Logansport Pharos-Tribune from Logansport, Indiana on October 15, 1897 · Page 22
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Logansport Pharos-Tribune from Logansport, Indiana · Page 22

Logansport, Indiana
Issue Date:
Friday, October 15, 1897
Page 22
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CHAPTER 1. -Vladimir Saradoff, a Russian, beinir heir tp the fortune of his nephew, Maurice Hammond, an American, in case of hid uepbew'i eetuh. conspires to have him sent to Hu»ela in order to Ret him in his power. IT.— Hammond and his friend, Philip Danvers arrive at St. Petersburg, and Saradoff lays plane to have them arrested us conspirators against the government, CHAPTER IIL ARRESTED. One day •Maurice Hammond and Philip Danvers spent amid the grandeur and magnificence of St Petersburg—a day BO vivid in contrast to the darkness and gloom that followed that it will ever remain nndimmed in their rnemo- tiog. In a huge Bnssian sleigh, drawn by .three powerful horses, they drove the jength of the vast Nevskoi Prospekt—a boulevard more than 100 feet broad and three miles long. The buildings were 'huge, massive and imposing; the frozen roadway was filled with sleighs of every description, from the peasant's humble -box on runners to the magnificent turnouts at the nobility. The sidewalks: were thronged with foot passengers, merchants, porters, civil servants, offi-j cen in long cloaks, ladies in JPnrigiani toilets, priest* in flowing btack gowns •nd-brimleM hat*, while over the hori- •onToee gilded and painted dome* and counties! Greek crosses. Presently the great street merged Into the Court quay, a marvelous highway of rose granite, bordered on the one sidle by the palaces of the nobility, on the other by the frozen waters of the Neva. Ivan, sitting like a statue on the front seat, pointsont from time to time places of note—the Winter palace, where the czar lives in regal state; the adjoining hermitage and the palaces of the grand dukes. Now ho inclines his hand across the frozen Neva. , "The fortress," he says briefly, and "'i can't speak Russian," Maurice finally stammered in despair. "Ha!" cried the officer joyously. "You are English. I speak your larf- guage too. That was a noble deed. These base cowards here were too alarmed to move. To whom do I owe my life?" And he thrust a card into Maurice's hands. At that moment a bareheaded man, wearing the garb of one of the palace servants, pushed forward and momentarily attracted the officer's attention. On the same instant a pair of strong arms were thrown about Maurice, and he was forcibly dragged through the crowd and lifted into the sleigh. Ivan Tambor—for it was he—ehouted to the driver, and before Maurice could recover breath to speak the sleigh had passed out of the square, and the horses were galloping swiftly through th« crowded street. Maurice turned to the Russian. "What did yon do that for?" he exclaimed indignantly. Ivan Tambor stared him full in the eyes, with an expression on his face that made Maurice shiver. "It was necessary," he said briefly. "We should have been arrested. Private ileighs are not allowed in the square during a review." "I don't believe what he says," whispered Phil when the Russian's- back was turned. "I mistrust that man, Maurice. 2ou should have seen how savage he looked when you dragged that officer ont of danger. I wonder who he was?" "I have his QBrd," whispered Maurice, "but I don't intend to risk taking itoirthere. Ivan don't know I have it." Little did Maurice imagine when he acted on that resolve what an important bearing that deed was destined to have upon future ffvents. The siK»t winter day was nearly over with thrilling interest the boys gaze on ' when they reached Vladimir Saradoff's the bastions aud towers of that noted citadel where unhappy prisoners languish in their bombproof cells. For hours they drove through the streets, crossing and recrossing the seven canals which appear in erery direction. Turning back late in the afternoon, they entered through a massive archway tho palace square. A burst of music reached the boys' ears, and a scene of splendor opened before them. From the center of the square towered tho shaft of red granite, the Alexander column, and at its buse the band of the Imperial guard was playing airs from Offenbach. Mounted Cossacks were keeping back tho impetuous crowd. "There has been a review," said Ivan. "The troops are returning." He signaled to the driver, and as the eleigh drew up before the imposing facade of the admiralty the head of the line, a squad of the Imperial guard, reached the archway. Close behind at a sharp trot came the Asiatic troops— Georgians, Persians, Circassians and Mongols, armed with lances and steel maces, clad in long coats of mail. Then followed compact bodies of in- lantry, Finland chaeseurs and the giants of the Paul regiment with massive copper hats, marching sharply to avoid the hordes of cavalry who were crowding nt their heels, red hussars, grena diers, lanners and swarms of Cossacks on their shaggy ponies. They hastened ou toward their quarters, and as the last Cossack ambled through tho arch u battery of artillery charged into the square from the other extremity. Maurice watched the approaching group with eager interest. They clattered paet the Alexander column, the fiyy black chargers curveting and piaucing to the music of the band, and as they drew near the arch an officer, superbly uniformed nnd mounted, galloped into the square almost beside the •leigh where the boys sat. The horse slipped on the smooth trodden snow and plunged heavily to the ground, bearing his rider with him and pinning him firmly from the waist downward directly in the track of the rumbling cannons. One loud cry burst from the startled apectators, and the artillery horses, soared at the uproar, boro madly down on tho helpless officer, lost to all restraint. Maurice took in the situation at n glacce—the frightened people ou the sidewalks, the mounted Cossacks before the sleigh, who seemed petrified with horror, and the rapidly advancing artillery. Ho sprang to tho ground, nnd in three leaps reached the luckless officer's side. Grasping him under the arms, he pulled with all his might, once, twice, and as the portly form yielded he sprang back with his burden from under the very hoofs of the snorting horses and •ank down ou the trampled snow. The heavy cannon passed within an inch of his feet, and then, with a sickening crunch, the wheels roiled, over the fallen steed. ! Eager hands lifted them to their feet, j and a shouting mob surged around on nil sides. The officer, who was apparently uninjured, tore loose from the Cossacks, who were brushing his uniform, and seizing Maurice in his arms implanted a kiss i fairly upon his lips, talking volubly all I mansion, and the dim, coppery sun waa slanting on the gilded domes and crosses of the imperial city. Dinner was served in solitary state, a fitting accompaniment to the maguifi oence which the boys had just witnessed. Waiters attired in European full dress supplied them with curious Russian dishes, and all the while Ivan Tambor stood motionless in a corner of the room. "His excellency your uncle wishes you to start for Moscow at 4 o'clock in the morning," he said to Maurice 'when the boys had returned to tho library. "Do you prefer to retire early or shall I escort you to the Italian opera:" "I don't care anything about the opera for ray part," said Maurice, "but I should like very much to see the city by night. What do you say, Phil?" "iSplendid," rejoiced his friend. 'Ivan shrugged his shoulders, gave an order to a servant who answered the bell, and in ten minutes the sleigh was again at the door. They drove for miles through the dimly lighted streets, finally passing ont on the frozen Neva and speeding far down toward the gulf of Finland on the smooth crust. As they were returning through one of the spacious streets leading into the Nevskoi Prospekt a man in fur coat and 2¥ic officer halted 6c f orc the wondering boy's. cap emerged from the portal of a brilliantly lighted mansion. The rays from a lamppost close by showed Maurice a strangely familiar face. ' 'Is not that my uncle," he exclaimed, "that man with the heavy coat?" Ivan Tambor turned quickly in the direction Maurice indicated, but the man had already vanished in the shadows. His excellency is in Moscow, "he said. "There may have been a resemblance, nothing more." Maurice was readily satisfied with this explanation, but an hour later, as he to*sed sleeplessly on his bed, he wondered vaguely whether that could have been Vladimir Saradoff or not. The features were very like those of his uncle, he felt sure. Puzzling over this and various other Incidents of his brief visit, he fell asleep. The boys weie awakened early, and after a hasty breakfast, eaten by the light of. huge bronze lamps, Ivan announced that the sleigh was waiting to convey them to the station. At his request the boys handed him their passports. He refused to accept any money for the railway tickets. His excellency your nncle has given. "Dis- ttw while la Russian. He wira noble ] me instructions," he said quietly. looking man, with a light waiy beard J *"**• £2«*2§W abont nothing." St. fetersonrg was eOKnl as .toe grave when they drove away from Vladimir Saradoff's mansion. As the more central parts of the city were reached some activity was noticed, and at the railway station all was hurry and excitement. "It is 14 hours to Moscow," gaid Ivan. "Toa will want sleeping apartments. Stay here while I get the tickets." In the brief period that he was gone Maurice found time to examine the card given him the day before by the Russian officer. He read it aloud, "Colonel Alexis Jaroslav, St. Petersburg." "I'll put that, away safely," he said to his companion. "I may meet the colonel some day a.*ter our return from Moscow." Little did Maurice think under what circumstances he and Colonel Jaroslav would next meet. He had barely time to replace the card in the inner pocket of his vest when Ivan came hurrying back with the tickets, and in 20 minutes they were rattling over the frozen land toward the distant city of Moscow. The sleeping apartments were quite as comfortable as those on American railways, and the boys slept undisturbed until long past noon. Then they took their places by the window, eager to see the country they were traveling through. The landscape was flat and monotonous, relieved at long intervals by straggling villages and occasional lonely dwellings. Thus the afternoon wore on, and the sbort day came to an end. Shortly after dark Ivan gave the boys their passports, which they placed in their pockets without examining. "I have had them properly stamped," he exclaimed. "Thus you will have no delay at Moscow.'' "How near are we to the city?" asked Maurice. "Half an honr'sride," was the reply, and after piling the boys' baggage on a seat in front of them Ivan entered a rear car, "It is difficult to believe that we are really approaching Moscow," said Maurice. "I feel quite reconciled al ready to leaving St. Petersburg." "I've been thinking about Napoleon and the terrible retreat of his army all the afternoon," said Phil. "I wonder if any traces still remain of the great fire?" Suddenly the train slowed' up and then stopped abruptly with a little jerk. Looking out of the window, the boys saw a stretch of trodden snow, and the feeble glow from a coupla of lampposts •aone on a little group of gendarme officers, with white caps ornamented with crimson cockades, and half a dozen mounted Cossacks in the background, with their dull green uniforms. '' Why, this is not Moscow," exclaimed Maurice. "There are no houses in sight. Why have we stopped, and what is going on?" The other passengers in the car, half a dozen in number, flocked curiously to the window. At that instant the door was thrown open, and a grave, stern faced man in heavy military cloak and cap strode in, followed by half a dozen gendarmes who carried drawn swords. The passengers, divining only too well the cause of this interruption, withdrew in fear to their seats. The officer halted before the wondering boys. "Passports," he demanded sternly, and as they were handed to him he glanced them over briefly and thrust them into his pocket. He nodded to the gendarmes behind him, who instantly seized the pile of baggage, and then he clapped Maurice and Phil on the shoulder in a manner that was unmistakable. "What do you want?" cried Maurice In bewilderment. "Is anything wrong with our passports? Where is Ivan? He can explain this blunder." But Ivan was nowhere to be seen. As the boys hesitated the officer gave an emphatic command in Bnssian, and instantly the gendarmes closed in on them and dragged them roughly from the car. Their baggage had already preceded them. Reaching the ground, they had a brief view of a lonely, deserted street, two long rows of glimmering lampposts that dwindled to a point, and a gloomy, closed carriage, with two gendarmes mounted on the box. The door was flung open to admit them and closed with a sharp click. They had a glimpse of the train as it moved slowly forward again, with its curious passengers swarming at the windows, and then the carriage rumbled noisily through the deserted outskirts of the city, surrounded by a cordon of mounted Cossacks. In faraway St. Petersburg Vladimir Saradoff, with a smile on his lips, is whirling a fair partner over the waxen floors of the French legation to the bewitching strains of the Grenadiers' band. Thousands of versts to the eastward the heartbroken Russian exiles are sleeping their sad sleep on frozen Siberian wastes. Russia is the land of extremes. CHAPTER IV. OFF FOR SIBERIA. A gendarme had accompanied them into the carriage, and when Maurice attempted to speak he harshly enjoined silence. The boys felt but little alarm or uneasiness. They were familiar with the strict system of espionage that prevails in Russia and naturally supposed that something was wrong with their passports. That it was a very remarkable proceeding for the police to stop a train on the outskirts of Moscow never occurred to them. Thus, in happy ignorance of their fate, worried only on Ivan's account, who they feared was ignorant of what bad happened, they rode on into the city, turning in and out through dark, gloomy streets, Txntil a somber stone building was reached, feebly lighted by • bunch of snf Jets over the portal.. They were hurried across the sidewalk, through a gloomy hall, and ushered into a small apartment, where two severe looking men were writing at, tables. A couple of windows, crossed by heavy iron bars, seemed to open on the street. In the center of the room was a square pen surrounded by a railing, and as the boys entered this two gendarmes followed them in and began to search their clothing. No part of their persons was neglected. Their handkerchiefs, pocketbooks, cardcasea and watches were removec and placed on a large table, where their traveling bags were already lying. The gendarmes retired to a bench on the other side of the room, the officials at the table ceased writing, and presently the officer who had boarded the train entered by a private door and sat down at a large desk facing the boys. He took their passports from his pocket, and glancing over them spoke a ! few words in Russian to the two assistants, who at once began to write. A gendarme stood by his side, handing "him the various articles from time to time, which be subjected to a minute examination. The money and watches were laid to one side, and then he open ed the cardcases. Maurice, who saw all that was going on, was amazed to see that they were empty. Cards, letters and various memoranda that they had possessed were missing. But a still greater surprise was in store for him. The officer opened the traveling bags and turned the contents upon the desk. He placed aside the various toilet implements, clothes, brushes, collars and other articles of apparel, until there rs mained before him a collection of strange objects that neither Maurice nor Phil bad ever seen before. These comprised a bunch of what resembled handbills printed in strange characters, half a dozen letters sealed and addressed and two or three books bound in yellow paper covers, the titles of which Maurice was unable to read. Forgetting all prudence, he sprang to his feet. "This is a mistake," he exclaimed. "Those are not our things. Send for my uncle, Vladimir Saradoff. He can explain this"— Before he could say more two gendarmes jerked him back on his chair, a forcible manner of enjoining silence which Maurice was not slow to understand. The officer inspected these strange objects with a grave countenance. He continued dictating to the assistants, who wrote as rapidly as their handa could trsvel over the paper. It vas evident that the situation had now assumed a serious phase. The boys still believed that an error had been made somewhere. Not a glimmer of the truth entered their minds. Unable to speak a word oi Russian, they were in a bad plight. How could they acquaint Vladimir Saradoff with their predicament? Maurice had fairly resolved to make another effort to speak when the officer signaled to the gendarmes, and the boys were led into another apartment furnished with a rude bed, two chairs and a small table. The heavy door was locked, and they were iilone. "This is dreadful," exclaimed Phil, throwing himself on the bed. ' 'I wish we had never seen Russia." "Keep np your spirits," replied Maurice. "All will come right. My uncle will discover where we are before the night is over." Unable to sleep, the boya discussed their strange situation for an hour or more, expecting every moment to learn that Vladimir Saradoff had arrived. This was their belief when at last the prison door wa£ opened to admit the officer who had conducted the examination. But no such glad tidings awaited them. The Russian seated himself on a chair and sharply surveyed his prisoners before he spoke. Then he drew a card from his pocket which Maurice recognized as the one given to him by the man he had saved Erorn death. I speak your language," he said in badly accented English. "I may be able to mitigate your lot, if yon are sensible. This card was found in your possession. We have reason to believe that a conspiracy exists against his highness Colonel Jaroslav. Your own case is hopeless. Any information you may give will help yourselves and will be used in secret" The officer looked inquiringly-at the DOVS, who were quite at a loss to know what to make of this strange speech. "I don't understand yon," said Manrice. "I only know that a great mistake aas been made, and with your permission I will try to explain." The officer nodded, and straightway Maurice related everything that had happened to them from the moment they left Berlin, dwelling especially on ais relationship to Vladimir Saradoff. As he proceeded in his narration the Russian's face expressed a strange mixture of incredulity and anger. It was evident that he did not believe one word that Maurice was saying. "Stop," he exclaimed impatiently. I have listened to enough lies. You refuse my offer. You will repent it when too late. You deny, then, that you are the Englishmen, Oumminge and 3urton, named in the passports; that you are the agents of the revolutionists n London; that you were bound to Moscow with nihilistic placards and books and letters addressed to dangerous and suspected persons. Our government is always alert. The minister of the interior had accurate knowledge of your movements, and by bis instruction yon were arrested OH the train. I should have told you nothing, but I wished to offer you thta cfcanoe of benefiting yourselves. "• "Send for Vladimir Saradoff!" cried Maurice excitedly. "This u all a terrible mistake, I assure 700. My uncle can help ns." The officer laughed disdainfully. "Hia excellency Vladimir Saradoff is in St. Petersburg, and, as for this Ivan you speak of, no such person reached the Moscow station this evening. Yon reject my offer. I wash my hands of you." Refusing to hear another word, he hastened from the room, and the guard in the corridor banged the heavy door. Up to this moment neither of the boys had even suspected the truth. It remained for Maurice to make that startling discovery, and as the realization of his uncle's treachery forced itself upon him—dimly at first, but speedily strengthened by added proofs —he saw what stared him in the face. With a cry of despair he threw himself on the bed, and when, at Phil's entreaties, he sat up his face was pitiful in its hopelessness. "We are lost, Phil," he said. "We shall never see America again. What fools we were ever to venture on Rus- siau soil! I see it all—the perfidy of the man who calls himself my uncle. He never came to Moscow at all. That was Vladimir Saradoff we saw in St. Petersburg. Ivan -was his accomplice, and together they formed this conspiracy. "Ivan stole our cards, our passports, every means of identification we had, and "substituted false passports and the other things which were found in our bags. We are lost." "But how can such a thing be?" exclaimed Phil in bewilderment. "Our innocence must be discovered. You can prove your relationship to Vladimir Saradoff.'' "You know little about Russia," replied Maurice. "We are absolutely helpless, Phil. No one will listen to us or believe us. We shall not be permitted to write letters, and on the strength of that evidence we shall be condemned without a shadow of a trial, Vladimir Saradoff will cover up his tracks too well. For myself it matters little, but you, Phil—your father and mother, your sisters"— Here Maurice broke down completely. Phil bravely tried to comfort him, and presently he became more composed. They discussed their situation from every conceivable point of view, but not a ray of light could be discovered- It was really so hopeless that Maurice, who possessed a fair knowledge of the Russian police system, dared not hold out any encouragement to his companion. The most puzzling thing to him was his uncle's motive for such a crima He was ignorant of the terms of his mother's will, or Ms quick wits would have divined the truth. On reflection, however, he remembered what a fierce hatred Vladimir Sara- doff had always borne his father, and allowing for the transfer of this enmity from father to son the solution of the mystery becarn* <aore clear. "What do you suppose they will do with us?" asked Phil. The answer was already trembling on Maurice's lips, but he checked himself. "He will know the truth soon enough," he thought, so he replied eva- eively, "I don't know, Phil—perhaps a long confinement :in some Russian fortress." The hours of that night seemed interminable. Sleep was out of the question, and the first gray gJimmer of dawn that crept into the dreary cell through a narrow aperture, high upon the wall, found the two boys wearily pacing the floor. A fairly good breakfast was presently brought, which they barely tasted, and then -appeared a gendarme officer and four men, who led the boys away. Maurice begged for a brief interview with the commanding officer, hoping to convince him of the truth, but the guards refused to listen and hurried them into the street, where a close carriage was waiting, hemmed about by mounted Cossacks. Through the gray mist they had a hasty vision of countless domes and spires of marvelous colors and fantastic shapes. Then the heavy curtains cut off the view, and the carriage rolled away. It stopped before a huge brick building, and tbe boys passed quickly through the gloomy portals. Tbe gendarme officer preceded them with a stamped document in his hand, which be delivered to a big, black bearded man in blue uniform, who came forward to receive him. A few words passed between them, and then the boys were led away to a small, whitewashed oell, furnished with a single bed and a chair. A grated door opened on a large corridor, which WM constantly patrolled by armed sentries! ] They were now in the great forwarding prison of Moecow, and the commandant, Captain Sasha, had just received the official documents that sealed their fate. Russian justice knows DO delay. During their two days' confinement here the boys attempted in vain to open communications with the commandant. Not the slightest attention was paid to their entreaties, and no one came near the cell except the guards. On the third day their clothes were stripped off, and they were given, in place of them, coarse linen shirts and trousers, long gray overcoats with yellow, diamond shaped patches sewed between the shoulders, and visorless caps of the same material. Attired in these coarse garments, they were conveyed in the dusk of the evening to the railway station, in company With a dozen other poor wretches, and placed in a huge, dreary ear with nar-. row, grated windows and rough board seats. 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