. 

Suddenly Esme Chilkoff opened her arms, and as 
the messenger of her strange quest clasped her to his 
breast, she kissed him with lips of fire ! 

“ Go, go ! Ahmed ! ” she cried, with her arms cling- 
ing lo his neck in a frenzied tenderness. “ I have 
sealed your faith with the first kisses of my lips ! See 
how I trust you! Go, for I may remember that I am 
not only the daughter of warriors, but a woman — only 
a woman, Ahmed ! Here is my last token ! No man 
must ever gaze upon that pictured face ! ” 

She pressed a golden case into his hand, and swiftly 
ran to the stair. 

Standing there, a vision of delight, she ran back and 
kissed him once again. “Be brave, .true, bold, fortunate, 
and come back to me ! For you know not what you 
do! But Time will open to you this lonely heart ! You 
art my brother — to eternity ! ” 


144 


THE MASTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


When the grizzled old warrior touched his arm, the 
American went out as one drunken with the honey 
wine of the Circassian hills! 

In silence he rearrayed himself, and he started as 
Ahmed hung around his shoulders a blue cloak lined 
with the priceless mandarin fur. Its collar was of the 
Imperial black sables. 

Then, kneeling, the old warrior kissed the Amer- 
ican’s hand. 

Unclasping his dagger, he handed the richly chased 
blade to his adopted chief. 

Schamyl ! ” he said, as he kissed the blade thrice 
and presented it to the new lord of the misty hills, a 
brother of the royal house of Ayesha! 

When the gray dawn came, Major Wardlawe slowly 
rose and called back the enhancing vision of the night. 

“ Did I dream? ” he sighed. For these were words 
of vast import burned into his brain, and he heard 
again a voice which softly murmured : “ Swear se- 

crecy until I release you ; swear upon my mother’s 
ring!” 

Only the royal cloak, and the golden miniature case 
remained to prove the truth of his entry into a Cir- 
cassian paradise, the court of a phantom queen, the 
star of the Tcherkess dynasty ! 

Opening the clasped miniature, Wardlawe covered 
the face of Esme Chilkoff with burning kisses. 

For there she was pictured as he had seen her at 
the Opera, shining down even the Imperial Dagmar. 
The little legend in diamond letters, ” Esme to Ah- 
med,” was traced around a slender film of the silken 
hair, which seemed to be doubly a part of her very 
being now ! 

He paced his room until Luigi opened the door. 
“ I am to attend you to the station ! The Secretary 
will join you there.” 

Mere pride of honor kept Wardlawe from seeking 
again the silent palace, but, with haggard eyes, he 
drove sullenly to the great station. 

There, his face lighted up when a score of their 
friends surrounded the unruffled Kurtz and the de- 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 1 45 

parting American with the loving good-by and the 
flowing champagne of the light-hearted Russians. 

Some secret anxiety gnawed at Wardlawe’s heart 
until an official, bowing low, led the Major into an 
official state reception room. 

And there, Nicholas Ignatieff and Admiral Chesta- 
kofl made their hearty adieus. 

But the man who had charged at Five Forks with- 
out flinching, shivered when the old Count said : “ The 
ladies are in that parlor ! ” 

With moistened eyes, Wardlawe pressed Natalie 
Ignatieff’s hands as she strode out into the salon. 

And then, dropping her veil, Esme Chilkoff turned 
the sunlight of her beauty again upon him. “ I can bear 
it in hope, Walter ! ” she whispered, “ though the part- 
ing hour is here! You have my picture with you,*the 
only one ever. painted of a daughter of the mist! And 
daily you will hear from me till on the sea ! 

“ And now, God guard and guide and lead you ! ’’ 
She kissed his brow solemnly and stood with her 
hands trembling under his kisses as he obeyed the ap- 
peal of her eyes. 

And the train had passed Gatschina before Ward- 
lawe again found his voice. “ You are not the only 
man who has gazed back with an infinite longing at 
the golden dome of St. Isaac’s Church ! ” solemnly said 
Kurtz. 

“ There is a magic in Russian womanhood which 
disarms aU reason ! ” 

The American soldier bowed his head in silence, for 
he saw again that pale, proud face with the appealing 
tender eyes, the Queen of a night, the star of the 
unconquered Tcherkesses ! 

That night, alone in her room, Esme Chilkoff listened 
to the breathing of the stern old Ali Roustan, who lay 
on the floor without, a hardy guardian of the last jewel 
of the Caucasus ! 

She drew from her bosom a letter, the composition of 
which had cost its writer a week of torment ! “ Major 
Wardlawe can aid him, at the last, if peril should be- 
fall him ! Can I lay this burden upon him, this bright 
young life? 


146 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

“ For the sake of our royal house, for my heart’s 
promptings! For Ayesha’s holy line! There are no 
stars to guide me to-night ! ” 

She read again the impassioned words which 
brought once again the rose flush upon her face and 
neck and bosom ! “ He alone could be successful if he 
dares to face death and shame for me! He tempts it, 
and he will come at my bidding ! One more night for 
Allah’s guidance! And, if Ayesha speaks, her will 
shall lead me ! 

“ For none know — not Natalie, not even the golden- 
hearted Ahmed — my bold-hearted American brother! 
How can they know when he himself does not know ! ” 

In a sweet confusion she sought the shelter of dark- 
ness, and sleep came to her, and then the rule of mys- 
tic "dreams ! Her secret agent was far beyond Wilna 
before the troubled Princess found the sleep she 
courted. 

Before Walter Wardlawe had sailed toward the set- 
ting sun, before the Baron Sternberg had handed him 
the last of Esme’s daily telegrams, th'ere was a sun- 
burned stranger waiting in the telegraph rooms at the 
Kharkov station, a mighty hunter, who had wandered 
back from the burning sands of Khiva! 

A pallor as of death overcame the desert tan as the 
tall North Country man read the fateful words of the 
telegram, “ In my hour of need, I bid you to come ! ” 

Ayesha had spoken to her fearless child. 

“ Now, by God’s grace, this is the one maid of all 
the world for me ! ” mused Allan Law. Perhaps in 
some strange deed of self-denial I may wash out the 
one stain of my life, the dishonor of plotting to rob 
Wardlawe for England’s sake. And yet, I saved his 
life ! ” First-class for St. Petersburg ! ” he said, 
throwing down a hundred rouble note. 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


147 


CHAPTER VI. 

THE FASTEST BOAT EVER BUILT ! 

Before Wardlawe and Paul Kurtz parted at Berlin, 
the American soldier had regained his customary com- 
posure. 

Worn and weakened by the mental fencing of a 
Saint Petersburg life, the Secretary of Legation was 
content to see the stolid Prussians replace the simple 
Russian soldiery. 

‘‘ Only a change of uniforms,’’ placidly said Kurtz, 
“ and yet, it is a pleasure to shift one’s harness a little, 
and not always fight on the defensive.” 

“ You, Wardlawe, go back to the active ‘ dollar 
hunting ’ of America ; I will refresh myself and again 
take up my amused watch of the long duel of the Lion 
and the Bear.” 

You have become a bit unsettled by the Neva, my 
friend,” said Kurtz, with a curious smile, “ and you 
will soon drift back to Russia again.” 

‘‘ Why do you not return to America yourself ? ” said 
Wardlawe. 

“ Fate is stronger than I am,” quietly answered the 
diplomat. ‘‘ I have learned ways of my own in fifteen 
years over here. I live in my surroundings, glad to 
watch the game of Life as it is played out by others. 

* “ My modest means allow me an independence here, 
and, my position gives me its only reward, an entree ! 
I would be a mere helot in your plutocratic newer rule, 
at home! And here — I am content! Though the 
faces, the stakes vary, the same old game of Hearts 
and Clubs goes on ! 

“ Look at Russia and England ! The Crimea, the 
Franco-German war, the Plevna campaign, the Egypt 
muddle, now this untoward Penj Deh clash, show the 
same old deadly game! England ‘bluffing’ loudly; 
Russia warily waiting to take England at her weakest, 
and then deal a staggering blow ! 

“ In the meantime the sly Muscovites are absorbing 
Asia, breaking down China’s walls, enveloping Corea,, 


148 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

and, also, lacing Asia to Moscow, by steel railway fet- 
ters ! We may never meet again, Wardlawe ! ” 

“ Remember what I tell you ! In twenty-five years, 
England will sink forever below the horizon as a first- 
class military power unless she, too, adopts the ' uni- 
versal service ’ ! 

“ England must organize her army soon on modern 
lines, and develop her whole force, to win as formerly ! 

'‘Her navy? Well, it can easily ravage any land, 
except Russia! 

“ On the whole, the Russian policy is bold, sleepless, 
faultless, and, it will win I 

“ If England holds to the Turkish guarantee of Con- 
stantinople, and clings to India; in the future, she will 
lose one or both, at Russia’s will.” 

Only in a last farewell did Paul Kurtz name Esme 
ChilkoE. 

“ Singular, protegee of the gentle Countess Igna- 
tieff. The Circassian star is truly ‘ une femme incom- 
prise.” 

“ Radiant, distant, unapproachable — a creature of 
fire and flame ! A charming feminine mystery, an un- 
read human document! A fearless rebel, yet no con- 
spirator. And to-day, the most charming woman in 
Russia, for, ‘ elle se cache ’ ! 

“ There is a hero’s heart within that ivory bosom ! ” 

Walking the decks of the ” Champagne,” as the 
great French liner swung along past England’s white 
cliffs, Wardlawe sportively kissed his hand to “ la per- 
fide Albion ! ” 

“ A pretty season, this ‘ eighty-five ! ’ Gordorus 
slaughter, the cholera, earthquakes, the frantic Irish, 
the appalling dynamite fiends, the Egyptian muddle, 
anarchism in Paris, the Pall Mall Gazette disclosures, 
and the inglorious fall of Gladstone’s cowardly 
ministry ! ” 

“ Truly, a time of storm and stress! And so, under 
the black cloud of the Lumsden and Komaroff battle of 
denials, I leave my strange meddlers. 

“ Berry of the Artillery, his thieving valet Sam 
Norris, the adroit Allan Law, and, the stupid London 
Police! 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


149 


Some day I will read all this riddle ! Everett 
Marsden was madly rash to entrust me with such a hid- 
den embassy ! He should certainly have sent two 
agents! But, I have taken a long step upward to a 
permanent fortune I ‘Palmam qui meruit ferat !’ ” 

But, one ugly feeling lingered in Wardlaw’s mind. 

‘‘ The next man who creeps on me — dies I I will be 
‘ loaded for bear,’ as the frontiersmen say ! Down with 
all sneaking foes 1 ” 

In the three days spent with the impassive Baron 
Sternberg, in the princely old commercial town of 
Frankfort, Wardlawe admired the poise of the great 
financier’s mind. 

He had been entertained with an unceasing luxury, 
and no word remained to be spoken, when Sternberg 
waved his adieu at Cherbourg. Not a syllable as to 
Esme Chilkoff’s altered purposes had escaped the 
banker’s lips. He only spoke of the absent Tcherkess 
Queen, with a reverential deference in monosyllables. 

But a last disclosure awaited Wardlawe, when the 
Baron himself inspected the American’s cabins and 
found that the cigars, rare wines, and comforts of the 
voyage were all duly in place. 

“ I have adjured you to travel with no letters, papers, 
or vulnerable secrets. Major,” said the millionaire. 

My heart goes out with you on this voyage! You 
are one of two agents, differently impelled, who work 
the will of the noblest woman on earth ! Never name 
her to others ! ” 

‘‘ Now to us,” and he indicated all the money kings, 
by a wave of his bediamonded hand, “ there is but one 
weapon — the cheque book ! 

“ You — facing 'all the risks of the Orient, and its 
veiled intrigues, need to be armed by day and night ! 
You must make no traveling acquaintances. 

“ I have given you a wedge lock here for your cabin. 
Keep the windows locked and the slide drawn at night. 
Take no companion in any closed room, and use a 
drawing-room compartment in crossing America. 

“ Levassoff will assign you secret guards at 
Nagasaki.” 

‘‘Why all this counsel? vaguely demanded 


150 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

Wardlawe. I am an old soldier, the match yet for 
any one man ! ” 

“ Yes, but all’s fair in Love and War! ” significantly 
said the great Hebrew. ‘‘ Even ‘ She ’ would not tell 
you! Marsden was mad to entrust such a commis- 
sion to you blindly. You remember the German Pro- 
fessor and your railway accident ! ” 

“Poor fellow!” sighed the Major. “He was 
killed! ” 

“ He was only dragged from your helpless body by 
the prompt energy of Standiford ! ” Setrnberg solemnly 
said. 

“ An accidental jar of the train in stopping, caused 
him to accidentally wound you ! 

“ After drugging you, the wretch was busily cutting 
the buckskin vest from your body ! He had followed 
you on from Berlin, and why he did not stab you and 
throw your body from the window in the long, lonely 
stretch between the frontier and Diinaberg, we never 
will know ! ” 

“ How do you know this ? The tale is incredible ! ” 
cried the excited American. 

“ Ah ! My friend ! Pauloff and the two great men 
quieted you with a story of an accident! Now, I have 
spent thirty thousand roubles to find this brute. The 
disappearance of your rich fur pelisse was a clue: 

“ The leading Jewish Rabbi at Diinaberg traced that 
valuable article. And the Russian police were both 
wise and silent ! ” 

“My money loosened the tongue of the Polish Is- 
raelite wineshop keeper, a sly woman, who sold the 
fleeing wretch a dead man’s passport, and effectually 
disguised him! It was as a French ‘cook that the as- 
sassin escaped by Riga to Memel.” 

“ There we lost all traces ! So you were followed 
from Paris, for the would-be assassin was fluent, nay 
Parisian in his French, and he had money ad libitum. 

“ In Memel he refuged himself in the Quarter 
Breda ! His disguise was perfect, for he was a 
^ boulevardier ’ par excellence, dark and stocky, prob- 
ably a Parisian thug! Captain Scheremietchieff then 
visited Memel with the Jewish woman, Rebecca Ein- 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD, 

stein, who had the Rabbi’s parchment contract of pro- 
tection from the Russian authorities. Now, who did 
you meet in Paris? Can you not recall?” 

Not a soul, but Allan Law,” growled Wardlawe, 
a sullen frown settling on his face. 

“ Perhaps Colonel Berry was only a secret service 
spy, and this Law, his tool. He presented me to him ? ” 

“Law?” echoed Sternberg, in amazement. “Im- 
possible that he should be your murderous enemy ! ” 

“ He is a member of the Royal Yacht Club. There 
is but one life now between him and a leading peerage ! 
He is a man of a singular reticence. And besides, his 
fortune is large. I happen to know that his account at 
Coutt’s is an enormous one, for any commoner.” 

“ There is some old grievance between a great Scot- 
tish and English house. No! He is far above any 
personal treachery ! And, he, too, has suffered a great 
deal from his romantic Russian nature.” 

“ Be it as it may, I am glad that he has been drifted 
away from me forever I ” 

“ Though he went away' to Turkestan, as a mighty 
shekarry, he may, by and by, show up in Siberia. Fools 
and Englishmen go everywhere! No dangers fright 
them and no labors tire ! ” said Wardlawe, laughing. 

“ I have warned you,” said the Baron. “ Law will 
not again turn up. As an Englishman, his life would 
be instantly forfeited in Siberia, now. The war fury is 
on all those distant Tartars ! ” 

As the steamer swung away, Wardlawe said grimly : 
“ The next man who attacks me, dies ! I will have an 
old Sergeant of mine go out to Siberia with me. He 
joins me at New York. I have already written for 
him to be ready.” 

“ It was the British Embassy at Paris which dogged 
you ! ” finally said the Baron Sternberg. ^ 

“A gallant fellow,” c^ied the old millionaire, as he 
drove away after Wardlawe had faded from sight ! 

“ And, the end is not yet ! But, he is both fore- 
warned and forearmed.” 

While the merry promenaders on the “ Champagne ” 
were watching Wardlawe’s solitary figure, tlie lonely 
soldier was lost in a day dream. 


1K2 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


Only the magnificent ruby ring and the talismanic 
signet, concealed in a bag around his neck, with 
Esme’s picture, remained to prove that the Queen of 
the Adighe was not a mere dream phantom of delight. 

“ I am glad that I cabled to Crampton ! mused 
Wardlawe. “It seems that I can afford to be liberal 
now with funds. For, Everett Marsden, like all of 
his kind, expresses his feelings in concrete dollars 
and cents. 

“ I will take his money, for I may drift away from 
routine work, yet, and, try to forget, the past and, the 
present,” he sighed, “ in world wandering.” 

“ And now, as far as New York I will play the rec- 
luse. If I cannot outwit the English secret service, 
I am a dull ass, indeed ! ” 

While he mused upon the misty future, Allan Law 
sat in the music room of the splendid house of Count 
Ignatieff, gazing in wonder at the face of the woman 
who had haunted his dreams on the Khiran desert. 

He was astonished at his. reception, for a cold stern- 
ness filled the eyes of the bewitching Circassian. 

One glance at Madame Ignatieff, disicreetly posted 
within visual range, froze the rash words trembling 
on Law’s lips. 

“You sent for me. Princess!” earnestly said Law. 

“Yes, my friend I ” calmly answered Ksme. “To 
save your life 1 When you sent Ali Roustan home and 
crossed the Caspian to Khiva as an Englishman, you 
forfeited your life. Tell me, have you as yet seen 
any one here ? ” 

“ Not a soul,” answered Law, chilled and dismayed. 

“ You then must not show yourself,” gravely said 
Esme. “ Your mad hunting trip to Khiva has been 
already reported here! ” 

“ Besides, your friends are now all scattered. Standi- 
ford has gone home to America, Major Wardlawe is 
now half way to San Francisco, Secretary Kurtz is^on 
a long leave. 

“ If you approach the English Embassy, the Min- 
ister of the Interior will believe that you have spied 
upon our exposed flank.” 

“ What shall I do ? ” quickly said Law, 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


153 


“ Leave here to-morrow night, at latest,’’ soberly re- 
plied Esme. 

“You were my guest at Dari el. Each day I had a 
private report, and the Government held me responsible 
for you. When you disguised yourself as a Circassian, 
and went on to Khiva, you forgot to stain your brow, 
and so,” she laughingly cried, “you were a self-detect- 
ing masquerader. But, for my secret orders, and the 
guards who followed you, you would have been assass- 
inated. Now, the war cloud has blown over, for the 
moment. Are you free to leave here? ” 

“ I would go to the ends of the world for you. 
Princess I ” eagerly cried Law. 

“ Do not be rash ! I may now try you ! ” said Esme, 
with a mysterious smile. 

“ Can you play the Russian for six months ? Can 
you forget the Englishman ? ” 

“ Try me ! ” vowed Allan Law. 

“ Even if your life depended upon it ? ” persisted 
Esme, with no softness in her eyes. 

“ I am a Russian — at heart, now ! ” laughed Law. 
“ I will wager my life on it ! ” 

“ Are you so sure? We will see! ” gravely said the 
Circassian. “ Do you know anything of steamboats ? ” 
continued Esme. 

“ I qualified as master and chief engineer of my 
steamer, the ‘ Dreadnaught,’ in which, three years 
ago, I went to Corea and Khamschatka on a hunting 
trip, and I took her out alone and home by the Suez 
Canal. I am a member of the Royal Yacht Club! I 
sailed the ‘ Undine,’ my old sailing yacht, around 
Japan, five years ago; so I am both a steam and sail 
expert, at your service.” 

The Princess Chilkofif fixed her burning eyes upon 
the young man. 

“ On one condition only,” she said, “ will I test your 
knight errantry ! That is, perfect and loyal obedience, 
a silence to the death, and my name is to be held in- 
violate ! I am dead to you till we meet again ! ” 

“ I swear it ! ” cried Allan Law. 

“ Then,” brightly said Esme, “ Ali Roustan will be 
here in an hour with a closed carriage. He will fit 


154 the mystery of a shipyard. 

you out here as a Russian, from the cigarette case to 
the revolver belt! All your luggage, every personal 
article he will remove and store at my home 1 ” 

Her face was crimson now. “ I am to furnish you 
with passport, funds and directions I To-night you 
take the Odessa train, get a steamer there ; at Alexan- 
dria you can catch tihe next P. and O. boat, and you 
are to receive all your orders at Nagasaki from Baron 
Alexei Levassoff, the Russian Consul-General, who 
will present to you my chief agent. 

“ Levassoff will give to you my orders, wishes and 
your duties will then be made clear! I will dine here 
to-night ! All Roustan will bring >ou back, and I will 
say farewell below in the robing room! Your money, 
passport and tickets will be all ready ! Ali Roustan 
will go down third class to Odessa and watch over 
you. 

“ But you are not to mention my name till we meet 
again ! This is the obligation of honor ! ” 

“ My life upon it ! ” cried Law, wjth his eyes fixed 
upon the glowing face. 

“ And, how will I know your agent at Nagasaki? 
demanded the new Russian. 

“ He will have the duplicate of this ring and will 
say to you, Tn Agar’s name!’ 

And, Levassofl: will only bring the right man to you ! 

‘‘ But you must use no English word — only French 
or Russian, and never speak of me till we meet! 

“ I am to return here ? ” said Law. 

“ I will find you ! ” said the Princess Esme. I shall 
know where you are each day ! ” 

Allan Law raised the hand of the trembling woman. 
“ My life is yours ! ” he said, gravely. 

Half an hour later the Princess Esme raised her 
tear-stained face and muttered, It is the only way ! 
For if he is brave, he may be also generous ! ” 

Madame Ignatieff was thoroughly deceived by Esme 
Chilkoff’s natural desire to hurry Allan Law away 
from St. Petersburg. This wild girl loves Sacha 
Menchikoff, after all! ” she mus^,; ‘'but Allan Law’s 
ljunter’s beard becomes him well ! It is wise for him 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. I55 

to leave Russia till the Anglophobes are moderated in 
their fury ! 

Allan Law saw but the stately form of the Circassian 
Princess in the dusky apartment when she handed 
him his passport as “ Serge Alexandrovitch Rezoff, 
merchant of the first class/’ of Kharkov, Russia.” 

“ Here are the tickets and there is a twenty thousand 
francs in Freneh notes in the note case! Levassoff 
will supply all the money you need in his own name ! 
And you will learn the rest there! 

‘‘ Here is the ring ! Remember, ‘ In Agar’s name ! ’ 
And I am to be blotted out of your mind till we meet 
again ! Go now, in God’s name ! ” 

Allan Law knelt and kissed the icy Land of the 
beautiful woman, who clasped the ring around his 
neck with a golden chain. 

“ Esme ! ” he cried, as he saw her suddenly totter, 
but AH Roustan sternly dragged him to the djor. 

There was a whirr of carriage wheels, and with 
all the full speed of the troika the traveler just reached 
the first class compartment, where a Russian valet 
awaited him as the bell clanged. 

With a few whispered words and a menacing gest- 
ure of caution, AH Roustan darted into the third-class 
car as the train glided out. 

“ The Barin will not be disturbed ! ” said the valet. 
“ This carriage goes to Odessa, and all the meals will 
be served here ! ” He extended a sheaf of the Peters- 
burg Russian journals and then dutifully lit his mas- 
ter’s cigarette. “ In mufti ! ” mused ‘‘ Serge Alexan- 
drovitch Rezoff ” as he read his Russian description 
on the book passport. 

It was already visad for Japan and Siberia. 

Sinking back in the cushions, he mused over his 
quaint frontier outfit, and his new social birth. 

“ There’ll be a bit of good shooting out there, I 
fancy ! ” he concluded, as he recalled AH Roustan’s ex- 
tensive provisions. “ I am now a sort of lay brother 
of ‘ Alice in Wonderland ! ’ ” 

But, I must mind my eye and be the Russian mer- 
chant, to the life ! ” 


156 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

And, then, he saw far beyond the misty, unknown 
path the eyes of Esme Chilkoff calling him back ! 

At dinner Count Nicholas Ignatieff roused himself 
to whisper to the Princess Chilkofif : “ You strange 

child! I prevailed on Minister Tolstoi to send the 
papers about Allan Law back to Astrakan for a de- 
tailed report of his illegal trip to Khiva! Are you 
satisfied ? ’’ 

Esme murmured : “ Thanks, Monseigneur ! He 

will be in England before they reach Astrakan ! He 
left to-night ! ” 

And so Allan Law dropped out from the memory of 
the little coterie which had watched anxiously for a 
tragedy on the return of Sacha Mendiikoff ! 

Ten days later Roustan silently reappeared, bring- 
ing the roses back to the cheeks of his anxious mis- 
tress, as he handed her a letter — which she fled away 
to read — a letter bedewed with happy tears. 

The baffled passengers on the “ Champagne ” were 
astonished at tho^ freemasonry which passed Major 
Walter Wardlawe across all the disgusting network 
of the customs on arrival at New York, and the celerity 
with which the Major, his one trunk and two port- 
manteaus disappeared. 

Sergeant William Crampton, late of the Iron 
Brigade — Sixth Army Corps,” was a robust bronzed 
veteran, with a beautifully disfiguring sabre slash 
pointing into his sweeping soldierly black mustache. 

‘‘All right, Major!” he cried, “I have the com- 
partment secured, clear through to San Francisco! 
Breakfast ordered at the Grand Union, and a dozen of 
your old officers will be there to shake your hand ! I 
have brought telegraph blanks, stamped envelopes and 
a writing pad! I fancy that I have all we will need 
for the voyage.” 

Four hours later, master and man were gazing at 
the witching banks of the Hudson, as the train flew 
past West Point. 

“ Sergeant Bill ” was now aware of his special 
functions, and, lynx-eyed, with his “ old army six ” 
ready, the rugged veteran guarded his master by day 


THE MYSTERY OE A SHIPYARD. 


157 


and night until they were driven into the courtyard 
of the Palace Hotel at San Francisco. 

“ Just two days to stay here, Sergeant,” remarked 
the Major as they entered the long-deserted rooms. 

“ The ‘ Tokio ’ sails on W ednesday at ten ! So get all 
you need for a six-months’ rough frontier trip ! I have 
my entire outfit ! Go down and get the tickets and all 
that! Jones will conduct you! Special return tickets 
to Nagasaki, good for six months! Two first class! 
And you are to be in my cabin — no one else! Spare 
no expense ! ” 

Left alone, the returned soldier found the prediction 
of “ Handsome Jones ” to be verified. 

‘‘ All ship-shape and sailor fashion,” he mused, as 
he wandered among his own familiar -surroundings. 

Before evening, he had arranged his private inter- 
views with Sterling Mott and Everett Marsden, leav- 
ing the adroit Dimitri Gorlitz to find his own way in, 
as before. 

Two hours given to the master of the shipbuilding 
division of the National Works opened the eyes of the 
traveler as to the “ Water Witch.” 

“ Mr. Mott has copies of all these plans in his pri- 
vate safe. Major ! ” cried the admiring scientist. ” She 
certainly is the fastest boat ever built, and we have 
sent the best crew with her that ever left San Fran- 
cisco ! 

“For years we have tried to get at Yarrow and 
Thornycroft’s secrets! They are all embodied in this 
craft— a resultant of the double plans sent!” 

Leaning back with his eyes fondly fixed on his dead 
wife’s picture. Major Wardlawe learned of the engines 
of irresistible power, the boilers arranged for wood or 
coal, the bulkheads for liquid fuel to run five hundred 
miles, the cased propellers, the smoke-consuming, 
forced draught devices, and the -bilge keels suited for 
either river or sea navigation. 

“ She is a wonder of the hour, this peerless flyer ! 
She can make twenty-five miles against a five-knot 
current, or thirty with it. And stores, provisions, re- 
pair, armament — the whole thing was executed Mit- 
era et scripta ! ’ ” 


153 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

“ I will let you know how she performs, Evans ! ’’ 
said the astounded Major, dismissing his friends with 
a thoughtful present. 

“ So this madcap girl is also an adroit naval con- 
structor,’’ mused Wardlawe. I must shield her, at all 
hazards ! ” 

He little dreamed of the price that Baron Sternberg 
had paid for the steamer’s plans ! 

Major Wardlawe was prepared for the heartfelt 
welcome of those two American princes of finance. 
Sterling Mott and Everett Marsden, who came to- 
gether to arrange for their last conferences, but he 
was not prepared for their requests that he should re- 
main ‘ perdu ’ in his rooms at the Palace Hotel until 
the “ City of Tokio ” sailed. 

“ You can give each of us an evening! ” said Mott, 
“ but, we must keep the press busybodies and inter- 
lopers away until you sail I ” 

“ Marsden will tell you that he has had several suspi- 
cious inquiries as to your return. I have had them 
also, and so, we have had the hotel secretly watched. 
The ‘ Count Smith ’ even has been outwitted. 

“ Men, women and children, notes, letters, telegrams 
have been used! These last come in various forms, 
none handled by mail ! And Captain Lees will have a 
half dozen ‘ plain clothes ’ .fellows watch the ‘ Tokio’s ’ 
decks. What can oil this mean ? ” 

Wardlawe’s brow darkened. “ I have a guard now, 
a brave one, and we are both ‘ cocked and primed,’ 
as the army men say. But, I’ll obey you! It is only 
some of your disgruntled competitors. But once at sea, 
God help any one who bothers me ! ” 

The “ Tokio ” had her steam up before the eager 
traveler received all of his principal’s instructions. 

He knew now of the valuable block of steamship 
stock which testified Eyerett Marsden’s gratitude. And 
of the contingent interest set off by Sterling Mott, 
which, alone, would have made his old age a comfort- 
able one. 

To both the millionaires he said : I will defer the 

whole story until my return, for I may catch these 
shy birds sleeping ! ” 


TPIE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 1 59 

It was with a full knowledge of the giant enter- 
prises under his hands that Wardlawe parted with 
Sterling Mott, and an understanding of Everett Mars- 
den’s far-reaching plans, which embraced the kingdom 
of the open Arctic and the cream of the fur and ivory 
trade on the Alaskan and Siberian shores for fifty 
years. 

“No wonder, gentlemen ! ” laughed Wardlawe, 
“ that men are envious ! These plans of yours con- 
template almost a new Asia — the Russianization of 
China and Corea, and the downfall of England’s com- 
mercial transcendancy in the Orient. We will defer the 
later consideration until after I have made your Dui- 
coal works a success ! ” 

“ Remember,” said the millionaires as they left him 
at his hotel, “ we only let you depart secretly for your 
own good ! We have both sent on every word to the 
cconsuls, bankers and diplomats to guard you and fur- 
,ther you in every way.” 

“ And,” whispered Marsden, “ the Amoor Naviga- 
tion Company needs you for your whole life ! ” 

Stealing quietly put of the hotel, having disguised 
his departure for a tour of six months, Wardlawe 
made his way to the Yokohama steamer, carefully 
guarded by Sergeant Crampton. 

“ Not a dozen men in San Francisco even know of 
my return from Europe!” mused Wardlawe, as he 
crowded his way up to the gang plank of the huge 
“ City of Tokio.” 

Suddenly he swerved as a sharp pain darted through 
the nerve of his left arm. There were fifty people 
struggling at the gang plank. 

With a quick turn of the head, Wardlawe saw a 
half familiar face in the knot of pushing roughs and 
was then bodily moved up the gang plank. 

The head steward at once led the “ star ” passenger 
of the trip to his splendid deck stateroom. 

But Crampton sprang to his master’s side, crying: 
“ A glass of brandy, quick ! ” 

As he closed the door, Wardlawe opened his eyes. 

“ It’s nothing I ” he faintly murmured. 

“Nothing?” was Crampton’s answer. “Your left 


l6o THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

coat sleeve is cut open from shoulder to cuff. Some 
devil has tried to knife you— you’re only grazed ! He 
meant to rip you wide open ! ” 

“ Who the devil am I playing hide-and-seek with ? 
What hidden foe?” growled Wardlawe, as the brandy 
revived him. “ I only felt a hot iron passing over my 
arm. And the jostling pushed me away from this hid- 
den wretch ! ” 

“ It‘s death the very next time he tries it ! ” swore 
Bill Crampton, with a mighty oath. 

And then the virile face of Dimitri Gorlitz appeared 
at the cabin window — bushy beard, glittering spec- 
tacles and all. The steamer was slowly swinging out 
from the wharf. 

“ I am going out to come back with the tug, Major,” 
gaily said the Russian Consul-General, as Wardlawe 
hobbled to the door. 

“ So they have already been at it ! ” he gravely said, 
watching Crampton’s rough surgery. “ I came down,” 
he whispered, “ to give you some telegrams from 
Baron Sternberg and, to warn you. 

“ A dozen times lately, various rough fellows have 
tried to find out when your passports would be visad. 
And so I kept away from you ! Let me have them here 
and I’ll fix you out now. There, sir,” said Gorlitz, “ is 
a special ‘ podrovjna,’ an official permission, and an 
endorsement, which makes you really ‘ the Emperor’s 
guest ’ in all our Asiatic possessions ! This order was 
cabled to me from St. Peters'burg. 

“ Once at Nagasaki, Alexei Levassoff will watch 
over you ! If any one fools with you there he will 
execute a speedy vengeance. But look out for your- 
self on the voyage ! ” 

Bending over Wardlawe, Gorlitz whispered: “ The 
enemies of the Amoor Navigation Company seem to 
have sworn your death ! Watch and keep a lookout 
on this boat! There is foul play abroad, and the de- 
tective-captain is more alarmed than he has confessed 
even to Mott and Marsden.” 

Two hours later the “ Tokio ” was boring her way 
out over the stormy bar, after Gorlitz had opened 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. l6l 

with a liberal hand the good-by champagne so beloved 
by the Russian. 

“ God bless you, old fellow ! ” he cheerily said. All 
the Czar’s men will die for you over there! Only, 
‘watch out!’ as you Yankees say, in Japan! You 
know the enemy ! You have served Russia and are 
marked for their vengeance ! ” 

“ Say nothing of this cowardly attack ! ” sternly 
said Wardlawe; “ Sergeant Crampton or I will wing 
the bird before long ! I feel it in my bones, and I do 
not wish either Mott or Marsden to be excited!^ I am 
ready for death when it comes, but this hidden fellow 
will go with me, if he attacks me again ! ” 

Major Wardlawe and Crampton closely examined 
their cabin as they saw the tugboat drop astern. 

“Now for defense!” gayly said the Sergeant. 
“ I was down here yesterday and took some notes.” 

He produced a neat little assortment of bolts, locks 
and chains, and from his valise brought out a solid 
steel plate, well provided with screw holes. 

“ I think that we will now be impervious to any sud- 
den dash ! ” said Crampton as he screwed the steel plate 
on the window slide. 

A half an hour with bolts and chains transformed 
the stateroom into a place of security. 

Half an hour later the Captain entered. 

When the jolly sea-dog left, Wardlawe wondered at 
the thoughtfulness of his San Francisco friends. “ I 
am directed to post a man at your door every moment 
of darkness from the Golden Gate to Yoko'hama, and 
similar orders are sent on for the trip to Nagasaki ! So 
Major, rest content ! My quartermaster will also watch 
every one on this boat.” 

“ Thank Ck)d ! ” mused Wardlawe, as he closed his 
eyes that night. “ I have never mentioned Esme’s 
name ! Only let me live to aid her in her wild project, 
for her own sw’eet womanly sake ! This queenly phan- 
tom of delight, the wild sister of my heart who wears 
an invisible crown ! ” 

While he spoke, far away on the Red Sea, Allan 
Law, in sulky loneliness, paced the decks of the splen- 
did P, and O liner “ Lord Clive.” 


1 62 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

\ 

“ Muzzled ! ” he murmured, as he offered a light 
with a Gallic bow to a smooth-faced English globe- 
trotting lad. “ I hope I’ll get to the wilderness soon, 
for the Princess Esme has laid a heavy burden upon 
me. Her name — thank God — is forgotten until she 
bids me speak. But a dozen times I’ve been on the 
point of crying, ‘ By Jove ! Hurry up with that Bass’ 
Bitter!’ instead of guttural ly growling ‘Pivorl’ or 
falling into my French. However, I’ll do the best I 
can ! ” 

And so, three hundred miles a day, the good ship 
swept on through silent, sweltering seas, bearing a very 
determined young man, who thoughtfully, each night, 
kissed the signet which Esme Chilkoff had drawn from 
her finger. “ Who is the other fellow who carries one 
of these ? ” mused the new-born Russian. 

A query which occurred often to Major Wardlawe 
on the Pacific, as he gazed on the face of the young 
Queen of the Adighe and strove to recall the splendors 
of that night of memories and of sighs ! 

But the Major’s brow darkened when the Captain 
reported that one of his quartermasters had grappled 
and roughly handled, in the night, a fellow trying to 
enter the door of the Major’s deck cabin, long after 
midnight. “ There was a trail of blood leading to the 
second cabin gangway,” growled the Captain, “ but the 
fellow wriggled away with a surprising strength. Only 
vour locks and bolts saved you, and your steel window 
slide!” 

Then a murderous look stole into Sergeant Cramp- 
ton’s eyes. “ I swear that I will have that fellow’s scalp 
yet, or else jump overboard.” 

The lurking foe was near them by day and night, 
and yet no face in the six hundred on board gave any 
sign of the malice of the midnight murderer. 

Before the “ Tokio ” swung into Yokohama Major 
Wardlawe had finished his survey of the whole strug- 
gle of the two rival nations whose ‘‘ military honor ” 
had been finally appeased after the Penj Deh collision. 

^ Behind the Emperor and Queen, pushing the whole 
circle of glittering “nonentities ” onward — ^like pawns 


"1 


rtit MYStERV Of' A 

on the chessboard of Life — the American could see the 
crafty Money Kings of the world. 

“ It is the same old game ! ” mused the soldier — 
‘‘Point d’argent, point des Suisses ! ” 

“ Russia and England have issued boastful mani- 
festoes and thrown the ‘ responsibility ’ upon the fierce 
Komaroff and the blundering Sir Peter Lumsden, 
whose dispatches were so neatly robbed between India 
and Downing Street. 

“ But the Rothschilds, and these great American syn- 
dicate chiefs, Marsden and Sterling Mott, with the 
whole clique of Gold, will gather the ‘ golden fruit ’ 
of the jarring nations. 

“ And poor Esme Chilkoff, her shadowy inheritance 
may go to enrich these ‘ daughters of the horse leech,” 
but will her secret happiness be assured? Be it as it 
may, all around her seem to be only as wax in her 
hands ! ” 

Through stormy days and starlight nights, Ward- 
lawe found no solution for the puzzle of the continued 
pursuit. “ I have nothing to steal now ! ” he mused. 

Marsden’s- Amoor Navigation Company defeated 
England’s plan to rush up the purchased Chilian fleet 
to Esquimau ! He has pouched his gains ! I even 
have my share ! And Mott — ^this great Dui peaceful 
engineering contract of his is surely a menace to no 
one ! 

“ Surely no human being can suspect the secrets of 
Esme Chilkoff ! 

“Law, I will never see again! Berry was clearly 
innocent of any desire to entrap me, for he has since 
offered me every official and club hospitality! Is it 
some local rival of my California friends who seeks my 
life only to delay them? Personal feuds, I have none ! ” 

Sighing over his loneliness in life, Wardlawe pre- 
pared to descend at the Japanese foreign metropolis. 

He was recalled to his daily cares by the arrival of a 
steam launch with the Russian Consul-General’s sec- 
retary. 

“ Monsieur Kostrominoff begs you to be his guest ! 
He has several cable despatches for you, and he will 


164 mystery op a SHIPYARa 

arrange for your departure for Nagasaki to->morrow. 
I am not to lose you from sight ! ’’ 

So it was that Wardlawe drove to the splendid house 
on Mississippi Bay, where the bearded official led the 
American into his own room. “ I have engaged the 
best cabin on the ‘ Hiroshima Maru ' for your escort 
and yourself ! So, only place yourself in my hands ! 
1 have telegraphed my colleague Levassoff, and if you 
will write your answers to your dispatches I am to 
send them all! Franked, too! You must not leave my 
house here. You are its master! ” 

Wardlawe ran over the little sheaf of cablegrams 
quickly. “ Marsden, Mott, Gorlitz, Captain Lees, 
Baron Sternberg — all these can wait ! 

His eyes were glued On the little slip reading, “Heart 
and soul with you, Ahmed. Answer ; Sternberg, Esme, 
Frankfort.” 

The reports of his friends were soothing, but the 
cablegram of Captain Lees struck a note of alarm. 
“ Suspicious man in steerage sailed with you ! Be on 
your guard ! Description impossible ; old hand at dis- 
guise.” 

“ Certainly Lees means well,” mused Wardlawe, 
“ but this fellow will be balked here ! ” 

And so it seemed when, two hours before day, the 
Russian Consul-General himself put Wardlawe and 
the stern-eyed sergeant secretly on board the old 
American steamer “ Golden Age,” now “ Japanned ” 
into the “ Hiroshima Maru.” 

“ As you have the bridal chamber, your meals will 
be served there. 

“ Avoid the deck in darkness ! ” said the cheery 
Muscovite. “ I had orders to guard you as my own 
life ! ” 

And when the great paddle wheels of the last ocean 
side-wheeler swept them down the bay, Wardlawe mut- 
tered : “ Stole away ! Safe at last ! ” Even the lug- 
gage had been secretly transhipped. 

“ Once in Nagasaki my friend Levassoff will put 
you under secret guard!” was Kostrominoff’s last 
word. “But ‘look out !’ as you Americans strangely 
say, when you should ‘ look in ! ’ ” 


tHE MYSTERV OF A SHIPYARD. 165 

Witx^hing shores of Niphon, fairy islands, storied 
temples, and grand old feudal strongholds glided by ; 
glimmer of moonlight, sheen of starlight wrapped them 
in the matchless beauty of the Inland Sea, until they 
glided — four days later — past the raw-red forts of 
Nagasaki, where the Krupp “ barkers ” grin a stern 
defiance to all civilization, for your Jap ” is only a 
thinly veneered savage, the sham product of an age 
of crowning sham ! 

“Nothing more beautiful in the world!'’ sighed 
Wardlawe as he gazed at the delightful bay with its 
terraced shores, the villas shining out from the green- 
clad hills. 

His eyes wandered over the foreign fleets, the quaint 
Buddhist and Shinto temples, the Russian settlement 
with- its familiar blue and white flag, and the hundreds 
of cfustering sampan boats I 

British, American, French, German, Portuguese and 
American flags wooed the soft breeze of the exquisite 
July morning. 

Waking from a day dream, the alert Major turned 
to Sergeant Crampton: 

“ Do you remember when I laid out a week for that 
Confederate sharpshooter who killed so many of our 
officers at Petersburg? " he growled. “ Pve been talk- 
ing with the Captain. There’s no white passenger in 
the second or third class ! If you are followed, the fel- 
low is disguised as a native. So here let me work ‘ on 
my own hook I ’ It’s his last chance, as you will hurry 
away to Vladivostock and Saghalien Island! No fel- 
low could get in there without a straight Russian 
passport ! 

“ Just give me a free hand, and, for God’s sake, al- 
ways go armed ! I have a presentiment that this is 
what we used to call ‘ Soldiers’ last chance ! ” 

Wardlawe nodded, and then, forget all about it, as 
he grasped the hands of Alexei Levassoflf, who, with 
the crafty prudence of his Semitic race, drew Ward- 
lawe back into his pwn cabin. 

“ Thank God ! ” cried the Russian Consul. “ What 
a load is lifted from my heart ! My men will remove 


i66 


'tnt MVStERY OE A SHIEVAftI?, 


all your belongings and my launch waits ! You have a 

dozen telegrams here to answer.” 

One hour later the two men were seated on the 
porch of the Consul’s splendid hill villa. 

Levassoff, a cheery, dark-eyed, well conditioned 
man of thirty-five, waved his hand in deprecation of 
Wardlawe’s astonishment. “ Of course, we are well 
served ! Only the missionaries,” he smiled, ‘‘ live bet- 
ter than we do ! 

“ But, it is an exile ! I long for Skierniwice, for 
my heart is in Poland ! ” 

“ I can well believe it ! ” simply said Wardlawe when 
in the great cool salon, facing the inevitable portraits 
of the Czar and Czarina, the Baron proudly showed 
the magnificent picture of Ilka Plessky, his millionaire 
bride. . 

“ I am soon to be promoted and join her, after I 
have worked Sternberg’s will. Now, to business ! ” 

Over the champagne and cracked ice the men chatted 
as Wardlawe recalled his crowning mission. 

“Your expected visitor is already at Shanghai! I 
had a cable signal from him yesterday! He arrives 
in four days. 

“ In one week you go to Vladivostock direct on the 
‘ Hiogo Maru,’ whose whole cabins have been reserved 
for you by Admiral Lemacheffsky ! . And the captain 
is a true Scotsman ! 

“ Now, hurry with your own dispatches ! Call on me 
for any funds to any extent ! I have two carte blanche 
orders so to do. 

“ And I will do all your external business. I have 
my Swiss valet and two old Russian sergeants for you, 
both Siberian veterans. 

“ And so, Devol will arrange all your effects the mo- 
ment your luggage arrives ! ” 

Levassoff touched a bell. To the sturdy young 
Swiss who answered. Levassoff said: “ Major Ward- 
lawe is your master! You are relieved from all else! ” 

Turning to Wardlawe, the Consul said : “ Give me 
all your letters and telegrams! I am to do all you 
wish! Here is your working room.” 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 167 

Three hours later, Wardlawe had reported by cable 
his arrival to his principals. 

As for Sternberg,’' said Levassoff, “ he knows all, 
save that which you wish transmitted beyond him ! ” 

Before the two-hours’ carriage drive was over, 
Wardlawe was lost in admiration of Levassoff’s mental 
gifts and his delicate reserve. 

A dozen swordsmen ran at the side of the carriage, 
a precaution not lost on the American, who felt for his 
ready revolver. 

When they had made a tour of the romantic en- 
virons, Levassoif quietly said : “ I cannot take you 

to the clubs or expose you here ! 

But, all the Consuls will quietly dine with us ! 
Some of the foreign people, those ‘ without a record,’ 
too, and, I fancy I can show you all the jugglers, geisha 
girls, tea girls and the local lions and lionesses to a 
good advantage ! They all come to us, as the climate 
precludes exertion and even political dissension. 

My best friend here, strangely, is the English 
Consul, even though — three months ago — our fleets 
hastily summoned, lay here with loaded guns at only 
a cable’s length distance. 

And now I shall have to ask you to kindly remain 
within my ‘ compound ’ unless I take you out ! I am 
really an inviolable personage here, and I know every 
straggler.” 

The days glided away in every possible genial fes- 
tivity, while Sergeant Crampton made himself a chum 
with Devol. 

The stout veteran had found a tent under Ward- 
lawe’s very windows, where he mounted guard like 
a provost officer. 

But two cares rested now on Wardlawe’s mind. 

So far he had not heard of the arrival of the “ Water 
Witch ” at Nicolaievsk, the mouth of the great Amoor, 
and the mysterious messenger of the Queen of the 
Adighe was as yet formless mystery. 

The bearer of the other ring! The keeper of this 
strange tryst around the world. 

But the beautiful “ Hiogo Maru ” lay out in the 
harbor, bound for Vladivostock, on the fourth evening, 


i68 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


and, in the calm moonlight, after a tete-a-tete dinner, 
the genial Levassoff proposed a visit to the ship ! 

When the two men stepped into the first passing 
“ rickshaw,” Sergeant Crampton strode out, and laid 
his hand on his master’s arm. 

“Never mind. Sergeant! You keep guard here ! 
See that no one fumbles among my goods! Our 
haunting foe is far off now ! ” 

Without a word, the bronzed veteran saluted and 
then, strode back to his master’s rooms. 

A single large sampan lay ready at the strand as the 
four coolies hailed the lazy boatman, who woke as a 
powerful Japanese ran down the granite quay and 
pushed the frail boat far out into the tidewater, a hun- 
dred feet deep but twenty yards from the shore! 

Lulled by the lovely evening, lost in the silence of 
the throbbing night, Wardlawe was gazing upon 
Levassoff’s kindly face, when, with an awkward move- 
ment, the strange Japanese changed his place, with- 
out a word of warning! 

In a moment the low, cranky craft was overturned, 
and the swift tide swept Wardlawe a score of yards 
away from the boat ! 

The loose seats, oars and platforms were swept past 
Wardlawe, who, vigorously swimming, soon had a 
couple of light planks under his arms to aid him. 

With yells and outcries, the three Japanese boatmen 
were all aiding the rich Levassoff, who now frantically 
clutched the waterlogged boat. 

As Wardlawe safely paddled away to the shore, he 
could see a dark head bobbing up and down in the 
surging efforts of a swimmer, and, yet, before he 
reached the boat steps, a dripping form fled away, dis- 
appearing in the growing darkness. 

When the two Europeans were safe on the shore, 
the anxious Japanese sampan men surrounded them, 
while an attracted boat shot out to rescue the floating 
fittings of the light skiff. 

“ Are you armed, Wardlawe? ” cried Levassoff. “ If 
so, draw your pistol! We may be attacked even here! 
There is some foul play ! ” 

Hailing a passing carriage, while the Major stood 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 1 69 

on guard, the Consul sternly said : Some cowardly 

villain has tried to drown us in this swift tideway !” 

He tossed a couple of Mexican dollars to the ap- 
peased Japanese with whom he had been conversing 
in their own musical tongue. 

One of the boatmen ran after the carriage as it gath- 
ered headway. 

“ What does he say?’' cried the Major. 

‘‘ Not a Japanese — a foreign devil ! It was an Amer- 
ican, dressed in Japanese clothes ! ” said Levassoff. 

They were already safe in the Consular bungalow, 
enjoying their cheroots and a hot grog, when the 
young Consul detailed the deadly trick ! 

“ These honest fellows thought that the stranger 
was surely one of our own party ! ” 

With dexterity, the fellow, throwing his whole 
weight on the skiff’s gunwale and leaning out, over- 
turned the sampan with a quick jerk! He swam 
away like a duck, never turning his head ! 

“ And I saw him flee up the quay ! ” growled Ward- 
lawe. 

“ He looked twice as chunky as these half-sized 
chaps here, also ! ” . 

“ It’s a wonder that he did not wait, and then brain 
you with a club as you paddled out ! ” growled Levas- 
soff. “ This is your last outing I ” 

“ A dangerous one! ” mused the Major. 

“ I was swept around in a circle of a hundred and 
fifty yards before I could reach the dock ! But for the 
two planks, the tide would have sucked me under ! ” 

A moody silence ensued. 

“ I will send for Captain Walker, and have every 
man on the “ Hiogo Maru ” passed before his eye when 
you sail; and, by God! I’ll put my own Cossack 
guard on board, with orders to sabre any hidden 
wretch ! Baron Sternberg would ruin me for life if 
aught happened to you ! ” 

And, without, Devol and Sergeant Crampton were 
now holding a serious council of war. 

I knew that something would happen ! I felt it in 
my old bones ! ” growled the Sergeant. “ The next 
chance is mine ! ” 


lyo TliE MYSTERY OP A SHIPYARD. 

He exhibited a short, heavy fowling piece, cut of? 
to two feet in length. “These two barrels are crammed 
with buckshot ! I will wing that fellow yet ! He is a 
cool chap, too ! ” 

It was on the eve of the arrival of the Shanghai P. 
and O. boat that a breathless messenger dashed into the 
villa with a telegraphic despatch from Nicolaievsk 
marked “ Imperial afifairs. Immediate.’’ 

Levassoff’s shout of joy aroused Wardlawe as the 
Consul waved the paper over his head in triumph ! 

“ The ‘ Water Witch ’ is now in the river, safely at 
Nicolaievsk! Crew and stores, vessel and supplies 
ready, and her speed makes her the ‘ Queen of the 
Amoor I ’ 

“ My Arherican agent, with Frjeeman, Smith & Co. 
there', has sent the cipher despatch provided months 
ago by Dimitri Gorlitz’s orders! Hurrah for Stern- 
berg and Gorlitz ! 

“ And so, we only need the ‘ man from Shanghai ! ’ ” 
gloomily said Wardlawe. “ I am tired of dodging 
tins veiled assassin ! 

“ Remain here,” soberly said the Consul. “ I will 
go and arrange all with Walker ! The mail-boat comes 
in at noon to-morrow ! And I will have the ‘ Hiogo 
Maru ’ sail a day ahead of her time. She is secretly 
subsidized by our Government ! ” 

An hour later, Wardlawe strolled down into the 
leafy garden, and, standing watching the glowing coal 
of his cheroot, inhaled the freshness of the evening. 

The deep cut road was all silent. No laughing tea 
fi-ls, no glittering-eyed Geishas cried “ Ohio! Ohio,” 
nr the sweet “ Sayonara ! ” in their meetings and part- 
ings. 

An unusual loneliness oppressed the stern soldier. 
He had marked no stealthy followers. He forgot all 
the present in the one sigh of his heart. 

“ What a world of love would have been mine if 
Isabel had not been taken away from me in her youth- 
ful beauty, with her heart glowing with life’s highest 
hopes ! ” 

He leaned upon the low gates, and then gazed down 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. I7I 

the road, where the perfumes of the overhanging 
branches filled the soft, summer night. 

“The first of July! I am just in time! All is 
ready ! Only the mysterious stranger ! ” 

And then, as he spoke, a blinding flash obscured his 
vision ! 

Again, again, the report of a heavy pistol, as he 
darted back past the masonry angle of the gate piers ! 

“ Fool ! ” his mind accused him, with lightning rapid- 
ity. He had left his own revolver on his table ! 

And then, as a dark form leaped into the gateway, a 
double discharge of a heavily loaded gun rang out ! 

Something leaped high into the air and then crashed 
down at his very feet, while Crampton stood sternly 
over the prostrate man, a loaded pistol in his hand ! 

“ Settled at last ! ” roared Crampton, as the servants 
came rushing with lanterns and drawn sabres. “ The 
double-barreled shotgun did his business ! ” 

He turned* the groaning man over, crying: “ It’s a 
Jap ! No ! By God ! ” he growled, snatching a lantern. 
“ An American ! ” 

When the gates were shut and the groaning assas- 
sin carried into the glare of the open doorway of the 
bungalow, Walter Wardlawe bent over the dying man. 
“ You’ve done for me, you Yankee brute! ” the assas- 
sin groaned. “ I meant to have you, but your damned 
bodyguard has finished me ! ” 

A gleam of recognition lit up Wardlawe’s face. 
“ You are ” 

“ Sam Norris, the man you crippled for life on the 
train ! ” hissed the dying villain. 

“ I meant to get square ! Berry sent me money to 
come home with. But, your cursed knife ruined my 
right hand ! As valet, for billiards, cards, anything to 

turn a quick penny, you had crippled me! Now ” 

There was a gurgling flow of blood which choked the 
poor wretch’s speech ! 

“ That’s all ! ” grimly said Sergeant Crampton, strid- 
ing out to find his cast away shotgun in the flower 
beds. 

When he returned, Major Wardlawe said sternly, 
“ Let him be searched ! I wish all his clothes ! There 


172 TH^MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

may be some hidden papers! I’ll leave funds for his 
burial I ” 

Under the morning light, the Major closely exam- 
ined the dead man’s body. Yes! There was the tell- 
tale mark of the knife blindly used for defense in the 
attempted train robbery! 

“ It ruined his hand. See ! Cut all the cords and 
stiffened it forever! But for this he could not have 
missed you ! He fired three times, at five- paces ! The 
footprints prove that ! ” 

Before the great English mail steamer swung up the 
long inlet. Major Warlawe was safely hidden in the 
cabin of the “Hiogo Maru,” with Devol and the Ser- 
geant on guard at the doors. 

The two grizzled Russian sergeants stood on guard 
at the gangplank. 

“ You are to wait here! ” said Alexei Levassoff. 

“ And I’ll bring the agent whom neither you nor I 
have yet seen to meet you here! Once^that you are 
done with him, the steamer sails at your nod! The 
dead wretch will be buried here, with no remark ! 

“ And, all that has been found are these two one 
hundred pound Bank of England notes, sewed in his 
jerkin! We have taken all his clothes to pieces ! And 
no one has seen his face here ! The Japanese Chief of 
Police cannot trace him ! 

“ Give the money to the Sailor’s Hospital Fund ! ” 
said Woodlawe, “ and put Mr. Sam Norris under the 
sod in any way you choose ! ” 

'' He should be flung to the fishes, for a sneaking 
assassin ! ” growled Crampton. “ But, his fighting 
days are done ! ” 


CHAPTER VII. 
order.” 

Major Wardlawe gazed restlessly out of the cabin 
windows at the bewitching shores around him while 
the-long hours of the afternoon dragged away. 

Conversation was impossible, even with the sternly 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 1 73 

defiant Sergeant Crampton, whose ready short shotgun 
now hung from his shoulder by a diagonally slung 
broad rubber band. 

Neither of the men reverted to the dead Sam Norris, 
for whose taking ofif Consul Alexei Levassoff had 
agreed to make all due official explanations. 

“ He died in my compound, so he really was exe- 
cuted in Russia ! ” grimly said the startled Semitic offi- 
cial. 

You will have a full report on all his local sur- 
roundings before you sail ! ” said the Consul, “ for 
even in this swarm of Chinese coolies, dwarfed Japa- 
nese and foreign sailor scum, there is a running human 
account kept ! But, as the French say, ‘ The incident 
is closed ! ’ ” 

Presages of misfortune still oppressed the American. 

If Esme’s messenger has miscarried! ” he gloomily 
thought. “ Then she would be left, perhaps, with no 
second chance to carry out her strange designs 1 ” 

Cigar after cigar was lit and thrown away by him, 
while two men eagerly conversed in the office of the 
Russian Imperial Consulate upon the Bund. 

Warily defiant, Levassoff had exacted every token of 
recognition from the tall Russian who had stalked into 
his office, presenting the passport of Serge Alexandro- 
vitch Rezoff, Merchant of the First Class, of Kharkov. 

Levassoff regretted that a local anti-Semitic feeling 
had barred him from any visit to Kharkov, and so he 
was unable to verify the stranger’s real identity. 

“ Merchant ? ” he grumbled. He looks more like a 
guardsman of the Czarina’s Chevalier Regiment I And 
his fluent Russian I It is that of the Court, of the 
salon, of the Yacht Club! No buyer trading dialect 
in this strange fellow ! 

‘‘ Even Rezoff’s attire, his rings, his cigarette case 
and social manners seemed to be ‘ borrowed for the 
occasion ! ’ ” 

Finally, the stranger, producing a telegrarn from 
Baron Sternberg, addressed to him at Shanghai, said : 
‘T knew your uncle very well for many years ! Though 
he is not orthodox, he is my trusted friend! Deliver 
me over the papers — give me your aid, or else — cable 


174 


THE MYSTERY OE A SHIPYARD. 


for yourself to Baron Sternberg, who will at once re- 
port this delay to those who sent me ! 

“ I can see very well that you are afraid you might 
make an error. So you may! Any needless delay to 
me here might prevent Madame la Comtesse Ilka 
Plessky from becoming her husband’s chief ornament 
at the Court of Portugal.” 

“ The papers are not in my hands,” confusedly said 
the excited Consul. ” I will take you lo the person 
who now awaits you ! But, in an affair of such magni- 
tude, I should certainly exchange messages with Baron 
Sternberg.” 

“ In God’s name, be it so ! ” impatiently cried the 
merchant. “ I shall be here for some days I I wish 
you to charter me any idle steamboat to take me to the 
mouth of the Amoor; and so, you will have all the 
time you need ! Meanwhile, write your cablegram, and 
let me add one word ! ” ^ 

In gaping wonder, Levassoff traced a cipher de- 
spatch, to which the merchant laughingly added a 
single word. 

” Send that,” he said. Now for the agent I I only 
have halfway instructions.” 

” Will he know you ? ” timidly demanded Levassoff . 

“ I fancy so,” dryly said the stranger, bringing out 
a beautiful Moscow watch. ‘T will go and dine, and 
return in an hour. Be ready for me then ! ” 

In vain Levassoff protested and offered his own 
hospitality. 

“ Afterwards, we can break bread and salt, but not 
till you know me,” said Rezoff tauntingly. 

“ Your man and the papers are both on that ship! ” 
coldly said the now frightened Consul. 

'‘Very good! I will return in an hour!” sternly 
cried Rezoff. 

“ In the meantime, look up any small Japanese 
steamer or idle steam yacht ready for use. Do not 
spare my money ; I want a good vessel ; pay anything 
if you can get immediate service ! ” 

“ A strange Russian ! ” discontentedly mused Levas- 
soff. “ He neither lies nor tries to probe me ! A 
fellow evidently used to command, and, I fancy, one 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. I75 

who would starve as a merchant, whatever he might do 
as an officer or man of great estate ! 

“ However,” he sighed, “ I did not choose him ! ” 

It was eight o’clock when Levassoff’s steam launch 
glided alongside the “ Hiogo Maru.” 

Not a word had been exchanged between the Consul 
and his queer visitor, both smoking with an affected 
carelessness when they mounted the companionway. 

The quick salute of the old Russian sergeants was 
not lost on Levassoff, nor the curt, soldierly return 
of the unconsciously trapped traveler. 

“ So, my merchant has served ! ” mused Levassoff. 

“ Let him, then, remain closed up in his shell ! I will 
keep within my official armor ! ” A single light was 
gleaming in the cabin where Major Wardlawe sat, 
his wearied head resting on his hand. “ You speak 
French?” glumly questioned Levassoff, whereat Mer- 
chant Rezoff nodded. “ He knows no word of Rus- 
sian ! There is your man ! ” 

And, with a well studied reticence, the Consul passed 
out and sought Captain Walker, leaving the two men 
alone. 

Starting forward, Wardlawe approached the tall 
stranger, whose waving beard disguised his face in the 
semi-darkness. 

And then, forgetting all his prudence in the utter 
amazement of the moment, the American sprang back 
as if on guard. 

“ You ! ” he stammered. “ YOU ! ” 

He stood there spellbound, as Merchant Rezoff. lav- 
ing down a formal visiting card inscribed with his 
titles, laid before him on the table the signet ring given 
to him by Esme Chilkoff : “ Je demande des renseigne- 
ments et des papiers ‘ au nom d’Agar ! ’ ” quietly said 
the tall Englishman. “Avez vous une bague pareille 
pour me montrer?” 

Then, seating himself quietly, the putative merchant 
traced the words : “ In the name of Agar,” with diffi- 
culty, in the English character! 

Wardlawe mechanically held out his own ring, which 
Rezoff carefully studied, while the American strode 
to the door. 


176 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIFYARD. 

Leaping forward, Allan Law caught the Major’s 
wrist, and then, with a glance of mingled command 
and entreaty, laid his finger on his lip ! 

Wardlawe bowed gravely, with a sickening feeling 
surging through his heart and sought out Levassoff. 

“It is the right man ! he whispered in English, 
‘ a stranger to me ; but, he has proofs beyond all cavil ! 
Come in and be a witness to my delivery of the papers. 

“ Of course, he speaks only French and Russian. 
I am impatient to be done with this dangerous com- 
mission. Follow me ! ” 

Half an hour later the great cabin table was cov- 
ered with unfolded papers, invoices and documents. 

“ It is to the Consul officially that I look. Monsieur 
Rezoff,” said Wardlawe, in French, “ for the regu- 
larity of all these transfers and deliveries ! ” 

The tall merchant bowed. 

“ I am in the hands of my own representative ! ” he 
gravely said. 

Before an hour, the Consul, busy with pen and blue 
stenciled seals, had effected the legal transfer of the 
“ Water Witch,” her stores and supplies from Major 
Walter Wardlawe, owner of the bills of lading, “ To 
order,” to the merchant Serge Alexandrovitch Rezoff. 

“ I believe that this is all ! ” at last said the now 
satisfied official. 

” At my Consulate to-morrow, Serge Alexandro- 
vitch,” gravely said Levassoff, “ I will issue you the 
sea letter, register and river papers of this vessel and 
inscribe her as your own personal property and 
licensed to sail the waters of the Amoor and the adja- 
cent seas under the privileges of the Amoor Naviga- 
tion Company !” 

Both his listeners started as Levassoff read a docu- 
ment of instructions from the Ministry of the Interior, 
Siberian Division. 

“ This, I believe, covers all the personal transfer, 
and I will now stamp and countersign full receipts for 
all these numbered documents, the vessel and her find- 
ings, which relieve you. Major Wardlawe, of all ac- 
countability to any persons whatsoever. 

“To you, Serge Alexandrovitch, will be delivered 


177 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

by me, on shore, the letters of available credit, the list 
and passports for your crew and vour own visad pass- 
port I ” 

Both the men interested were now standing, gazing 
sternly at each other like mortal antagonists, a la bar- 
riere. 

“ Is there anything more?” demanded the Consul. 

Neither of the two men spoke, but Rezoff quickly 
gathered up all the papers. 

“ When does my steamer sail ? ” at last demanded 
Wardlawe in a broken voice. 

His mechanical French was accented with a tone 
of resentment and even cold defiance. 

“ I may wish to know that I have left nothing be- 
hind me undone ! I may not return here ! ” 

“ You are very wise, Monsieur le Major,” answered 
Levassoff, mystified at the sullen behavior of the two 
men. 

“ I will hold this steamer from noon till three to- 
morrow and then, come on board and then close up all 
your afifairs. I beg that you will not leave the boat ! 
And I can give you then a final official certificate of 
discharge, and you can send any last dispatches which 
you may choose.” 

Clapping his hands, Levassofif called the chief 
Chinese steward. “ You will honor me, gentlemen,” 
he said, “ with joining me in a toast to His Imperial 
Majesty ! ” 

“ Enemies already ! ” mused the Consul as he gazed 
on the men, sullenlv drinking the perfunctory toast. 

As if shot, Rezoflf suddenly sprang up. 

“ And so. Monsieur,” he said, speaking in a smoth- 
ered tone. “ As the Consul will close all transactions 
between us, I shall not have the honor of seeing you 
again ! ” 

Grasping his mercantile portfolio, the disguised Al- 
lan Law bowed, while Wardlawe stood on the other 
side of the table, deeply bowing, but with no extended 
hand. 

“ Adieu, Monsieur Rezoff ! ” he said coldly. Adieu 
et, bon voyage ! ” 

Alexei Levassoff had passed out of the cabin when 


178 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


Allan Law hastened back for a moment. My stick ! ” 
he said, as he strode away. 

Levassoff was already in his boat, when Allan Law 
grasped Wardlawe’s idly hanging hands. 

“ Swear to keep my secret ! ” he cried hoarsely, in 
English. ‘‘ If you meet me again — neither to save 
my life, my honor, nor my freedom — will you recog- 
nize me ? ’’ 

There was an agony in the young man’s eyes which 
touched Wardlawe’s stormy heart. 

“ I swear ! ” he muttered. “ And, I will keep my 
oath, so help me God ! ” 

Before he could raise his head the churning of the 
screw told of the departure of the launch. 

“ Closer than a brother, he sticks to me, this fel- 
low ! ” cried the unhappy American, “ and to what 
purpose ! He, too, is as wax in her hands ! 

“ And neither he nor I dare to name her name ! 
What devil’s mystery is this? 

“ The lurking assassin, this secret chase over the 
world ! And yet he was thunder-struck at seeing me ! 
We are both fools of some mad caprice of this strange 
woman ! Fooled to the top of her bent ! And to what 
end? Both of us conjured ‘In Agar’s name!’” 

When Wardlawe awoke the sun was shining into 
his cabin windows, and he mentally registered a vow. 
“ She can forget me so soon I I can now forget all ! 
I am now ‘ free from all entangling alliances.’ 

“ And by the God above, if we meet again he shall 
have but a soldier’s short shrift I A fair field, a stem 
welcome, and no favors ! He dared not even breathe 
her name I And I will not, so help me God ! till I see 
her ! ” 

It was after breakfast, while the ship was noisy 
with the clatter of impending departure, that Sergeant 
Crampton made his morning report. “ I have received 
the report of the Japanese Chief Police, Major!” he 
cheerily cried. “ The brute whom I shot came alone 
from America, and he worked his way as a coal heaver 
over to Japan in the ‘ Tokio,’ and slaved as an oiler on 
his passage down from Yokohama- He only left a tat- 
tered traveling rug and a battered brandy flask in the 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 179 

low tea-honse where he passed a few nights. He had 
paid for a week’s lodging and swapped his rugs in the 
bazaar for a Japanese ’longshoreman’s cotton suit ! ” 

“ Enough that the poor devil is dead ! ” said Ward- 
lawe. Evidently there was nothing left behind him ! ” 

“Hundred pound Bank of England notes do not 
fly around the world ! ” stubbornly said Crampton. 

“ Let us forget him ! ” gravely said his master. 

“ In a week we will be at Vladivostock ! 

“ In two weeks you shall be helping me to peg out 
the works at Dui ! I have a telegram that a technical 
working party of sixty are already assembled for our 
coming ! Let us leave all these memories behind ! ” 

“ He stuck to us ‘ closer than a brother ! ’ ” growled 
Crampton, “ and he would have it ! I do not regret 
killing him ! ” 

“ The man was clearly demented ! ” said Wardlawe, 
walking out to see the beautiful sampan girls — 
young Dianas — force their light barks through the 
crystal blue waves. 

“ I wonder — I wonder,” mused the agitated Amer- 
ican, “ whether those two notes came from the bluff 
Berry or this false Englishman or imitation Russian — 
whatever h^ is^ — ‘the lightning-change artist ’ “ Serge 
Alexandrovitch Rezoff ! 

“ I will have Levassoff spy on this young fellow’s 
movements ! And yet, Sternburg gave him a high 
character ! What the devil is he up to ? And the boat, 
‘ Qu’allait-il faire dans cette gale re ’ ” 

Alexei Levassoff had tossed sleeplessly on his couch 
all night, mystified by the coldness and apparent aver- 
sion of the two agents of some mysterious power, 
greater even than the moneyed syndicate behind Stern- 
berg of London and Frankfort. 

With all his Semitic ingenuity, he had failed to ex- 
tract a word from Rezoff, who swept the moonlit 
waters of the bay with his eyes, anxiously seeking 
some unemployed craft. 

And this strange “ Merchant of the first-class ” had 
coldly declined Levassoff’s hospitality, the one mark 
of distrust in the pleasure-loving Orient! 

“ Either he fears me or he is so far above me that 


l8o THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

he will not be under obligation ! ” was the Consul’s 
saddening reflection. 

Reflections which were revived by the arrival in the 
morning of a private cablegram from Baron Stern- 
berg: “Let Rezoff have all he desires to the end of 
your powers! Treat him as you would me! Your 
very future depends upon it ! ” 

Beyond verifying the locking up of the papers for 
the night in the Consular safe, Rezoff made no sign 
save his “ good night ” bow. “ I will be at your Con- 
sulate the moment it opens, ready to transact busi- 
ness ! ” haughtily said the stranger. 

To Levassoff’s offers of personal assistance, Rezoff 
replied : “ I wish for nothing ! I have local cor- 

respondents here, staunch Russian merchants 1 ” 

By noon the two men had finished all the details of 
the transfer of Wardlawe’s trust, and with a grave 
bow, Rezoff acknowledged Levassoff’s careful trans- 
mittal of his uncle’s positive endorsements. 

“ I will not forget the Baron’s promptness ! ” re- 
marked Rezoff, as he departed with the Consular Sec- 
retary to visit every unemployed craft in the harbor. 

The Consul was equally nonplussed by Major 
Wardlawe’s reception of the whole papers of quittance 
without even a reference to Rezoff. 

“ It is a triangular duel of silence ! ” mused the 
startled Consul, “ and I will be heartily glad to see 
them both go ! ” 

The “ blue peter ” was flying at the mizzen truck of 
the “ Hiogo Maru ” when the Consul departed, laden 
with Wardlawe’s last cablegrams and his final direc- 
tions. 

“ Letters, telegrams and all are to be sent direct to 
Admiral Lemacheffsky, commanding at Vladivo- 
stock. 

“ In anything else use your own judgment, save 
only a complete silence as to me, my whereabouts, 
my doings, and above all,” he said, after thanking his 
courteous host, “ not a word of me or my designs, even 
my faintest intentions, to this stranger! I conclude 
Rezoff to be some merchant engaged in a secret 
speculation ! 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. l8l 

He may have secret relations with my principles, 
but I never saw him before, and I do not wish to meet 
him again ! ’’ 

“ Clearly a case of mutual dislike ! ” mused Levas- 
soff, when he cast off the tow-line of his launch at the 
silvery straits. 

The last glass of champagne had been gayly emp- 
tied, the captain had received every human being on 
the ship to prevent any skulking “ illegal man,” and 
these had been scanned also by Sergeant Crampton 
the keen-eyed Devol and the two grim Russian ser- 
geants. 

“ I think that we have left the foe dead behind us ! ” 
cheerfully said Sergeant Crampton when Levassoff 
gave him his thousand cheroots for the voyage. 

But victory settled down on Levassoff’s agitated 
soul when he read Wardlawe’s despatch to Baron 
Sternberg, which awaited being put into cipher. 

Your nephew is a prime of hosts ; all successful ; 
all achieved; everything more than satisfactory. Tele- 
graph my departure, agent’s arrival and ‘ Water 
Witch’s ’ readiness, as agreed. Send all other cable- 
grams direct to Admiral Lemacheffsky ! ” 

“ My work is done ! These men will not meet 
again ! ” sighed Levassoff in a happy relief, as he 
steamed back to the Consulate. 

Hardly had his secret reports been flashed over the 
Danish cable when the tall form of Rezoff darkened 
the door, followed by a bluff Russian coasting captain. 

“ I find that our good friend here goes to Emperor’s 
Bay with the ‘ Sibir,” and I have persuaded him to ad- 
vance his voyage a week and to proceed direct with me 
to Nicolaievsk, landing me there and coming back to 
Emperor’s Bay.” 

''If you will change his sea letter and clearance, he 
will sail to-night ! My luggage and effects are already 
on board ! ” 

" That is,” stammered stout Captain Osip Dan- 
ieloff, " if you certify to the person’s character, and 
identity, as well as his business, and — I see my 
money ! ” 

The Consul laughed cheerily. " My dear old Cap- 


i 82 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


tain! Not only will I do this, but I will telegraph to 
Baron Knorp at Habaroffka to instruct the commander 
at Nicolaievsk that this voyage is by my order I ” 

“ I will now make out your new clearance papers, 
so you can get back to your ship ! ” 

“ That’s good ! ” growled Danieloff. “ I can pick 
up fifty passengers this afternoon ! ” 

“ Have them all on board at four o’clock ! ” sternly 
said Rezoff. “We sail at five ! Here is your money — 
a thousand pounds in Bank of England notes ! ” 

“Will you get me Russian gold for these ? ’’ doubt- 
fully said the skipper, eying the paper, but overjoyed 
at his windfall of good luck. 

“ Peterson 1 ’’ said the Consul, “ take this man to 
the bank and get him gold for these ! Keep the notes 
for me ! I want to make a home remittance. So, Cap- 
tain, be off to your boat ! I will bring Serge Alexan- 
drovitch on board myself, and deliver you your papers 
at four ! ’’ 

The happy sailor darted away, as the Consul turned 
to his strange visitor. 

“ And now I am entirely at your service. What can 
1 do for you ? ’’ 

“ Very little! ’’ simply said Rezoff. 

“ Nothing beyond a. complete set of sailing charts 
and river maps of the Amoor, also the charts to cover 
Corea, Saghalien, the Siberian coast and Japan, I may 
stay out here for the whole season ! 

“ All my passports and other papers I leave here for 
you to properly arrange ! ’’ 

Since the tall stranger had seen the masts of the 
“ Hiogo Maru ” disappear beyond the outer forts, the 
merchant seemed to be another man. 

And so, Levassoff, noting this buoyant change of 
mood, in an earnest voice said : “ For my uncle’s sake, 
join me at dinner ! I will send my carriage at two to 
any place which you may name, and take you on board 
at four.” 

The merchant frankly grasped Levassoff’s out- 
stretched hand. 

“ Gladly ! ” he said. “ Now that this American is 
gone— they are strange people— I will be at the Hong- 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 1 83 

kong and Shanghai Bank here at two. Can you step 
in and identify my signature, officially, on my letter 
of credit? I may wish to draw drafts from Nicolai- 
esk to some extent, payable either in Japanese yens, 
Russian paper, or English gold ! ” 

An air of freedom from care, of manly decision, and 
a new gayety of demeanor animated the stalwart 
Rezoff. 

And so, Levassoff happily sat down to achieve the 
mountainous papers of the Russian law, required by 
this deviated voyage. 

“ It is some great money scheme, and, this Rezoff, 
is a sly dog! He feared the other fellow’s Yankee 
curiosity. 

And the last lingering doubt as to the real Russian 
status of his visitor vanished, when, at the appointed 
time, the Consul saw the letter of credit, issued from 
Frankfort, in the name of the Rothschild’s, bearing the 
seldom used three stars of unlimited credit, and the 
personal signature of his uncle, the London manager. 

“ It is some giant tea speculation, some great new 
mercantile enterprise,” mused Levassoff, as the two 
sat down in the villa to a parting dinner. 

Though, only “ orthodox ” on the surface, Levassoff 
duly marked Rezoff’s ante-prandial devotions at the 
golden icon with which th*S Imperial’ portraits duly or- 
namented the grand dining hall. 

As an adroit trap, the sly Consul had directed every 
Russian dish of note to be prepared, and, as he gazed 
at this notable trencher man, and saw his well-bred 
familiarity with the hundred refinements of a Musco- 
vite table, Levassoff laughed at his suspicions. 

“ Bred a Russian — from the cradle up ! ” he smil- 
ingly decided, when Rezoff abandoned his fluent 
French, heartily saying: 'T am a man of the people, 
and I detest all foreign tongues. Let us talk only 
Russian. But to that Yankee, I was forced to use the 
language of the dancing master. As for German, I 
despise it ! Only peddlers speak German, in our 
Kherson, our beloved Little Russia.” 

vStory and anecdote, jest and song, flowed from 
Rezoff’s bearded lips, and Levassoff’s conquest was 


184 the mystery of a shipyard. 

complete, when he found that his visitor was versed 
in the lore of old Poland, and knew every city of 
Volhynia, Wilna, Grodno, Warsaw, and the whole 
‘• Dark Land.” 

When, at last, they stood on the deck of the “ Sibir,” 
the Consul drew the Captain aside: “ Treat this man 
as if he were my brother! He is a Russian merchant 
of enormous wealth, and his favor may lead on to your 
fortune ! ” 

The round eyes of the sailor twinkled. “ He owns 
my ship, if you say so I ” cried the sailor, happy in his 
two bags of golden Imperials, a private perquisite of 
his own. 

The “ Sibir,” a stout, powerful steamer of three 
hundred tons, now strained at her moorings. 

“ Look at her ! ” cried Osip Danieloff. “ She has 
made an annual run to Khamschatka, and, once took 
the Governor General to East Cape ! It is a lucky voy- 
age, a blessed voyage ! ” 

When they emptied the champagne cup, Rezoff 
drew Alexei Levassoff aside. “ Here is a cipher dis- 
patch to your uncle I Send it, and when you are Min- 
ister to Portugal, I will come and see you, unless, be- 
fore that, I may meet .you and the Countess Ilka 
Plessky at Skiemiwice ! ” ^ 

“You know my wife’s country place, then?” cried 
the astounded man, starting back. 

“ I was educated at Warsaw,” heartily said Rezoff. 
“ The Kharkov University was closed ‘ in the troubles,’ 
and I have hunted all over Poland. Some day, we 
will have a- race together, I hope, through your beau- 
tiful park ! ” 

“Who and what are you?” the puzzled official 
cried. 

“ Serge Alexandrovitch Rezoff ! ” quietly said ihe 
young man. “ Only a merchant, but one of your 
uncle’s nearest friends! I leave you but one charge! 
Never mention my name or \ thereabouts to that 
Yankee, should he write to ask, or ever return here! 
It might endanger my business, md affect your own 
promotion to a diplomatic post, Portugal, or some 
Other,” 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


185 


'' Gorlitz, at San Francisco, wants it also, but both 
of you will be suited, if both keep silence and continue 
as in the past. Gorlitz shall go to Siam ! ’’ 

“ And, any mail, any telegrams ? ” gasped Levassotf. 

“ All to Baron Knorp, the Governor at Habaroffka ! 
And now, adieu ! It is the parting hour ! ” 

Tossed up and down in the bubbling wake of- the 
departing boat, the Consul watched the ‘‘ Sibir ” move 
swiftly on beyond the forts. 

‘‘ Strange, strange,” mused the relieved official. 

These men are drawn closer than brothers, and yet 
something holds them further apart than any mortal 
enmity ! ” 

” Sternberg knows, of course,” reflected Levassoff, 
as the launch darted away to the shore. ” And he will 
tell me nothing ! ” 

But the next evening a cablegram was brought to 
Alexei Levassoff as he sat in the glittering circle of a 
great Consular dinner at the Nagasaki Club. 

Levassoff forgot the gleaming bosoms of the Geisha 
girls, the dark eyes of the sweet-voiced singers, in the 
words of Baron Sternberg. 

Approval of all. Your reports fully satisfactory. 
Orders for your return and promotion to Portugal 
within six months ! ” 

“ And so, I have made no mistake ! ” the happy man 
sighed. “ I will find out what Osip Danieloff has to 
say on his return. Rezoff is either a splendid mystery 
or else a man charged with some new convenient con- 
quest, an heir to the glories of Yermak, the Cossack 
and the Stroganoffs ! ” 

While he spoke, the great liner, ” Hiogo Maru ” was 
gliding on past castled Tchusima, to touch at Fusan 
anrl Gensan, on her wa}^ to the ‘ Golden Horn,’ the 
beautiful Gate of the East, while the ‘ Sibir ’ was 
swiftly creeping up the shores of Niphon and Yezo, 
to coast along by Saghalien, to the mouth of the 
mighty Amoor. 

Ten days later, as the gunboat ” Seevoutch” dashed 
into Dui harbor, Major Wardlawe saw the “ Sibir ” 
puffing along in the green waters of the Gulf of Tar- 
tary towards Nicolaievsk, 


i86 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


In his two days’ stay at Vladivostock, Major Ward- 
lawe learned, by chance, of Allan Law’s masquerading 
trip. 

For, in the Governor’s palace, the courtly old Ad- 
miral said : “ I must hasten you over to Dui on my 

despatch boat! I had intended to send you to Em- 
peror’s Bay on my yacht, and thence across to Sagha- 
lien on the ‘ Sibir,’ but it seems a rich merchant, one 
Rezoff, has chartered her for a direct trip to the mouth 
of Amoor, and the ‘ Sibir ’ only lands coming back. I 
shall keep a close eye on this fellow ! They dodge in 
from Japan, but — his papers are all right 1 Levassoff 
sent his telegram to Baron Knorp on through me I ” 

“ What w’ould happen if he were caught in an illegal 
enterprise, this stranger?” said Wardlawe, already a 
brother to his genial host. 

“Shot!” sternly said the old sea dog. “Knorp 
would send him down to me, under guard! I alone 
have the power of life and death! Knorp is merely 
my sub-governor ! ” 

“ And so, he is on that boat ! ” mused Wardlawe, 
watching the interchange of fluttering signals. “ I 
wonder if he knows that Lemachefifsky has the power 
of life and death here, without recourse to Saint Peters- 
burg ! ” 

The stern words of the old Admiral haunted Ward- 
lawe in the two days of his almost kingly reception by 
the officials at Vladivostock. 

Even Sergeant Crampton and Devol, with the two 
guards, had been “ mobbed ” with truly Siberian hos- 
pitality. 

“All’s fair in love and war!” mused the Major. 
“ Let him look out foi; his own head ! He has closed 
every door on his escape, for I have sworn to keep his 
secret ! ” 

And so Wardlawe gazed gloomily after the boat, 
now hull down on the northern horizon. 

A mighty struggle had rent his bosom ! “ An Eng- 
lish spy — a false character — suppose that this fellow 
has artfully deceived Esme Chilkoff! The Ignatieffs 
seem to have taken a great fancy to him ! ” 

. “ And yet, she has hidden her secret purposes from 


MYSTKRV Of? A SHIPYAKd. tSj 

all! Ttiis strange being knows no ordinary human 
responsibility, and so, Mr. Allan Law is playing with 
fire! 

“ To attempt to warn her, to warn him of his danger, 
to meddle with this secret game — either course might 
defeat all my great purposes here, and break up Mars- 
den and Mott’s future enterprises ! I fancy, however, 
that 1 have seen the last of my English friend I 

“ But, if he is taken with any tell-tale notes — in- 
tended for the British Foreign Ministry — these Sibe- 
rian Cossacks will hew him to pieces ! Does he know 
the deadly game he plays ? or is he, tog, as wax in her 
hands ? 1 have loyally done my duty ! Let him, now, 
guard his own head! If he is playing false to Esme, 
his punishment will be well merited, and she will aban- 
don him to his fate without a sigh ! But he would be in 
a felon’s grave long before she would knowl It is a 
case of the Lady and the Tiger ! ” 

Two days later. Major Wardlawe was domiciled 
with the Governor of Dui and invested with the powers 
of a scientific autocrat. In the great log palaces of 
the officers he found almost a Parisian luxury; while 
the stern fortifications, the frowning batteries, the 
heavy garrison, and the extended convict settlements 
proved that the Russian Bear had evidently come to 
stay. 

A splendid engineering force, a competent working 
stall:’, with drawing and model rooms, were ready, with 
all the detailed plans of the unknown island, whose 
thirty thousand square miles enclose vast undeveloped 
riches. 

Carriages, steam launches, mounted messengers, all 
awaited the man whom the Admiral honored, while the 
splendid mess, the Geheral’s table and the officers 
homes were open to the visitor with a fraternal hospi- 
tality. 

“ Despotism can easily be made splendid ! ” mused 
Wardlawe, gazing at his great quarters, already decked 
by Crampton and Devol, his guard and retinue, with 
the priceless furs of Northern Siberia. 

“ It’s not a bad exile ! ” gaily cried Colonel Orloff, 
Wardlawe’s collaborator. He swept his hand around 


l88 THE MYSTERY OR A SHIPYARD 

the Splendid room. Pictures, the journals of Paris, 
London and Berlin, plate, all the luster of luxury, 
abounded, while pianos and a superb band gave the 
musical distractions needed. 

“ You see, there are other things here than furs, 
fisheries, exhaustless frosts and unopened mines ! ” 
laughed Orloff. “ We have our clubs, our biweekly 
theatre, a weekly ball, the regular interchange of din- 
ners, and, twice a week, the steamer from Vladi- 
vostock. 

** Next year we will have a cable, and so, tie the out- 
side world to us ! 

“ It is almost a frontier paradise ! ” said the Ameri- 
can. 

“ Not so bad,” laughed Orlofif, “ for us who can go 
away! We get double pay and promotion here! The 
garrison is three thousand veterans ! ” 

“Two steam corvettes are here. I will send you 
'round the island when your work will permit ! ” 

“ But those ladies, those whom I met last night at 
the ball ? ” said Wardlawe. 

“ You notice that the General's family was not pres- 
ent,” slyly said Orloff. “ All those beauties are con- 
victs, and they make our exile less irksome and their 
own imprisonment less severe ! ” 

“ These women in silks and satins ? ” the astonished 
man cried. 

“ Precisely ! Our manners are of the Court, what- 
ever our morals are, and, chains can be lightly worn,” 
laughed Orloff. 

“ When wc have used every moment of this golden 
month, when the work is done which makes me a 
General, and I hope enrich you, I will open your eyes ! 
But, to our plans ! ” 

And so, day by day, as the vast constructions as- 
sumed definite form, and the final projets were de- 
spatched by express steamers, to enable bids to be 
telegraphed by the National Works, Wardlawe locked 
his lips upon many discoveries which made him rub 
his eyes as if in a dream. 

Long before the locations were achieved and the 
great council met for its final labors, the chiefs at San 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 189 

Francisco knew of the successful debut of their chosen 
representative. 

And Wardlawe’s reports, his private telegrams, 
were deftly forwarded, even the anxious Levassoff 
communicating by cable, in three days, with ease. 

“ Wonders of power and wealth, of science and or- 
ganization ! ” mused the American as the six weeks of 
his stay flew by in a triumphant professional master- 
piece. 

In another week,’’ laughed Colonel Orlotf, you 
and I can take all over to Admiral Lemacheffsky. 
His final approval, the last orders given from St. 
Petersburg, and then, you can telegraph to your chiefs 
the results. I shall claim you for a return visit to 
Saghalien, and in two weeks I can show you all the 
inner mysteries of our strange colony! Remember, 
you are a member of our Governer’s mess for life ! ” 

“ I fear, Orlofif,'’ said the American, “ that my 
people will send others back to set up all these great 
works next year! I am billeted for South Africa, to 
carry out some long-deferred mining plans ! ” 

“ Then,” said the gay Engineer Colonel, “ I will hail 
you next at St. Petersburg when I am called home to 
be promoted general ! ” 

In all the wild life of this island kingdom juggled 
away from Japan, Walter Wardlawe, at the head of 
a hundred specialists, had forgotten the “ Sibir ” and 
its lonely passenger. 

“ Esme Chilkotf ! ” he sighed. “ I must wait for 
her to call me back! For six months, even a year 
must elapse before she can effect the veiled purposes 
of her secret campaign! 

“ She has perhaps already forgotten me ! She has 
also used me ! I have been ‘ as wax in her hands ! ’ 
But ‘ Rezoff,’ the man whose name I dare not even 
speak, how fares he ? ” 

It was in these early days of August when the 
Princess Chilkoff walked alone the park of Count Ig- 
natieff’s splendid summer residence, near Kief. 

Hidden from all eyes during July, in her splendid 
palace prison on the Neva, in vain the Baroness Fad- 


nui MYStJ^RV 01’’ A SHli^YAKd. 


igo 

aieff urged her beautiful mistress to go away to the 

leafy summer woods. 

All the nobility were hidden in their summer homes, 
and yet the Circassian obstinately lingered in the gran- 
ite wilderness. 

When Dr. Alexis Pauloff descended in state, backed 
by Madame Ignatieff, he was met with a will as un- 
bending as his own. 

“ I will come to you in August, Natalie ! ” said the 
anxious woman, whose eyes burned with a strange 
luster. 

“Leave me! I will have it soL’ 

Even Colonel Prince Sacha Menchikoff received 
the continued refusal of Ali Roustan to admit him to 
his mistress’ salon. 

“ The Barilla was at home, but she received no one ! ” 

And so Menchikoff’s superb baskets of flowers, his 
fiery letters remained unanswered and all unacknowl- 
edged. 

“ Half devil, half angel, this peerless Tcherkess ! ” 
groaned the reckless Menchikoff, as in desperation he 
joined a party of gallants bound for Paris. Yet, gayly 
crying in his own heart, “ There is no other! ” 

But the world forgetting, in these July days, Esme 
Chilkoff, with a heightened color, grasped eagerly the 
telegrams from Baron Sternberg, which were a mys- 
tery even to the detectives of the Secret Police. 

These acute investigators well knew that the great 
financier handled the foreign affairs of the young 
beauty, who, while secretly controlled in her move- 
ments, was left to the enjoyment of a great and un- 
known estate, handled by the Government, the results 
of the allotment of her Circassian revenues as well as 
Boris Chilkoff’s inheritance. 

The arrival and departure of Wardlawe from Na- 
gasaki, the “ brother Ahmed ” of her strange adop- 
tion, the departure of “ Serge Alexandrovitch Rezoff ” 
for Nicolaiesk, brought to her a measure of relief. 

And in the middle of Julv a few brief words had 
told her that the “ Water Witch ” had left Nicolaiesk 
on its voyage to the juncture of the Argoun and the 
Shilka. But as the early days of burning August 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. I9I 

slowly crawled by, the daily recurring silence of -her 
loyal agent Sternberg, now at London, weighed upon 
her heart. * 

In vain, her guardians tenderly appealed to her ! 

Though a hectic red flushed her hollowed cheek ; 
though she dragged listlessly around the darkened 
palace, she guarded a proud and bitter silence. 

And it was with a sullen defiance that she submitted 
at last, only when the Czarina sent a lady in waiting 
to announce the Imperial pleasure. 

“ You must choose some summer retreat for two 
months or else, the Court Physician will be obliged to 
execute the Empress’ orders ! ” 

And then, she turned her face to “ Mon Plaisir,” at 
Kiev. 

“ No tidings, no tidings ! ” she muttered. 

“ Allah forbid that his sacrifice should be in vain ! 
That his death and my heartbreak would follow on the 
discovery of this man’s mission ! 

“ Then — even then — I dare not seek the truth ! It 
is the silence of Death ! ” 

And yet, while she chafed like a caged eagle ; while 
the Count and his wife exchanged glances of alarm, in 
her dreams her shadowy mother Ayesha seemed to 
stoop down and kiss the heart-torn woman. 

** Be of good cheer ! ” the loving phantom cried. 

Yet a little longer! Wait and hope! ” 

And so, Esme Chilkoff only smiled sadly when the 
Countess Natalie Ignatiefif whispered : “ Shall I tele- 
graph to Sacha Menchikoff to make us a month’s 
visit? He is at Aix-les-Bains with the King of 
Greece ! ” 

“ Send no telegram,” faltered Esme ; “ there is but 
one man alive whose face is always in my heart ! Sacha 
is a gallant Russian, but, he is never born to claim my 
hand ! ” 

And, while the Countess Natalie wondered, in her 
stricken heart the girl murmured “Agar! Come 
back to me ! ” 


192 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


CHAPTER VIII. 

THE TIGER HUNT ! 

It was while Wardlawe, with feverish eagerness, 
attacked his great work at Dui, and the Princess Esme 
Chilkoff chafed, in a mad unrest, in her Neva pMace, 
that the stout “ Sibir ” crawled through the fog banks 
of the Straits of Tartary and slowly entered the lonely 
flood of the Amoor. 

Captain Osip Danieloff now divided Levassoff’s 
doubts as to the “ Merchant Rezoff.” 

“ Certain, he is a millionaire,” growled the Captain, 
“and he knows every inch of Russia, but the voyage 
shows him to be a sailor out and out. A devil of a 
‘ Kharkov trader ’ this ! ” 

And yet, the Captain had more than met his match. 

For he was eager to earn Consul Levassoff’s prom- 
ised bribe for a secret report of every action of the 
mysterious passenger. 

Seated in the chart room, smoking ceaseless che- 
roots, the disguised Englishman had passed his ten 
days in a careful study of the great stream on whose 
banks the mighty Genghis founded the Tartar Em- 
pire. • 

But when they entered the great flood, two miles 
wide at the mouth, note-book in hand, Rezoff gave 
himself up to a scrutiny of the giant stream, which in 
its course of three thousand miles, drains eight hundred 
thousand square miles. 

Born of the triple union of the Shilka, the Argoun, 
and the Sungari, its destiny seems to be to open Mon- 
golia, Manchuria, and Primorsk to the ruthless 
Russian. 

“ Water leaves no trail,” murmured Allan Law, as 
he bethought him of the strange command not to open 
his “ sealed orders ” until past Habaroffka. 

“ Just as well,” he murmured. “ And I will not go 
ashore there, if I can avoid it. Russian hospitality is 
too apt to become a crucial social investigation of one’s 
past, present, and future. My safest motto is the 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. I93 

Shakespearian phrase ' Paucas Palabras ! ’ I can get 
my whole river permit for the voyage to Nertchinsk 
here, from the Governor of Nicolaievsk, by a liberal 
present to his First Aide, if the old golden charm 
works as usual !” 

And so, silent and watchful, Rezoff stood on the 
bridge with Captain Danieloff as the “ Sibir ” rushed 
along, driven at full speed over the twenty-two miles 
from the river’s mouth to where Nicolaievsk lay, in 
dense primeval forests, on the left bank of the huge 
artery of the future Empire of the East. 

Rezoff’s luggage and stores were all on the deck, 
as Danieloff, pointing to four heavy batteries, handed 
his glass to the merchant of Kharkov. 

“Hourra!” he cried. “There she lies! Now, as 
I can not approach the shore, I will round to, send you 
ashore in my long boat, take a turn up the river, and 
sail^away out of the mouth to-night.” 

“'in two days, I will be at Emperor’s Bay! What 
have you to say to Consul Levassoff ? ” 

“ Compliments ! Greeting ! And that you are a 
jolly good fellow ! The prince of skippers ! That’s 
all.” 

“ Any letters ? ” demanded the curious Captain. 

“ I never write letters ! ” gloomily answered Rezoff. 
“Not even to ladies! It would have saved much 
trouble in the world if the art of writing never had 
been invented ! ” 

“ Hello ! what’s this ? ” cried Danieloff, as a smart 
little steam launch, the tiniest of motor boats, sped 
over the waters towards them, towing an empty barge. 

“ Some one for me, I fancy ! ” quietly replied Rezoff. 

Before them, five hundred log houses were scattered 
a half mile along the banks, where eight thousand 
people held the trust of the Amoor for the Czan 

A heavy corvette was anchored out in mid-stream, 
and a half dozen torpedo boats were nested under the 
sheds of a substantial looking naval station. 

Steam chimneys poured out black smoke, and the 
mile and a quarter of the river’s breath was covered 
with canoes, fishing, and pleasure boats. 

“ The Barin Rezoff ! ” cried a good humored manly 


194 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


voice, as a heavy set Russian of middle age tumbled 
up the companion way. 

Danieloff stared, 'while “ Rezoff ” advanced and 
greeted the newcomer with a Russian hug and a kiss 
on each cheek. 

“ Slip into my cabin,” said the disguised English- 
man, as he noted the ship’s engines slowed, and the 
sailors tumbling his effects into the barge. 

“ Ivan Petroff, Sailing Master ! ” briefly said the 
bearded stranger, handing a little note to his new 
master. 

With kindling eyes, Rezoff read the few lines 
traced by Dimitri Gorlitz, the San Francisco Consul. 

Calling for brandy and soda, Rezoff lit a cigar with 
a taper made of the note and saw its last film crumble 
into ashes. 

In five minutes the little launch was puffing away 
to a queer-shaped vessel lying a half a mile below the 
town. 

Danieloff was already on his bridge, his eyes fixed 
upon the central thread of the great stream, easily 
marked by floating logs torn from the forests on the 
Baikal. 

“ Nothing suspicious ! ” growled the captain on the 
“ Sibir, “ but that he smokes cheroots and drinks 
brandy and soda instead of using our cigarettes and 
vodki ! And I’ve really nothing to tell Levassoff ; but 
I have earned ten thousand roubles to lay away for 
' Mania ’ and the children ! A devilish close-mouthed 
fellow ! Now for a quick home run ! ” 

The Sibir ” was tearing down the stream at a 
fifteen-knot gait, when Allan Law stepped on the deck 
of the strange-looking “ Water Witch,” whose twin 
screws were slowly revolving, while the duplicated 
click! click! of the injectors smote pleasantly on Re- 
zoff’s ear. 

The broad, low “ Water Witch ” lay like a duck on 
the water, two hundred yards from the shore, where 
a clump of Tunguse and Gilliak natives stolidly 
watched the unknown steam monster, already known 
on the Amoor as the “ Water Devil.” 

“ The Barin Serge Alexandrovitch Rezoff ! ” cried 


195 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

the sailing master in a loud voice to the assembled crew 
of fourteen, Who touched their caps in salute and then 
silently returned to their duties. 

Passing into the low cabin, the secret agent of the 
Aihoor Navigation Company carefully closed the 
doors and then gazed at his “ best man.” 

“Three American engineers, six firemen and ma- 
chinists, two Russian hunters, two river pilots and 
myself, with two cooks, make up the crew ! ” said 
Petroff. The boat is already provisioned, coaled and 
ready for her run to Habaroffka.” 

Ivan Petroff’s sturdy frame, his clear blue eyes and 
straw-colored hair, his hearty voice and calm de- 
meanor marked him as of the better class of Russian 
sea-dogs. 

“ Who placed you in charge ? ” said Rezoff , using 
the familiar form of the ordinary Baltic Russian patois. 

The Consul Dimitri Gorlitz, Barin,” answered the 
sailor. “ I have already thoroughly tried the boat. 
She is a wonder! My men are reliable, and I have 
passports for the whole crew! So we are now clear 
of all formalities and provisioned for a fortnight ! ” 

“ How can you handle these Americans ? ” dubi- 
ously said the secretly excited Rezoff. 

“I was five years sailing to Alaska for the Fur 
Company, and I have learned English thoroughly! 
My American wife waits for me at San Francisco!” 

“ Good ! ” cried Rezoff. 

“ And so we are ready to start when I can get the 
police permits ! ” 

“ All arranged ! ” cheerily cried Petroff. 

“ The full River permit was sent to me here from 
Baron Knorp at Habaroffka, to be delivered to you 
on your arrival. It is in your name, and the two river 
pilots know every town as far as Nertchinsk ! ” 

“ Then we could run on past Habaroffka if we 
choose ? ” said Rezoff. 

“ Certainly ! We can get wood fuel at twenty land- 
ings between here and there! Coal at all the towns 
on both sides of the river, both Russian and Chinese, 
some forty in all! Will Your Excellency land?” 


196 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

“ No! ’’ gravely said Rezoff, watching the vanishing 
spars of the “ Sibir.” 

“ Move her first slowly over to the other side of 
the river, and then, set your course steadily up stream 
at her three-quarter gait.” * 

The light clang of the gongs sounded as the Water 
W'itch” glided, with no apparent motion, away from her 
moorings, and, swinging out into the stream, noise- 
lessly sped up past the. sleepy town, with the continued 
thrust of her double-cased propellers. 

Rezoff sat silently in the cabin, as the- ‘‘ Water 
Devil’s ” speed increased, and the sailing master quietly 
entered, saying : “ Fifteen miles now against the cur- 
rent, with ease, only a jogging speed.” 

The first bend, and the huge, lonely forests now hid 
the town from their view. 

“ Petroff ! ” said the merchant, as he watched the 
steward deftly arranging all his belongings. “ I am 
only ‘ Serge Alexandrovitch ’ to you 1 No titles, no 
ceremony! I am a man of few words! I will handle 
the whole crew through you, and I wish you always 
near me! You will share my cabin.” 

The little snuggery was a marvel of compactness. 

Four bunks, the lower arranged to use as desks, if 
needed, an extension table, repeating arms in racks — 
every adjunct for use and comfort. 

“ When will we reach the capital, Habaroffka ? ” 
asked Rezoff. 

“ Three days run ! ” curtly answered Petroff. 

Pass it, then, in the night, without stopping ! Fill 
up with wood as needed!' Keep all your coal ballast 
for emergencies! Take full charge! No one, of any 
class, is to board the boat ! And no talk — no chatter ! 
I will set the man at once ashore who talks ! ” 

When the first river police-boat passed, Rezoff, 
seated smoking at the hooded stern, noted with surprise 
the Russian merchant flag and the boat’s number 
quickly hoisted on his own boat. 

“ Consul Levassoff telegraphed the boat’s registered 
number ‘ Eighty-five,’ from Nagasaki,” reported Pe- 
troff. “ All that we have to do now, is simply to show 
our number ! It has been already telegraphed to every 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


197 


river station ! You will find it, also, on the boat’s sea 
letter. Consul Gorlitz sent all these data on to Levas- 
soif at Nagasaki.” 

“You know him?” said Rezoff. 

“Very well! I have transhipped several cargoes of 
raw sealskins through him at Nagasaki.” 

Throwing himself down to sleep, the excited Allan 
Law dreamed of a far-away face until the touch of the 
steward’s finger roused him to an excellent dinner. 

“ To-morrow I will deliver to you all the accounts 
and inventories, the funds on hand, and read you my 
full orders from Consul Gorlitz, who alone in San 
Francisco could make provision for this long voyage! 
I think that we need nothing only occasional fresh 
supplies ; and we are well armed, too 1 ” 

“ Twenty stand of seven-shooting Hotchkiss rifles, 
ten thousand rounds of ammunition, five fowling 
pieces, with five thousand cartridges, and twenty re- 
volvers, with five hundred rounds each 1 We can trade 
these ofi: for anything, where money in any form is 
useless I There are some wild predatory tribes on the 
upper river.” 

“ I will go over all. Captain ! ” said Rezoff, “ and 
then leave all the details to you I I have my private 
notes to make, and shall be sparing of my time ! ” 

By the next evening, three hundred miles of the 
primeval wilderness had glided by. The men all knew 
the alert, resolute face of their merchant chief, and 
even the Americans decided that “ the boss was a man 
to tie to I ” 

Little did they realize Allan Law’s secret inspection 
of every detail of the wonderful equipment of the fast- 
est boat ever seen in the Orient. 

Not a plan was wanting for the ultimate use of every 
inch of space, every pound of steam, every element of 
speed and stability in every weather. The discipline 
of the men — the silence and order — resembled a man- 
o’-war. 

And so, greatly reassured, Allan Law gave over the 
direction of the voyage to the capable Petroff, whose 
stout heart bounded at the hope of the reward offered 


ipS THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

him at San Francisco by Gorlitz — “ when the crew 
should return ! 

Rezoff easily finished his examination of the papers, 
and marveled at the foresight of the arrangements ! 

“ I worked three months at San Francisco on all 
these details,” said Petroff, “ with Consul Gorlitz, and 
I am glad that you are so well pleased ! ” 

They went over the whole boat together, and the 
taciturn Petroff soon recognized a master hand in his 
“ merchant chief.” 

But, with true Russian stolidity and devotion, he 
merely sealed his lips. 

“ She is a wonder ! ” exclaimed Rezoff. And her 
name? ” said Petroff. “ Let it be ‘ Eighty-Five,’ as on 
the papers ! ” remarked the merchant. “ I hope the 
year will bring us luck ! ” “ God grant it ! ” cried Pe- 
troff, who was cheered by his new master’s daily devo- 
tions at the sacred icon which with the two Imperial 
faces, looked down on them. 

“No one bothered you at Nicolaievsk ?” asked 
Rezoff. 

“ Orders have been sent all along the river to give us 
all possible aid, comfort and freedom from official re- 
straint ! ” answered Petroff. 

And the hours sped away, as the powerful boat 
glided, seemingly without effort, on past the unvarying 
mournfulness of the lonely shores ! 

Save a few picket-posts, a score of little penal settle- 
ments, a dozen fishing villages of the Giliaks, the great 
stream rushed in silence on to the ocean, its waters only 
wakened by the scream of the cormorant or the howls 
of wild beasts at night. 

“ In a hundred years,” mused Rezoff, “ cities yet to 
be born will shine upon these banks.” 

“ Wealth, power, the greed of gold, woman’s smiles, 
man’s schemes, official intrigues, will bring the fevered 
modern life to this unravished Eastern treasure house. 
It is the onward march of Russia which will yet people 
these shores with the joys and sorrows of human 
existence !” 

With all his books, papers and charts arranged, Allan 
Law walked the decks in a quiet contentment. 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. I99 

“ There is not a scrap of paper, not an object, not 
Russian ; not even a French novel, and so, I am im- 
pregnable in my disguise!’' 

“ But one duty remains, to read my sealed orders 
after passing Habaroffka, and then, burn them ! ” 

“ Then, my fate, my reward, the happenings of a 
ten thousand-mile trip and its return are locked in the 
bosom of the future! All that I can do is to die for 
her, if need be, with sealed lips! My reward can 
wait !” 

He kissed the signet ring which the Princess had 
given him. 

In Agar’s name ! ” he repeated, “ I will ask noth- 
ing! But, I can wait for her to speak — if she has a 
heart!” 

Before they neared the capital of Eastern Siberia, 
Rezoff was familiar with the sad-eyed convicts clad 
in gray, with a black number on each man’s breast, 
who piled the wood at the little landings where a red 
and white flag called to the passing boats. 

A score of slow stern-wheeler steamboats had been 
passed, shuffling wheezily down the stream ; their pas- 
sengers frantically waving to the smokeless “ devil 
boat,” painted a dull gray, a color which faded into the 
fog, the sky and the river, and there was neither smoke 
nor noise to announce the passing of the eighty-five 
foot “Water Witch.” 

Rezoff keenly watched Petroff liberally giving silver 
roubles and a pound of tobacco to each convict, after 
wooding up, and noted the river pilots and the two 
hunters in long converse with these sad-eyed human 
wrecks. 

“ Poor fellows ! ” sighed Petroff. “ Some of them 
are men of education, even nobles, and all of them the 
victims of misfortune ! It is not the iron hand of the 
Czar, it is Fate which has sent them here! God help 
them ! ” 

Cheerful and yet lonely, ever on the watch, to 
avoid betraying himself, Allan Law listened, with a 
hungry heart, to the songs of the American crew, the 
honest old English rolling out of their lips with a 
western snap, far different from the nasal Yankee tone. 


200 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


“ I must keep away from them,” he mused. “ It 
is a terrible temptation, and but for my flowing Rus- 
sian beard they could easily see that I understand 
them ! ” 

Long years before, Allan Law had learned to play 
his social part in Russian life, to wait, watch, dis- 
simulate and hide even the lightest emotion. 

But a fierce fire now burned in his bosom, as in the 
soft July evening the breezes fanned his brow when 
the outskirts of Habaroffka were discerned on the 
right bank ! “ If I should be stopped and searched 

here,” he thought, “ I might innocently betray Esme, 
and so lose both life and honor !” 

And thus he skirted the farthest shore in the starlit 
night, where the forest incense perfumed the balmy air. 

The inexpressible sweetness of a Siberian summer 
was lingering upon the Amoor, as the “ merchant Re- 
zoff ” watched the straggling lights of a town a mile 
long! 

He could see the cupola of the Greek chapels, the 
vague outlines of works, barracks and docks, and the 
clang of bells sounded over the three-quarters of a 
mile of rushing waters. 

All the lights of the boat were extinguished, save 
the headlight and the two sidelights, as the “ Water 
Witch ” left the capital city astern. 

“What’s that?” demanded Rezoff, as Captain Pe- 
troff opened the cabin door. 

A heavy gun boomed out, echoing across the water 1 

“ The nine o’clock gun I ” sadly said Petroff. “ All 
convicts and ‘ illegal ’ men and women are forced to be 
in their homes at this gun fire ! Full speed, sir, now ? ” 

“Yes! ” cried Rezoff, his heart beating wildly as he 
sat down in his shaded cabin to read the sealed orders 
of the woman now wasting her proud heart, away on 
the Neva. 

It was midnight, and Petroff was on his usual nightly 
watch, which he divided with the chief engines, before 
Allan Law, having burned the last document, threw 
the ashes overboard to prevent the possible curiosity 
of the steward. 

Standing, a grimly silent figure, by the boat’s waist, 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


201 


he heard one of the American engineers grumble to 
his mate: “ We have passed this town, the largest on 
the river, without stopping, Tom ! We will meet strange 
companions, and earn our double wages, before the 
voyage is over! What -is it, anyway; some sneaking 
job?” 

The sneering English words cut Allan Law like a 
knife, and he was springing angrily forward when his 
secret trust recalled him. 

“ I must be silent and suffer this ; anything for her 
sake ! I have been molded ‘ as wax in her hands ’ to a 
strange destiny! I am only Rezoff, the merchant of 
Kharkov ! ” 

And yet, sleep came not to his eyes that night, 
though the secret purposes of the Princess Esme Chil- 
koff seemed not so desperate; in fact, they looked to 
be devoid of all nefariousness ! 

“ That a vessel, owned by the rightful persons, 
should make a continuous voyage from Nicolaievsk to 
the town of Nertchinsk, and return, to save a valuable 
franchise of immense value! 

“ Leave all the official logbook and verifications to 
Captain Ivan Petroff, who has been secretly instruct- 
ed ! ” 

“ You are to maintain discipline, to verify the voy- 
age, and to be a witness later, outside of Russia. If 
needed, the only responsible witness of the voyage of 
this steamer ! ” 

“ Beyond checking your river maps and keeping 
your own diary of days, dates and places, you have no 
further duties until you return to Nicolaievsk, where 
telegrams, letters and orders will reach you through 
the agency of Baron Knorp, the sub-Governor of Paci- 
fic Siberia. 

“ You are to avoid this friendly official, whose post 
would be forfeited if his secret aid were suspected.” 

“ The ownership of the boat, in your name, is legally 
established, and Captain Petroff will do some trading 
for ermines, sables and black and silver fox skins, per- 
haps even gold dust, which will give a commercial color 
to the trip ! 

“ And hunting and a tourist’s usual devices will ex- 


202 


tHE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


plain your presence! And to all police investigation, 
you are to reply — nothing, to the last I ” 

“ Easily said, not so easily done ! ” mused Allan 
Law. “ When we have passed the twenty villages be- 
tween here and Blagoveschensk, I will take a hand at 
hunting and native trade, if only to satisfy these curi- 
ous Americans that I am merely looking for profit, now 
or in fdture.” 

“ Safe now I” cheerily mused Rezoflf, on the next 
day. “ The whole detail of the sealed order is safe in 
my memory, and no one shall wrench Esme Chilkoff’s 
name from my lips! For I can prove to her, thank 
God ! that even under a Russian name, an Englishman 
can keep his faith ! ” 

But one injunction of the strange Circassian girl 
excited Rezoff's suspicions! “You are to send no re- 
ports or cablegrams until you return to Nicolaievsk ! 
There — your last orders will reach you ! Avoid all 
the officials ! Captain Petroff has funds from Gorlitz 
to handle all the river authorities, and he will send 
any needful telegrams! He is well and long known 
to the whole police of the river, as he took one of the 
first American-built steamers over the whole course 
that you follow.” 

“Why should I fear to face these men?” mused 
Allan Law. 

“ I am now bronzed and travel-tanned enough to 
deceive even my own father, if he lived ! 

“ But, she shall have her way ! Petroff evidently 
has no dream of my identity! There is nothing now 
to incriminate me but my memory of Esme’s bewitch- 
ing face ! A woman to die for ! ” 

He mused long and sadly, said, “ Yes, one fated to 
break hearts lightly, and then, doomed, perhaps, to 
break her own ! ” 

It was a weird voyage, this long sweep of the 
“ Eighty-Five ! ” 

While Rezoff critically examined the magnificent 
boat, he secretly watched each member of the sixteen 
strange companions of his mysterious voyage. 

Ivan Petroff was now busied in arranging in trays 
an assortment of trading goods. 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


203 


“ To-morrow we pass the mouth of the Sungari, 
and the whole left bank as far as Ust Strelka is Chi- 
nese! They rule as far as the middle thread, and in 
case of any annoyance by the Russians we can hug 
that shore 1 ” 

“ But from Habaroffka to the sea both the banks are 
Russian ! Down stream, with forced draught and our 
oil-soaked coal fuel, I could run that in two days I ” 

“ Once out of the Gulf of Tartary, I would make 
Japanese soil at Cape Soya, Yezo, in two more days! ” 

Brooding secretly, Rezofif began to divine that Pe- 
troff had some secret orders of his own ! “You got 
the crew together at San Francisco?” said the mer- 
chant. 

“ Yes ! Under the orders of Dimitri Gorlitz ! I 
picked all the men, save the two river pilots and the 
two hunters ! 

“ Gorlitz selected those! We all came over on Free- 
man, Smith & Company’s annual ship, which carries 
all the heaviest goods of the Government to Nico- 
laievsk, as well as the supplies for their own stores ! 

“ So the ‘ Water Witch ’ was brought on the deck of 
a three thousand ton clipper, her engines and boilers 
all taken out of her ! I rely on the two pilots to aid me 
in my trade with the Chinese from beyond the Great 
Wall, and the two hunters will give you superb sport ! 

“ Unless you order differently, I do not intend to 
stop on the left bank at all, going up or down ! Our 
wood can be all got anywhere in trade, and coal, later, 
at the great Chinese settlement opposite Habaroffka 
for the run to Nicolaievsk ! Should I have to take the 
boat over to Japan, after you are done, her water ballast 
can be replaced with oil, and that and forty tons of coal 
will run us a thousand miles ! ” 

“ And, this hunting ? ” carelessly said Rezoff. 

“ Exciting, but dangerous ! Elk, tiger, bear, the 
glutton, lynx, wolf and wild boar ! 

“ At each place, one hunter will get a squad of 
friendly Chinese to go out with you, and I expect to 
clear a hundred thousand roubles in sable, ermine, fine 
marten and fox skins, as well as gold dust, ginseng and 
silks ! 


204 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


“ The little launch will be an ideal boat for you ! 
It can tow the hunters and their escort in a barge ! I 
expect to earn the whole expenses of the trip on this 
trade ! ” 

“ And this magnificent boat ? ” 

“ Ah ! ’’ said Petroff, “ the Russians here are build- 
ing splendid works at Nicolaievsk and Vladivostock ! 
You know, in twenty-five years, we will have all Mon- 
golia, Manchuria, Kirin and Corea; in fact, all China, 
as far as the Alashan Mountains and the head of the 
Yellow Sea!” 

“ Either Baron Knorp or Admiral Lemachefifsky 
would gladly buy the boat as a model, and so pay oft 
all her inventory. One hundred thousand gold dol- 
lars ! ” 

‘‘ There is no such boat in the world ! This one can 
run in four feet of water, or go steadily in an open sea- 
way ! She is a wonder ! ” 

The strange sights of the Chinese shores were unroll- 
ing themselves, while Serge Rezoff gazed at the un- 
broken sameness of the forests on the northern bank, 
the broken villages, the squalid settlements. 

“ What are these ? ” he asked of Petroff. 

“ Detached settlements of Polish and Russian ex- 
convicts, refugees and simply deported men ! There 
are nobles and women of princely blood forgotten here 
by the world I ” 

‘‘ Poor fellows ! Our hunters and river pilots know 
them all, the old timers, and do many favors for 
them I ” 

Rezoff had noted about a hundred nondescript craft 
on the thousand miles traversed, mostly patched up 
tugs or old stern-wheelers, dragging barges laden with 
the richest goods. 

“We could run away from anything in the Orient 1 ” 
laughed Petroff. 

The stolid Captain simply saluted when Serge Alex- 
androvitch Rezoff called him into the cabin and de- 
livered to him a transfer “ in trust for the owners of 
the ‘ Eighty-Five ’ and her whole belongings. 

“ Something might happen to me,” he gloomily said, 
“ and I wish you to have the legal power to conclude 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


205 


a sale of the boat, subject to the ratification of Dimitri 
Gorlitz, the Russian Consul at San Francisco ! 

“ I can have this stamped at Blagoveschensk and 
legally registered,” said Petroff. “I will go over 
there with all the boat’s papers. My cousin is the 
Starost there, under the Commander, who knew my 
father well. Captain Petroff, of the Russian Navy.” 

Very good ! ” cried Rezoff. “ Call all vour crew 
aft ! ” 

And then, with Petroff as interpreter, Rezoff an- 
nounced the authority of Petroff and his new powers 
as sole agent ! To his delight, the merchant found the 
second engineer, an American who served at Miil- 
hausen, to-be a perfect German scholar, and so, he was 
now at home with the American contingent, Luke 
Osborn being a good interpreter. 

For a day, Allan Law wandered through the wild 
Manchurian settlement, at Aigun, while Petroff ar- 
ranged with the fur-cloaked mandarins for their secret 
influence in the trading harvest of the fifteen hundred 
rniles to Ust Strelka and Nertchinsk. 

Keenly watching, the Englishman was astounded at 
Petroff’s influence over all the leading Manchurians. 

And, escorted by the two half-wild hunters, Rezoff 
explored fifty miles of the Chinese interior. 

The engineers were keying up the beautiful machin- 
ery for the run against the wild currents of the upper 
stream. 

It was a frontier paradise. 

Taking the launch, the hunters brought in boat loads 
of pheasants, water fowl, red deer, and all the spoil of 
the teeming forests. 

Secretly on guard, while near official civilization, 
Rezoff carefully examined the powerful steamer. 

With its double bottom, bilge-keels, steel stern caged 
hood to protect the cased four-foot wheels, the ninety- 
foot boat was a marine jewel! Drift-wood nettings, 
electric lights and search signals, the telescopic smoke- 
stack, the smoke-consuming devices, the stern steam 
cradle to lift and launch the motor tender-boat, no re- 
finement of the art was lacking. 

Quadruple compounded engines, with two boilers^ 


2o6 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


arranged for wood, coal or oil fuel, the ballast tanks, 
air-tight compartments and maryelous arrangements 
astounded even the Royal Club yachtsman. 

Said Petroff, laughing, “ When we have our stores, 
fuel, water ballast, oil supply and cargo in shape, there 
is not an inch left to spare ! 

“ Invisible at a mile in the slightest haze, silently 
working, we can tow a hundred foot barge at the rate 
of fifteen miles an hour ! 

‘‘ On my way up, I will warn all the Manchurian 
traders, and when we return to Blagoveschensk, the 
barge I will bring from Ust Strelka will be half full! 

When we reach the last settlement, opposite Ha- 
baroffka, I will have it filled with a fortune, and these 
goods will be turned over to Freeman, Smith & Com- 
pany, at Nicolaievsk, when we reach the mouth of the 
Amoor ! ” 

“ By cable from there, the credit can be transferred 
to Dimitri Gorlitz at San Francisco, and funds real- 
ized to take us back there ! ” 

“ The sale of the boat ! ” dubiously said Rezoff. “ I 
wish Danieloff to take me back to Nagasaki, not later 
than September fifteenth I ” 

“ Easy enough. Serge Alexandrovitch ! said 
Petroff. 

‘‘ Gorlitz will cable to the two Governors. An agent 
of the Crown can then examine the boat, and he can 
receive the funds from the Russian Minister at Wash- 
ington, on our delivery of all these papers and the set 
of working drawings of this “ Water Devil.” 

“ Then, you see, they can make twenty of them here, 
if this boat reaches Nertchinsk, and, so can command 
the river in any condition. They will each carry a com- 
pany of troops and two machine guns.” 

“ Half sized vessels on this model can go six hun- 
dred miles into many of the Chinese affluents of this 
unconquered stream.” 

“ I fancy, mused Rezoff, “ that my friend Ivan Pe- 
troff is also doing a bit of masquerading.” 

“ And so, I will guard my secret ! Let him guard 
his own! He shall pull my chestnuts out of the fire! 
He shall appear as the one Russian responsible agent !” 


'THE MYSTERY OF A SHIFYARD. 

And then, towing a barge with a score of eager 
Chinese secret agents, the “ Water Devil ” swept on in- 
to the upper reaches of the great bend. 

We are not really safe from official meddlers till 
we pass Komarsk and Blagoveschensk ! said Petroff. 
“ The river is filling up with queer characters. 

‘Tn past times I have made a fortune for my owners,- 
in one trip as far as Komarsk, but, we will skim the 
cream, now-, between there and Nertchinsk! ” 

The July days were at an end when Rezoff saw the 
greep spires and bell cupolas of Blagoveschensk fade 
away behind him. 

“ The same Russian town ! Stereotyped — whether 
in Kherson, Poland, the Caucasus, Khiva, or the 
Baikal ! Soldiers, priests, vodki and cigarettes, beg- 
gers, idle officers and their lady loves, lazy officials and 
the stubborn squalid poor ! ” 

Such were Rezoff’s reflections as they sped on past 
Komarsk, and the river began to assume wild and 
witching forms of newer beauty. 

Landing every day among the wild Manchurians, 
Petroff was busy with his bargaining, while Allan Law 
forgot the need of concealment, save merely acting his 
part. 

His splendid hunting battery was now in daily use, 
and, under the tutelage of the two wild hunters, he 
sped away in the little launch whenever the boat tied 
up for a trading parley. 

There was the virgin forest and wild hunting adven- 
ture, action, and all the free life of the woods in every 
busy day now. 

At night, he was busy reading the stories of the iron- 
hearted Russians who, for two hundred and sixty 
vears, had been creeping into China’s unguarded rear, 
territories, Rezoff put away-^11 thoughts of danger. He 
even forgot the alert Americans, and dismissed from 
his mind the moody jealousies evoked in the Major’s 
mind by the sight of Esme’s ring. 

“ He^ a man almost twenty years my senior, he is no 
possible lover ! ” sternly mused Allan Law. “ It is the 
way of the world ! I suppose the beautiful Circassian 
has used us both, and will calmly marry Colonel Prince 


2o8 


'The: mystery of a shipyard. 


Sacha Menchikoflf before my return. I wish I had re- 
mained in Petersburg and shot him!” 

The voyage now became vastly exciting. 

Weird scenes, wild rapids, castled walls, old Tartar 
ruins, met the eye on every hand. 

Strange savage tribes, whose defiant mood brought 
the whole seventeen men under arms, ruled the dan- 
gerous shores. 

The crew and engineers were now each, instant on 
duty ; the river pilots loudly calling from their perches, 
as rapids grew more numerous, and the hunters, rifle 
in hand, stood ready to pick off any hostile Tartar 
brave. 

In this dangerous and difficult navigation, only day- 
light was safe for the onward movement, and beyond 
Kottoman, a smart night attack left a dozen dead Tar- 
tars as evidence of the terrific power of the Hotchkiss 
breech-loaders. 

As the river greatly narrowed, Petroff was forced 
to land furtively at the upper Russian garrisons for 
supplies, police reports, and to carry on his active 
trading. 

Some inner misgiving caused Rezoff to shut himself 
in his cabin on these enforced landings, and though 
a few vodki sodden officials, lost in wonder, passed a 
few minutes on the strange steamer, the “merchant of 
Kharkov ” had not set foot upon the Russian shores 
of the Amoor. 

In the minds of the hardy American crew, the convic- 
tion had grown up that “ Rezoff ” was some crafty 
millionaire connected with vast projects of trade, per- 
haps bold mining, or, great schemes which linked the 
millionaires of Europe with the greedy officials of 
Siberia and the “money men ” of San Francisco. 

“ He’s an out and outer ! ” cried Luke Osborn. 
“ Any man who will stand and drop a charging tiger, 
at a dozen yards, has the real sand ! He is some great 
man ! That fellow’s no common trader ! ” 

Busied with his books at night, making his river 
notes by day, watching his picked up Manchurian at- 
tendant dress and prepare the skins of the chase, Allan 
Law found a positive relief in the frequent absence of 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


209 


Petroff, both on the Russian and Chinese side of the 
river. 

His eyes were opened to the vast resources of the 
Siberian and Manchurian regions, before he stood in 
the moonlight in the ruins of old Nertchinsk, by the 
huge granite tablet whose Mongol inscription told of 
the conquest of Kara-Katai by the undefeated Genghis 
Khan, the untaught rival of Caesar, Napoleon, the 
slayer of six millions, the stern man whose long career 
showed neither human frailty nor military mistake. 

Though the boat could easily have gone on two hun- 
dred miles farther to Chita. Allan Law was now tired 
of his long masquerade as “ Serge Alexandrovitch 
Rezofif.’’ 

Lying three miles below Nertchinsk, hidden in a 
bend of the Chinese side of the river, the “ Eighty- 
Five ” was readjusted for her downward trip, while 
Petroff, in a Mongol canoe, visited the growing city of 
Nertchinsk with his two river pilots, to make his due 
official reports. 

The sealing of the transfer papers at Blagoveschensk, 
had left Rezoff free to simply point to Petroff, without 
a word, and safely carry his character of traveler, 
hunter and, perhaps, visiting capitalist. 

He had picked up a few words of the jargon of his 
two hunting companions, the head cook and steward 
were orthodox Russians, the nine Americans made a 
“ mess ”of their own, and Petroff was busied day and 
night with his two river pilots. 

By a chance conversation, slyly overheard of the 
Americans, Allan Law found that Petroff was buying, 
at half price, great quantities of gold dust from the 
scattered convicts on the Russian shore, and thus evad- 
ing both the Government assay tax of ten per cent., and 
the export duty. 

“ Sly fellow ! Featliering his own nest V mused Al- 
lan Law, who had wondered in the two weeks of the 
upper river trip at the bold free masonry with which 
the lonely “ illegal men ” all signalled the boat only 
known as the “Eighty-Five.” 

“ Thank God ! My own hands are clean ! ” reflected 
Rezoff. 


210 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


It was with shouts of triumph that the swift steamer 
turned her head down stream after a crucial setting up 
for her long homeward voyage. 

Not a rock had been struck; not a rivet loosened; 
not a dent marred the symmetry of the “ Water Witch/’ 

And now, Allan Law well understood the reason of 
the flat bottom, with its false keel and bilge keels 
armed with doubled shoes of green heart elm. 

Not even a drift wood stick could penetrate the steel 
mesh guards of the cased manganese bronze propel- 
lers, and the whole ship’s company was gay when Ivan 
Petroff returned from his three day’s sojourn at 
Nertchinsk, Rezoff having taken the active command. 

“ We are safely reported, by telegraph, to Dimitri 
Gorlitz at San Francisco,” whispered Petroff. “ He 
knows what to do in Europe ! He will notify all ! And, 
now for a ten days’ descent to Nicolaievsk, after a 
seventeen days’ full running time up. All my trading 
is arranged.” 

“We will only stop an hour at each wooding-up 
station, to toss the goods into the barge, for each sta- 
tion will send a man on with us to the Chinese settle- 
ment opposite Habaroffka, where I will settle in Sycee 
silver for the goods. I have no more trading articles 
left.” 

“ Sly rascal ! Never speaks of the smuggled gold ! ” 
mused Rezoff, watching the chattering Tartars in the 
light barge towed behind them, as the “ Water Witch ” 
swept down stream at the rate of twenty-five miles an 
hour. 

The unbroken loneliness of the wild shores had long 
since palled on Allan Law’s wearied eye. 

Crags, pinnacles, glens, vast lonely forests, smiling 
islands, haunted jungles, all were of the same lonely 
beauty, and the great stream, clad in summer mists, 
dreaming with the flapping herons and diving cormo- 
ants alone waking the silence. 

Not even a blast of the “Water Witch’s ” whistle 
had waked the echoes. 

Only the wild eagle’s scream as he fled away to 
the Khingan Mountains. 

“Will you touch on the Russian side?” carelessly 


2II 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

asked Rezoff, as he sat, in the moonlight, listening to 
the chorus of the American crew and the strains of the 
accordeons, which seem to be the household music of 
lonely Siberia, even the natives playing on them with a 
surpassing skill. 

“ Only at Habaroffka, to turn my bulky goods over 
to an agent of our Nicolaievsk American friend,” 
gravely said Petrofif. “ From there, using our coal 
and oil fuel, replenished at the Chinese settlement, we 
can reach Nicolaievsk in four days, where we will re- 
ceive orders, you and 1.” 

Rezoff stared at his subordinate, who murmured: 
“ The steamer will probably be sold there, and Dan- 
ieloff will wait for us with the ‘ Sibir/ I have sent 
the necessary dispatches from Nertchinsk. I will 
probably take my crew home by Nagasaki, to San 
Francisco, unless they may care to remain, and easily 
get quintupled wages in setting up the duplicates of 
the wonderful boat.” 

Allan Law was dreaming of the woman who had 
sent him away on this mysterious quest, when his eyes 
suddenly rested on the figure of the river pilot on duty. 

“ Have you changed any of your men ? ” quickly said 
the “ Kharkov merchant.” 

“ None ! ” said the stolid Petroff, without turning 
his head. 

“ That pilot !” persisted Rezoff, gazing at the man 
whose figure was clean cut in the evening starlight. 

“ He may have cropped his beard, or bought a new 
sable head gear,” carelessly answered Petroff. They 
are a pair of river mates, and know every rock on the 
whole stream.” 

Satisfied, yet not convinced, Rezoff listened to the 
accents of the man’s voice, in which a strain of re- 
finement and a sharp air of command were mingled. 

“ I will not pry,” mused Rezoff, “ lest I discover 
the thrifty Petroff’s gold speculations to my own un- 
doing.” 

That night, as he lay in his bed, Rezoff heard some 
one whistling softly the peculiar airs, which recalled to 
him, his own self as Allan Law, the guest of the Prin- 
cess Esme Chilkoff, for, they were love songs chanted 


212 


THE mystery of A SHIPYARD. 


by the wild minstrels who had soothed his evenings at 
the old feudal hold in Dariel. 

And so, puzzled, he drifted into dreams which were 
shadow pictures. 

From Khiva’s burning plains to foggy London, from 
the Amoor to Petersburg, he wandered, and, once, in 
his wildest dreams, he awoke, fancying Wardlawe’s 
clutch upon his throat. “ You have stolen her from 
me ! ” the dream antagonist cried. 

But the gray mists of morning recalled him to the 
lonely waste of waters gliding by, showing the princely 
domains of Muravieff, Putiatin, and Ignatieff. 

It was Luke Osborn who dispelled Rezoff’s linger- 
ing suspicions. 

“We call them ‘Jack and Jill,’ these two pilots,” 
remarked the German-bred engineer. 

“ This poor fellow has had a touch of the river fever, 
and had cropped his hair and shorn his beard. His 
mate does half his work now, and the poor fellow is 
anxious to get to a hospital at Nicolaievsk. 

“ But, once in the broad river, the boat will run it- 
self; we have three mile’s breadth to choose from!” 

When Allan Law spoke to the suf¥ering man, hand- 
ing him a bottle of the best cognac, and some quinine 
tonics, the poor fellow muttered his thanks in the Si- 
berian-Russian patois. 

In his character of “ Rezoff the merchant,” the 
Englishman directed Petroff to give the broken down 
man all the rest he could. 

Three weeks of exposure to frequent storms seemed 
to have wasted the pilot visibly. 

“ I’ll take a spell at it myself ! ” cheerfully said Pe- 
troff, and so the sick man lingered out of sight, as a 
rule, hidden in the bunk of a friendly engineer. 

Sweeping down with her falcon flight, the boat rap- 
idly retraced its route, only delaying for wood to reach 
the next station, and to toss aboard the bales of price- 
less furs. 

There were packages of brick tea, fit for the Emperor 
of Russia, and Rezoff learned by Luke Osborn’s volun- 
teered confidence of the growing hoard of gold. 

“ They all speculate here,” admitted the American. 


tHE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


213 


“ I think that I will remain and try and mend my 
fortunes here !” 

Under the guard of the armed Mongols in the trail- 
ing barge, the “Water Witch” safely passed the de- 
batable land, and, on the tenth of August, glided 
triumphantly into the harbor opposite Habaroffka. 

The barge was loaded to the gunwales, and there 
were forty Mongolian merchants waiting to receive 
Petroff’s settlement in “ chopped silver.” 

“ Here I must stay three days ! ” respectfully re- 
peated Captain Petroff, “and I shall make the final 
police report at the Russian capital ! Do you intend to 
go into the Russian capital here? The Governor- 
General, Baron Knorp, is visiting his superior at Vladi- 
vostock, for, Admiral Lemacheffsky handles the reins 
of all Uastern Siberia ! Count Ignatieff’s brother is the 
western Governor at Irkutsk !” 

An indefinable yearning for the society of his social 
equals seized upon Rezofif . 

“Can we leave the boat together?” he demanded. 

“ Certainly ! ” said Petrofif. “ Markham, the Amer- 
ican chief engineer, is a man of standing, and has been 
captain of one of the Alaska Company's trading 
steamers. 

“ Then, I will take a look over the city with you,” 
said Rezoff. “ For I am weary of myself ! ” 

Four hours later he sat in a merry circle of Russian 
officers at the “ Hotel du Czar,” on the main street of 
Habaroffka, wondering at the Parisian glitter, the 
singing girls, and all the metropolitan splendors of a 
perfectly appointed service. 

It was Captain Petroff who seemed to be the central 
figure of a dozen groups, as he opened champagne 
with a truly Russian hospitality. 

“ A sop to Cerberus ! ” the Englishman mused. 
“ He wishes to get his gold dust out in safety.” 

Anxious to throw off all suspicion, the merchant of 
Kharkov seconded his artful subordinate. 

Surrounded by men cut off for ten years from Rus- 
sia and the polite world by their long service, Rezoff 
was soon drawn into the circle of good fellowship. 


2X4 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


Stories of adventure, European gossip, the hunting 
records of the voyage — all these were cheerily bandied. 

Before the dinner the hospitable Colonel Milano- 
vitch, of the Kazan Regiment, insisted that Serge Alex- 
androvitch Rezoff should join a two-days’ tiger battue 
on the banks of the Muren, some fifty miles toward the 
gloomy spurs of the Kendeh-a-lin Mountains. 

“We can Feave at dark on my own steamer, and 
reach the forests before daybreak. There is a half 
regiment out there now deployed as beaters. We will 
be back in two days. You can try your Moscow rifles 
against our army guns ! ” 

And then, Petroff’s whispers prompted an accept- 
ance. 

“ I’ll send the launch back in an hour with our tvro 
hunters and your whole outfit ! Then we will be ready 
to slip away on your return! I will attend to all the 
local official formalities ! ” 

And so it was, that on this fateful evening Allan 
Law watched the darkened banks of the Muren glide 
by, while his five companions chattered of the Plevna 
campaign, their sweeter victories in Paris, or revived 
gay memories of that beloved European world so far 
away. 

One quick suspicion of possible trouble was soon 
quieted in Petroff’s mind ! 

“ I have nothing with me but my passport and my 
river note-book, written in Russian. 

“ Not an entry beyond the distances, courses and 
topographic features 1 ” 

All that day and the next the wild excitement of a 
great tiger battue kept Allan Law’s blood at fever heat. 

Five great Siberian man-eaters lay on the damp 
moss of the forest when the six men gathered in the 
evening around the hunter’s table. 

One Manchurian killed, two soldiers desperately 
wounded told of the ferocity of these forest kings, one 
of the beasts measuring fourteen feet from tip to 
snout. 

And so, it was merry in the green wood, while the 
soldiers sang the regimental songs for their officers 


THE MYSTERV oE a shipyard. 215 

and Rezoff’s two hunters were busy skinning the huge 
beast which he had slain in its last desperate rush. 

“Molodetz! Bravest of the brave!” cried Colonel 
Milanovitch, as he pledged ” Serge Alexandrovitch 
Rezoff,” in champagne drunk from soldiers’ tin cups. 

“ To our next happy meeting on the Neva I ” he 
cried. 

One of the officers started up, as with the wild clat- 
ter of hoofs, a sotnia of Cossacks dashed up, a bearded 
captain riding in front with his sword drawn ! 

Rezoff gazed at the reeking horses with curiosity, 
while the officer drew a folded paper and a sealed let- 
ter from his bosom. 

“Whence come you, Pashkof?” cried a friend. 

“From the Post Station No. 3!” severely said his 
friend. “ I am sent on duty to the Colonel ! Excuse 
me ! 

He waived away the offered wine. The startled sol- 
diers gazed in stupid wonder! 

A strange silence fell on the merry party as Colonel 
Milanovitch slowly approached Allan Law. 

Speaking in a broken voice, while the corded veins 
in his temples swelled with passion, he said : “ My 

God ! It is horrible, this ! My guest, he zvho eats my 
bread and salt! ” 

And then he pointed sternly to Rezoff, who had 
sprung to his feet, drawing his revolver. 

“ Take him ! ” the Colonel cried, and as two Cos- 
sacks seized the disguised Englishman, a score of 
others disarmed the two brave hunters from the 
“ Water Witch,” who had leaped, knife in hand, to 
their beloved master’s rescue. 

“ Stay ! ” cried Milanovitch. in a thundering voice. 
“ No violence ! He came as a gentleman and, he goes 
as a gentleman ! Captain, you say you have a khibitka 
on the other bank of the river! We will all attend 
our guest there as a friend ! How did you cross your 
troop ? ” 

“ Your steamer ferried my command over. Col- 
onel ! ” gravely answered the Cossack Captain. 

“ Trapped ! ” gasped Allan Law, as he defiantly 
gathered up his belongings. 


216 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


“ In the name of the Czar ! ” solemnly said the Cap- 
tain, bidding his followers transport all of Rezoff’s 
belongings. 

“ Stay but a moment ! ” slowly said the disarmed 
prisoner, who had submitted to a respectful but ef- 
fective search. 

“ These innocent men ! My poor followers ! As in- 
nocent as I am of all wrong ! ” 

“ They are to be returned to Habarofifka ! ’’ sadly 
said Colonel Milanovitch. 

“ They are free to depart as well as the party under 
Captain Ivan Petrof¥ and his boat without either a 
hindrance or search ! 

‘‘ Can I send a message of any kind ? ” defiantly said 
the prisoner. 

“ Serge Alexandrovitch Rezoff ! ” cried the sorrow- 
ing Colonel, opening his arms and embracing him, 

you are to go before the Admiral at Vladivostock 
forthwith! I can transmit no message! You are 
now deprived of all civil rights ! 

“ But ! will send my own adjutant with you to 
wait on you as a gentleman ! See that you utter no 
imprudent word ! It will surely be used against you ! ’’ 

Leaving the excited camp, the five officers and the 
two hunters crossed the river in the growing darkness. 

There stood on the bank, a troika in readiness. 

At a signal from the Colonel a young officer who 
had caught up his cloak, brandy flask and a box of 
cigars — entered the carriage, armed with his sword 
and pistols. 

A platoon will remain and bring on all the pris- 
oner’s eflfects ! ” said the Cossack Captain, who hung 
his head for very shame. 

Not an exclamation, save the Russian of his youth- 
ful nurture, had escaped Rezoff. 

- Colonel Milanovitch whispered to the agitated 
prisoner: “ Valerianoff and yourself can safely con- 
verse in French. These wild devils do not speak a 
single word ! ” 

And then, raising his voice, he solemnly cried, in 
Russian: “I send my regimental adjutant to take 
care of my friend, who is to have every attention and 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


217 


comfort in the six days’ march ! And as my guest, he 
must be put to no expense, no trouble! And my adju- 
tant will soon apologize for the arrest of one who has 
broken my bread and eaten my salt at our very table! 
May God go with you. Serge Alexandrovitch Rezoff ! ” 

Tears streamed from the old man’s face as he em- 
braced the shaken prisoner. 

“And my men are really free to depart?” Allan 
Law murmured, touched to the heart. 

“ The telegraphed order says that they are free to 
leave Siberia without even an examination ! ” said the 
Colonel. 

Rezoff bowed his head in despair as the three offi- 
cers made their heartfelt farewell. 

“You may in my presence say adieu to your hunt- 
ers ! ” sadly cried the Colonel, “ but, no written message 
can be sent ! ” 

“ Good-by, my children ! Be true and loyal ! ” said 
Allan Law as the frightened hunters fell at his feet 
kissing his hands. 

The driver of the troika was crying “ Brr ! Brr ! ” 
to his chafing steeds. 

“ This is some damnable mistake. Serge Alexandro- 
vitch ! ” groaned the Colonel. 

“ Remember, Lieutenant Valerianoff can speak to 
you all that he cares to, in French or Russian! He 
will stay with you to the last and report to me by 
telegraph, and we wait for you, with your place at our 
mess ! I will see your boat started down the river 
in safety ! As for you, keep silence ! A chance word 
may lead to your death ! Talk only of commonplaces ! 
That, too, in French! But not a word of your case! 
Walls have ears, even in Siberia! And every gentle- 
man in Habaroffka will plead with Knorp and Lema- 
cheffsky for you ! ” 

“ Of what am I accused ? ” defiantly cried Allan 
Law. 

The Colonel embraced him a last time. “ Go with 
God ! Drive on ! I dare not answer ! ” he cried in an 
agonized voice. 

The maddened horses sprang forward, the ghostly 
Cossacks glided along like wolves, and Allan Law’s 


2I8 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


head fell back against the cushions as they dashed out 
into the night. 

‘‘ Six days post, night and day, down the Muren, 
the Sungachi and over Lake Hanka’s shores to the 
Gate of the East — the Golden Horn ! ” whispered Vale- 
rianoff. “ Leave all to me ! Our regiment will work 
for you ! Keep silence ! I will attend to all ! ” 

A sudden suspicion seized upon the entrapped Eng- 
lishman. The fatal curse of gold ! Ivan Petroff has 
betrayed me with a false accusation ! He led me into 
this trap ! He has stolen- the steamer ! He can sell it 
and give a title ! And, this Admiral has the power of 
life and death ! ’’ 

A bitter resentment surged through the young man’s 
heart. “ They would not dare ! An Englishman ! 
Prison, chains, perhaps death ! A single cablegram 
to Ignatieff, to the Princess Esme, would free me ! ” he 
cried. “My God ! I have tied my hands ! I have 
sworn to keep silence, even bound this Yankee meddler 
to an eternal secrecy ! 

“The Circassian Circe ! She shall learn some day that 
I died silently, true to the last ! Am I to be the victim 
of some damned conspiracy? If they discover my 
nationality I am a dead man ! 

“No! It is all clear! 

“ Ivan Petroff is the crafty thief ! He has doomed 
me to an unknown death ! 

“ ‘ Serge Alexandrovitch Rezoff ’ I came here, and 
as ‘ the Kharkov merchant ’ I will die ! She shall not 
be ruined by my cowardice ! ” 

But in the lonely hours, despite the cheery chivalry 
of Valerianoff, Allan Law saw the toils closing around 
him. 

On the evening of the sixth day the worn travelers 
halted before the naval prison at Vladivostock. 

It was the fifteenth of August, and the setting sun 
shone on the magnificent Golden Horn land locked 
with the green hills fencing off the ocean! 

A dozen proud Russian warships lay at anchor be- 
fore the straggling city! The bay was alive with 
pleasure craft, merry crowds thronged the streets of 


THE MYSTERY OE A SHIPYARD. 


219 


the polyglot town, stretching along two miles on the 
north side of the bay. 

Great storehouses, docks, warehouses, splendid 
shops, and even superb mansions were visible, where 
forty thousand cosmopolitan people swarmed around 
the shores ! 

A beautiful park surrounded the Admirars white 
walled palace. There were glittering officers, laughing 
ladies, listening to the sweet music of the fine naval 
band. 

On the steps of the Marine Club, gay officers waved 
their hands to Valerianoff; the cafes and hotels were 
humming with the life of a fete day, and columns of 
gray-clad troops wound homeward to the huge scat- 
tered barracks from the evening parade. 

As they halted, having passed the Officers’ Club and 
the Casino, at a gloomy quadrangular stone hall with 
grated windows below, a guard turned out, a grim 
Major sprang forward as the Cossack Captain sa- 
luted. 

“To the last I will stand by you ! ” cried Valerianoflf 
as the Major hurriedly cried: “Serge Alexandro- 
vitch Rezoff! Prisoner without recourse! Let him 
be confined, under the eyes of two sentinels, in the 
safest comfortable cell till brought before the Ad- 
miral ! 

“ Give him anything that he wishes, save writing 
materials or books I On your life be his safety ! See 
that he does not kill himself I I will visit him myself, 
three times daily I 

A sergeant grasped Allan Law’s arm, the iron doors 
clanged*, and five minutes later the young Englishman 
threw himself on the couch in his room. 

“ Death at my own hands — not theirs ! ” he mut- 
tered. 

And yet two Cossack sentinels with drawn sabers 
were standing in diagonal comers of the room. 

“ Perhaps I can bully them into killing me ! ” mused 
the despairing man.' 

“And this is the end? Let it come!” 

From his grated window he could see the flag of 


220 


tHE mystery of a SHIPYARD. 


Japan flying on the Hiogo Maru/’ lying there with 
her steam up. 

Then a mad rage possessed him. “ That damned 
Yankee Wardlawe! He loves this Circassian girl ! Is 
this his doing?” 

He dropped back at a growl from his guards. ‘‘If 
I get out of here I will take his life and spoil that 
little game ! And, Esme ? 

“ No ! ” he fondly cried. “ She could not betray 
me! It is against the very soul of womanhood! To 
tie my tongue, to seal my lips and then sell me like 
Judas! No Tcherkess girl could do that! Never!” 

When the night grew slowly to the dawn of his first 
prison day, afar, off in Russia, in the lovely groves 
of “ Mon Plaisir,” the Princess Chilkoff, white faced 
read a telegram from Baron Sternberg. 

“ One week, .one week since Allan Law left Hab- 
aroffka alone! And no news for me, no reports! It 
may be another week yet of living anguish ! 

“Allah, be merciful! If I have sent this man to a 
silent sacrifice — if aught befall him — I will die by my 
own hand ! For he has kept the faith ! 

“ And now his awful, silent, lonely ordeal comes ! 
They may arrest him! Will he understand? And, 
can I protect him ? ” 

All that night the Circassian girl, in her loneliness, 
sobbed in her troubled sleep. “ Save him, Ayesha ! 
Save him, great mother, in Agar’s name ! ” 

And the anguish of her wasted face now struck the 
Countess Natalie to the heart. 

To her husband she said despairingly: “It is not 
death I fear for Esme ! It is the saddest of all deaths — 
death in life — a hopeless insanity ! ” 

Her husband muttered: “Would to God the Czar 
would mercifully send her back to her own beloved 
mountains ! The girl is slowly going mad ! ” 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD, 


221 


BOOK III. 

Held for the Owners. 


CHAPTER IX. 

A RECORD RUN. 

On the morning of the mysterious seizure of the 
merchant of Kharkov, Captain Ivan Petroff paced the 
strand of the Chinese town opposite Habaroffka, wait- 
ing with impatience the return of Rezolf and his two 
guards. 

Beside him walked the resident agent of the one 
great American house which has business relations 
making a secret chain from San Francisco to Moscow, 
along the Amoor and by Irkutsk. 

The furs and spoils of the chase had all been turned 
over to the agent’s warehouse on this bank, free from 
the Czar’s inspectors, and thus were safe under the 
treaty of navigation. 

Petroff’s mind was troubled about his hidden hoard 
of purchased gold. 

“If anything should happen,” he timorously 
thought, “ all my profits would be wiped out, and the 
San Francisco people would believe that I had stolen 
the gold ! ” 

But the crew of the “ Water Witch ” were all ready, 
only waiting the signal to cast ofif. 

“Something wrong?” anxiously cried the Amer- 
ican agent. 

“ See that police launch coming ! Though the 


2 22 THE MYSTERY OE A SHIPYARD. 

Chinese own this shore, the first aggressive act of the 
Russians will be some day to land a force behind this 
nameless city on this low triangle, slaughter the poor 
devils, driving them into the Amoor and Sungari 
and loot the fifteen millions of property hidden in these 
log huts! 

“ Look out for yourself, and be calm I I will go 
into your cabin, so as to have your last word! They 
dare not seize you here in Chinese waters ! But there 
is trouble ahead! Keep vour wits about you, Pe- 
troff!” 

With a quick motion of his hand, Petroff gave a 
warning to the enfeebled river pilot, sitting, wrapped 
in furs, on the deck of the “ Water Witch,” basking 
in the August sun! 

“ All hands under arms ! ” yelled Petroff, in a ring- 
ing voice. 

The river pilot disappeared like a flash. 

There were but four men in the police steam launch, 
now but a couple of cable’s lengths away. 

One was a grimy engineer, one a Russian Major in 
full uniform, and the other two, were the hunters, 
wildly signaling trouble to their beloved chief, Ivan 
Petroff. 

The sailing master stood alone at the bank, revolver 
in hand, as the launch neared him. 

“Land here!” he cried; “do not board my boat! 
My men are armed ! ” 

And it was indeed a formidable array — thirteen re- 
peating Hotchkiss rifles, each loaded with seven cart- 
ridges in the magazine and one in the barrel. 

The American clerk was vainly trying to open the 
cabin doors as the Russian Major leaped on the 
Chinese strand. 

But within the darkened cabin a man was hastily 
throwing down the front of a false berth. 

Underneath was a hidden receptacle for the easy 
hiding of a human being, with ventilators artfully dis- 
guised by ornamental work. 

A brace of revolvers lay on the little couch within 
as a haggard wretch dropped the swinging panel 
which caught with four snap locks. 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


223 


Captain Ivan Petroff ? ” courteously cried the Ma- 
jor. 

“ The same ! ” answered the excited sailing master, 
dropping his revolver on its belt chain. 

An official letter from Colonel Milanovitch ! ** 
gravely said the official. 

Petroft staggered back as he read it. 

“ This is a frightful mistake ! ” he faltered. 

Say nothing, my poor friend ! ” kindly said the 
official. “ If I were you I would get out of the Amoor 
as soon as possible!'' 

Petroff’s face had whitened in his sudden terror. 
The two hunters had leaped on board the steamer, 
which was moored at the banks, with a single gang- 
plank. 

“ Do not lose a moment ! ” said the Major. Mi- 
lanovitch is your friend! Now, he has sent me over 
here to inspect your crew. If you will let me muster 
them on your passports I will sign you a river permit 
in the name of Colonel Milanovitch, acting Governor 
of Habaroffka in Baron Knorp’s absence! 

“ Then get out of the river as soon as you can ! 
Some passing vessel may tow you over to Japan! If 
you linger you are lost ! ” 

Petroff moved toward the gang-plank. 

“ Let me parade my crew ! ” he said. You can see 
that no one enters or leaves the boat ! ” 

As he stepped on the deck of the “ Water Witch ” 
he saw the heap of furs vacated by the missing river 
pilot. 

Quick ! Quick ! ” he cried to Rezoff’s Manchurian 
boy, the hunter picked up on the river. 

“ Put this all on, over your face, and keep silent ! ’’ 

The frightened native obeyed, crouching in a cor- 
ner. 

Darting to the cabin, Petroff called the American 
agent. 

“ I forgot that I had locked it ! ” he cried, using his 
pass-key. “There, go in !” 

Five" minutes later — passports in hand — Petroff 
passed his men one by one past the Major. 

Three engineers, six firemen, two river hunters, 


224 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


two cooks, two river pilots, myself ! ” he said. “ And 
one missing — the merchant Rezoff ! ” 

“ He has his passport,” gravely said the Major. 

All right ! ” he cried, “ but, who is that man lying 
there?” 

“ The second river pilot ! ” calmly answered Petroff. 
He has the fever ! Do not go too near him ! ” 

“ Checked. List all cprrect ! Sixteen in all ! ” said 
the Major, handing back the passports. “ Here is your 
river permit, duly signed! You must take your own 
risks if you land ! Go, in God’s name ! I am to escort 
you out in the river and follow you down below our 
jurisdiction ! After that you belong to the Governor of 
.Nicolaievsk I Get away at once I ” 

With a sigh of relief, Petroff called the Chief En- 
gineer. “ Full speed ahead down the river on my 
isignal ! Report when you are ready ! ” 

A bottle of champagne hastily opened dismissed the 
Major to his boat in a good humor. 

Tell Colonel Milanovitch that I will repay him for 
this thoughtful privilege ! ” 

And then, left alone, Petroff leaped to the side of 
the American clerk. 

“ Now, Anderson, for God’s sake, get ashore ! 
Telegraph your people at Nicolaievsk to send fifty tons 
of coal in sacks to the mouth of the Amoor for me! 
I will cruise up and down with the American flag as 
a signal! 

“ Also one hundred and ten gallon cases of coal oil ! 
That will fill my water ballast bunkers ! I will pump 
them out! 

“ Fifty tons more of sacked coal to Cape Soya on a 
seaworthy junk at the head of Yezo! I am going to 
try to get over to Otaru! I will send drafts to your 
agent at Hakodate ! Get away and telegraph this ! The 
coal for Cape Soya must leave at once on a fishing 
schooner or a junk! Act instantly! ” 

“ All right ! ” gasped Anderson. “ Pll get the dis- 
patch away in half an hour ! ” he wrung his friend’s 
hands, whispering : “ Keep silence ! Say nothing ! 

Get out on the high seas ! Any steam whaler will tow 
'you over to Japan ! ” 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


225 


Amid the wild yells of a hundred Mongolians, the 
swift “Water Witch” slowly steamed out into the 
thread of the current. Her signal number “Eighty- 
five” was now flying at the little bow masthead, and 
with the strenuous throb of her splendid engines she 
sped away like a startled antelope. 

Only a vague halloo and a friendly cap-waving of 
the Major was the adieu of the Queen of the Amoor. 

The strand at Habaroffka was black with sight- 
seers as Luke Osborn, at the levers, sent the “Water 
Witch” speeding past the river capital at thirty-two 
miles an hour. 

The lithe steel frame of the beautiful boat quivered 
in the conscious tremor of a never-to-be-equaled rec- 
ord, while the bearded engineer laughed at the police 
launch, a mere crawling dot far behind them now. 

But Pctroi¥, in his cabin, eagerly listened to the tale 
of the two hunters. 

“ So then,” he growled, “ it was not the Colonel ; 
it was no trap set for us here ! 

“ Some damned outside meddler! Some sneaking 
spy! Some deadly revenge! If Baron Knorp does 
not return till I get out of the Amoor I am safe, for 
I think that I can run the lower batteries and the four 
forts at night ! God send us a fog and I am then all 
right ! ” 

Calling the steward, the new chief of the expedition 
sternly said : “ I shall keep the cabins locked till I have 
packed all Serge Alexandrovitch Rezoff’s effects and 
sealed them! Let no one enter but yourself, and I 
will give you the key when I wish my meals served ! ” 

The whole ship’s company felt the presence of some 
impending disaster, but the undaunted spirit of the 
absent Rezoff still animated them all. 

“ Three-quarter speed ! ” ordered Petroff, as he 
called the three engineers in front of their engines. 
“ I will give you two days to reach the mouth of the 
Amoor! Do not strain your engines! I wish to run 
the Nicolaievsk batteries at night! 

“ After that we will sneak over to the Saghalien 
shore and move steadily down along to Cape Soya. 

“We have three weeks’ cased provisions on board. 


226 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


and our condenser gives us all the fresh water we 
need ! ” 

“Fuel?” cried the three Americans in a breath. 
“ I will provide that ! ” grimly said Petroff . 

“ Now, the Russian officials here have offered a 
hundred thousand dollars for this boat, her supplies 
and working plans. It may be cheaper,” coldly said 
Petroff, “ for them to confiscate her and so, steal her ! 

“ But if you two men get me safe in Japanese waters, 
so I can protect her under their flag, there is five 
thousand dollars each for you three engineers and a 
thousand each for the six firemen ! And, by Heaven, 
ril make the Russians pay this extra expense ! ” 

“ The tip is then to run away from anything that 
chases us ! ” said the Chief Engineer, a shaggy-bearded 
giant. 

“ That’s it, Markham ! ” cried Petroff, “ and I will 
defend the boat ! I have the Governor of Nicolaievsk’s 
sea letter ! That is legal and binding ! 

But the fleet is under the sole orders of the Ad- 
miral at Vladivostock. 

‘‘ They might take a fancy to take us in there and 
keep us prisoners for a month ! They would make full 
working drawings of the boat and then, let us go ! ” 

“ Fools ! ” cried Markham. “ I could throw away 
a few valves and connections, disjoint one or two secret 
parts, and they could work for ten years and never 
make a duplicated boat run ! ” 

“True !” said Petroff, “but, they would ruin us ! 
And now, discipline, coolness, steadiness, and one for 
all and all for one ! 

“ It’s home and a splendid reward that you men 
want! You can all come out here again with me! I 
have friends in power far above all this river aris- 
tocracy ! ” 

Settling to her even gliding gait of twenty miles an 
hour, the “ Water Witch ” left the wooded shores be- 
hind, as if they were a swiftly unrolled panorama, and 
Ivan Petroff, locking himself in the cabin vacated by 
the wretched Rezoff, proceeded to secrete his stores 
of gold in openings contrived under the cabin floors. 

It was much to the astonishment of the mystified 


^HE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


227 


steward to notice the vastly increased appetite and pe- 
culiar habits of Ivan Petroff. 

On the evening of the second day the curious ser- 
vant, creeping to the cabin door, muttered : “ I would 
have sworn there were two men talking in there ! He 
eats for two now ! Perhaps, he talks for two ! ” 

In the bustle of the runaway departure from Hab- 
aroffka, no one had remarked the disappearance of the 
second river pilot. 

And when one of the men questioned Petroif, the 
sailing master said : “ The poor devil had gone up 

into the Chinese settlement to get some medicines for 
his fever, and so, I had to leave him ! Bundle up all his 
furs and things and I will see them sent back up the 
river to him by and by ! ” 

A moody silence settled down over the boat as the 
“ Water Witch approached the four heavy batteries 
at Nicolaievsk. 

For eighty rifled cannon, carrying four to six miles, 
were here placed in battery on opposite sides, two 
forts on each bank, and the alert gunners could easily 
hit a barrel anchored in mid stream. 

“ There are six or eight swift torpedo boats down 
there ! ’’ growled Markham, “ and the devils all carry 
Hotchkiss revolving cannon ! A few rounds of their 
grape would leave us only a drifting hulk ! ” 

Hugging the shadiest shore, the “ Water Witch ” 
glided along into a low fog bank, a few miles above 
Nicolaievsk as the sun went down on the third day ! 

“ Only sixty miles more ! ” sighed the haggard Pe- 
troff. “ Thank God for this thickening fog ! ” 
Girded with his pistol belt, the sailing master called 
Markham to his side. “ Have all ready for the utmost 
speed ! They may have their torpedo boats out ! For, 
alas! no one can trust a Russian, either under word, 
seal or bond I Even the Czar has a thousand ways of 
breaking forth and saving his official honor ! ’’ 

“ Count on me ! said Markham. “ There will be 
some dead Russians before I wear Siberian chains! 
Pve seen these poor convict devils up the river ! Pm all 
ready!’’ 

Then I will steer the boat ! ” cried Petroff. “ This 


228 l^HE MVStERV OF* A SIlIPVARD, 

harbor and the river mouth is where I learned my 
trade in life ! 

With all lights out, the furnace doors closed and in 
a complete silence, the “ Water Witch ” throbbed on 
past the town from whence the faint clangor of bells 
was borne over the misty water. 

“ There goes the nine o’clock gun ! ” muttered Pe- 
troff, half an hour later, as four muffled reports fol- 
lowed in alternation from the two banks. 

At half speed in the dense fog, the boat glided 
silently on, Petroff steering by his compass course and 
letting the current swing the boat’s head, in the gloom. 

“ One hour more and we are safe ! ” the tortured 
man sighed. “ Oh, God ! for the open sea ! ” 

There was no word spoken until a half an hour 
later, when the churning of a vessel’s screw near by 
roused the anxious Petroff. 

Suddenly a snaky form loomed up, surging past the 
bow of the “ Water Witch.” There was a faint halloo. 

“ One of their damned torpedo boats ! ” yelled Pe- 
troff, as he signaled “ Full speed, dead ahead ! ” 

And then, with the recklessness of despair, the sail- 
ing master drove the swift steamer boldly down 
the swollen flood. 

He was the first man, in the gray of the early morn- 
ing, to see the low rolling headlands of the mouth of 
the Amoor, here three miles wide. 

Standing moodily alone, Ivan Petroff swept with his 
glasses the gray mist line lifting slowly from the green- 
tossing billows. 

We have coal for a hundred and twenty miles only, 
sir ! ” said Markham, pulling at his shaggy forelock. 

“ And if a storm should come up, I think that you 
should run the boat back to Nicolaievsk, turn her in 
and surrender us, to be sent peaceably out of the coun- 
try!” 

Petroff closed his glass cases with a snap I 

“ Do you see that schooner to the southward, hove 
to, flying the American flag as a pilot signal in her 
waist halliards ? ” 

“Aye, aye, Sir!” joyously cried the American. 


T’HE MYSTERY OR A SHIPYARD 229 

Rim down to her at full speed ! Don’t spare a turn 
of the engines ! There’s your coal ! ” 

And while the “ Water Witch ” leaped over the 
waves, firmly water ballasted and steadied with her 
bilge keels, the sailing master got out a fifty-fathom 
steel towing hawser with his spare gang and threw 
down the towing yoke. 

“ What in heaven’s name are you going to do. 
Captain Petroff ? ” cried Markham. 

“ Tow that schooner forty miles across the strait to 
the bay on Saghalien, where the Japs used to heel their 
junks ! And then, you’ll see what I’ll do ! ” 

Four hours later six anxious men stood on guard 
with their loaded repeaters, while twenty Tchucktches 
quickly pitched the five hundred sacks of precious coal 
on board. 

Two of the engineers, with a gang of a dozen of 
the schooner’s laborers were busied in ripping open 
a hundred ten-gallon cases of coal oil. 

The steam pumps in half an hour had sucked the 
water ballast compartments dry, and as the coal oil 
gurgled into the false bottom compartments, from four 
spouts, the coal heavers worked with a will. 

“ Five hundred dollars, in Sycee silver, if we finish 
all before dark! ” cried Petroif, now the soul of every 
movement. He laughed grimly when the last empty 
oil case was tossed back on the schooner’s deck. 

“ There you are, Markham 1 ” cried Petroflf, as he 
saw the schooner drift away seaward under a jib and 
foresail. “ Now you have fuel for a thousand-mile 
run I 

“ Turn her loose, and we will keep under cover of 
the headlands I Give me twenty miles an hour until 
we pass Dui, but, strain nothing! We will pass Tyk 
to-morrow night, Dui the night after, and the morning 
of the third day should find us ofif Madka, on the west 
coast ! ” 

“ And then ? ” cried Markham. 

“ Lay me into any Japanese town and you’ve earned 
your money ! I will run across La Perouse Straits to 
Cape Soya! 


^30 THE MYSTERV of A SHIPYARD. 

“ There, we will replenish our fuel, and we can make 
Otaru easily, with no further stop! 

“ Once there, even the Czar cannot interfere with 
us I For, there is a telegraph and a Russian Consular 
agent! I will telegraph to the owners at San Fran- 
cisco for orders and protection ! ’’ 

'' God ! • You should have been a General ! ” cried 
Markham. “ And poor ‘ Rezoff,’ our missing mas- 
ter?’’ 

‘‘ Unless Admiral Lemacheffsky has some heart, 
some qualms of conscience, Rezoff will be executed 
forthwith if they are bold enough to trump up the 
requisite charges! I can see that they want this boat 
and her working drawings ! They meant to have them, 
too ! Mark you, if we are caught I will burn the draw- 
ings, and you can permanently disable the engines! 

“ But, if they try to take us in Japan or use force, I 
will blow her up ! The thousand gallons of oil fuel will 
wreck her in a half an hour! They dare not touch 
me, the dogs ! ” 

With every light extinguished, carrying not even 
a head lantern, the unwearied Petroff steered the boat 
all night, until past the three islands, in the Gulf of 
Tartary, opposite Alexandrovsk. 

The rough and forbidding rock cliffs of Saghalien 
frowned down upon them from the port side as the 
“ Water Witch ” scurried lightly along. 

Heavens! What a sea boat! ” cried Markham as 
the gray dawn stole on them and he came on for his 
watch. 

In a few words Petroff gave the rugged American 
his directions. 

“ Let me sleep now ! ” he said. “ I will lock up my 
cabin ! 

“Only in the last emergency rouse me, for I must 
sleep so as to guide you past Tyk ! We saw the lights 
of three sailing vessels and two steamers last night! 
Hold her in hand, and let me rest ! ” 

That night, at midnight, the swift steamer swept 
on past the cone of Tyk, whose gleaming beacon could 
be seen fifteen miles at sea. 

All the long night, wrapped in his hair seal coat; 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


231 


through drenching spray, Petroff guided the boat, 
which swept over the surges with the leap of a tiger. 

“ Nothing can defeat us now ! ” grimly said Petroff, 

unless a storm should arise, for we dare not risk the 
open middle channel in a Japanese typhoon, and now 
the twentieth of August, to September fifth and eighth, 
they scourge the sea! 

“ Should that befall, we would have to run in and 
bide it, or turn turtle ! 

“ She has not hold enough on the water for such a 
demonic wind I ” 

The steward that afternoon, bringing Petroff’s din- 
ner, paused aghast I “ He is going mad ; he talks to 
himself ! For surely, there is a lively conversation 
going on, and there are two tones in his voice I 

With a frightened face, the simple fellow set down 
his tray and fled! 

It was Spartan fare, for all shared alike now, but 
the waiter noted the empty champagne bottle. 

Ah ! That kind of wine always gives a man several 
voices ! he sagely observed as he closed the door, 
hearing Petroff’s key turn in the lock. 

At four o’clock the next day Engineer Markham 
rushed to Petroff’s door and vigorously assailed it. 

They had stolen past Dui three hours before, where 
a circle of a dozen steamers lay at anchor, being clum- 
sily coaled by barges, while the drifting fog half con- 
cealed their bulky forms. Not a trace of the fortifica- 
tions could be seen, but the tolling of a fog bell sounded 
mournfully as the “ Water Witch ” swept on. 

‘‘What’s wrong?” cried Petroff, his pistol in his 
hand. 

“ Smart corvette, three miles ahead, laying for us 
on our port bow, and making signals ! ” said the Ameri- 
can. 

“ Are you fit for your premium run ? ” demanded 
Petroff. 

“ She is as clean as a clock ! ” 

“ Then,” said Petroff, “ you take the engines and, I 
will go to the wheel ! 

“ I wish to creep near her at a quarter speed, so 
they will not force their steam, and then, at gunshot 


232 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

range, dart off and leave them! She will be waiting 
if she thinks that we are surrendering ! I can see it all ! 
They have telegraphed down to Vladivostock and sent 
this boat over from there, thinking that we would have 
no fuel ! I will fool with them till dark ! ” 

- An hour was passed as the “ Water Witch ” crept 
heavily along at five miles an hour, till the corvette, 
under a seven-knot speed, moved slowly out to meet 
the evidently surrendering vessel. 

‘‘ I will go to the stern and steer her! Watch for 
my bells ! ” cried Petroff. “ Let the men all lie down ! ” 

The evening darkness was closing, and a vast fog 
bank blew slowly out from the land toward the cor- 
vette, now flying the blue and white war flag of Russia. 

A window cautiously opened in Petroff’s cabin and 
then an unknown, but an alert voice called off the 
signals. “Important orders! Lay to till we send a 
boat aboard ! ” said the hidden man. 

The “ Water Witch ” swung easily toward the great 
fog bank, crawling along between the two. 

The corvette stopped and, with leisurely care, low- 
ered a couple of boats, as a tongue of the mist swept 
in between the two. 

And then, the Chief Engineer leaped to the levers, 
and at her fullest racing speed the “Water Witch” 
drove into the fog bank, skimming through the oily 
waters at the rate of thirty miles an hour. 

Leaping to the bridge, Petroff swung his hat, as 
Markham gave a rousing cheer, when a salvo of heavy 
shots pealed out. 

“ They are firing, in our old direction ! ” laughed 
Petroff, as he raced away at right angles to his last 
course. 

“They will never see us, again, and to-morrow at 
daybreak, we will be off Cape Soya ! 

“ Go and sleep, Markham ; I will watch to-night, 
for when we have coaled I must make Otaru before 
to-morrow night ! ” 

“ Coaled ? ” Are you crazy ? ” cried the Engineer. 

“I telegraphed from Habaroffka to send fifty tons 
of sacked coal down there on a Japanese junk or a 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 233 

sealing schooner! Then, Sir, you can see what you 
can do to put us in Otaru I 

“ The whole crew shall have a week ashore, and at 
my expense! Whatever the town can produce is not 
good enough for them! French wine goes for all 
hands ! It’s a lively town of ten thousand ! I have 
often visited it on trading cruises.” 

“ This is beyond me ! ” muttered Markham. “ He 
must have a fortune on board, in the gold dust ! ” 

It was even so ! Ivan Petroff recalled, as the “ Water 
Witch ” darted forward, the penalty of his being 
seized with the smuggled gold dust. 

“ Either the loss of the whole fortune, or else ten 
years in the salt mines of Nertchinsk for me. Oh! 
For the daybreak ! ” 

An indefinable anxiety had spread itself among the 
men, and there was a wild scream of delight, when the 
Japanese emblem, the sun, rose red and fiery, from the 
leaden waters, and showed them the granite cliffs of 
Cape Soya. 

“ Hurrah ! There she blows ! ” cried Luke Osborn. 

“ You have won the hundred dollars !” cried Petroff, 
as the steamer bore down toward a Japanese junk, 
boldly flying the American flag, and standing off and 
on, in the current racing between Yezo and Saghalien. 

“ Now, rouse all hands ! ” cried Petroff, in English, 
shouting in Russian his commands to the landsmen. 

It was no easy matter for the two vessels to lie near 
each other in the swell, but, at last, a doubled hawser, 
at stem and stern, bound the junk and the “ Water 
Witch.” 

Markham and Petroff guided the lashed boats along 
at the rate of ten miles an hour, while the sacked coal 
was quickly tossed aboard. 

“ Twenty miles already on our southward course ! ” 
cried Markham, when the steel hawsers were loosened, 
and the bare-legged Japanese howled in affright to see 
the “Water Witch ” leap away like a greyhound on the 
chase. 

“ Hoist our signal ‘ Eighty-Five ! ’ ” cried Petroff. 
“ And now pipe all hands to muster ! There are the 


234 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


two outlying islands! We are in Japanese waters 
now 1 ” 

And then, a stiff grog ration was followed by three 
cheers, when Petroff announced the shore leave! 

“ Only, do not fail me now ! ” the stern-faced Rus- 
sian sailing master said. 

His eyes grew red and haggard, as the steamer raced 
along the sculptured shore of beautiful Yezo. 

And when the afternoon sun sank low, the fisher 
huts, the sea flung skiffs of the toilers of the sea, the 
gardens and clustering tea houses all told of the near 
approach of a city. 

Gray temples and smiling fields, fragrant woods, lay 
before their eyes as the fleet steamer glided into the 
lovely curving harbor and tied up to a can buoy, but 
three cables’ length from shore. 

“ Now, Markham ! ” cried Petroff, as he stood at the 
cabin door, with a bundle of papers in each hand, and 
signalled to a swift sampan. “ On you, devolves the 
care of the boat till I return. Guard her but half an 
hour! You have won your money, and you shall have 
your coin at the Hakodate Bank, in three days. 

“ I only touch here for a telegraphic report. 

Let no one board the boat ! Keep your hawser 
ready to cast off ! Simply run out to sea, if annoyed ! 
I will signal you from the beach, with raising and 
lowering the American flag, three times ! ” 

“ I will guard her with my life ! All hands under 
arms ! ” cried Markham. 

And, as Petroff paddled away, the curious steward 
gazing over the rail , muttered : “ That man in the boat 
with the master looks like the sick pilot ! ” 

Fifteen minutes later, the French keeper of the one 
little hotel stared at a customer in rags, who bade him 
go and detain the Japanese packet just starting for 
Hakodate. 

Throwing him a five pound Bank of England note, 
the stranger said : “ Fifty pounds for my passage, if 
they will wait an hour. Get me a dinner, and open 
your best wine ! Look alive ! ” 

“ A beggar king with a prince’s accent ! ” cried the 


^HE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 23^ 

astounded tavern-keeper, as he scuttled down to the 
little packet, now all ready for her departure. 

“The dispatches are all sent off!” cried Petroff, as 
he bustled in, while the river pilot was busily devour- 
ing a filet aux champignons. 

“ Burgundy ! ” muttered the ragged pilot in classic 
Russian. “This is a velvet heaven! Go, now; Pe- 
troff, to your duty ! You will find me at the American 
Consulate at Hakodate. Bring your boat around there, 
and give your men their frolic there. For, I have 
touched Japanese soil ! And, I am now as free as the 
birds of the air !” 

“ Stay, give me your belt and pistol ! And remem- 
ber that you do not even know me! You will find me 
another man ! ” 

A mob of the curious followed the strangely liberal 
passenger, who, boarding the little packet, took the one 
cabin reserved for traveling aristocrats, and then, threw 
himself down to sleep. 

At his door, watched the poor Manchurian hunter, 
whose master was lying within the stone walls of the 
naval prison at Vladivostock. 

And no one saw this strange waif of fortune leave 
the boat at Hakodate, on the next night, when the little 
packet puffed into the harbor. 

For, the Austrian Consul, in waiting there, with a 
closed carriage, whisked the stranger and his Manchu- 
rian servant away, with lightning speed. 

The Gibraltar of northern Japan was sleeping in the 
moonlight when the “ Water Witch ” ran through the 
outer harbor and anchored in the beautiful inner basin. 

No sooner had the beautiful boat anchored, than 
Captain Ivan Petroff, placing Markham in charge, 
jumped into a sampan, in which Rezoff’s Manchurian 
hunter stood gesticulating with a letter in his hand. 

“ Remember ! ” cried Petroff. “ My cabins are all 
locked and sealed ! And, you will defend the boat by 
force till my return ! But, fear not, they will not dare 
to use force ! I will return before daybreak. 

Sculled to the shore, Petroff drove to the Austrian 
Consulate, around which a dozen rickshaws and car- 
riages had waited all night ! The whole building was 


236 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

brilliantly illuminated, and messengers ran hurrying to 
and fro! 

Markham, grimly leaning on his Hotchkiss rifle, 
cheered his men with the seven days “ shore leave,” 
which was to be a terrestrial Paradise of creature com- 
forts. 

He had noted the English gunboat in the outer har- ' 
bor, a couple of British tramp tea steamers, and to his 
infinite disgust, an ugly looking Russian dispatch 
boat, carrying six guns. 

“Not a single Yankee war vessel!” he gloomily 
said. 

“ And what good would it do, with our river signal 
' Eighty-Five ’ defiantly floating ! The Muscovites are 
‘ laying for us,’ and we will have a hornet’s nest around 
our ears by daybreak ! But, evidently, Petroff has no 
fears. He has ordered the fires all left to die out, and 
no steam to be kept ! Smart devil he is ! ” 

Markham knew of Petroff’s telegraphed dispatches 
from Otaru, placing himself under the protection of 
both the Russian and American consuls. 

“ I suppose that he will divide his smuggled gold 
with the Yankee consul ! ” grinned Markham, whose 
reveries were cut short by a twelve-oared boat from the 
Russian gunboat, making a cautious circuit around the 
“ Water Witch.” 

But the hoarse hail of warning, the fourteen brand- 
ished rifles soon made the discreet enemy sheer off. 

“ There will be a ‘ song and dance ’ when the sun 
rises,” confided Markham to his mates. 

“ What do we care ? ” cried Luke Osborn. “ Here’s 
where we get our five thousand dollars each, as engi- 
neers, and the firemen three thousand! I like this 
place ! ” 

Freed from all care, the pipes were lit and the bottle 
circulated, as the merry crew confided in Petroff’s 
craftiness. 

“ The man who could coal us twice at sea for a fif- 
teen hundred mile runaway voyage, can surely bluff 
these sea lawyers ! ” growled Markham, sternly on 
guard. 

When the sunrise showed them the townjying at 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


237 


the foot of the huge mountain, the bare sandspit run- 
ning three miles to the mainland, the magnificent 
double bay, with its flitting fisher boats, the men gazed 
at the wilderness of one story houses, the temples hid 
in the cliffs, the thousands of gleaming white tombs 
dotting the green slopes of the overhanging rock. 

“ There’s a signal for some one ! ” cried Markham, 
when all hands were “ roused out ” to breakfast, the 
men worn by their anxious night guard. 

A series of wild steam whistle blasts from the largest 
of the English tea tramps announced a hasty de- 
parture. 

Just then, a shore boat dashed alongside flying the 
Austrian flag, and Ivan Petroff leaped on the deck. 

“ Clear away the steam launch, lower it, and get up 
steam at once ! ” cried Petroff to Markham. “ I will 
need it ready every minute here, now ! Send two men 
aft!” 

And, as Markham followed his chief, he saw in the 
stern sheets of the Austrian boat, under white um- 
brellas, two men dressed in the height of fashion. 

One of them gave orders in a clearly official tone. 
The other leaned back, and all that Markham could 
note was his ghastly face, smooth shaven, and his eyes 
gleaming as fiercely as an eagle’s. 

To his utter astonishment, beside these men, sat the 
Manchurian hunter in a neat fitting dark blue suit, 
wearing a turban made of a black sable skin which an 
Emperor might covet. 

“ Look alive ! ” cried Petroff, as the men handed 
over into the boat four cartridge boxes, whose weight 
was undeniable. 

“ I will follow you over to the steamer ! ” cried Pe- 
troff. “ You must hold her for an hour! Here comes 
an official visit.” 

The Austrian boat was soon lost in the maze of 
smacks, schooners, junks, and sampans crowding the 
inner harbor, and then, Petroff, in a ringing voice, 
cried : All hands under arms ! To your posts ! ” 

Markham stood, rifle in hand, at his chief’s side, as 
a Russian naval boat swept alongside, filled with a 
dozen armed bluejackets and rowed by eight sailors. 


23S THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

An officer in full dress called out in Russian: 
“Board her!” 

Then, Ivan Petroff, running up the American flag, 
under the flying signal, sternly cried in the same lan- 
guage : 

“At your peril! The first man who boards, drops 
dead in his tracks ! ” 

“ May I speak to you ? ” politely cried the aston- 
ished Russian naval officer, lifting his cap. 

“ Yes,” grimly answered Petroff. , “Call a sampan 
alongside ! Sheer off your boat, and I will come into 
the sampan and talk to you. Here, sir, I am under 
Japanese protection, which I now claim ! If you vio- 
late it, it will cost you your rank and your men their 
lives. I have fourteen men armed with repeaters ! ” 

“ Assuredly, I mean no violence ! ” cried the- young 
Russian, as he jumped alone into a boatman’s skiff, and 
then, sent his armed boat three hundred yards away. 

“ Do you speak English ? ” cried Petroff. 

“ Certainly ! ” laughed the naval officer. 

“ Leave your gun and come in with me, then, Mark- 
ham ! ” gravely said Petroff. 

“ Whom do you represent ? ” politely demanded Pe- 
troff, lifting his cap. 

“ The orders of Admiral Lemacheffsky, commanding 
the whole of East Siberia and our Asiatic fleet,” mur- 
mured the Lieutenant. 

“ Pray examine these papers ! ” soberly said Petroff. 
“ They are a permit for the river navigation and out- 
ward Amoor passport, duly sealed, also my sea letter ! 
The one from Baron Knorp’s substitute^ the other 
from the Governor of Nicolaievsk! 

“ And, as they bear the seal of the Russian Minister 
of the Interior, your naval superior cannot touch me ! ” 

“You are a Russian?” demanded the officer, cour- 
teously. 

“ Ivan Petroff, at your service ! ” bowed the sailing 
master, “ formerly ensign, Russian Navy, and, since 
sixty-nine, an American citizen, under the treaty of 
Alaska, duly registered, and my citizenship is duly 
recorded at the Russian Consulate at San Francisco! 
There is my flag! You dare not violate it! I am the 


\ THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 239 

owner of this boat! Here are my Russian papers! 
Now, sir, I will answer to the Russian and American 
consuls here, jointly, for any alleged irregularities! I 
shall now go and claim their joint protection and have 
a guard from each placed on my vessel ! 

“ I can be libelled in the Mixed Court if I owe any- 
one anything, and I also go now to call on the Japanese 
Governor and demand the protection of the forts! I 
know the Prince of Matsumai very well ! ’’ 

The young officer was thunderstruck! 

“ As I foresaw this trick, I telegraphed from Otaru 
to both the consuls, day before yesterday ! ” calmly 
said Petroff, “ and so, I fancy that you are powerless ! ” 
“ Will you come on the ‘ Vsadnik ’ and see my supe- 
rior?’' entreatingly said the genial young fellow. 

“ As a visitor, with the consuls I have named — yes ! 
Otherwise, if I am summoned, he and you can go to the 
devil ! ” cried Petroff. ‘‘‘ Now, mark you ! I will de- 
fend my boat ! ” 

And then, with a smile of triumph, Petroff pointed 
to two boats approaching, flying the Russian and 
American flags. 

“ There they come ; you can now speak with them ! ” 
And tossing the Japanese boatman a Mexican dollar, 
Petroff was paddled to the “ Water Witch,” where 
Markham followed him. 

“ Let them wrangle it out, Markham ! ” said Pe- 
troff. Man the launch ! I must go away to the 
‘ Forfarshire ! ’ There she whistles for me ! Remem- 
ber ! keep the cabins locked until I return ! ” 

To the astonishment of the excited Markham, the 
sampan paddled alongside, and the young Russian, 
cap in hand, said : “ Captain Petroff, I have to apolo- 
gize for the attempt to board your boat ! ” 

“ Come on board, then, with the consuls, Lieuten- 
ant!” cordially cried the overjoyed Petroff, meeting 
him at the gangway. “ This steamer and all her prop- 
erty and rights are held for the absent owners, through 
the consular gentlemen, until orders can be received 
from San Francisco ! I only hold the title for them ! ” 
“ Perfectly correct ! ” chimed the consuls in chorus, 
^s Petroff produced the inevitable champagne. 


240 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


“ I will remain here, Petroff ! ” cried Henry Fox, 
the American Consul, “ while you go and see the Count 
Lansdorf off! He is a good fellow, and the Austrian 
Consul and I were with him half the night I ” 

“ Markham I ’’ cried the sailing master, “ Consul Fox 
is in charge I ” And then the tall engineer exchanged 
hand grasps with the young Consul over a beaker of 
wine. 

“ And I, Lieutenant Kolasky ! ” said the Russian 
Consul. ‘‘ I will follow you to the ‘ Vsadnik ’ and clear 
you of all embarrassment ! I intended, officially, to 
call on Captain Danieff to-day! Fve been at a supper 
with our Austrian colleague, and I must also say good- 
bye to my friend Lansdorf.” 

“ The men’s shore leave will begin at noon,” said 
Petroff. “Only one engineer is to remain on board, with 
one fireman ! Pll send a Japanese cook and waiter to 
relieve our stewards ! I will be back then ! ” 

Lighting his cigar, Petroff dashed away in the little 
launch, followed by the Russian consular and naval 
boats. 

“ My young friend ! ” gravely said Consul Gradsky, 
“ Captain Danieff was on the verge of a serious blun- 
der! I have orders from Levassoff at Nagasaki, and 
the Russian Minister at Tokio, to protect this party 
and to give them every aid and assistance ! ” 

When the huge “ Forfarshire ” swung around, and 
slowly gathered headway, an- hour later. Captain Pe- 
troff, Consul Harvey Fox and Chevalier Mollenhaupt 
were a guard of honor gathered around the young 
stranger whose name was boldly entered on the ship’s 
passenger list as “ Count Benno Lansdorf, Schloss 
Karolyi, Ischl, Austria ! ” 

The ship’s purser, the center of a bevy of young 
feminine globe trotters, said, patronizingly, to them: 
“ He is an Austrian nobleman of vast wealth, going 
down to Hongkong with us to take the P. & O. boat 
at Hongkong for Southampton ! He has four chests 
of gold in our strong room, and he has given our Cap- 
tain five hundred pounds to gain a day on our schedule, 
so that he can catch the mail boat ! ” 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 241 

\ “ And, is that wild-looking man his attendant ? 

lisped a pretty charmer. 

That is his hunter and guide — who accompanied 
him across Siberia!’’ 

But, all unconscious of the admiration of the women, 
the Count Lansdorf gravely thanked his consular 
friends as they offered to escort him out of the harbor. 

“ Thanks, dear friends I ” he said, in a musical Eng- 
lish voice, with an indescribably sad intonation, as he 
gazed at the trim lines of the “ Vsadnik,” whose blue 
and white flag duly acknowledged the salute of the 
“ Forfarshire.” “ I have Chevalier Mollenhaupt’s 
Austrian passport duly visad. I am under the English 
Union Jack, with my passage paid ! There is no power 
on earth which dares to drag a man from under the 
shadow of the British flag I ” 

He drew Ivan Petroff aside and then whispered a 
few words which made the Russian sailing master 
stagger. 

” Remember, Ivan I ” he cried, “ I have your sworn 
promise. You belong to me, now I ” 

Turning to the Austrian Chevalier, Count Lansdorf 
handed him a slip of paper. “ Send this cablegram at 
once, the moment that you reach your office, my dear 
Chevalier,” he said. “ And remember, Schloss Karolyi 
is your home, whenever you will honor it ! ” 

To the jovial Harvey Fox, he gave his hand and 
said : “ On your trip home, next year on leave, if you 
do not find me at the Hotel de Choiseul, Paris, I will 
be at Schloss Karolyi, and Mollenhaupt, you and I 
are to have a month’s hunting! And Ischl can show 
you Magyar beauties to rival your geisha girls — not 
mere human dolls, but women with hearts of flame ! ” 
Taking a gold piece from his pocket, he tossed it in 
the gleaming sapphire waves. “ For luck ! ” he cried, 
as the “ Water Witch’s ” launch sped away, towing 
the two consular boats. 

And then, he began the tramp of a sentinel upon the 
broad decks. 

‘Tt might be the mad Hamlet on the platform at Elsi- 
nore ! ” cried one of the pouting ladies, who learned be- 
fore they reached Hongkong that the Count Lansdorf 


242 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

communed only with the wild waves and the free winds 
of heaven ! 

Over a choice breakfast at the Russian Consulate, 
Consul Vladimir Gradsky and his Austrian colleague 
talked in whispers of the haphazard visit of the “ Water 
Witch,” while Ivan Petroff and the American official, 
Harvey Fox, were cozily seated in the cabin of the 
victorious boat. 

” The best way, my friend Petroff,” said Consul Fox, 
“ is to send all the luggage and effects of your absent 
master, Rezoff, over to my Consulate ! Now, I will send 
the boat ashore for my consular clerk and our ‘ com- 
pradores.’ 

“ All your treasure, sealed by yourself and myself, 
will go at once to the bank, and be deposited there by 
me, in your presence, as ‘ trustee for yourself and the 
absent owners, to order.’ 

So send all your crew off on their frolic! I will 
leave a guard of .four of my men and my marshal in 
possession here ! One of your engineers can stay here, 
with one fireman, after to-morrow morning! They 
can alternate! 

1 will hoist my Consular flag on the boat, and, 
when we have received the treasure, we will lock and 
seal all your cabins ! 

Though gossip was rife, no one in Hakodate ever 
knew the value or origin of the twenty-four sealed 
cartridge . boxes, which were duly deposited in the 
Hongkong and Shanghai Bank, after being duly iron 
strapped and double sealed ! 

A couple of sampans, with a Japanese marine po- 
liceman in each, kept all curious loiterers at a cable’s 
length from the boat, which had made a five thousand 
mile run in two months without breaking a rod or heat- 
ing a single bearing ! 

Before the crew left the steamer, Petroff, in the pres- 
ence of the Consul, addressed them sternly : “ One 

name alone is never to be mentioned, the name of our 
beloved absent master, ‘ Serge Alexandrovitch Re- 
zoff ! ’ The Russian spies, the consular followers, and 
the naval people here may tempt you ! 

“ Any man who breaks his word will forfeit his pre- 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


243 


miums and the six months wages I promised you if 
the ‘ Eighty-Five ’ made her trip without touching a 
rock or stopping for repairs ! ” 

“ You can depend on us to our last drop of blood! ” 
cried Markham. 

“ Go, then, men I ” said Petroff. “ When you are 
out of money, go in to the American Consulate ! You 
will find plenty there, and, you are not spending your 
own, remember! 

“ After to-morrow, two men must be on board day 
and night, and I will be either here or at the American 
Consulate ! No one dares to interfere with us now ! ” 

With loud hurrahs, the excited crew disappeared in 
a flotilla of sampans, Markham being paymaster for 
the “ crowd,’’ as he termed them. 

Before a week was over, the “ golden crew ” of the 
“ Water Witch ” were the lords of Hakodate, and an 
American eagle, beautifully carven and gilded, orna- 
mented the stern of the mysterious steamer, whose 
bows now also bore beautiful gilded carvings of laurel, 
palm, oak and olive, surrounding the well-earned name, 
“ Water Witch.” 

Ten days later, two telegrams were brought to Ivan 
Petroflf as he sat in the American Consulate, engaged 
in a grave conference with Vladimir Gradsky and the 
captain of the “ Vsadnik.” 

Harvey Fox gazed curiously at Petrotf when the 
sailing master tossed over to the young consul Count 
Lansdorf ’s dispatch from Hongkong : “All right 
now. On board the ‘ Turanian ’ ; will leave boat at 
Malta and go direct to Paris, Hotel Choiseul ; report to 
me by telegraph all news of Rezoff.” 

The other despatch Ivan Petroff leisurely deciphered 
with a code book and then he turned to the two Rus- 
sian officials, 

“ Gentlemen ! ” he said gravely, “ I have received 
your offers from the Russian Government and I have 
cabled them to my principals, as well as your invita- 
tion to visit Admiral Lemacheffsky at Vladivostock, 
to confer as to the sale of the ' Water Witch,’ her 
plans and working drawings. 


244 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD 


“ I can now answer you. By the authority just re- 
ceived I can give you our final decision. 

“ We decline to accept your offer ; we will set no 
price upon our boat. It will be dismantled here, the 
hull will be housed, the engines will be practically dis- 
mounted and the boat house sealed, then, placed under 
guard of the Japanese authorities, in charge of my 
friend. Consul Fox. 

Pending the proposed sale to the Japanese Govern- 
ment, I am directed to tell you that the attempt to 
stop us on the Amoor at Nicolaievsk, the chase at Dui, 
the firing on us by the corvette, your attempt to seize 
the boat here — all these are only instances of broken 
faith, to add to the crowning outrage of the arrest of 
Serge Alexandrovitch Rezoft 

And I am ordered not to trust to that official honor 
which has betrayed him ! ” 

The two Russian officials sprang to their feet in 
rage. 

“No violence! No insults, gentlemen!” said Pe- 
troff. “ Pray remember that I was an ensign in the 
Russian Navy, and that I will exact the code of honor 
to its utmost f And since I became an American, I have 
also learned to be a dead shot! It is peace or war, 
just as you decide! Our affair is finished! I shall 
leave two of my best men in charge here, disband my 
crew and return to America ! ” 

“If we should wish to confer further?” said the 
cautious Gradsky, who greatly coveted a certain glitter- 
ing order and hoped to win it in effecting the purchase 
of this triumph of the National Works, as well as Yar- 
row and Thornycroft. 

“ Then address me by letter through Levassoff , 
your consul at Nagasaki ! ” frankly said Petroff. “ But 
I will plainly tell you — the Rezoff outrage has ended 
all our desire to meet you ! You have broken faith all 
along the line ! ” 

And then, with lowering brows, the Russian agents 
left their victorious foe. 

It was on the morning after the sailing of the “ For- 
farshire ” from Hakodate that the Princess Esme 
Chilkoff, seated in a summer house at “ Mon Plaisir,” 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD 245 

languidly lifted her head as a servant approached with 
a telegram lying on a silver tray. 

“ The twentieth of August ! ” the beautiful woman 
murmured as she dismissed the old servitor. “ Two 
weeks — it seems a year — since I gave up all hope! 
Has Allan Law betrayed me, or some fatal accident 
ruined the work of three whole years of my life? ” 

With dilated eyes, she read the words printed on 
the long tape, ‘‘ Sail on ‘ Forfarshire ’ to-day for 
Hongkong. Passage thence on ‘ Turanian ’ to Malta. 
Send Ali Roustan to meet me at the Hotel Choiseul. 
Will await letters from 3^011 at Schloss Karolyi.’’ The 
signature, “Benno Lansdorf,” seemed to swim before 
her eyes. 

With a gasp the Circassian princess sank back. It 
was half an hour later when Natalie Ignatieff returned 
from a drive to find the Circassian orphan raving in a 
high fever. 

‘‘ Nothing to tell why! No reason, Natalie?” cried 
the frantic Baroness Fadieflf, “ only the suspicion of a 
hidden love affair! 

“ Read this telegram ! I found it lying beside her. 

There was a Lansdorf, an Austrian attache here, 
two winters ago — a proud, splendid fellow! I remem- 
ber him ! How she has hidden this secret so long, I 
know not! She is planning a flight! But, we must 
keep this secret ! ” 

Compressing her lips, Natalie Ignatiefif sighed as 
she dropped the telegram. “ Poor Sacha Menchikoff ! 
He will kill himself if she marries this Austrian ! 
Send to the camp for the Brigade Surgeon on the 
gallop ! Bid him ride for life and death ! ” 

And the household then, dumbly waited for the 
Death Angel’s coming! 


246 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD 


CHAPTER X. 

AN AMERICAN APPEAL. 

Seated on his couch or pacing his cell’s stone floor 
like a caged tiger, Allan Law passed the first three days 
of his confinement in the exhaustion following an im- 
potent rage. 

For not a moment — day or night — was he freed 
from the eyes of the two Cossacks, seated in the diag- 
onal corners of the room. 

Only a stolid obedience was pictured in their unfeel- 
ing eyes. 

He could hear all the merry chatter of the great road 
along the north side of the “ Golden Horn,” the wafted 
notes of the band on Admiral Crown’s flagship, the 
“ Vladimir Monomak,” and the orchestra delighting 
the gay ladies in the palace garden. 

Thrice a day the stern old Major warder gazed at 
him, turning on his heel with a muttered caution to 
the sentinels. The harsh growl left no doubt of its 
purport. 

Though not a book, no writing materials, nor dis- 
tractions were allowed him, Allan Law smiled bitterly 
at the excellent table service — the pheasants, venison, 
luscious oysters, unrivaled fish, and even the break- 
fast white wine and the bottle of Beaune for dinner. 

Cigars, cigarettes and the comforts of coffee and 
cognac were not missing. 

” Not a bad sort of a Bastille ! It is the ‘ beyond ’ 
which will develop the ferocity of the Bear ! ” he 
mused. 

A hundred vague fears now beset the lonely man. 

Notwithstanding Colonel Milanovitch’s assurances, 
Allan Law feared the violent seizure of the boat. 

“ ITnless Petroff has stolen her and run away, un- 
less he buys his freedom with a half of his smuggled 
gold, these wily Muscovites will probably trap the 
party at the mouth of the Amoor ! 

“ And how in Heaven’s name would Petroff get the 


247 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD 

boat over to Japan, past their fleet and the cloud of 
torpedo boats ! Who has betrayed me ?” 

A day’s self-examination led to the conclusion that 
either Wardlawe had conceived a mad passion for 
Esme Chilkoff, or that the local merchants had, in 
some way, discovered the secret and denounced their 
rival ! 

The delay in any preliminary examination led Law 
to believe that the all powerful Admiral Lemacheffsky 
meant to first capture the whole boat’s crew and 
then use them as witnesses against their absent chief. 

“ Petroff seemed bluff, brave and true ! An old En- 
sign of their Navy, it was probably Gorlitz who se- 
cretly selected him. If the Princess Esme did, he may 
try to aid me. Oh ! For a single cablegram to Levas- 
solf, or Gorlitz, at San Francisco ! They are not bound 
to silence by any fantastic vows of honor ! The Amer- 
ican, where is he? Has he sold my secret? It is the 
thirteenth of August! He may be still at Dui, or al- 
ready on his way back — perhaps, aiding this Admiral 
to trap me to the forfeit of my life I Beg aid from him? 

Never!” 

And then, with a groan, Allan Law recalled the 
mean secret service trap laid for Wardlawe, in 
England’s hour of peril ! 

It is Nemesis !” bitterly reflected Law, “ and now 
he will be unconsciously revenged !” 

Standing at the window, marking the “Hiogo 
Maru” gliding out of the beautiful bay. Law finally re- 
solved to silently stand his ground ! 

“ I must live and die here as ‘ S.erge Alexandrovitch 
Rezoff, ’ for an appeal to the Princess Esme, to Ig- 
natieff, or the disclosure of my real rank, any of these 
would steep me in craven dishonor! 

“If Petroff could only get to Nagasaki in time, he 
may be able to arouse Levassoff’s interest. It is hope- 
less to wish for that. The Baron seemed to be a good 
fellow, in his own way, Jewish in his love of life; he 
might strongly intercede, at second hand !” 

One slender gleam of hope alone remained ! Adju- 
tant Valerianoff !” 

“Alas, the poor fellow can not pass these fatal steel 


24 ^ THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD 

grillages ! These Cossacks are of the true bulldog 
breed ! The Major, too, seems to be a pattern brute !” 

All his past life slowly rolled past Allan Law as the 
prison gloom deepened in his soul ! The boyish loves, 
the service memories, the kaleidoscopic scenes of 
globe trotting, his Continental life, and the desperate 
intrigues of his volunteer “secret service” efforts for 
Her Majesty’s Government. 

“ The biter bit !” he bitterly laughed. “ I only hope 
this grim Yankee may not reproach me with my clumsi- 
ness. He, to return, and perhaps marry Esme ! ” 

The thought was sheer madness ! 

Another, a second cruel pang tortured him. “ Out 
here, this stern Admiral is a law unto himself! He 
may simply ‘efface me!’ 

“ Found dead in his bed, that’s all ! That will be the 
report ! 

“ And, my God, Esme will never know that I have 
kept her faith!” 

He was awakened from dreams of the mountain 
palace of Dariel; he was still wandering with Ali 
Roustan in the Princess Chilkoff’s sequestered do- 
mains, as a hand lightly brushed his face in the mid' 
night. 

Springing up, the Cossack kneeling over him, pointed 
anxiously to the other sentinel, now fast asleep. 

With a finger pressed on his lip, the rude soldier 
pressed a paper into Law’s hand. 

And, then, stealing back to his place, the warden 
resumed his silent watch. 

With a beating heart, Allan Law waited until day- 
light and then he read the gallant Valerianoff’s scrawl ! 

“We are moving heaven and earth to save you ! Do 
not anger the Admiral ! You are to be brought* before 
him ! We will all cling to you to the last ! Guard your 
speech ! Insist on your Russian identity ; Your papers 
seem all regular! If you can summon any help from 
Europe, do so! Otherwise, if you go before a Sum- 
mary Tribunal, we fear for the result! I will try and 
telegraph myself to St. Petersburg ! Confide in no one ! 
A single damaging admission may send you to the 
scaffold! Burn this!” 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD 


249 


It was ten o’clock on the seventeenth of August, 
when the Major, entering Allan Law’s cell, bade the 
prisoner follow him. 

With a firm tread, the young man passed through a 
double rank of riflemen, and, entering a carriage, was 
swiftly driven westward under a company escort to the 
splendid palace mansion of the Governor General. 

A half dozen men, with drawn revolvers, marched 
on either side of the carriage, and, the passersby, on 
the board sidewalks, dropped their eyes in sympathetic 
fear. 

“ One more ! ” sighed a stately convict beauty, once 
the delight of the Moscow stage, as she forgot her 
own murdered lover, in gazing at the helpless prisoner. 

“A short trip from the Military Court Room to the 
gallows !” 

But, Law’s proudly grave face touched the attend- 
ants, as he was ushered into the audience room of Ad- 
miral Lemacheffsky. 

His guards, divided in groups, the stern Major 
Warden replendent in full uniform, stood at attention, 
as the gray headed Admiral, followed by a dozen staff 
officers, and clerks, took his seat under the canopy cov- 
ering the magnificent portraits of the Imperial pair. 

Allan Law’s glances rested on the magnificent gold, 
silver and jewel decked icon where a priceless antique 
lamp burned day and night before the Madonna’s 
face. 

He had hardly time to note the clustered stars and 
orders on Lemacheffsky’s breast, when the old sailor 
sternly demanded, “ Name?” 

“Serge Alexandrovitch Rezoff!” calmly answered 
Law. 

“Nationality?” “Russian, merchant, first class, 
Kharkov !” 

Allan Law noted the fumbling of his captured 
papers, a bundle lying before the great autocrat, who 
replaced the Czar in a territory greater than France. 

Lord of a million subjects, chief of an army of fifty 
thousand, a navy of forty vessels, Anatole Arcadie- 
vitch Lemacheffsky was a martinet by the stern habi- 
tude of forty years of varied service, 


250 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD 


Remember, prisoner, your answers will be all used 
against you at the Summary Court Martial if you try 
to deceive me. Do you persist that this is your right 
name and status? Are you noble?’’ 

“Yes!” proudly cried the accused, in a ringing 
voice. 

His fluent and sonorous Russian attracted the atten- 
tion of all the listeners. 

“ What other languages do you speak ?” queried the 
Admiral, gazing through a pair of horn rimmed crystal 
spectacles, at his victim. 

“ French, German, a little Italian, and, some Span- 
ish,” said the young man. 

“ English ?” persisted the great man. 

Allan Law stood mute. 

“Record that he refuses to answer!” roared the irate 
dignitary. 

“Do you still refuse?” was Lemacheffsky’s second 
query. 

And, still no answer, while the clerks gazed sadly 
at each other, and the officers uneasily moving, rattled 
their swords. 

Picking up a red book, stamped with an Imperial 
crown, and the double headed Russian eagle, the Ad- 
miral solemnly read : 

“ Article 38. Offenses punishable with death or life 
imprisonment, by sentence of an Extraordinary Court. 
First. — False Impersonation, Treason, Sedition, Mu- 
tiny, Perjury before a Court of Trial, Spying, Plots 
against the Crown or Government, Entering a Military 
Reserve in Disguise, ” the reader paused, and then 
threw his whole indignation into the query: 

“ Will you now deny, on oath, that you are Allan 
Law, one time, a Captain of English Light Artillery, 
one time. Extra Attache of the British Embassy at 
Paris?” 

Fifty pairs of eyes were fixed sternly upon the 
prisoner, who quietly answered in Russian, “ I am a 
civilian ; my papers are all regular. I have committed 
no offense. I deny your right to try me, or to force me 
to an oath. I protest ! ” 

A roar of anger drowned Law’s sullen voice. 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD 251 

Rising to his feet, the Admiral cried : “Taken under 
a false name and, with illegally obtained Russian pa- 
pers, within the limits of the military reserve, the Lit- 
toral ; arrested here as a spy of the English secret 
service, you will be given one week, and then, brought 
before an Extraordinary Military Court for summary 
trial and judgment. Take him away! ’’ 

The old man’s head shook with anger as he grasped 
his jewelled sword, the gift of a dead Emperor. 

“ Am I to have counsel ?” boldly cried Allan Law. 

“ The President of your Court will inform you of all 
your legal rights ! ” roared Lemacheffsky, vanishing 
through a side door. 

As Law was marched away he saw the pale, agonized 
face of Lieutenant Valerianoff. 

In the young Adjutant’s eyes there was all the an- 
guish of a ihute farewell. 

Half an hour later, the prisoner threw himself on his 
couch in a sullen despair. 

“It will be a grim farce, ending in a swift tragedy, ” 
he groaned, as he turned his face to the wall. 

And then, began the cruel tiger play of Russian jus- 
tice I 

Visits from crafty officers, their hands covered with 
turquoise rings, calmly puffing perfumed cigarettes, as 
they urged the accused to confess all, and, “ throw him- 
self on the mercy of the Governor-General.” 

A half dozen sly pleaders exhausted themselves, un- 
til, goaded to madness, Allan Law stood at bay. 

“ You desire me to put a rope around the neck of my 
comrades, ” he cried. “ To enable you to confiscate 
my steamer and the property of my associates, to be 
the hangman of others? Never! Take my poor life! 
I am not fool as well as ' victim ! I know Russian 
Justice ! I was born in Russia !” 

Shrugging his shoulders, the last agent departed to 
keep a tryst with a convict beauty ! “ None so blind, 
mon cher, as those who will not see! Your obstinacy 
is a mere ‘felo de se!’ You will think better of this 
before the Manchurian hangman kicks the bench from 
under you !” 


THE MVSTERY (5P A SHIPYARD 


“ Coward \” sharply cried Law, as the officer only 

smiled and showed his polished fang-like teeth. 

“ As you will, Monsieur !” grinned the Chief Aide 
of the Admiral. “ We are not likely to meet again for 
some time, at least, and so, I say. Adieu V 

Brave by nature, buoyed up by a patrician training, 
Allan Law summoned all his pride to resist the scorn- 
ful glances of the rough old Major, who thrice a day, 
found him “ still obdurate.’’ 

It was on a rainy day a week later that the lonely 
man was thrust into a khibitka and taken a half a mile 
to a two-story log house, under the escort of a gray 
frocked company of infantry, their bayonets reversed 
on the sockets, a fatal sign. 

The splash of the cool rain revived the fevered pris- 
oner, whose mind was wavering now. 

“ One appeal to her might save me, ” he muttered, 

or, else send her to Siberia !” 

And yet, life seemed sweet, as the breath of the 
fragrant pines was wafted from the forests of the little 
river at the head of the bay. He was young, in the 
heyday of life and the wine of youth surged in his full 
veins. 

But, ushered into a hall where seven field officers 
sat around a long table, Allan Law was recalled to his 
bitter present. 

“ Have you counsel ?” demanded Colonel Gribaye- 
doff, when the long presentment was read. 

‘‘ None !” replied the prisoner. 

“Do you know any one here?’’ growled the Judge 
Advocate. 

“ Only Lieutenant Valerianoflf, Adjutant of the 
Kazan Regiment ! I would like to consult him ! ” 

“ Let him be summoned !’’ gruffly said the Colonel, 
and, then, for a half an hour, the Court broke up, re- 
turning to their vodki and cigarettes, while the clerks 
unceasingly scratched with their pens. 

A roar of laughter followed a joke of the President 
as ValerianofY was ushered in, a half an hour later. 

“ Let them talk alone here !’’ said Colonel Gribaye- 
doflf, “ while we breakfast. We will take the case up at 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIFYARd 

Seated in a corner, the gallant youth pleaded for art 
hour alone with the English prisoner. 

But, still hiding himself under the mask of “ Rezoff,’^ 
Law absolutely declined to be sworn or to make any 
admissions. 

“ I will not forfeit my honor, even to save my life !” 
gloomily said Law. 

“You must have friends, loved ones, some one to 
mourn for you ! Think of them, pleaded Valerianoff. 

“If you are a Russian in good faith, there is the 
telegraph ; make a pseudo-confession.” 

“Tell the Admiral anything, to induce him to delay. 
Let me send a telegraph for you. There is the Ameri- 
can, Wardlawe, — now — pleading, night and day, with 
Lemacheffsky to send you back to Russia for judg- 
ment. The old man will not ! He says it would show 
that a spy steamer had ascended the Amoor, in safety ; 
it has arrived, after a hot chase in Hakodate, Japan, 
and so, both he and Baron Knorp would lose their com- 
mands and perhaps even rank and pension if it reached 
the Minister of the Interior.” 

“ Then the ‘ Water Witch ’ is safe, with all her crew, 
at Hakodate ? ” cried Law. “ Thank God ! I can now 
die in peace I I drag no innocent men down ! Petroff 
was true, then ; he did not betray me.” 

“ But, mark you, Valerianoff, this American is my 
bitterest secret enemy!” 

“ You wrong him, by the God above, ” cried Vale- 
rianoff passionately, breaking off his discourse in 
French, as the Court filed in from its cosy dinner at the 
Hotel Weletsky. 

In a silent agony the Adjutant heard all Law’s 
answers before the Admiral read with due solemnity. 

“ The prisoner will now be sworn and answer the 
queries of the Court,” said Colonel Gribayedoff. 

In a steady voice, Allan Law calmly stated the same 
reasons for declining to be sworn. 

The Court exchanged significant glances, while 
Gribayedoff’s face blackened in a ferocious scowl. 

“ Contumacy 1“ cried the President, “ Remove the 
prisoner I” 

In ten minutes, standing, Allan Law received the 


254 the mystelry of a shipyard 

judgment of “ wilful contumacy against the laws of 
the Czar.” 

“ Now, Prosecutor, hear the telegram of the Presi- 
dent of the Merchants’ Guild of Kharkov. 

In a sickening silence, Law listened to the words. 
“ There is no merchant of the first class in Kharkov 
named ‘ Serge Alexandrovitch Rezoff !’ No such 
man has been on the guild rolls for ten years, as per 
an official search of the archives.” 

“ What say you, prisoner, ” thundered the tri- 
umphant Colonel. 

Allan Law stood mute, stricken with his fatal 
blunder. 

“ I should have hired a temporary character, ” he 
mused. “ The real man could have waited abroad. 
This is fatal ! ” he sighed. 

An hour later, the Captain of the Cossack escort had 
testified to Rezoff’s arrest, within the limits of the 
Littoral, to the discovery of his papers, and the facts 
of his first voluntary statement. 

Lieutenant Valerianoff’s appeal, urging clemency, 
delay and a removal of the prisoner to Russia, for posi- 
tive identification, his civil status, his innocence of all 
overt acts, the harmlessness of his captured note book, 
all this fell on deaf ears. 

“You have not proved him to be Allan Law, an 
English subject, ” he closed. 

“ And you dare not execute him without verifying 
that alleged fact !” 

With the Adjutant bending near him, in a last im- 
passioned pleading, Allan Law awaited his judgment, 
until the sun had sunk below the western hills. 

The sound of long wrangling came from the closed 
court room, as the friends were pent in the ante room, 
by the brutal-faced guards. 

Suddenly the door opened, clouds of cigarette 
smoke rushed out, and, in a gloom lit by a few tallow 
dips, “ Serge Alexandrovitch Rezoflf ” was found 
“ guilty as charged,” and, sentenced to death by hang- 
ing ! 

“ Three days are allotted for an opportunity to con- 
fess and receive the last rites of the Orthodox religion, 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 255 

if the Archimandrite find the accused to be a real mem- 
ber of the Greek Catholic Church. 

Stunned with the brutal verdict, Allan Law was 
swiftly reconducted to the prison. 

Valerianoff’s last words were ringing in his ears. 

“ I will now concert with the American, He swears 
that you must be saved V’ 

And sleep came not to the eyes of the lonely con- 
demned, on this horrible night of judgment ! 

Little did the prisoner know of the messages clicked 
over the wires to far away St. Petersburg; of the 
signals flashed by cable to Nagasaki, to San Francisco, 
and, that stout Ivan Petroflf was half crazed at Hako- 
date, with his impotent sorrow. 

Sunset of the first day found Allan Law in a moral 
stupor. He had resolutely fought off the priest who 
vainly offered the consolation of religion. 

“I go where all beliefs are finally judged!” the 
young man gravely said. “ Leave me to my fate ! ” 

To the Major warder, who, for the last time, hinted 
at some clemency following a full confession. Law 
only said, “ Insult me no more I Give me writing ma- 
terials.” 

It is denied 1” brutally replied the warder. 

“ Then leave me !” cried Law, “ or, I will brain you 
with this stool !” 

At nine o’clock the iron door swung, and a tall form 
entered, the Major calling away the two guards. 

Law’s untasted dinner still stood on the table as the 
American Major sprang to his side, having first blown 
out the four blinking candles. 

“ Madman 1” whispered Wardlawe, in English. 'T 
come to save you ! The Admiral is on his way here ! 
Shall I tell your true story ? Will you not telegraph to 
her? Ask your release! I know the fantastic spirit 
of adventure which brought you here !” 

” Swear that you will only tell her of what I dis- 
close ?” 

“ I do,” said Wardlawe, wringing the young man’s 
hands. They shall bury me at your side; you shall 
not die !” 


256 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


‘‘ Peace !” sadly answered Allan Law, “I have your 
oath not to betray me. Who disclosed my identity ?’' 

“God knows!” muttered Wardlawe. “Could you 
have been followed from Russia ? There was Menchi- 
koff! He knew you as a friend of the English Em- 
bassy ! He hated you I He swore to have your life I 
Will you not telegraph to Count Ignatieff, to your own 
Foreign office, or to the British Ambassador at St. 
Petersburg ? ” 

“ They are coming. Light the candles, quickly 1” 
said Allan Law. “ You’re a good fellow, Wardlawe, 
after all 1 

“ Get me the favor that I may write a few letters to 
be given into your hands! You leave soon?” 

“In two weeks, for San Francisco,” muttered Ward- 
lawe. 

“ Swear that you will place the letters in her own 
hands, and, then, forget me ! I will stand mute !” 

The dash of a carriage, the trampling of an escort 
sounded on the evening air. 

Entering abruptly, with a wave of his hand, Admiral 
Lemacheffsky dismissed all his staff, and gazed keenly 
at both the prisoner and Wardlawe. 

Turning with courtesy to the American, the Gover- 
nor-General said, “Here, before the prisoner, will you 
tell me by what name he was known at Nagasaki?” 

“ Only as “ Serge Alexandrovitch Rezoff, ” Your 
Excellency,” said Wardlawe, firmly. 

“ You recognize the man?” 

“ It is the same to whom I turned over certain papers, 
by orders of my principals!” 

“ And in your belief, he is not Allan Law, a British 
subject.” 

The young man sighed as Wardlawe firmly said: 
“ I only know him as ‘ Serge Alexandrovitch Rezoff !’ 
The Russian Consul Levassoff so presented him to 
me !” 

“ Levassoff is not on trial ! He may have been de- 
ceived ! And, you have never heard him speak Eng- 
lish?” 

“ Never !” cried Wardlawe, with a prayer to the 
recording angel. 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 257 

** You will make a frightful error of judgment, Ad- 
miral, to proceed to extremes in this case! My God! 
Think of your agony of condemning an innocent man ! 
This man is no spy, and, I know it !” 

The old Admiral gazed helplessly from the one to 
the other. 

“ For the last time I offer you, prisoner, an opening. 
Let the boat and the crew be brought here from 
Hakodate to await the final action of the Government ! 
Admit your real status, and give the names of your 
secret masters; those who sent you out to Siberia! 

“ I will then suspend sentence, until Minister Tolstoi 
can revise the whole case ! Major Wardlawe can com- 
municate with your friends.” 

Springing to his feet, Allan Law cried: “Thank 
Heavens, the others are out of your clutches ! L.et me 
die, but tempt me to no dishonor! 

“Major Wardlawe is a witness of your brutality. I 
only ask that I may entrust to him my last letters, and 
that he may witness my execution. My body is to be 
delivered to him for final removal to Kharkov.” 

“ This I grant, ” gruffly cried Lemacheffsky. “ At 
sundown of the second day, unless you ask clemency 
and confess, you die! You can at any time call the 
Major warden. An officer will be placed near you now 
every moment. Your blood be on your own head ! I 
will know what led you to this examination of the 
Amoor from its mouth to Nertchinsk!” 

Allan Law bowed his head. “ Seek the answer in 
my felon’s grave! You are outraging humanity, and 
some greedy wretch has belied me! You wish to steal 
the boat, its secrets, its plans, and then force the crew 
to operate it ! Leave me to die in peace ! ” 

As Lemacheffsky stormed away, Allan Law 
dropped Esme’s signet ring into Wardlawe’s hand. 

“ Faithful to death! Tell her this,” he whispered, 
and then, throwing his head in his hands, burst into 
tears. 

The American Major, in silence, followed the Ad- 
miral back to the palace where he had been the guest 
of the Czar’s Viceroy over Eastern Siberia. 


25^ THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

Standing in the great audience room, the two men 
faced each other in silence. 

The splendid supper table was already spread in the 
adjoining hall. 

Wardlawe’s own voice seemed strained as he solemn- 
ly addressed his host. 

You will pardon me, Admiral, ” he said, “ if I beg 
you to release me from your friendly hospitality and 
allow me to join Sergeant Crampton, my valet, and 
attendants at the Hotel Weletsky!” 

“Anything further?’’ growled the old commander, 
flushing purple. 

“ Yes, sir!” boldly continued Wardlawe. “ I ask to 
have my passports visad for an immediate departure, 
as well as those of my followers. I wish to be allowed 
to cable to Japan and America, in cipher, without the 
censorship, and, to be allowed to telegraph to the 
American 'Amhassador at St. Petersburg, as well as 
Admiral Chestakoff, your own Minister of Marine, and 
the Count Nicholas Ignatieff. I shall inform every au- 
thority near of this unjust sentence, and, when I have 
received this poor victim’s last wishes, and witnessed 
his judicial murder, I leave Siberia, never to return. 

“ The National Works can send some other agent 
here ! I give up my trust forever.” 

“ As for the Amoor Navigation Company, ” the Ad- 
miral’s face grew livid, “ I risked my life for your 
country, in its hour of trial! I am sorry, now, I did 
not aid England ! Ah ! Napoleon was right. ‘ Grattez 
le Russe et, vous trouverez le Tartar ! ” 

Speechless Avith rage, the Governor-General called 
his Aide-de-camp. 

“ Major Wardlawe has the unrestricted use of cables 
and telegraphs, with no censorship. Visa all the pass- 
ports of his party for immediate departure. He alone 
is to visit the English spy, and witness his execution. 
Let him have free access !” 

“ There is no Japanese steamer in two weeks !” said 
the astounded Aide. 

“ I will hire the little steamer lying here in charter 
to take me to Hakodate. After this brutal murder, my 
life, the life of my brave men, is unsafe ! 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 2^9 

“ Not an American workman shall ever land at Dui 
without the express guarantee of the Czar! I am a 
soldier ! I despise all butchery ! ” 

“ Call my carriage I” roared Admiral Lemacheff- 
s'ky ! 

“ Pardon, I will walk! gravely said Major Ward- 
lawe, as he went out alone into the night, despite the 
Aide-de-camp’s frenzied entreaties. 

My God ! Hospitality ! Think of it ! No hang- 
man’s hospitality,” cried Wardlawe, shaking off his 
friendly pursuer. 

For two hours, Wardlawe at the great telegraph sta- 
tion of the Magic City, which has leaped from thirty 
to a hundred and fifty thousand in fifteen years, wrote 
dispatch after dispatch. 

But, the first one was the message which made the 
Danish Chief of the Telegraph tremble! 

Addressed to Count Nicholas Ignatieff, Mon Plaisir 
Kiev, — its lines were full of a stern meaning. 

“ Serge Alexandrovitch Rezoff, merchant first class, 
of Kharkov, is adjudged to die here by hanging, as a 
British spy, in two days. He closely resembles your 
friend Allan Law! It is a brutal outrage! A murder- 
ous mistake. Notify the Princess Esme Chilkoff. You 
must telegraph to Minister Tolstoi, and to Admiral 
Chestakoff. I leave Siberia on this happening never to 
return. Have telegraphed to the National Works. You 
must obtain an order for the Governor-General here to 
suspend sentence, and send this man back to St. 
Petersburg. He is innocent and I know it. I have 
vainly protested to Admiral Lemacheffsky. Answer 
me at once. Hotel Weletsky.” 

“ I dare not send this !” muttered the Danish official, 
pushing back the five hundred roubles laid down by 
the irate American. “ You will do all that this gentle- 
man orders ! ” said the Governor-General’s First Aide, 
as he entered, begging Wardlawe to return to the 
official palace. 

“Never! I would starve first!” sadly said the 
Major, who waited grimly till he obtained a dated and 
timed receipt for each dispatch. 

“No copies to be made of these!” said the Aide. 


26o the mystery of a SHIf'YARD. 

“Report the safe delivery to every one personally, to 
Admiral Lemacheffsky ! 

The frightened official swore to comply as he noted 
the tense suffering of the faces of the two men. 

“ At least, Major Wardlawe, you will come to our 
Military and Naval Club Mess, as my guest? It ad- 
joins the prison. You can then see this poor devil at 
will. Spare the Admiral’s broken heart ! He is crazed 
that you have left his house ! ” 

“ I will go with you, Colonel Radetsky, ” murmured 
Wardlawe. “ This is my fault ! I have played the fool ! 
Poor boy! He, as well as I, became as wax in her 
hands!” 

And, while the startled staff officers talked in 
whispers, next day. Admiral Lemacheffsky sat alone, 
wrapped in a gloomy despair. 

Pride and hospitality were warring in his heart ! “ If 
they learn of the escape of this boat, both Knorp and 
I are ruined ! ” 

In a household, darkened with sorrow, where the 
lovely Esme Chilkoff lay tossing in a burning fever, 
the world wearied Count Nicholas Ignatieff read the 
telegram with amazement, which reached him at Mon 
Plaisir on the day before Allan Law’s decreed execu- 
tion. 

Calling his wife into his study, the ex-Dictator gave 
her the fateful message. “ You must watch over this 
dying girl !” he grimly said. “ My carriage is ordered. 

I shall not leave the Central Telegraph Bureau till I 
hear from Lemacheffsky that he has countermanded 
this intended butchery.” 

“ Send my valet and travelling luggage on to St. 
Petersburg, I shall be away a week. For I will not 
return until I have solved this mystery and discovered 
the whereabouts of Prince Agar Chilkoff. He must be 
called back if Esme dies, and, zvhere is he? 

“ As for her, she can not be questioned. It would 
kill her. Say nothing of this, should she recover her 
mind.” 

“Nicholas!” cried his wife, clasping him in her. 
arms, her face suffused with blushes. 

“ Do you think ” 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 261 

“ I think nothing, Natalie ! ” the old Count sadly 
answered. 

“ Oh, you women, you women ! My God ! How 
often you play with fire. God grant that I may avert 
a murder ! ’’ 

And he sped away, four miles to Kiev, with the 
coachman lashing the troika horses to madness. 

“ For your life, for your life !” the stern Count cried. 

“ And, but for Wardlawe, this mystic witch, this 
shining wonder, would have sent the last of his line 
to a gallows. 

‘‘ Truly, Ayesha's child is a law unto herself, and yet, 
what a heart beats in that wild bosom ! 

“ My God ! If it should be Allan Law and he die 
before our orders reach that blockhead. On ! On ! 

There was a strange convocation in the Military, 
and Naval Club at Vladivostock on the last night, 
allotted on earth to Allan Law ! 

Colonel Milanovitch of the Kazan Regiment was 
seated in the centre of a group of saddened men. 

The grizzled old hero was still booted and spurred, 
mud splashed with his ride of four days from Habar- 
offka. 

Colonel Radetsky, the Admiral’s chief of staff, with 
Adjutant Valerianoff, listened to Milanovitch’s im- 
passioned words. 

“ By God ! ” the veteran cried. This must not 
be! ” Where is this brave American, Wardlawe? ” 
Spending the last twenty-four hours in the cell 
with Rezoff ! ” sadly said Radetsky. ’ “ There is a 
haunting mystery here. I have passed an hour with 
this Rezoff. I slyly led him over ground which pmves 
both his Russian birth and nurture. He may be a 
romantic madman, but he is no Englishman. He knows 
our idioms, our folklore, our childish games, and 
even our songs better than I do. And yet he will not 
be sworn.” 

“What said he?” asked Milanovitch! 

“ He has given me a sealed letter, countersigned by 
Major Warcllawe. This brave American has thrown 
up his work in disgust and we can now turn to Ger- 
many, Japan or England, perhaps even to France, for 


262 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


our great works at Dui, which will delay us two years 
here, and so, our possible foes of the future will gain 
all the secrets of the Gate of the East. This is tlie 
contents of the letter in general, ” sighed Radetsky. 
“ RezofT looked like a prince as he said, I could save 
my life by subterfuge, or breaking my word of honor. 
I will do neither! I come of a line that knows no 
fear, a race which does not lie! I leave no one to 
mourn my fate! I have been simply trapped to my 
death, I know not how ! ” 

Yet, for all this, honor seals my lips. Major Ward- 
lawe alone, at the last, will have my confidence, and 
I have requested that he may remove my remains and 
such poor belongings as I have here, to execute my 
last wishes. I leave it to him to tell my story, and to 
avenge me!” 

“ This is horrible !” cried Milanovitch. “ I met 
Baron Knorp on the road, within eighty versts of 
Habaroffka. He has joined me in a telegram to the 
Minister of War. I led the Kazan Regiment twice 
into the hell of the GrivitvSka redoubt, and, my resig- 
nation follows this butchery, the hospitality of our 
Regiment was never before sullied. I lose my Gen- 
eralship, my pension, but I save my honor, and the 
good name of the Regiment!” 

It will not be a hanging; it will be a tragedy!” 
mournfully said Valerianoff. 

“For the American has given Rezoff two revolvers. 
He will defend himself when they try to drag him 
out, and so, force the guard to shoot him.” 

“ T knew that he had served ! ” joyously cried 
Milanovdtch. “ He will force them to give him a sol- 
dier’s death. Better so. Better so ! ” 

“ And. now, gentlemen, I go to Admiral Lema- 
cheffsky. I bear an appeal from Baron Knorp. Why 
does Lemacheffsky not wait? He will be removed 
if the Americans throw up the great contracts at Dui !” 

“ And they held thirty-seven ships ready to aid us 
at the crisis. This Amoor Navigation Company may 
claim Rezoff as their secret agent!” 

“The old man is frantic!” sadly said Radetsky. 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 263 

** He fears that the double voyage of that steamer, its 
escape, the Hakodate fiasco, will cause his removal.” 

“ Rightly so !” growled Milanovitch. “ I go to him 
now. As I have resigned, I fear no one ; no one, save 
God and the Czar!” 

An hour later. Colonel Milanovitch found the stub- 
born old Admiral seated at a table covered with tele- 
grams. The aged sailor was shaken in soul, and 
frantic with the disgrace of Wardlawe leaving an of- 
ficial palace to go to a common roadside hotel. None 
had dared as yet to tell him of Wardlawe’s removal to 
the Army and Navy Club. 

The Admiral had read with growing fears the cable- 
grams from Vladimir Gradsky and Ivan Petroff at 
Hakodate, Levassoff’s appeal from Nagasaki, Gorlitz’s 
ominous words from San Francisco, the plain warn- 
ings of Sterling Mott and Everett Marsden, which 
told him of the Russian Ambassador’s stern interfer- 
ence from Washington. 

Even Petroff’s proposition to surrender himself for 
trial, and to leave the ‘‘Water Witch” in the hands of 
the Russian Consul at Plakodate, added to the old 
man’s seething fever of unrest. 

When the cautious Colonel Radetsky presented the 
commander of the Kazan Regiment, he followed the 
fearless Milanovitch with imploring eyes. Dark grew 
the scowl on the Admiral’s face, when Milanovitch 
ended his impassioned appeal. 

“ I sue to you. Admiral,” he cried, “ for the honor 
of a Regiment which was almost obliterated at Aus- 
terlitz, and which has seen both Paris and Plevna 
yield !” 

“ My heart is scarred with the battles of the Czar. 
I have but a few years to live. I will not pass my old 
age in dishonor. I would see the ghost of my mur- 
dered guest.” 

" ” Go ! Go ! yelled Lemachefifsky. “I have the ver- 
dict of a summary Extraordinary Court Martial to 
sustain my decision. Let the spy yield and confess, 
or he dies. There is the approved sentence. Colonel 
Radetsky I Let it be read to the prisoner, to-night, and. 


264 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

executed at sunset, to-morrow ! The sunset gun will 
be the signal! Attend the execution yourself! Make 
due report to me. And now, no one again approaches 
me on this subject!” 

“ Then, there remains nothing but this ! ” sternly 
said Colonel Milanovitch. 

Drawing his sword he saluted the pictures of tlie 
Czar and Czarina, knelt to the icon and, with a quick 
motion, broke his battle blade across his knee, and then 
threw the fragments, with a resounding clang on the 
floor ! 

Tearing off his shoulder knots, he cast them at 
Lemacheffsky’s feet. 

“ Take them. Butcher! There is forty years of my 
life!” the old Veteran sternly said. 

“ Go to your quarters in close arrest !” cried the 
Admiral, seizing Milanovitch by the shoulder. “ I have 
resigned by telegraph ! ” stubbornly answered the fear- 
less man. 

“ Hold off your hands. I am only a country farmer 
now.” 

“ Then, go to the devil,” yelled the Governor-Gen- 
eral. ‘T have only fools or madmen around me!” 

As the Officer of the Guard rushed in, the Admiral 
started back. To be the butt of the whole Littoral 
was no laurel wreath for the Czar’s Viceroy. 

“Escort this insubordinate officer to his quarters, 
Radetsky !” said the Admiral. “ Return and report to 
me. ” 

All night the surgeons waited on the failing old 
Admiral, crushed under the weight of his passion, and 
still the official Pharaoh hardened his stubborn heart ! 

Far across the wild, lonely plains of Siberia, the 
birds were gaily singing in the gardens of Mon 
Plaiser, when Esme Chilkoff opened her eyes to see 
the Countess Natalie Ignatieff bending over her' with 
the infinite compassion of loving womanhood. 

“ Ah !” cried the pallid beauty, I remember — remem- 
ber now! Yes! Yes! the paper — that telegram. 
Bring it ; I must see the Count. On life and death ! 

Half an hour later, Natalie Ignatieff sent away her 
Intendant on the gallop, with Ali Roustan, who had 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 265 

leaned over his young mistress, murmuring the mystic 
language of the Adighe. 

“ If you do not obey me,” screamed Esme, “ I will 
throw myself from the window ! I swear it ! It is 
life and death which waits on my answer! Give him 
money, his passports ! And tell no one, not a soul I 
Not even the Count Nicholas! Where is he? ” 

“ At St. Petersburg ! ” sadly sighed the graceful 
Countess. “The world is all turning around at hap- 
hazard !” 

And as she left Esme with the telegram of Benno 
Lansdorf clutched in her hand, she saw the marvelous 
effect of the Circassian cordial given by the taciturn 
AH Roustan. 

The old man touched his head and heart significantly 
as he rose, after kissing Madame Ignatieff’s hands. 
“ Both sick — head and heart — Barina ! ” he sighed. 
“ Watch her, guard her! Give her love and tender- 
ness, or the Star of the Tcherkess will die a mad- 
woman ! ” 

And as the golden sun swept on westward, neither 
the sleeping Princess nor the loving Countess knew 
that when he sought his rest far beyond the Manchurian 
sky line, that the death of a dog awaited the man 
whom the Princess Chilkoff had sent, alone, among 
unknown foes on a blind quest — the daring scheme of 
a reckless girl. 

Yet Esme Chilkoff smiled in her sleep, for she knew 
that stern old Ali Roustan was now on his way to the 
rendezvous at Paris. 

“ It is not Menchikoff, it is not this Lansdorf ! ” 
sighed the agitated Countess Natalie. “ She is dream- 
ing of her brother ! ” 

For the fevered lips only parted to murmur “ Agar ! ” 
Agar ! ” 

“If he would only come!” mused the gentle 
Countess, “ surely Nicholas will find out at St. Peters- 
burg why he answers not the call of a sister — a woman 
perhaps stricken to the death !” 

When the afternoon sun sank over the western hills, 
where the great harbor forts grinned across the narrow 


266 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


channel of the Golden Horn, only a few Japanese la- 
borers, Chinese coolies or Corean drudges were seen 
on the broad iinpaved streets of the city of Vladivos- 
tock. 

A heavy battalion had lurched along the road to the 
stone walled enclosure on the hill, where, behind the 
police guard house, the black posts of a gallows rose 
grimly in plain sight above the eight-foot wall. 

A squadron of Cossacks were drawn up before the 
guard-house next to the Army and Navy Club, and on 
each street corner a knot of four mounted police 
watched the passers-by scurry away in fear. 

Not a flag drooped from ship, fort, signal station, 
or even the Governor’s Palace! Only on the stubby 
mast of the Police jail, a black banner clung to the pole 
as if in shame. 

It lacked but two hours of sunset, when the Major 
Commanding entered Allan Law’s cell. 

There — aged by ten years — Walter Wardlawe 
watched the man with whom he had spent the live long 
night of horror. 

An open prayer book lay on the table before the 
young prisoner, whose face now gleamed with an in- 
ternal calm of unearthly radiance. 

Courteously raising his hand to invoke the Amer- 
ican’s silence. Law stood up, when the jail warder said 
solemnly : “In one hour and a half, this gentleman 
must retire! Half an hour before sunset the escort 
will move to the Police jail!” 

Then, turning, he gave orders in a low tone to the 
four Cossacks standing at attention with loaded rifles 
in the corners of the room. 

“ All is over ! ” sighed Law, when the officer had 
gone into his anteroom. “ We have a half an hour, 
you and I, and then give me my last hour here in 
silence ! 

“ When they come for me you must leave quickly, 
but wait without, to see the last of the story! It will 
not be long — the final struggle!” 

The Cossacks blinked suspiciously at each other,, 
while the two men spoke in low murmurs undistin- 
guishable by them. 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


267 


Without, in the anteroom, two masked men stood 
by a table covered with straps and cords, the horrid 
pinionings of their ghastly trade. 

Every fifteen minutes a young officer gazed into the 
room, through the open door, and, with a shudder, 
Wardlawe noted the saber and revolver at each man’s 
side. 

All the pangs of the coming death were surging 
through the American’s heart, for Allan Law was 
seated gazing at the picture of Esme Chilkoff, which 
Wardlawe had brought as the seal of their last mutual 
confidences. 

Spellbound, the American dared not look at his 
watch. But he knew of the banded friends on watch 
at the Governor-General’s palace, at the Danish tele- 
graph station, at the Naval Club, and Valerianoff, 
mounted on his best horse, now slowly riding before 
the station, in plain sight of Colonel Milanovitch, also 
mounted before the Governor’s door. 

All the Service Club knew now that the commander 
of the Kazan Regiment had refused to enter the palace 
of Admiral Lemacheffsky, even at the latter’s im- 
perative summons. 

“ I wash my hands of this innocent blood ! ” the 
gl im soldier cried. 

“ I leave for Odessa on the returning convict trans- 
port, as soon as I receive the acceptance of my resigna- 
tion ! ” 

And already a passport notice of five days had been 
filed by Milanovitch, as a civilian. 

When the warder entered to warn the American for 
the last time, the engineer clasped the rude official’s 
hands. “ Let me remain to the last ! ” 

“ It is my painful duty ! ” the soldier said. “ He 
must be pinioned in fifteen minutes. In God’s name, 
I beg you to retire then before they enter ! ” 

Some horrible fascination possessed Wardlawe and 
forced him to gaze upon the face of the young man 
who now silently took the American’s hands. 

“ Go, go, Wardlawe, in mercy to me ! ” murmured 
Allan Law. Take the picture now — tell her — tell 


268 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


her — I never kissed her in. life, but that with dying 
lips, I sealed my love and faith !” 

“ Great God ! It shall not be ! ” cried Wardlawe, 
gazing at the face of the mild-eyed Virgin on the icon 
now affixed to the southeastern Avail of the prison 
room. 

A robed priest entered only to be waved away by 
Allan Law> who said : “I die at peace with all men, 
trusting in God ! ” 

There Avas a bustle among the harpies around the 
hangman as the Major Warden grasped WardlaAve b}' 
the arm. 

“The time is up! You must now leave us!” the 
rough fellow implored. “Ah! God! What scenes!” 

And as Wardlawe clasped Allan Law in a last em- 
brace a Avild shout arose in the deserted street ! 

The cavalry squadron had wheeled into four 
platoons, and between the two troops a black wagon 
was now waiting for its felon load. 

But as the stern Avarden dragged WardlaAve away 
and Allan Law leaped back into a corner, standing, 
boldly at bay, Valerianoff dashed into The room with 
a drawn revolver in his right hand, his voice rising to 
a shriek, as he waved an envelope in his left. 

“Hold off!” he cried. “Sentence reversed! The 
prisoner will be sent for examination to St. Peters- 
burg ! ” 

And then, reeling in a sudden paroxysm, the gallant 
fellow fell senseless to the floor! 

In a scene of wild confusion the room was cleared, 
and the Major warden, kneeling over Valerianoff, 
forced a glass of brandy down the adjutant’s throat. 

“ The Avires were doAvn for three hours ! ” whispered 
Valerianoff, as Allan Law and WardlaAve raised him 
to Law’s couch. 

The roll of carriage wheels brought the Major 
Warden to the jail door. 

And then, there burst into the room Radetsky, fol- 
lowed by Colonel Milanovitch, and a dozen officers 
from the Service Club. 

Wardlawe sprang to Allan Law’s side. 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 269 

Remember, you are a Russian ! ” he whispered. 

And then, the Chief Aide read in a resounding voice 
the order of Admiral Chestakoff : 

“ The prisoner. Serge Alexandrovitch Rezoff, ac- 
cused of false impersonation, will be removed to St. 
Petersburg, via Odessa, on the steamer of the Vol- 
unteer fleet ‘Tsaritza,’ departing forthwith. He 
will now be allowed the limits of the garrison upon 
his parole, and the Chief of Staff Alexis Radetsky 
will make all arrangements for the prisoner’s voyage 
as a passenger of the first class. He will personally 
seetto the deportation of the accused, to whom will be 
delivered all his effects. ” 

“Come out of this rat hole!” roared Colonel Mi- 
lan ovitch, joyously seizing Allan Law in his arms. 

“ Our last dinner was interrupted I We will now 
have the dessert at the club !” 

But, Allan Law, with a shaking hand, handed to 
Wardlawe the two loaded revolvers which he had con- 
cealed on his person. 

“ For God’s sake ! ” he cried, speaking slowly in 
French, “ get away and telegraph to all of my safety! 
Then ” 

“ Come to the club ! ” roared the chorus of officers, 
as they seized upon Allan Law. 

“Molodetz! You are a brave fellow!” cried the 
Major warden, clapping Allan Law on the back. 
“ You were going to ” 

“ Kill you first ! ” politely said Law, “ and then, your 
hangmen ! ” 

“ But, my Cossacks would have shot you down ! ” 
stammered the Major. 

“ That was the game ! ” quietly said Law, gazing 
through the jail window at Wardlawe departing in 
the carriage with the horses lashed to a run. 

Carried in triumph to the club, Allan Law, now the 
center of a frantic throng, would touch but one glass 
of champagne as all drank “ To the Czar! ” 

“Wait, wait!” he said to all, “till Wardlawe re- 
turns, and then, we’ll have all the jollification that you 
wish ! 


2-70 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


After the dinner was over, whereat the French 
tongue made all hail fellows, Law drew Wardlawe 
into a corner. 

“ I wish you to go back to the office ! ” he said, 

and send this dispatch ! You can read it ! ” 

It was addressed to the Princess Esme Chilkoff, 
care Count Nicholas Ignatiefif, 21 Moika, St. Peters- 
burg. 

His face was ghastly pale as he said : “ Wardlawe, 
you must give me that picture, for I shall never see 
her again! She is my dearest foe! She abandoned 
me to my death ! ” 

“ Granted ! ” said the American, as he read the de- 
spatch traced in pencil on the back of a menu: 

'‘I have kept my word! You have broken yours! 
Adieu forever ! '' 

And yet, as he drove in a leisurely way down to the 
little telegraph station tower on the hill, Major Ward- 
lawe hummed an old love tune. 

“ Forever ” is a very long time ! ” he mused, and a 
mysterious smile wreathed his lips. 

“ Whatever youth may be, it is not wise ! Thank 
God that the reversals of Time wait on these rash de- 
crees ! It’s all in the game of Life ! ” 

Philosophically smoking his cigar, he mused : 
“ Some fallen tree in Manchuria, some storm-blown 
telegraph pole in the steppes is responsible for an 
agony which will thrill me to my dying day ! And 
my friend Allan Law is a good game lad — a blue hen’s 
chicken ! ” 

When the guests separated at midnight. Sergeant 
Crampton and the Swiss valet Davol had removed 
every vestige of Allan Law’s effects to the Army and 
Navy Club. 

“You will be escorted to the steamer by every officer 
in Vladivostock ! ” said General Alaroff , the doy^n of 
the club. 

“ All, save the Admiral ! ” laughed Colonel Radet- 
sky ; whereat the Chief of the Kazan Regiment gruffly 
said : “ He is an old woman ! ” 

Four days later Allan Law was the recipient of a 


'fHE mystery of a shipyard. 27I 

tremendous ovation as the “ Tsaritza’s ” screws began 
to slowly revolve. 

He drew Major Wardlawe into his stateroom. “ You 
have not given me that picture yet, Walter ! ” the brave 
Englishman shamefacedly said. 

“ In return for your address ! firmly replied Ward- 
lawe. 

“ See here ! ” said Law, “ I will never trust myself 
in Russia again! Now, Colonel Henry Seaforth 
Berry, Royal Artillery, commands Woolwich arsenal. 
A telegram signed by you will fetch me anywhere in 
the world ! You can safely give me the picture I For, I 
will never see her again ! ” 

Without a word, Wardlawe gave up the golden 
case. 

“ What fools we mortals be ! ” he muttered, but he 
grasped his chum’s hands as the Englishman said: 
“ You owe me a visit in the North Country, and there 
I’ll tell you a strange story. Will you come to me?” 

“ There’s my hand on it ! ” said the American. “We 
have stuck closer than brothers, though each was play- 
ing. his own game ! I have to go to St. Petersburg to 
untangle old Lemacheffsky, and I only do it because 
the interests of my principals would suffer ! ” 

“Then settle all straight with Petroff!” said Law. 
“ He and I and Levassoff will be at Nagasaki together 
in two weeks 1 The Admiral is crazy now to purchase 
the ‘ Eiglity-five ’ and to smother her runaway 
record ! ” 

“Old ass!” said Law. “Don’t bother with him! 
He is not to blame ! Wait till I get hold of the author 
of all this tomfoolery! There will be a monkey and 
parrot time if I live ! ” 

Out beyond the grim outer forts, the “ Tsaritza ” 
plowed away as the lonely Wardlawe returned to the 
club. 

It was over a guest dinner table that Radetsky and 
Colonel Milanovitch heard the American’s final de- 
cision. 

The “ Hiogo Maru ” leaves in a week ! I will settle 
my affairs and take leave of Admiral Lemacheffsky 
by letter. It is better that we should not meet! ” 


27^ THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

And both the Russians, gravely bowing, agreed with 
the engineer. 

“ In fact, these are my orders from Mott and Mars- 
den, who have represented through the Russian Am- 
bassador at Washington that we must have a free field 
and no foolishness of tchinovik red tape ! ” 

When Wardlawe marshaled his party on the deck 
of the “ Hiogo Marti,” Colonel Milanovitch pressed 
him to his broad breast in a bear hug. 

“ A little secret, my American friend ! I have a 
telegram from Baron Knorp that I have been pro- 
moted to the grade of General and ordered to report 
forthwith by post express across Siberia at the Min- 
istry of War! I will arrive in the capital ten days be- 
fore ‘ Serge Alexandrovitch Rezoif ’ reaches Odessa.” 

“ And so,” laughed Wardlawe, pouring the last 
parting glass of champagne, “ His Excellency the 
Governor-General Admiral Lemacheffsky will not 
have the last word on the ‘ affaire Rezoff ! ’ ” 

“ Hardl> I ” dryly said the old veteran, roaring with 
delight. 

” I will bring your Rezoff ’s tiger skins home prop- 
erly dressed when we meet at the Hotel de TEurope! ” 
“ It has not been such a failure, after all I ” mused 
Wardlawe, “ this eventful voyage ! ” 

The American was pacing the deck with his com- 
forting cigar as the steamer swept on to Possiette Bay. 

“ Our affairs are all in splendid shape ! Petroff is al- 
ready at Nagasaki, with his crew intact, and his voy- 
age overpaid by the profits ! 

“ As for x\llan Law, I fancy when he next meets 
the Princess Esme Chilkoff he will hardly be “ as wax 
in her hands! ’ Who wrought this devil’s work? Not 
the daughter of Ayesha! When I reach Japan, she 
shall read a dispatch signed ‘Ahmed,’ for Levassoff 
and Sternberg are perfectly trustworthy! It is a 
strange world this one of ours ! And yet, after all, the 
best that we have any authentic acount of ! ” 

He left behind him a community scandalized, be- 
cause General Milanovitch had dared to leave the city 
of Vladivostock without taking a formal leave of the 
great Governor-General! 


THE IvTySTERY of A SHIPYARD. 


27^ 


That man is a fool, Radetsky roared the baf- 
fled Admiral. 

“ As Your Excellency pleases ! ” said the Aide, 
bowing profoundly. 


CHAPTER XL 

HALF THE TRUTH. 

Two weeks after the sailing of the “ Tsaritza ” from 
Vladivostock the Count Nicholas Ignatieff sat alone 
in his study on the Moika at St. Petersburg. 

The early September sun was fiercely beating down 
in the canal, and the moujiks lounged lazily in the 
glowing heat. 

Alone in the great mansion, but for the retinue of 
summer servants, over countless cigarettes, the ex- 
Dictator studied a mass of papers. Letters and tele- 
grams spread out before him. 

He sighed heavily as he rose and paced the long 
room, like a restless tiger. 

Gazing at the trophied arms upon the wall, he took 
d©wn the saber which he once wielded in the days of 
the wars of Schamyl. 

“Yes, the old days were best!’’ he gloomily mut- 
tered. “ I am only a modern Richelieu, a statesman 
en retraite! I can fancy how the old churchman, be- 
set with spies, baffled by the ‘ eternal feminine,’ dogged 
by murderous conspirators, longed to call back the 
time when he wielded the two-handed sword against 
the English on the dykes of La Rochelle ! ” 

While the polished floor echoed beneath his heavy 
tread, the man who had given Russia its death hold on 
China — he who had moved forward the frontier of 
Russian Asia Minor to Batoum, Kars, Erzeroum and 
Baku — saw behind him the dogging specter of Loris 
Melikoff, his dead arch enemy, and the face of the 
living incumbent “ Tolstoi.” 

“ By the mistakes of greater men, the mediocre 


^74 the mystery of a shipyard. 

agent — he who shifts responsibility — always succeeds 
for a time ! ” mused the Count. 

“ Two mistakes have wrecked me ! The one allow- 
ing Alexander II. to give his word to the Queen of 
England not to enter Constantinople in ‘ seventy- 
eight ’ ; the other, in permitting that low Armenian 
Loris Melikoff to hold up the brigh^eyed Dolgourouki 
as a lure to the aged lover! I should have shot him! 

“ But, I stood loyally by the aged Czarina ! I lost my 
Ministry of the Interior, my Dictatorship; but I am 
sadly revenged ! The amorous old Czar died mis- 
erably on the street stones, on the unlucky thirteenth 
of March, ‘ eighty-one ’ ! And, Melikoff, how did he 
die? 

“Alexander III. alone knows, for the man who 
chased ‘La Dolgourouki’ to a life-long German exile, 
to revenge his insulted mother, will not disclose ‘ the 
deep damnation ’ of Melikoff ’s taking off ! 

“ But, Tolstoi, the ‘ moderate Minister,’ succeeds 
Melikoff the Tiger, who trapped Ignatieff, the worn- 
out old bear ! Bah ! Men of half measures are no 
men ! 

“ A Czar should have but one ‘ official conscience,’ 
one friend, one Minister! This Czar lurks half way 
in the shadow of death — one foot on the sea and one 
on the shore ! 

“And yet I must go now and humble myself to Tol- 
stoi, to ask a favor — the first — not for myself, but 
for another ! Poor girl ! ” 

Ordering his carriage, the glittering-eyed Tartar 
smoothed his long black hair and fiercely tugged at 
his sparse Chinese mustache, as he went over the pa- 
pers for the last time. 

“ It is a game of some veiled intrigue, hidden as yet 
from me! 

“ As active Minister I could easily touch all sources 
of information! 

“ Now, though rich, I am powerless ! 

“There is the affair of Dui and Marsden’s ocean 
steamers! This American Major Wardlawe has 
splendidly steered them between the rocks ! They will 
yield a future harvest of gold and power ! 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


275 


Rezoff ' is safely on his way home — a first-class 
passenger on parole! 

“ Levasssoff, Gorlitz, Gradsky have done well in this, 
but, the cool American played the hero! Knorp is 
staunch, old Admiral Lemachetfsky is afraid of me! 
And yet, what the devil is the secret of this boat expe- 
dition ? 

“ And Baron Sternberg insists that I shall come to 
Frankfort as an Israelite of the tribe of Rothschilds! 
He will not come here ! ‘ An affair of millions ! ’ If 
he says so, it is true! I must go! 

“ But, I must aid Natalie first ! My loyal wife ! 
What a noble heart !’’ 

Sweeping the papers into a portfolio, which he 
locked in a great steel safe, the ex-Minister selected 
only his wife’s last letter. 

“ I will have nothing left in jeopardy! ” the adroit 
Tartar mused as he dressed himself with punctilious 
splendor. 

An hour later frightened officials scurried around, 
when the fallen Dictator — greater even in his fall than 
the urbane Tolstoi — drove into the courtyard of the 
Ministry of the Interior, on the Nevsky Perspective 
quai. 

An impressive dignity marked this formal visit, the 
first since the Tartar General had given up the port- 
folio which is the greatest burden under the Czar. 

Officers saluted, guards turned out, officials stood 
in respectful lines, for, though officially powerless. 
General Count Nicholas Ignatieff wore every order of 
the Empire, a dozen more of the proudest in Europe, 
and the uniform of a full general aide-de-camp of the 
Czar ! 

Millionaire tenfold. Count of the Empire and lord 
of fifty fiefs, he was still the most notable personage 
in Russia, save De Giers and Gourko, the pen and 
sword of the new Czar. 

On the threshold of the Minister’s own salon, the 
suave Tolstoi — the man “ who wore Ignatieff’s shoes ” 
— tenderly embraced his “ dear colleague.” 

It was a sight to move even an arch hypocrite, for 


276 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

the great ex-Dictator had publicly humbled himself to 
his serene rival ! 

Left alone together, the eyes of the weaker man in- 
stinctively sought Igiiatieff’s. 

“ What can I do for you ? ” he said with engaging 
candor. “ Name it ! It is your own will which 
directs ! ” 

Availing himself of the perfect frankness of the ab- 
solute dissimulator, the Tartar General said : “ I must 
know where Prince Agar Chilkoff is ! His sister is 
very ill at my Kiev estate ! My wife is frantic ! The 
Princess Esme is but a wasted white rose ! ” 

The Minister of the Interior dropped his eyes in 
confusion. 

“ This is a matter of the Privy Council, my dear 
colleague ! I will tell you all ! 

“ When the Khivan expedition and the railway to 
Tashkend brought on the Penj Deh trouble, with its 
English war cloud. Commander, the Prince Agar Chil- 
koff was detached from his Pacific station and then 
sent for an indefinite time upon a mission which would 
prevent the diaffected in Circassia from using him, as 
the elder Prince Schamyl was used in the Turkish war 
of seventy-seven, by the Moslems and the sly Eng- 
lish ! ” 

“I see — banished, hidden!” said Ignatieff, so 
that he could stir up no fire in our rear ! ” 

“ Precisely I ” sweetly said Tolstoi. “ The policy 
.was laid down by yourself in advance!” 

“True! I had forgotten!” muttered Ignatieff, in 
confusion. ‘‘Does he live?” 

The piercing black eyes of the Tartar gleamed like 
fire. 

“ He does ! ” solemnly said Tolstoi, “ but for his 
status, his whereabouts, I must send you to His Impe- 
rial Majesty!” 

A long silence succeeded. 

Ignatieff’s lips were working in unframed syllables. 

“ I should never aim to go above Your Excellency ! ” 
he said, with a painful effort. 

“ Soit ! Let that rest ! ” 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 277 

“ Now, my dear wife only lives in her affection for 
Esme Chilkoff ! We have no daughter! ” 

Tolstoi bowed in deep respect. 

“ And this poor girl is wasting away 1 Dr. Pauloff 
and his associates have assured me that she will die 
unless she spends the coming winter at Pau or, on the 
Riviera ! There is my wife’s letter ! ” 

The courtesy of the visit had touched Tolstoi to the 
heart, and he bowed in grateful approval. 

“ Moreover, Prince Sacha Menchikoff has tortured 
her with an unwelcome suit ! He is ardent, bold, 
violent — a man of extremes I 

“ Telegrams, presents, attempted visits — all these 
harass the Countess Natalie! Sacha is hovering now 
around Kiev, and he swears that he will kill any man 
whom she favors ! It is intolerable ! ” 

“ What can I do to relieve this unwarrantable an- 
noyance ? ” said the Minister, brightening visibly. 

‘‘ Give me passports for her to go abroad for a year ! 
That is your province, my dear colleague, not a Privy 
Council affair ! I will soothe her with telling her that 
Prince Agar is now on his way home from the South 
Pacific ! ’’ 

“ Will the Countess Ignatieff take her abroad ? ” 
slowly said Tolstoi. 

“ Madame Ignatieff would prevent this wild-hearted 
captive — ‘ une femme incomprise ’—from being made 
the center of a political intrigue ! 

Yes ! ” promptly said the ex-Dictator, “ and I will 
escort them myself, and after establishing them bring 
them home in the early summer of next year.” 

“ Is this all?” cordially said the Minister. 

General Ignatieff bowed gravely. 

Touching a silver bell, the Minister said to his Chief 
of the Chancellerie : 

“ Passports for a foreign visit! ” said Tolstoi, “ un- 
taxed, period of one year, for His Excellency General 
Count Nicholas Ignatieff, the Countess and their suite, 
as well as for the Princess Esme Chilkoff. Let them 
be prepared at once ! Bring them to me for a special 
endorsement ! They are to be sent to the Moika, then 
by a special aide, immediately ! ” 


278 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

“ You have laid me under an undying obligation ! ” 
said General Ignatieff. “ You can assure His Impe- 
rial Majesty that I will guard the Princess Esme, and 
I can now control Menchikoff ! I will quiet her mind 
as to young Agar! 

“ Both of them are wild mountain eagles, and the 
‘ centralizing system ’ is an enigma to their proud and 
valiant natures I I will be responsible ! ” 

Every order shall be telegraphed to the frontiers for 
the usual courtesies ! ” soothingly said Minister Tol- 
stoi, “ and Monsieur De Giers will give orders to all 
our Continental Ambassadors that you stand ‘ in loco 
parentis ! ’ ” 

Escorting the illustrious visitor to the foot of the 
grand hallway, where the guard received the Count 
with presented arms, the whilom foes parted with a 
truly Russian fraternal embrace, 

“ Wolf ! ’’ muttered Tolstoi, as he shambled back to 
his desk. 

" Hypocrite ! ” sneered Ignatieff as he drove to his 
home and telegraphed to the Countess his immediate 
return and the orders to prepare for a season out of 
Holy Russia. 

On the long run down to Kiev, the Count Ignatieff 
felicitated himself on his own adroitness. 

“ This fortunate illness gives me a legal control of 
the dashing Esme for a year! And the Rothschilds 
and Sternberg must now show their hand ! 

“ For she has her vast accumulations heaped up at 
Frankfort with them! Wise young rebel! Even 
Baron Frederick, a Romanoff in blood, keeps his nat- 
ural father’s legacies safely deposited in Holland. 

“ But I will have my hands full with this wild Sacha 
Menchikoff! He hunts her as men chase the gazelle, 
hounding the quarry down for its beauty! 

Or, does he look by a marriage to be Governor- 
General of the Caucasus! He shall have a rough 
handling! For she will have none of him! 

‘‘ And ' I’affaire Rezoff ! ’ — I leave that for Natalie 
to disentangle! I fancy our captive bird has been 
slyly casting nets of her own ! ” 


THE MYSTERY OE A SHIPYARD. 


279 


Before the great statesman left St. Petersburg, he 
spent an hour with the Minister of Marine. 

“ You and I, my dear Chestakoff ! ” said Ignatieff, 
“ have too much at stake to let blundering old Lema- 
cheffsky ruin us, at second hand, at Vladivostock ! 
Here is my solution of the ‘affaire Rezoff': You 
control the reports of the Admiral at Vladivostock! 
The Volunteer fleet, the ‘ Tsaritza ’ is under your or- 
ders I 

“ Send an aide-de-camp down to Constantinople to 
board the ‘ Tsaritza ’ on the passage of the Bosphorus I 
You can quiet the whole affair! And I, in return, will 
see that you get the credit of turning over the ‘ Water 
Witch ’ to the Siberian service. 

“ Her type will enable us to control the whole 
Amoor and its affluents ! And you know Wardlawe 
will be as true to us, as he has been ! We are united in 
purse ” 

“ And, in person !” cordially cried Admiral Chesta- 
koff, embracing him. “ It shall be as you say ! I will 
stamp out all gossip ! ” 

A month later the whole bel etage of the Hotel 
Choiseul at Paris was given up to the sole occupancy 
of Madame la Comtesse Natalie Ignatieff and her 
suite. 

But, not even the hardiest “ flaneur ” could divine 
the identity of the white-faced young beauty, around 
whom was gathered all the /' resources of the infinite 
luxuries of Paris. 

But all the blandishments of the gentle Countess 
were unable to induce the Princess Esme Chilkoff to 
accompany her guardian to the Pyrenees. And so, 
while the punctilious medical faculty protested, the. 
Countess only awaited the arrival of Nicholas Ignatieff 
from Frankfort-on-the-Main to apply the “ force ma- 
jeure ’’ of the unbending Tartar noble. 

“ Only a few days more ! ” murmured Esme as she 
pleaded with her beloved nurse. “ Then, I will be as 
a lamb in your hands ! ” 

“ What is it keeps her ? ” mused Natalie Ignatieff, 
“ It cannot be this mad Sacha Menchikoff ? ” 

For the tempestuous lover had followed on, and the 


2 So 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


two Swiss, always on guard, had gravely accepted 
many cartes de visite of the stormy-hearted noble. 

His letters, however, lay all unopened, and, in af- 
fright, Natalie Ignatieff looked forward to the return 
of her stern husband. “ Nicholas is still fiery-hearted. 
He will repulse him! A duel? My God! Never!” 

But, hiding her secrets in her sorrowing heart, the 
beautiful Circassian read — a thousand times — the 
treasured telegrams of the Count Benno Lansdorf and 
the somber message of Allan Law. 

“ ‘ Serge Alexandrovitch Rezoff ’ — a creature of my 
own fashioning — where does he linger? If true, why 
no other report? And the time, how long! I must 
wait and suffer, quand meme ! ” 

Only old Ali Roustan, keeping guard over the wor- 
shiped divinity, sleeping on the floor in front of her 
door, knew the secrets of the tortured heart of Aye- 
sha’s daughter. 

It was on the tenth of October, while the Count 
Ignatieff still lingered with the Rothschilds and their 
fellow money kings, that a young man leaped out of 
a first-class carriage at the station of the Paris, Lyon 
and Mediterranean Railway. 

Pie was brown with travel ; his attire was of quaint 
foreign cut, yet, his falcon eye and indescribably gal- 
lant air made the men sigh with envy, and the women 
loiterers smile and blush. 

A strange-looking attendant followed him, whose 
eyes rested in wonder on the Babel-like scene around 
him. 

“ Hotel Choiseul ! A grande vitesse ! ” cried the 
stranger, tossing a Napoleon to the cocher. 

Dreams of past suffering haunted the traveler as he 
muttered : 

“Ali! Faithful old Ali! Will Roustan be there? 
My God ! I can bear it no longer ! What fatal influ- 
ence pursues me? No replies to my telegrams from 
Egypt, from Hongkong, and the forty days’ voyage 
has been a long drawn out hell from Malta to Mar- 
seilles, from the gulf here ! 

“ For Ali — poor devil ! — if there, has not had the 
wit to answer my telegrams ! ” 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


281 


Dashing through the Place Vendome, the carriage 
halted at the arched entrance of the Choiseul. 

The gold-banded porter touched his hat as the 
stranger quickly cried : “ I seek a Circassian attendant, 
Ali Roustan ; he is ordered to meet me here ! ” 

“ Upstairs, au premier, in the suite of Madame la 
Comtesse Ignatieff and the Princess Esme Chilkoff ! ” 
deferentially said the concierge, hungry for a ‘‘ pour- 
boire.’’ 

They were left alone as the handsome traveler sud- 
denly darted up the marble stairway. 

“ C’est un de nos vieux patrons ! ” sighed the porter. 
“ Comme ces Russes sont farouches ! ” 

But, the sound of a quick scuffle reached them ! 

When the porter slowly gained the first floor, the 
two Swiss lackeys were rubbing their elbows and 
glaring at a card picked up from the floor. 

“ ‘ Le Comte Benno Lansdorf ! ’ ” read the porter. 
“ This fellow is a whirlwind! ” 

And then, he discreetly retired. 

On this sunny morning the beautiful Esme was ly- 
ing alone, with her maid stroking her wasted hands. 

When the door was flung open, a shout of joy from 
Ali Roustan brought the Princess Esme to her feet. 
With a wild cry of delight, the daughter of Ayesha 
flung herself into the arms of a bronzed stranger. 

But the loving welcome “ Agar ! My own Agar ! ” 
had reached the ears of the startled Countess. 

When Prince Agar laid his swooning sister down he 
covered her pallid lips with kisses. 

“ No, no, ma chere Comtesse I ” he cried. No doc- 
tors I Joy does not kill ! ” 

And then, on his knees at his master’s feet, old Ali 
Roustan kissed the ground before the feet of the last 
Prince of the Adighe. 

“ Where did you come from. Agar?” cried Natalie 
Ignatieff, opening her arms. ” My son ! My wild 
midnight star ! ” 

“ I am only Benno, Count Lansdorf now !” gaily 
said Prince Agar, throwing himself down beside his 
sister to warm her again to life, with his passionate 
caresses. “ And I have enjoyed the hospitality of the 


282 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

Czar for three years as a Siberian convict when you 
fancied that I was ‘ on duty with the fleet ! ’ How I 
was rescued, at what infinite pains — ask this brave 
heart ! ” 

And then, Natalie Ignatieff, bursting into tears, fell 
upon the bosom of the joy-stunned Esme. 

“ When you thought I was ordered ‘ on foreign ser- 
vice ” I was arrested in eighty-one, in the naval con- 
siracy of Cronstadt ! ” 

“ Say no more, not a word, till Nicholas comes ! 
He will be here to-morrow ! ” 

And the great Ambassadress stole away, leaving the 
two Circassians speechless in the bliss of this meeting, 
with Ali Roustan — his sabre drawn — on guard at the 
door. For, the young king of the Adighe was holding 
a royal court of Love ! 

^ It was Madame Ignatieff’s quick wit which saw the 
necessity of preserving Agar Chilkoff’s disguise of the 
title of Count Lansdorf. 

“ Tell me nothing ! ” she said, at the little dinner 
of rejoicing, whereat Esme Chilkoff already showed 
the magic of TElisir d’Amore, the power of happiness ! 

The great French physician, on his daily visit, cried 
“ Oho ! Ohe ! So it . is the arrival of the young 
Count Lansdorf which is to work wonders! Voila, 
the power of Love ! Nature’s one great curative ! ” 

Going happily on his way, the specialist ruminated 
upon a possible diminution of his fees. “ I will keep 
charge of her up to that wedding, which I see in the 
distance! There is yet a golden harvest. 

“ Decidedly, le Comte de Lansdorf’s arrival has 
worked wonders ! ” 

Installed in a splendid corner apartment of the bel 
etage, the fame of the wonderful cure was noised 
through the hotel. 

“ Decidedly ! ” cried the comely wife of the con- 
cierge, “ ce pauvre Prince de Menchikoff a perdu son 
metier ! The handsome stranger is the coming man ! ” 

And, old Ali Roustan and the young Manchurian 
soon became the wonders of the courtyard of the quiet 
Hotel Choiseul 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 283 

Linked in their reunited love, Agar and Esme fol- 
lowed the advice of Madame Ignatieff. 

“ Keep your own secrets, my children ! ” she warn- 
ingly said. “ Do not embarrass my husband with the 
knowledge of your past whereabouts! 

“ For, this sly Tolstoi has concealed it all this while 1 
I am to know nothing — that is all I 

“ There are Siberian intrigues in which Chestakoff 
and the Count are mixed up — future schemes which 
might be ruined by a disclosure of your escape! Does 
any one know of your evasion ? ” 

‘'Not even the gallant Rezoff ! ” quickly replied 
Prince Agar. “ I am supposed to be yet in the fur 
camps around Yakutsk. 

" It was Petroff, this noble Navy fellow, who bribed 
a dozen hunters to bring me up the Lena and the Olek- 
ma; eight hundred versts to Nertchinsk, and in the 
blundering upon poor ‘ Rezoflf ’ as an alleged English- 
man, these clumsy officials forgot all about me! I 
will not be officially missed until the quarterly in- 
spection.” 

“ After you have seen the Count I would advise you 
to hide at Schloss Karolyi until my husband can quietly 
effect a pardon ! ” said the Countess. “ Paris is full 
of Russian spies ! We are naturally watched here, 
and so, Esme must come away with me to Pau ! 

“ By Lyons to Geneva and Ischl, is an easy run ! 
We can all meet happily in Switzerland! Its air of 
freedom is death to all tyranny ! ” 

Misled by Ivan Petroffis last words as to the insig- 
nificance of Rezoff’s arrest, Prince Agar could not un- 
derstand the rosy flush which covered his beautiful 
sister’s face. 

“ I dare not tell him all yet! ” she muttered, " for 
I may never see Allan Law again! Even the Count 
must not know this ! ” 

Kept in ignorance of Allan Law’s awful ordeal at 
the very foot of the gallows, Esme Chilkoff wondered 
at the harsh adieu of her English lover. 

For, though no words had passed between them, 
she felt in her proud heart the rebellious floods of loyal 
blood throbbing. “ I love him, loyal and true ! 


284 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

“ And yet, he believes that I have been careless and 
wilfully exposed his life! He shall live to feel my 
gratitude ! 

“ There is another reason ! ” calmly said Madame 
Ignatieff. “ That Sacha Menchikoff should have fol- 
lowed us here to press his unwelcome attentions ’’ 

The gentle Countess ceased, as she saw Esme Chil- 
koff carry her finger to her lip. 

Alas! for the jealousy of fiery youth! 

That night the Prince Agar drew the whole story 
from the fierce old servitor Ali. 

And so, when the Prince Menchikoff again visited 
the Hotel Choiseul, he chose an evil hour — while 
Madame Ignatieff had driven to the gare to meet her 
husband and warn him of the mysterious appearance 
of the Prince Agar, kept on special duty abroad for 
three and a half long years ! 

No detail of the horrors of his life — only his happy 
home-coming was the Countess’ message. 

“ Those wild young men must not meet ! ” mused 
the Ambassadress, “or, blood may fill the cup of 
joy!” 

Alas ! While the husband and wife were slowly 
driving homeward, the Count, stunned with the dis- 
closure, busied rapidly rearranging his fallen card 
houses — the fierce-eyed Prince Menchikoff sent up a 
card to Son Altesse la Princesse Chilkoff. 

“ I must see you for a few moments ! I will not be 
longer denied ! ” were the penciled words which 
brought the blood flaming into Prince Agar’s cheeks. 

The Russian Prince was astounded when a stranger 
hurled himself on him in the darkened lower corridor. 

“ Lache ! ” cried Prince Agar. “ To hound a 
stricken woman ! ” ■ 

The fragments of his card were contemptuously 
tossed in Menchikpff’s face. 

“ It is now an affair for the police ! ” 

Leaping forward, the, maddened lover drew a con- 
cealed revolver. He had not recognized Prince Agar 
in this bearded boulevardier still clad in summer 
raiment of Japanese cut. 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 285 

Jealousy flamed in his heart ! “ Cursed Austrian 

hound ! You die ! ” he cried. 

But, crushed in Ali Roustan’s mighty grasp, the in- 
furiated man howled as the Circassian’s knee was 
planted on his chest. 

Picking up the revolver, Prince Agar strode into 
the office of the hotel. 

Dropping his card with the Austrian pseudonym 
into an envelope, the young man then addressed it to 
“ the Prince Alexander Menchikoff, Imperial Russian 
Guard.” 

Forced away from the hotel by a commissary of 
police, the infuriated Menchikoff set off in a search 
for seconds. 

” I will kill this brute Lansdorf ! He is only an at- 
tache ! Flow long is the roll of her lovers ? I de- 
stroyed the Englishman, Allan Law ! Here is his 
successor ! 

” She is a modern Bianca Capello ! ” 

The Guardsman never knew of the adroitness with • 
which the brother and sister had in past years pur- 
chased young Lansdorf’s old feudal estate of the 
Karolyi, which gave them the local title of Count and 
Countess Lansdorf. 

In that splendid old retreat they had hoped to find 
a release from the daily espionage of the Third Sec- 
tion, should the Czar drive them forth at last, 
despoiled. 

Only Baron Sternberg knew of this retreat, its ac- 
cumulated revenues, and the savings of . the Govern- 
mental Circassian income, slyly transferred from St. 
•Petersburg by his own secret agent. 

Half an hour later, Nicholas Ignatieff had learned 
the headings of Prince Agar’s story. The stony-faced 
diplomat drove directly to the Russian Embassy. 

When the Count left the Baron de Mohrenheim an 
attache and a Police Commissary quickly departed to 
find the Prince Menchikoff with an order to quit Paris 
forthwith. 

It was at a salle d’armes they unearthed the half- 
crazed lover, who calmly said : “ When my affair of 


286 


ITHE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


honor with the Count Lansdorf is over I will go, and 
not before ! ’’ 

With a cool, warning glance, the attache said : 
“ I care nothing for Monsieur de Lansdorf ; to us he 
is a stranger. 

“ But, the Count Ignatieff is the legal guardian of 
Madame la Princesse Chilkoff. 

“ For your persecutions, you can choose between 
Mazas prison, ‘ in contumacy,’ or an immediate de- 
parture from France! The Ambassador has already 
telegraphed to Minister Tolstoi ! Your passport is re- 
voked, and if you do not proceed to Russia, you will 
be a cashiered deserter in a week! 

“ Moreover, I now will swear out wararnts for *^an 
attempt at life ! ’ 

“You drew a revolver — coward like!” 

When Menchikoif madly rushed at the calm attache, 
four men in plain clothes forced him into a cab. 

For three days the returned Siberian exile sat clos- 
eted with the Count Ignatieff and Baron Sternberg, 
hastily summoned from Frankfort. 

It was easy for the two wary men of. the jvorld to 
see that both Esme and the* Prince Agar knew as yet 
but half the truth. 

“ Let us close up our lines, my dear Baron ! ” said 
the great Count. 

“ \Yardlawe will be here in three weeks, and before 
that time, Allan Law will have safely reached Odessa ! 
The American can soon unravel all the tangle! 

“ bYr, he came over to San Francisco on the steamer 
with Ivan Petroff, who has been some one’s secret 
agent ! ” 

“ I begin to see the character of my young ward un- 
folding, and even in the game of cross purposes, I can 
mark the justice of His Imperial Majesty’s Privy Coun- 
cil, as classing her as, “ A person dangerous to the 
State!”’ 

“ Keep her secrets ! Let her and Agar remain partly 
deceived ! Neither knows of Allan Law’s hideous peril, 
and I do not wish to move forward the hands of Time ! 
I only hope that this fine fellow Law, your friend and 
mine, may not be deceived as to this charming Circas- 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 287 

sian enigma! This young eagle’s wings must be 
clipped 1 ” 

And the Baron Sternberg then smiled, looked wise, 
and drank his Johannisberger in silence. 

‘'To think,” laughed Sternberg, “ that this chit of a 
girl has fooled the wily Ignatieff I He has been as wax 
in her hands ! I will not spoil the game ! It is a pretty 
bit of a study in still life, just now ! ” 

While the two men, who had both passed sixty, 
schemed together for the gold and power which alone 
now charmed their faded lives, the Baron Sternberg 
judiciously parleyed with the Princess Esme. 

The Prince Agar, still fuming over his unsettled 
quarrel with the wild guardsman, openly dazzled Paris 
as the rich and eccentric Count Lansdorf, an Asiatic 
traveler of shrouding mystery, but, of a somber mag- 
nificence. 

The Princess Esme, “ the very rose and expectancy 
of the fair state,” was now as frankly capricious and as 
.charmingly restless as even the wary old Ignatieff 
could desire. 

Even the placid Countess never knew the secret de- 
light with which the fair young rebel’s sufferings in- 
sired Ignatieff. 

“ That Allan Law has simply disappeared from Con- 
stantinople, via Malta, saying not a word when re- 
leased by Chestakoff’s aide, indicates that my graceful 
young ward will have some trouble in charming him 
back to her side 1 

“ At the foot of the gallows is no place for drawing- 
room explanations, but, the good-hearted Wardlawe 
may snare the young Briton later for us ! 

“ Did Esme use him as a cat’s paw? Only her open 
arms will ever lure him back! 

“ For his stubborn pride is equal to her own, and 
even Agar seems to know nothing! Madcap witch! 
She deserves to suffer ! ” 

A tragic occurrence for a moment thrilled all Paris ! 

All the clubs knew of the miserable death, by hang- 
ing, of the young Russian officer who had obstinately 
refused to leave Paris, and so, had found a “cell of 
detention ” in gloomy Mazas ! 


288 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


To conceal the awful suicide from the Princess Esme 
was the hope of Count Ignatieff, but he never knew of 
the resolution with which Menchikoff had given a 
cabochon ruby ring, worth twenty thousand francs, to 
his jailer to carry a sealed letter to the Princess Esme 
Chilkoff, under cover to Madame Ignatiefif! 

“ Let us leave this horrible city, at once ! ’’ the young 
beauty cried. 

“ Not until the arrival of Major Wardlawe! ” said 
the Count Ignatieff. “ For, there is yet justice to be 
done ! Interests of vast magnitude hang upon his arri- 
val ! ” 

And then, alone with him, the capricious young 
queen of the Adighe laid the letter of the demented 
Menchikoff before her astute guardian. 

“ I cannot tell you all, till I see Ahmed, Major 
Wardlawe.” 

“ I must learn all the ordeal of ‘ Serge Alexandro- 
vitch Rezoff ! ” 

“ But, you must not believe me ; he must not think 
me a traitress, or a woman who sent him to a horrible 
death ! Read this ! ” 

And her eyes were dreamy and downcast as Ignatieff 
pondered over the blurred words of the young noble, 
whose unhappy death had thrown a dozen great fami- 
lies into mourning! 

“ I give up the game of Life, Esme,” the straggling 
words began. “ I have played my last card, and lost ! 
Strange as it may seem, I loved you too much to see 
another man ever take you to his bosom I I did lead 
away Allan Law, the English fool, whom you sent away 
to avoid my pistol I 

“ I suppose that you have already forgotten him ! It 
was I who had him followed, by my foster brother, 
when you sent Law to Siberia, as ‘ Serge Alexandro- 
vitch Rezoff.” I denounced him as an Englishman, a 
secret service spy, by telegrams, to Admiral Lemacheff- 
sky ! 

“ Before I left Russia to follow you here, I had the 
glad news of his death sentence! 

“ I laughed when I telegraphed, through the head 
men of Kharkov, that there was no merchant of the 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 289 

first class there named ' Rezoff 1 ’ And so, you slew your 
lover! Your Englishman! 

“ But, as for Lansdorf, your last adorer, the man 
who struck me, I would have killed him myself, but, I 
knew the hand which strikes me down — the merciless 
Ignatieff ! 

“ Farewell ! Let Allan Law’s fate lie heavily on 
your head ! He died thinking that you had betrayed 
him — sold him to shame! You are punished! I am 
revenged ! Lansdorf is a cur ! ” 

“Tell me, where is Law?” cried Esme Chilkoff, 
“ the man who loved me — the man zvhom I love!'’ 
She lifted her head proudly in this brave avowal ! “ I 
will tell him the truth, and, then, never see him more ! ” 

“ My poor child ! ” said the old Count, laying his 
hand caressingly upon her bended head. “ You were 
sick, fever crazed, almost at Death’s door! We only 
found Agar’s despatch ! It was a mystery ! What 
knew I of this Lansdorf masquerade? 

“ But the noble Wardlawe’s warning took me to St. 
Petersburg! Chestakoff and myself almost went on 
our knees to Tolstoi and to the Council! The Ad- 
miral even implored the Czar ! I wished to sav^ you 
trouble ! We beat Death only by half an hour ! 

“ All I know is that Allan Law arrived safely at Con- 
stantinople*, took a direct boat for Malta, and, pre- 
sumably, has taken refuge in England ! 

“ But two men can unveil the whole mystery ! Stern- 
berg and Wardlawe ! And they must meet first ! Let 
me go and see that this poor madman’s remains are 
sent home to Russia under the seal of honor ! It was 
a frightful act of jealousy! 

“ And so, I shall never see you again, the man who 
stood in Death’s shadow for me, to save Agar ! ” the 
Princess sobbed. 

A great throb convulsed Nicholas Ignatieff’s iron 
heart ! 

“ Now I see all ! You gallant girl ! ” he cried, as he 
stooped and kissed her on the brow. “ I know that 
you will yet meet him ! Such souls can not be severed ! 

Neither Natalie Ignatiefif, the princely Agar, nor 
the secretly triumphant Sternberg — not even the Count 


290 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


Ignatieff, ever knew of the words of adieu which 
weighed like a sentence of death upon the fair Circas- 
sian’s heart. 

“ There is but one who shall share my secret ! Ah- 
med ! The brave American who saved Allan Law, even 
at the side of his opening grave ! He knows my heart ! 
He knows why I perilled all, to drag Agar from the 
hell of Siberia ! And now, I can checkmate the Czar ! 
We are both out of Russia, and, I will wear no more 
chains ! 

“But, my country! Ah! The land of Ayesha! 
The purpled mountains ! The smiling valleys ! The 
castled hills! The sculptured shores! Shall I ever 
see my misty mountain Paradise again ? ” 

Two weeks later, at the Havre docks, Ali Roustan 
fell upon the neck of Major Wardlawe, and made his 
obeisance to the good-humored Ivan Petrotf ! 

“ I am to conduct you to them ! ” said the old Circas- 
sian, giving the Major a letter, which made his heart 
bound with delight! 

The way seemed interminable to Paris, but, as the 
evening lamps flashed over the gay boulevards, two 
men went, with bounds, up the marble stairway of the 
Hotel Choiseul. 

Captain Petrolf was at once dragged away by the 
excited Prince Agar, but Ali Roustan drew aside the 
portfolio of a boudoir, where Esme Chilkoff, glowing 
with blushes, threw herself upon the American’s breast ! 

“ Tell me, Ahmed! ” she whispered, “ where is he? 
His last words, you know them ? ” 

“ As he stood ready to die, he kissed your, picture,” 
said Wardlawe, “ the one you gave me, and cried, ‘ Tell 
her that I never kissed her in life, but that with dying 
lips I sealed my love and faith ! ’ 

“ That picture rests on his bosom now, wherever he 
is ! ” said Wardlawe, fondly gazing at her. “ He does 
not know that you are here ! ” 

“You must find him for me!” said Esme, as she 
burst into happy tears. 

She read her answer in Wardlawe’s eyes, as Prince 
Agar dashed into the room. 

“Brothers! ” she said, joining their hands. 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


291 


As long as the stars shine, I will love you ! ” cried 
Agar; and then, bringing Captain Petroff forward, he 
said : *’ This man is now a part of my life ! He 

brought me out of bondage ! ” 


CHAPTER XII. 

A DINNER OF SURPRISES. 

The great French specialist was astounded at the 
sudden recovery of the beautiful Princess Esme Chil- 
koff, whose rapid strides toward health and happiness 
were evinced by her long drives in the Bois de Bou- 
logne with that courteous American veteran. Major 
Wardlawe. 

The graceful presence of the Baroness Paula Fadai- 
ef¥ relieved Madame Ignatieff, now the recipient of 
princely hospitalities at the Russian embassy, and soon 
“ tout Paris ” knew that the arch statesman. Count 
Ignatieff, was daily closeted with Baron Alphonse de 
Rothschild and the now alert Sternberg. 

The Prince Agar had taken a run to the Schloss. 
Karolyi with Captain Petroff and Sergeant Crampton 
to prepare for the arrival of the Chevalier Mollenhaupt 
and that pearl of American consuls, Harvey Fox, be- 
fore the grave seniors had settled all their plans of 
action. 

“ It is well,” said Ignatieff, “ that the Prince Agar 
continues his incognito of Count Benno Lansdorf, as 
long as the status of his sister and himself is unset- 
tled ! ” 

And in pursuance of this wise plan, the Schloss was 
prepared for a magnificent “ partie de chasse ” and a 
social reopening. 

Even the Baron Levassoff, promoted to the rank of 
Russian Minister at Lisbon, arriving opportunely, 
promised to bring his bewitching Countess Ilka'Plessky 
to grace the housewarming of the returned travelers. 

“ Gradsky, promoted to Nagasaki, can watch over 


292 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


our interests out there,” said Ignatieff to the wary 
Baron Sternberg. 

” But, the first thing you must do, is to have sub- 
Governor-General Baron Knorp, at Habaroffka, per- 
suade Admiral Le.macheffsky to quash all this ‘ Rezoff ’ 
prosecution and scandals.” 

“ You and your friend, the Russian 'Ambassador 
here, can easily persuade Knorp to descreetly inform 
Admiral Lemacheffsky of this desperate Menchikoff’s 
false denunciation of an innocent man ! 

“ Cable out to him that the true Allan Law went to 
Khiva and then back to England, and. that he will ap- 
pear at the proper time ! 

“ That ‘ Rezoff ’ was a real character, and a mer- 
chant of Kharkov province, not the city! I will even 
add my cipher dispatch, to turn Lemacheffsky into a 
friend!” 

” Why is all this necessary? ” said the financier. 

“ So that I can prove Prince Agar’s entire innocence, 
obtain orders recalling him, and, then, using these 
valuable old franchises, make terms for both the 
brother and sister with the Government I 

“ Let Prince Agar, when officially pardoned and 
produced, be made the Deputy Governor-General of 
the Caucasus! There he will be of infinite use in 
calming the Circassian frontier, under a responsible 
Governor-General ! ” 

“ I can smooth the way for this by promising Lema- 
cheffsky the wonderful boat, and even its special crew, 
to supervise the manufacture of duplicates ! 

“ Wardlawe, Mott and Marsden will aid me ! It 
will be an easy way out for the old Admiral, who can 
then be promoted, pensioned and retired, after introduc- 
ing these new-type steamers.” 

“ That leaves us free to handle the old concessions 
of Boris Chilkotf, and to bring the Czar’s Government 
where you and I wish it in regard to the vast commer- 
cial future! 

“ And we must hasten, or General Michael Annen- 
koff’s railway will balk our game! This is our one 
golden season ! ” 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 2g^ 

'' The Princess Esme ? ’’ dubiously said Baron Stern- 
berg. 

“ Is lost, I fear, forever, to Russia ! said General 
Ignatieff, with a peculiar^smile. 

“ Prince Agar can handle her home estates, and you 
her finances, but, I fancy the young eaglet will never 
be caged again ! ” ' > 

“ And, with Major Wardlawe’s help, I wish to turn 
this situation to her final profit and comfort ! 

“ We need the evidence of ‘ Serge Alexandrovitch 
Rezoff ’ and Captain Petroff, both, as to the continuous 
voyage of the whole river, with the official records, in 
a boat ‘ owned by the Amoor Navigation Company,’ 
built by it, and ‘ duly licensed,’ to revive the priceless 
old franchises of General Prince Boris Chilkoff ! 

“ I think, between Esme and Wardlawe, that we will 
find ‘ Rezoff ’ very soon ! ” smilingly said the old diplo- 
mat. 

It was all in vain, that Robert Standiford and his 
beautiful bride, Ethel Raynor, tried to lead Major 
Wardlawe and the Princess Esme into a round of fes- 
tivities, whereat the accomplished Paul Kurtz, now 
lingering in Paris, endeavored to worm out of Major 
Wardlawe the secret of Allan Law’s mysterious dis- 
appearance. 

“ Poor Menchikoff ! ” sighed the Secretary of Lega- 
tion. “ Sad as his death was, it was better than mur- 
dering Allan Law or being shot in a duel, as a blood 
offering, to darken Esme Chilkoff’s whole life ! 

“ Wild, unrestrained Tartar nature ! He was mad- 
dened by the passion which haunted him by day and 
night ! Lord of many things, but not of himself ! ” 

To the evident annoyance of a circle of brilliant 
young cavaliers, the Princess Chilkoff only went 
abroad with Major Wardlawe and the Baroness Fa- 
daieff ! 

The old French specialist was confounded! “No 
sooner does this conquering hero, Count Lansdorf, 
bring the roses back to her cheeks, than, pouf ! he van- 
ishes into thin air I But, I still scent orange blossoms 1 

“ My patient seems restless, feverish, and yet happy 
in expectancy! 


294 


THE MYSTERV OF A SHIPYARD. 


“ A temporary cardiac excitement ! ’’ he sighed, 
thinking of his lost youth. 

But Baron Sternberg and the Count Ignatieff knew 
only too well that the Prince Agar could not hope to 
conceal his identity long! 

“ First, a truce with the Government, and, after that. 
Agar can shed his double incognito I ” declared 
Ignatieff. 

While the secret negotiations of Sternberg and 
General Ignatieff went on marvelously well, the old 
diplomat guarded the story of Prince Agar’s unwar- 
ranted arrest, until the Vladivostock court should for- 
mally announce the groundlessness of all charges 
against “ Serge Alexandrovitch Rezoff I ” 

“ First, Law must be a witness here with Ivan Pe- 
troff, before the Embassy, and then. Law can make 
himself known ! The orders for Prince Agar.’s release 
will be sent to Baron Knorp, and I can have him report 
‘ the departure of the pardoned man.’ ” 

“ But, Prince Agar must remain out of jeopardy un- 
til cleared ! ” 

Esme Chilkoff’s hungry heart now hung upon the 
letters and telegrams of Colonel Henry Seaforth Berry 
of the Royal Artillery. 

In final answer to Major Wardlaw’s entreaties, the 
English officer wrote a manly letter. 

“ I am tied down here in command of the Arsenal. 
I cannot leave for a moment ! Allan Law is in a pecu- 
liar state of mind! Come over as my guest, and as-, 
sure me of the cogent reasons; then, I will betray his 
confidence, in so far, that you can steal in upon our 
friend. 

“ Once face to face, you can surely persuade him ! 

“ But, if he knew you were coming he would elude 
you. He is in absolute solitude. Some bitter dis- 
appointment seems to have seared his heart! 

“ I owe you both amends and hospitality ! 

“ Come, as my guest ! But make no stir. If Allan 
Law even saw your name, he might then give us both 
the slip. He is a singular nature, and some great 
shock has made him lately both suspicious and de- 
fiant!” 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 295 

And SO,” said Esme, “ you will go, at once ! Dear 
Ahmed ! Even Agar must not know ! ” 

“ Will he come ! What can I say to him, Esme ? ” 
said the American. 

“ Tell him,” she faltered, “ that I beg him to come 
to me, to bring my picture back ; to hear what I must 
say to him, in honor, for the sake of womanhood ! ” 

“ Then,” she cried, “ if he turns away from me, I 
have done my duty! He shall know that I did not 

betray him” Suddenly her face crimsoned, and she 

grasped her loyal champion’s hands. 

‘'Bring him to me. Major Wardlawe!” she cried, 
smiling through her tears. “ There are some things 
which a woman cannot say ! My fate is in your 
hands ! ” 

“ He will come, at my bidding!” gravely said Ward- 
law, “ for, I think, I understand you, now ! I leave 
at noon, and to-morrow I will be with Colonel Berry. 
I shall not write you, but only warn you by telegraph 
when we arrive in France ! ” 

And so. Major Wardlawe dropped out of the busy 
circle, in which two great interlaced intrigues kept 
Count Ignatieff toiling like a spider in his web. 

A week after Major Wardlawe’s departure, the 
“ Count Lansdorf ” re-appeared in Paris, in answer 
to an imperative summon of the ex-Dictator. 

He found his sister in a state of wild unrest, which 
alarmed him. 

“ Some witchery of this American brother of mine,” 
mused Prince Agar, “ but Time alone will tell what 
strange purposes, this capricious child is working out. 

“ She needs control, and, yet who dare tame this 
young eaglet ! 

“ Not I! She is beyond me; a creature of ineffable 
sweetness, but, with a wayward heart of fire and 
flame ! ” 

Two weeks after the mysterious “ dropping out ” 
of Major Wardlawe, the hospitable Baron Sternberg 
gave a dinner of note at his sedate country villa at 
Saint Cloud. 

In vain, the Princess Chilkoff pleaded her indispo- 
sition to face society. 


296 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

“ Be ruled by me, my dear child,” said the great 
financier. 

“ It will be a dinner of surprises, and, it is arranged 
only for you ! There will be no external busybodies. 
May I say that you must come ! ” 

And so, doubting and fearing, Esme Chilkoff 
accepted. 

Her eyes burned with a dreamy splendor now, 
which fairly startled her loving guardians. 

She knew nothing of the long seances at which the 
Count Ignatieff, the financier, and Captain Petroff 
closed up all the accounts forwarded by Dimitri Gor- 
litz from San Francisco, and the new Minister Levass- 
ofif, from Nagasaki. 

That the proceeds of the fur speculations was over 
a hundred thousand dollars was vouched for by the 
credit with Freeman Smith and Company, closed the 
sales of the graded furs left safe at Habarofika, on 
the Chinese shore, in the hasty flight. 

And the Japanese mint returns proved a profit of a 
hundred and fifty thousand dollars upon the un,- 
stamped gold bars bought free of the Emperor’s tenth 
and the export tax, at half their value, from the wan- 
dering convicts of the upper Amoor River. 

“ A noble stewardship. Captain Petroff ! ” said the 
two dignitaries, passing and clearing all the sailors’ 
accounts. 

You have performed this dangerous expedition so 
well that you have cleared the whole boat ! ” 

“ If you wish to return to Siberia, we will make your 
way smooth! 

“ In a week we will turn over the ‘ Water Witch ’ 
and all her secrets to the Russian Government ! ” 

” I must consult Count Lansdorf 1 ” musingly said 
the gallant Petroff. “ He has the first claim on my 
life! And our brotherhood has been tried by many 
perils. I think that Markham and Luke Osborn, with 
a couple of machinists and firemen, and a man selected 
from the National Works by Major Wardlawe, can 
easily direct the reproduction of this type of boat to 
any extent at Vladivostock and Habaroffka, 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 297 

“ Especially if the first engines are sent on from 
San Francisco for the different sizes.” 

“ You are right! ’’ mused Ignatieff. “ Major Ward- 
lawe will soon return to San Francisco to organize the 
working parties, for next year, at Dui, and he can take- 
out the man who finally designed and the man who 
set up the peerless ‘ Water Witch I ’ 

“ As Dimitri Gorlitz will come here on his way to 
his new post as Minister of Russia for Siam, we will 
have the aid of both him and Baron Levassoff ! 

“ So, if the Count Lansdorf steals you from us, we 
must first reward you on behalf of the ‘ Amoor Navi- 
gation Company I ’ ” 

On the evening of Baron Sternberg’s little dinner 
of surprises there was an undercurrent of mystery in 
the assemblage at the villa at Saint Cloud. 

The Princess Esme, by a fancy of her own, appeared 
robed in almost bridal white, and with no ornaments 
to heighten her thrilling beauty. 

But the Count and Countess Ignatieff, the Baroness 
Fadaieff, were startled when Ali Roustan, throwing 
open the door of the salon presented the Prince Agar 
Chilkoff, in all the magnificence of a complete Cir- 
cassian costume. 

The bushy whiskers of the Siberian traveller had 
disappeared, and the young Prince had resumed all the 
proud bearing of the Tcherkess noble. 

They were seated at table, the Princess Esme, fac- 
ing her host with her brother at her right, and a vacant 
place was at her left, with another seat opposite the 
Baroness Fadaieff. 

“ I will give our two other guests but five minutes’ 
grace ! ” said the wary host, noting his watch. 

‘‘ But, I hope that we shall not be obliged to pro- 
ceed without them 1 ” 

The Princess Esme eyed her smiling host with a 
secret tremor in her heart, until the roll of wheels 
startled the party, for they were already adroitly lured 
to the table. 

The fair Circassian sank back in her chair as the 
butler announced “ Monsieur Serge Alexandrovitch 
Rezoff/’ and then, “Major Wardlawe!” 


29S THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

The walls seemed to reel as the young Tcherkess 
queen lifted her eyes, and she saw the fond glances of 
the adopted brother of her heart ! 

It was the Allan Law, of old, who was bending over 
the hand of the Countess Ignatieff, and who was now 
approaching the woman whose picture was resting 
even then on his bosom, said : “ May I be pardoned 

for my appearance in the disguise of society! But I 
have now forgotten all other names save ‘Rezoff 1’ ” 

As their hands met under the table, Allan Law felt 
the ring which had been his talisman, drop into his 
palm I 

“ Let me introduce myself as your sick river pilot, 

* Serge Alexandrovitch I ’ ’’ cried Prince Agar, as he 
clasped the impassive young Englishman in his arms. 

“So, yon were the man who whistled opera airs and 
Circassian love songs under my very cabin window I ” 
said Allan Law. 

“ Now I can see why you hid your face from me! 

“ I fancy you will be familiar with it, in the future !’’ 
softly murmured the Prince. 

But the host saw the strain upon the heart strings 
of the woman whose eyes were now timidly fixed upon 
the face of Allan Law. 

“We will begin with passing a loving cup!” gaily 
said the partner of Rothschild. 

“ But first, I must read a telegram which Admiral 
Chestakoff has sent to General Ignatieff ! ” 

Esme Chilkoff was leaning forward in a rapt atti- 
tude, as slowly the words fell from the lips of her se- 
cret agent. 

“ His Imperial Majesty the Czar, two weeks ago 
pardoned Commander Prince Agar Chilkoff of the Im- 
perial Navy, for an alleged participation in the naval 
plots of ‘ Eighty-One,’ at Cronstadt ! The Czar has 
been graciously pleased to retire Prince Chilkoff from 
the Navy with the rank of Captain, and to designate 
him as Sub-Governor-General of the Caucasus. Baron 
Knorp, at Habarofika, reports that the Prince has al- 
ready started from the Yakutsk region, and will make 
his way down the Amoor to Nagasaki, and thence, 
homeward, by steamer, via Hongkong! The Czarina 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 299 

has obtained the concession that the Princess Esme 
Chilkoff may now take up her residence at Dariel, un- 
der her brother’s guardianship, all interdicts against 
the joint estates being withdrawn ! ” 

Allan Law murmured, in the Princess Esme’s sole 
hearing: “ And so, we will lose you, from the Neva!” 

Prince Agar threw his head up with a lordly dis- 
dain. 

“ I fancy that I must play at being Count Lansdorf 
for a month or two longer ! ” 

“ It would be better,” suavely said the Count Igna- 
tieff, “ to kill the hidden scandal of the past, by going 
to Schloss Karolyi with the Princess Esme, until you 
can really ‘ arrive ’ officially I ” 

“ But now. Prince, tell us the true reason of your 
unwarranted arrest?” 

All eyes were turned upon the young Circassian, 
who said : “ I was foolish enough to give the use of 

my quarters to a friend, at the time of the horrible 
plots which ended in the murder of Alexander 11. 

“ A romantic love affair with the daughter of the 
Governor of Cronstadt led my friend. Captain Des- 
taieff, to meet the beautiful girl in my rooms, with 
her one confidant, an aunt married to one of our 
squadron commanders. 

“ I was away with the torpedo flotilla all summer. 
They feared a proud father’s opposition. The keys 
were stolen from poor Destaieff by a circle of madmen, 
in whose hearts a desperate nihilist conspiracy had 
spread like wildfire. 

“ Knowing that the rooms were never used by me in 
the evening, and always informed of my absence and 
the location of the flotilla, they hid their dangerous 
documents in my rooms, under cover of my rank and 
undoubted loyalty ! 

“ Tracked one by one, to a grand midnight ren- 
dezvous, one night, the whole circle was arrested there I 

'‘Alas! Twenty-eight of them disappeared, never 
to be heard of again. Poor deluded madmen ! 

“ Myself, awakened, in a summer night’s balmy 
sleep on my own gunboat, I was secretly dragged to 


30d THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

the shore at Wiborg! A suit of convict's clothes 
was forced upon me. 

“ Sent under a heavy guard alone in a car of Nijni 
Novgorod and Ekaterinberg, I was hastened by post 
khilgitkas, past Tomsk, on to far away Yakutsk! 

“ Three long years I wandered on the banks of the 
Lena, deprived of all news of my darling Esme, who 
was ignorant even of my alleged crime ! 

“ But I will pass over the horrors of this death in 
life I I was simply a deporte, not a felon convict. 

‘‘ It was only from my old club-mate. Prince Outko- 
sky, that last year I learned of the fatal descent upon 
my quarters. He took me away into the forest, and 
there, on a sheet of his note-book, I wrote my fate and 
whereabouts to Esme, my brave sister! 

“ Destaieff, poor fellow, half crazed at my disap- 
pearance, never knew of the robbery of the keys, of 
which fac-similes were made! 

“ Outkosky only learned this from the Prince, his 
father, who was President of the ‘ Court,’ which ad- 
judged some terrible secret doom to these hotheaded 
naval ensigns, all mad youngsters! 

“ And all my friends feared that I had been stirring 
up a revolt in Circassia. 

“ But the official announcement that I was abroad 
on a ‘ four-years’ cruise,’ quieted the gossip, and, even 
my mountaineers believed it. 

“ It was well that this fraud was perpetrated, for the 
Tcherkess tribes would have risen to a man ! That 
would have sealed my doom! 

“ I have kept Destaieff’s secret ! He is, now, hap- 
pily married, and, poor Outkosky was killed in a Tur- 
coman foray this year. God bless his memory ! 

So he, who safely sent the news to Esme, never 
heard of my escape ! 

“ I was thunderstruck when Petroif’s hunters found 
me on the upper Lena, and told me of the Amoor 
Navigation Company’s coming steamer ! ” 

All eyes were turned on the Princess . Esme, who 
said : And now, I will dissolve ‘ The Amoor River 

Navigation Company ! ’ 

‘‘ My noble Baron Sternberg, who carried out every 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 30I 

secret plan, Captain Ivan Petroff, the brave and de- 
voted agent selected by Dimitri Gorlitz, the San Fran- 
cisco Consul, Major Wardlawe, who innocently 
handled the ‘ Water Witch,’ so as divert suspicion of 

her real character, and ” she faltered, “ Serge Al- 

exandrovitch Rezoff,” she said, with glowing eyes, 
“ whose presence was solely intended to veil Petrolf’s 
busy schemes to find and release my beloved brother, 
it being intended that he should merely divert the au- 
thorities, and that, if detained, it would be simply some 
farcical frontier bit of red tape. 

‘‘ But, the pathway which led my beloved Agar out 
of captivity, led Allan Law to ” 

“A very pleasant dinner in Paris T gallantly said 
the calm Englishman, rising and kissing the trembling 
hand of the Tcherkess Queen. 

“ I cannot speak before you all, ” said Esme, “ but 
here is one who can tell how nobly Allan Law kept 
silence, even in the shadow of the gallows, that Agar 
might be safe on the high seas before his flight should 
be discovered. 

“ I only invented the Amoor Navigation Company’s 
new enterprises,” faltered the Princess Esme, “ to save 
my brother’s life, after studying some old papers of 
my father. I dared confide in no one in Russia ! ” 

“Not even in me, you delightful witch!” cried 
Count Ignatieff, rising, “ but, your labors prove at last 
that a woman can keep a secret ! ” 

“ You have given to Baron Sternberg and myself 
the means to bring the Government to a forced truce, 
and incidentally, you have performed a great public 
service ! ” 

“ And as I have obtained the full pardon of ‘ Serge 
Alexandrovitch Rezofif,” who disappeared forever as 
a Russian entity, when secretly released at Constan- 
tinople, there is no reason why his name should ever 
be mentioned lest it should embarrass poor old Admiral 
Lemachefifsky, and the noble Baron Knorp, as well as 
General Milanovitch and Captain ValerianofiF, soon ex- 
pected in Paris ! ” 

“ For this reason,” said Baron Sternberg, laughing. 
“ I will request my noble friend, Lord Waldemere, to 


302 THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

put away all the memories of ^ Serge Alexandrovitch 
Rezoff’s ’ ordeals ! ” 

The Princess ChilkoiT gazed, in astonishment, at Al- 
lan Law, who slowly rose with a heightened color and 
simply said : “ Here is the game fellow, my American 
friend. Major Wardlawe, who prevented by his judi- 
cious boldness, the fiery old Admiral from hanging an 
English peer, under a purely Russian name.'’ 

“ It was only when I dropped in upon Colonel Berry 
at Woolwich, that I found, in my absence, my uncle 
Allan, Lord Waldemere, had left me the family title, 
with a fine old place in Northumberland, and a gallant 
old castle near Jedburgh, across the border! " 

‘‘ So, my friend," he said, “ let us drink to the health 
of the ‘ Amoor Navigation Company,’ of which I was 
an humble representative, for a time. I shall prob- 
ably never visit St. Petersburg again!’’ Lord Walde- 
mere smilingly said. 

“ But you will visit Circassia, if I have to drag you 
there ! ’’ cried Prince Agar. 

“ Perhaps,’’ said the young nobleman, “ but, I fear 
that you will be so busied with the Princess Esme’s 
return.’’ 

“ You must come! ’’ bravely said the pallid woman. 
“ You obeyed me once, and you must be there, when 
the tribes greet their lord and master after all these 
many years.’’ 

The dinner was one which was unforgotten by those 
who gazed upon Esme Chilkoff in her tender beauty. 

“ Beware the sudden shock of any great emotion ! ’’ 
the great specialist had whispered to the Baroness 
Fadaieflf, and so, it was only by a happy chance that 
the Princess Esme and Lord Waldemere found them- 
selves alone for a moment. 

“ To-morrow ! ’’ whispered the eager lover, as he 
held up the ring, now gleaming upon his finger. 

“ Major Wardlawe and Agar will be busy with the 
Baron and Count Ignatieff,’’ said Esme. I was going 
to drive to Versailles with the Countess,’’ said the hum- 
bled beauty, ‘‘ but, I have changed my mind ! ’’ she said 
dropping a rose from her bosom, into his hand. 

In her eyes was all the yearning of a noble woman’s 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 303 

boundless love, the infinite tenderness of a royal nature 
eager to crown the man who would have died for her, 
to hail him as the lord of her gentle bosom. 

With graceful tact. Major Wardlawe departed, first 
with Lord Waldemere. 

As the two men drove homeward in the mellow star- 
light, the Englishman said : “ I have a confession to 
make to you, Wardlawe! I shall never feel at rest, 
in my heart, till you know why I am willing to owe 
my life to you, of all men I ” 

“Not to-night! Some other time. Lord Walde- 
mere ! gravely said the American soldier. “ I can 
fancy a part of what you would say ! ” 

“ To-night must be given over to the memories of 
our strange Siberian experience! Come over to my 
rooms at the Continental and have a cigar.” 

When the friends descended at the great hostelry, 
a haggard figure slunk forward and accosted Lord 
Waldemere. 

“ Give me a few hundred francs,” the drunken out- 
cast of the night tremblingly said. “ I served you well, 
but, that devilish bump at Dunaberg robbed me of 
fifty thousand francs ! ” 

“ Hold ! Let me square accounts with my friend, 
Hugo Mandell ! ” cried Major Wardlawe, springing 
forward. 

“ You were very good company, and, you spared my 
life, when I was at your mercy ! ” 

“ Here is a hundred pound note ! Go, and, let him 
alone ! ” 

“ I knew that fellow’s voice the moment he spoke ! ” 
musingly said Major Wardlawe. 

“ After all, Waldemere,” he laughed, “ all’s well that 
ends well, and, after all, all’s fair in love and war! 
Come into the cafe ! We will bury the past, in a cold 
bottle ! ” 

“ It was for England,’' eagerly cried the ci-devant 
Allan Law. 

“ Let us forget it ! ” good humoredly cried Ward- 
lawe. “You are now yourself ‘held by the enemy!’ 
I leave you to find out all the dangers later of a Rus- 
sian alliance ! ” 


364 THF MYSTERY OF A SHIPYAM 

“ Mind, I was a fool to take up such a trust, at a 
venture ! I knowy now, that Berry and you only 
wanted the secret dispatches ! I had my peril, you 
your’s ! Let us drink to the repose of the soul of poor 
Menchikoff ! He was crazed by his ferocious jealousy ! 
It is the old case — the smile which blessed one lover’s 
heart, has broken many more! Thank God, peace 
smiles on us all ! ” 

As the Countess Ignatietf parted with the Princess 
Esme for the night, the peerless Circassian suddenly 
threw her arms around her friend’s neck. “ I am so 
happy, so happy, Natalie ! It all seems a dream ! ” 

“ Do not distress yourself with the past, Esme,” 
fondly said the ex- Ambassadress. “ Agar and Major 
Wardlawe have told Allan Law all, which clears you of 
aught in connection with this terrible peril! It was a 
mad plan, but, wonderfully well carried out !” 

” And I never can call the son of my early friend 
Waldemere. To me, he will always be Allan Law !” 

“To me, he will be ' Serge Alexandrovitch Rez- 
off !’ ” cried Esme, hiding her blushes in flight ! 

The very stars seemed to sing for joy as the young 
beauty unclasped her girdle for the night. 

“ To-morrow ! ” she whispered. 

And as she woke, an exquisite basket of roses 
greeted her with a little note which simply has the two 
pencilled words “at ten,” and then Esme gazed at 
the unfamiliar card. 

With a quick glance, she kissed it, and thrust it 
in her bosom. 

“ He would have died for me,” she slowly said. 
“ He shall live to learn my love ! And to walk through 
Ayesha’s gardens with her happy child ! ” 

When Ali Roustan introduced Lord Waldemere into 
the room where the_ Princess Chilkoff awaited the man 
whom she had unwittingly sent to his death, all the 
fine phrases, all the studied self-command forsook the 
queen of the Adighe. 

A new woman seemed to have replaced the defiant 
falcon of St. Petersburg, the flashing-eyed rebel whom 
even a Czar feared to handle without the “ official 
gloves ” of the Privy Council ! 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 305 

“ I hardly know what to call you now,” stammered 
Esme, glancing shyly at the man, who had recovered 
all his Pall Mall studied correctness of attire. 

” Call me Serge ! ” softly said Allan Law, taking 
both her trembling hands. 

” I have brought back to you this picture, which 
Ward la we gave me to sustain me when I thought that 
you had deserted me, forgotten me, perhaps even 
abandoned me ! ” 

He laid the jeweled picture case on the table beside 
her. 

“ But, not betrayed you!” cried Esme, her eyes 
flooded with a soft and tender light. 

” You know that Agar is the last of his line ! You, 
now, know how I plotted for his release, fearing that 
even one imprudent word might send Agar to the 
'Tundra of the Lena, to the depths of the salt mines, or 
— to the gallows ! He owes his life to you ! He will re- 
pay I My people, our brave Tcherkess, you know them 
now ; they will adore you I ” 

The man, whom a happy accident had made an Eng- 
lish peer, gazed into the gleaming eyes of the woman, 
;whose face had haunted him at the very foot of the gal- 
lows ! “ I ask for nothing at their hands. I want you, 
Esme, only yon!'' 

' ” How could you dream that I would 5ead you, un- 

wittingly, to your death ! That I would let you die 
without knowing how I love you ? ” 

She was looking up into his face, her hand resting 
on his breast, and his strong arms were around her — 
a very girdle of love I 

“ And I lay sick, almost unto death, and forgot the 
fight with death, for Agar, for you, in my fevered 
dreams I 

“ But, for Wardlawe’s headlong boldness, but for 
the Count humbling himself to ask for me, what he 
would not for himself, you would have been lost to me, 
Allan ! ” cried the Star of the Tcherkess, smiling upon 
[him through happy tears. 

“ The Count Ignatiefif I ” cried Ali Roustan, a sum- 
mons which sent Lord Waldemere confusedly to the 


3C)6 the mystery of a shipyard. 

window, and the Princess Chilkoff rose in a strange 
tremor. 

“ A la bonne heure ! ” mischievously said General 
Ignatieff. “ I did not expect to find Lord Waldemere 
here ! ” 

“ Spare us, General ! ’’ the English noble said, com- 
ing frankly forward. “ You, who gave her to me ; you, 
who saved her brother’s life, should be the first to 
know ” 

“ That our lives will flow on together, now, to the 
end ! ” bravely said the Princess Esme, clasping her 
lover’s hand. 

There was still a touch of the old, defiant ring in her 
voice. 

“I came,” said General Ignatieff,- smiling in his 
mystic way, “ to smooth the pathway of both you and 
your brother ! If you authorize me, as your guardian. 
Princess Esme, to ask the Czar’s permission for your 
marriage to Lord Waldemere, it will be instantly 
granted; it will cover the awkwardness of Prince 
Agar’s rapid retilrn; it will save Baron Knorp and 
Admiral Lemacheffsky all the toil of concealing the 
‘ Rezoff ’ and ‘ Allan Law ’ episodes ! 

‘‘ And, if I must say so, a union with Lord Walde- 
mere will be a guarantee that no anti-Russian agitation 
will occur in your Circassian domains ! ” 

“ Beg him to act, Esme ! ” laughingly said Lord 
Waldemere. “ You only lose one name ip this mar- 
riage, while I lose two ! 

‘‘ Baron Sternberg’s enormous financial influence, 
joined with my own request, will smooth your future 
beyond all cavil or uncertainty,” said the smiling 
diplomat. 

“ For, Lord Waldemere, in making this entire voy- 
age, in a boat owned by the daughter of General Prince 
Boris Chilkoff, you have revived a franchise of great 
value, and, as it was granted as a virtual monopoly, 
you can see that the truce of the Czar 'will be well 
bought, when he releases the heritage of Prince Agar 
and your intended bride from a military suzerainty. 
In return for this, we will receive a great sum to sur- 
render the old rights, and have new privileges.” 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


307 


You will please concert with Baron Sternberg, and 
obtain the Emperor’s gracious permission, General ! ” 
said the Circassian beauty, with her dreamy eyes 
downcast. 

“ The marriage must occur at Schloss Karolyi, for 
there we can have all our friends around us ! Doctor 
Pauloff must be summoned as my guest, for he saved 
my life ! ” 

‘‘And, when will this marriage occur?” Count Igna- 
tieff demurely questioned, gazing at the now reluctant 
girl. 

“ As soon as possible ! ” gravely said Lord Walde- 
mere. “ I have sent my steam yacht around to the 
Riviera, and I wish to take the new ‘ Water Witch ’ to 
Batoum, and so, the Princess can reach her home at 
Dariel as a bride, in stately guise. 

“ Let it be a month from to-day, at Schloss Ka- 
rolyi ! ” said the beauty, frankly giving Lord Walde- 
mere her hand. 

“ You really need a guardian, Esme,” cried General 
Ignatieff. You have broken nearly every law of Rus- 
sia, save those forbidding actual armed rebellion ! 

“ And, after all, we lose little, for we still have you — 
and, we gain an English ally ! 

“ Waldemere! You know how our hearts go out to 
you ! Let nothing cloud your happy love ! You are 
held by the enemy! You will never escape Esme’s 
chains I ” 

“ Take me, and punish me for both I ” laughed the 
happy Princess, throwing her arms around her foster 
father. 

“ I am only sorry that I dare not tell the Emperor 
and Empress how gallantly you saved your brother’s 
life, but, to reopen the Cronstadt horror, to bring out 
the tragedy of Menchikoff, would only call back the 
murder of Alexander II. and all Louis Melikoff’s blind 
butcheries I ” 

“ We have all been ‘ as wax in her hands,’ ” smilingly 
said Lord Waldemere. “ Playing a game in which 
she has won all hearts, as well as taken every trick ! ” 

“ All’s well that ends well ! ” gaily said General Igna- 
tieff. “ I will have the whole circle at dinner this even- 


3o8 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


ing, here^ for my position as guardian, for the year, of 
the Princess Esme’s passport, gives me the right to 
say, officially, that the Czar will approve this union ! ” 
“ I wish to send Ali Roustan and the Baroness Fa- 
daieff, at once, to St. Petersburg 1 ” said the Princess 
Esme, “for, ‘ Serge,’ ” she said, turning to Lord Wal- 
demere, “ I shall be married in my Circassian robes ! 
All my beloved personal effects will be removed to 
Schloss Karolyi, and then the palace assigned me by 
the Czar can be gratefully yielded up by you, General ! ” 
Lord Waldemere never forgot his obligations to 
Madame Ignatieff for that charming lady’s uncon- 
cerned conduct of the dinner in her own salon, at which 
Major Wardlawe and Prince Agar learned the tidings, 
whose signal of a sweet surrender now burned upon 
Esme Chilkoff’s fair cheeks. 

“ I shall take Wardlawe and Petroff away with me, 
to-morrow, to Schloss Karolyi,” gaily said Prince _ 
Agar. “ The Major soon goes on to St. Petersburg, 
and your probationary period of a month just gives me 
the time to ‘ officially appear ’ as landing at Brindisi. 

“ But I will let another fortnight, after that, pass be- 
fore I apply for passports to go to the Neva and re- 
ceive my official instructions. 

“ We must bury every secret connected with the 
cruise of the ‘ Water Witch ’ on the Amoor ! ” 

On the upper terrace of the Schloss Karolyi, a month 
later, a group of happy guests were gathered, gazing 
down at the magnificent sunset as the purpled Alps- 
began to throw long shadows over the Kammer See 
and the jeweled Frauen See. 

The haughty Austrian nobles of Ischl had noted the 
convocation at the old Schloss with an ill-concealed 
curiosity. 

For Salzburg had been the Mecca of a strangely as- 
sorted company, who wondered at the Princess Esme’s 
strange fancy to choose the sunset hour for her bridal ! 

“ Some trace of the old fire-worshipers in this,” 
said the Baron Sternberg, blazing with the decorations 
which the kings of finance receive from their “ best 
customers,” the War Lords! 

But, a blast of silver trumpets called the assembly to 


'THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 309 

the great hall, now lit with wax candles in silver 
sconces ; the soft luster resting upon the trophied arms, 
the spoils of the chase, and the tattered banners of the 
departed Lansdorfs ! 

A Greek orthodox altar had been erected where once 
the old feudal lords judged their retainers, and a burst 
of exquisite music, led up to the choral chanting of the 
Russian choir. 

When the doors to the right and left opened, the 
Princess Esme Chilkoff entered, attended by the Count 
and Countess Ignatieff, as “ Pere et mere d’honneur.” 

The beautiful rebel was leaning upon the arm of her 
brother, and the two heirs of the Tcherkess crown were 
robed in the surpassing splendor of their mountain 
land. 

Captain Valerianofif and Ivan Petroff, in the uniform 
of the Russian army and navy, held the jeweled crowns 
over the bride and groom, when Lord Waldemere en- 
tered, attended by the American Major and a sturdy 
British officer in the full dress of a field officer of the 
Royal Artillery. 

Gathered in a semi-circle around the kneeling pair 
were Admiral Chestakoff (diverted on his way to the 
Riviera), Minister Baron Levassoff and his bewitch- 
ing Polish countess, the astute Gorlitz, proud of his 
St. Andrew’s cross and riband; with the Baroness Fa- 
daiefif and the bustling old Surgeon Paulofif. 

It was not strange that Paul Kurtz forgot all his 
diplomacy in attending Mrs. Robert Standiford, whose 
husband stood with the alert Consul Harvey Fox. 

Old Ali Roustan, clad in his silvered chain-mail 
armor, was a gallant figure, and, from the galleries, 
the .household of the feudal pair looked down upon the 
medieval scene! 

The Chevalier Mollenhaupt beamed upon the noble 
pair, as they three times made their circuit of the 
altar ! 

When the last chants had died away, a concealed 
orchestra burst into the Russian national anthem ! 

And then, the Minister of Marine and the ex-Dictator 
gravely saluted the peerless bride ! 


310 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 


Russia’s law and church gives you both its sanction 
and blessing ! ” said the great diplomat. 

“ With this Imperial permission of marriage, I trans- 
mit the patent of a Countess of the Empire to the 
Princess Esme Chilkoff, in her own name, antedating 
these marriage rites ! 

‘‘ Sent,” said Admiral Chestakoff, “ on behalf of the 
Czarina, to the sister who saved a brother’s life ! ” 

xA.nd then, the Baron Sternberg approached, with a 
young page at his side. 

“ This coronet of a countess,” the financier gravely 
said, “ links your feudal sovereignty of the Tcherkess 
tribes loyally to the mightiest power on earth ! It is 
my gift! May every diamond, only, grow brighter 
with years I ” 

At the supper which followed, it was General Milan- 
ovitch who gave the health of the bride, in an un- 
studied speech which made the banquet room ring 
with cheers ! 

And then, “ Berry of the Artillery ” said a few 
words which made Lord Waldemere grow grave. 

For the memories of old service days came back to 
call up “full many a friend in battle slain !” And, only 
Wardlawe knew how Esme Chilkoff had captured two 
foes of her country. 

When the glad shouts subsided, Prince Agar Chil- 
koff, standing with his radiant sister, clasped Major 
Wardlawe’s hand ! 

“ Here is one ! ” he cried, “ who shall not escape 
us ! The brother of our heart ! For he shall come to 
us, and hear the Circassian eagle’s glad cry of I'reedom 
as he soars over the peaks of Dariel ! 

“ To him, we owe a life now inexpressably dear to 
us both 1 To Captain Petroff, henceforth, the intendant 
of all my estates, I owe my own, for he guided the 
‘ Water Witch,’ through storm and danger to my re- 
lief I 

“ And now, the old Amoor Navigation Company 
goes forever out of existence ! 

“ For the Imperial Government has acquired the 
fastest steamer in the world, with all the privileges 


THE MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 3!! 

which the children of Boris Chilkolf gained from that 
father who died for the Czar ! 

Out into the mellow starlight, an hour later, the 
stern old Ali Roustan guided Lord and Lady Walde- 
mere, whose waiting train stood ready to bear them, 
by Bregenz, Constance, Geneva and Mont Cenis, to 
Nice. 

There, the new “Water Witch,” flying the meteor 
flag of England, lay ready to glide away into the cloud- 
less glow of eastern skies, where the planet of Love 
lights the splendid gorges of Dariel ! 

A hunter’s chorus followed them out into the night, 
as Prince Agar rallied his guests for the dance of the 
“ flambeaux ! ” 

Major Wardlawe and Captain Valerianoff stood to- 
gether, as the distant lights swept down the glen to the 
railway station ! 

“ You go with General Milanovitch, at once, to St. 
Petersburg,” said the American. 

“ I will be there, with my bodyguard of Sergeant 
Crampton and Devol, in two weeks ! 

“ For I shall hasten away across Siberia to begin 
the labor of erecting the great works ! These young 
merry-makers must release Admiral Chestakoff and 
the Count and Countess Ignatieff, but the others will 
stay and share Prince Agar’s merry prison life here, 
until he is permitted ‘ officially to exist ! ’ 

“ But, we have a tryst for next year with the Walde- 
meres at Dariel! ” gaily cried Valerianoff. 

“ This season will be my last professional tour ! ” 
cried the Major. 

“ I have strangely made a fortune by my connection 
with the Amoor Navigation Company. I will come to 
Dariel to meet you, Valerianoff, for, but for your gal- 
lant ride from the station, our friend ‘ Rezoff ’ would' 
never have taken his seat in the Plouse of Lords, or 
‘ reported his proceedings ’ to his mysterious principal, 
that sweetest of feminine rebels, the Princess Esme ! ” 

“ I must get a promotion for that sturdy Danish 
telegraph chief! ” cried the gallant Valerianoff. “ For 
he threw the whole lines open for us, and sent hun- 
dreds of men out to inspect the Manchurian relays! 


312 the 'MYSTERY OF A SHIPYARD. 

“ One half an hour’s delay in repairing that wire and 
Waldemere would have gone mutely to the gallows ! ” 

“ I have just learned a little secret of my own,” 
bashfully said Valerianoff. “ Count Ignatieff has se- 
cured my promotion to the rank of Major, which will 
enable me to give General Milanovitch a delightful 
shock on our arrival on the Neva! 

“ For his bright-eyed daughter Olga will be with 
me, as my wife, next year, when we meet in Agar’s 
quaint old Circassian palace !” 

“ And so, you, too, mingle love and war, you young 
rascal ! ” laughed Wardlawe, as Prince Agar sought 
out Major Wardlawe as a partner in the mazurka for 
the bewitching Countess Ilka Plessky! 

“ You must come and see me at my old chateau,” 
that wilful young beauty said, an hour later, to Ward- 
lawe, whose heart was still strangely wrung with the 
fate which had given Esme Chilkoff to another 1 

” You are a gallant and a loyal man I ” the serpentine 
Polish beauty said, in a whisper, as they parted. 

“ I have surprised your secret I It lingers in your 
loyal eyes ! 

” For, I saw you gazing on Esme as the rings were 
exchanged 1 Some one says ' It is hard to look upon 
happiness through another man’s eyes 1 ’ Now, come 
to us in Poland I There is always necessary to every 
man two women, one whom he loves, and one who 
loves him! Let me he the last! Bring me back this 
token ! ” and, as she fled away, with a glance which 
transfixed him, she left her glove, warm, perfumed, 
soft and inviting, in his hand ! 

” Dreams ! ” sighed the stern soldier. “ Boyish 
dreams ! Ich habe gelebt und geliebt ! ” 

Eor his heart was far away now, lingering by a grave 
in the great western land — a grave which called back 
Isabel, the sweet wife who fell asleep in her youthful 
beauty — with the roses clinging to the folded hands 
he had so often fondly kissed ! 


[the end.] 


HE imilll 01 HE giLL 

A VERY DRAMATIC NOVEL 


....BY.... 

Richard Henry Savage 

Sen. Maj. 2d U. S. V. Engineers 

Author of “My Official Wife/’ Etc., Etc. 

The First Battalion Second U. S. Volunteer Engineers, 
commanded by Major Richard Henry Savage, lay under the 
shotted guns of Morro Castle on November 26, 1898, and on 
the following day occupied the Marianao Hill. For weeks the 
gallant officer held this position until the Seventh Corps came 
to reinforce him. The first armed march of U. S. troops in 
Havana was the march of his command. They hoisted the 
first U. S. flag after 402 years of Spanish supremacy. A mas- 
ter of the Spanish language, Major Savage learned many of 
the secrets of Cuba’s death-grapple with Spain. 

These thrilling scenes, together with the heretofore unex- 
plained Story of the Destruction of the Maine, he has 
graphically described in the brilliant pages of The Hacienda 
On the Hill. 


Cloth, $1.25 Paper, 50 Cents 


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A Captive Princess 

% 

EY 

COL. RICHARD HENRY SAVAGE 

AUTHOR OF 

“ My Official Wife,’* “ An Exile from London,' 

ETC., ETC. 

Cloth, $1.25 Paper, 50 Cents 


“ Col. Savage has availed himself of his travels in Russia and other 
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and in St. Petersburg and other places in the land of the Czar. It introduces 
us into baronial halls and royal palaces, to balls and fetes, to princes, prin- 
cesses and high officials in military and civil life, to some Circassians and 
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secret service department, and shows how completely a suspected person, or 
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by spies eager to entangle him in the meshes of the law or to subject him to 
the imperious will of the reigning autocrat There are love scenes in the 
romance, of course, but they do not constitute the warp and woof of the story ; 
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ism and spooniness which characterize so many modern novels. A scrap of 
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angel ! Germany’s dreaded neighbor, the master of the Turk, the insincere 
ally of glittering, cafe-governed France, the hereditary foe of England, and 
the friend of no other land on earth. The awful domain of the white Czar ! ’ ” 
— Home Journal^ New York. 


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Irately ‘published 

The 

Midnight Passenger 

A Novel 

Bjk Col. Richard Henry Savage 

Author of**My Official WifCy’' The Shield of His Honor etc. 


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interest. 

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For sale by all booksellers., or sent prepaid by 

The Home Publishing Co. 

3 East 14TH Street, New York 


Sir Guy Chester 

OR 

The First of the English 

A NOVEL 

Showing how, years ago, England handled the question 
of Spanish barbarity in a neighboring province, similar 
to the Cuban one that the United States has solved 
to-day. 

— BY — 

Archibald' Clavering Gunter 

AUTHOR OF 

Mr. Barnes of New York, Etc. Etc. 


“ One of his cleverest stories ." — Brooklyn Eagle ^March 2,1 

“ A vivid and dashing sort of historical romance ." — San 
Francisco Chronicle, March 77, i 8 gg. 

“ Always true to his historical atmosphere .” — Syracuse Post, 
March 11, iSgj. 

“ As interesting as his former works .” — The Argus, Albany, 
N. Y. 

“ The story shows evidence of careful research and historic 
accuracy .” — Ntivark Daily Advertiser. 


THE HOME PUBLISHING COMPANY 

3 East Fourteenth Street 
NEW YORK 


Dol Shackfield 

'By Heber K. Daniels 

“The heroine makes the most of her life and arouses the 
whole admiration of the reader before the story ends.” — Church 
RevieWy Hartford, Conn. 

“The whole novel throbs with a life not often met with in 
the passive presentment of ink and paper. . . . The sharp 

contrast between the easy swing of fashionable English country 
life, the scenes in the ‘thieves’ kitchen,’ the home of the 
worker and the dramatic murder of Hopewood are sketched with 
a master-hand .” — New York World. 

“The author has achieved a work rirh in incident, correal 
in color and which has both locality and style. Mr. Daniels 
has created a noble woman in Dorothy Shackfield, victim of an 
early marriage which sacrifices the beauty born of a yeoman fam- 
ily to the early passions of a weak patrician. The whole lesson 
of the book is the evolution of human character, that ‘men 
may rise cn stepping stones of their dead selves to higher things.* 
The dramatic scenes of the accident in the Channel, the 
death of the pleasure loving patrician rouCy and the murder of 
the corrupt lawyer, are admirably sketched. The heroine, 
bright, brave and tender, devotes herself to the regeneration of a 
man and to building up anew a human charafter, Jt is a book 
of heart life, and its lesson is that ‘we are our brother’s 
keeper’ in the highest sense. There is a touch of Dickens in 
the descriptions of Dorothy’s home, and a reminder of Balzac 
in the detailed sketching of the humanity of the charaflers. 
Dol Shackfield’ s influence for good upon all who come near 
her is brought out without a shadow of preachiness. 

“A book to read, study, and from which lo draw conclu- 
sions with a sigh of contentment at the last .” — The Literary 
NewSy New York. 

Cloth, $1.25 Paper, 50 Cents 

The Home Publishing Co. 

3 East 14TH Street, New York 


Tangled Flags 



Archibald Clavering Gunter 


The Most Startling Novel of the Age 

r 

“A rattling romance.” — Neva York Herald. 

“Mr. Gunter has used his wide resources with wisdom. The closing 
scene is infinitely significant and expressive.” — Boston Ideas. 

“Mr. Gunter is a novelist of the people. He will retain his public as 
long as he turns out such books as ‘Tangled Flags.’ ” — Neiv York Mail and 
Express. 

“‘Tangled Flags’ is a book well worthy to begin the literature of the 
new century. Osuri Katsuma stands forth as strongly as any of Dumas’s 
heroes.” — The Literary News. 

“ A novel so well construfted and possessing so much of real and lasting 
dramatic quality that it will be read with keen interest when the events with 
which it deals have become matters of dim history. Just now it has a special 
value, because those events but recently thrilled all Christendom and are still 
fresh in the public mind. * * * While the flags of the nations are be- 

coming entangled in Peking, it is small wonder that these people, so diverse in 
charafter and training and purpose, should entangle their fortunes and affairs. 
But few living novelists have the genius and the personal acquaintance with the 
scenes and events that will help to weave them into such a satisfadlory romance 
as ‘Tangled Flags.’ ” — Bookseller y O^wsdealer and Stationer, 


Cloth, $1.50 Paper, 50 Cents 

At all booksellers or sent prepaid on receipt of price by 

The Home Publishing Co. 

3 East Fourteenth Street 
3fe w Tor 


Another T'riumph 


Archibald Clavering Gunter’s 


Cl^vel 

The Princess of Copper 

r HIS story, like Mr. Gunter’s “Miss 
Nobody of Nowhere,” which had 
such a phenomenal success, is a series 
of most exciting and fascinating pictures of 
both the salons of New York society and 
the rough-and-tumble mining camps of the 
West. It is divided into five books, as 
follows: 


Book I. The Rocky Mountains 
Book II. The Waldorf-Astoria 
Book III. A New York Toung Lady 
Book IV. A Great City after Dar\ 
Book V. JJna and the Lion 


Illustrations by the celebrated artist, 
ARCHIE GUNN 


Cloth, $1.50 


Paper, 50 Cents 


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Have You Read 


...THE... 

Fighting Troubadour 

By 

ARCHIBALD CLAVERINQ GUNTER 

AUTHOR OF 

** Mr, Barnes of New York” Princess of Paris** 

**M, S. Bradford^ Special” etc., etc, 

THIS NOVEJI^ IS DIVIDBII IlSTO KOUH 
TRKHHl^iDOUS ERISOOES: 

Book L— THE GIFT OF THE BATTLE=FIELD 
Book II.— THE PRINCESS MARIA 
Book III.— THE SINGING GIRL OF CREMONA 
Book IV.— A WILD NIGHT IN MIRANDOLA 

It ends with probably the most extraordinary and 
powerful climax ever put in the pages of a book or on 
the stage of a theatre. 

The time of the story is the same as Mr. Gunter 
treated in “ The Princess of Paris ” and “The King’s 
Stockbroker,” two books which have probably been as 
successful as any historical novels ever written, the 
first sales of them being over 170,000 copies in America 
and Canada, exclusive of the English editions. 


Cloth, $1.50 Paper, 50 Cents 


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/ Monthl'j 


SEPTEMBER. 


1901 


$S '00 per Annum 


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fhe Mystery 
of a Shipyard 

‘By j 

Col. Richard Henry Savage 


Author of 

“MY OFFICIAL WIFE,” “AN EXILE FROM LONDON,” 
“THE KING’S SECRET,” Etc. 

D ^ 

NEW YORK 

THE HOME PUBLISHINQ COMPANY 

3 EAST FOURTEENTH STREET 




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Entered at the Post office at New York as second-class mail maiipr 



Archibald Clavering Gunter’s 

World-read Works 


The SJVLost Successful SJfovels of the aAge 


Tangled Flags by A. C. Guntei 

The Princess of Copper by A. C. Gunter 

Adrienne de Portalis by A. C. Gunter 

The Fighting Troubadour by A. C. Gunter 

M. S. Bradford Special • — by A. C. Gunter 

Jack Curzon by A. C. Gunter 

A Lost American • by A. C. Gunter 

Mr. Barnes of New York by A. C. Gunter 

Mr. Potter of Texas • .by A. C. Gunter 

Miss Nobody of Nowhere by A. C. Gunter 

That Frenchman! by A. C. Gunter 

Miss Dividends.' by A. C. Gunter f 

Baron Montez of Panama and Paris by A. C. Gunter 

A Princess of Paris by A. C. Gunter 

The King’s Stockbroker .' — by A. C. Gunter 

The First of the English by A. C. Gunter 

The Ladies’ Juggernaut by A. C. Gunter 

Her Senator by A. C. Gunter 

Don Balasco of Key West by A. C. Gunter 

Bob Covington by A. C. Gunter 

Susan Turnbull by A. C. Gunter 

Ballyho Bey by A. C. Gunter 

Billy Hamilton by A. C. Gunter 


Cloth, $1.50 Paper, 50 Cents 

Sent postpaid on receipt of price by the publishers. 

Special terms on Library Editions forwarded 
on application. 

The Home Publishing Co. 

3 East i4th Street, New York 


Archibald Clavering Gunter’s 

NEW NOVEL 


%t)t 

©tacon’s g»econii 

is divided as follows 

BOOK I 

A NEW ENGLAND HOTEL MAN 
Chapter I The Drummer of the Village Band 
“ 11 Mrs. Russell’s Dinner Party 

“ III The Deacon’s Letter smells of Vice 
“ ly A Brand snatched from the Burning 
“ y Venus at the Washtub 

BOOK II 

THE PASSIONS OF A HERMIT 
Chapter VI Miss Broxton decides she is not in Love 
“ P II Society drives into the Deacon’s Back Yard 

“ VIII The Marble-headed Man 

“ IX Brother Ver Planck 

“ X A New Abelard 


BOOK III 

THE TRIBULATIONS OF RUTHY ABBOTT 


Chapter XI 
“ XII 
“ XIII 
“ XIV 
“ XV 


Elder Ver Planck’s Washing Powder 
“ Tell me who Ruth Abbott is ! ” 

“Give the Deacon his Second Wind’’ 
“Down on your Knees, Squire Perkins!” 
A Prejudice cruel as Death 


BOOK IV 

THE DEACON’S SECOND WIND 


Chapter XVI 
“ XVII 
“ XVIII 
“ XIX 
“ XX 
“ XX/ 


“ Sic him, Rover! ” 

“Was that Dad?” 

Tompkins’s Photographic Gallery 
Tight Boots have made ye cranky, Deacon 
Voices from Box B 
The Surprises of a Night 


Cloth, ;^i .50 


Paper, 50 cents 


At all Booksellers^ or sent prepaid on receipt of price by 


The Home Publishing Co. 

3 East 14th Street, New York 


JVhat some of America s 
ablest Critics say of 

JACK CURZON 

'Ey 

Archibald Clavering Gunter 

r 

“We find a story of great vivacity in A. C. Gunter’s ‘Jack Curzon.’ ” — U. Y, Sun. 

“Is full of dash and abounds with dramatic incident.” — New Haven Morning 
. News. 

“The book has lots of humor in it, is intensely interesting, and will certainly 
meet with universal favor.” — Daily Journal., Phillipsburg, Pa. 

“Gunter is certainly the novelist of the day, who comes nearest to Alexander 
Dumas, and to our taste he surpasses the Frenchman. If you doubt this, throw aside 
yoi’r encyclopedia and history, and study the Filipino question, with Jack Curzon as 
your guide and entertainer.” — Yhe Press-Knickerbocker., Albany, N. Y. 

“Jack Curzon will be received with pleasure in all parts of the country. . . . 

Mr. Gunter has all the faculties of a successful novelist. He is a graceful, forceful, pun- 
gent writer as occasion requires. He is a shrewd analyzer of charafter, and an excellent 
weaver of plots in which there is a warp and woof of amusing and thrilling incident.” 
— Oakland T’ribune. 

“Romance lurks in every corner of the story, and is guided with the special skill 
for which Mr. Gunter has already acquired a reputation. The tropical nature of the 
surroundings of Manila are painted with spirited color, and the author’s knowledge of 
prevailing Spanish conditions is strongly handled. The story is throughout one of ver- 
satile incident, so glowingly touched with reality that the clinching argument of the 
scenes so nearly simultaneously with the American viftory at Manila bring “Jack Cur- 
zon” forward as one of the most absorbing novels of the season . . . Mr. Gunter 

could not well have written a novel that would win more unanimous interest. It is 
equipped with every possible faftor to hold human attention, and is moreover pene- 
trated by peculiar mental virility and color.” — Boston Ideas. 

Cloth, $1.50 ' Paper, 50 Cents 

For sale by all booksellers.^ or sent prepaid on receipt of price 

The Home Publishing Co. 

3 East 14TH Street, New York 





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