Logansport Pharos-Tribune from Logansport, Indiana on October 20, 1897 · Page 22
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Logansport Pharos-Tribune from Logansport, Indiana · Page 22

Logansport, Indiana
Issue Date:
Wednesday, October 20, 1897
Page 22
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CHAPTER 1. -Vladimir Paradoff, a Russian, belnif heir u> tbe fortune of hie nephew, Man • rice Hammond, an Arrarican, in rase of bis nephew> «eath. conspires to have him sent to 'Kugsla In order to net him in his power. IT.— Hammond and hid friend, Philip Danvers arrive at 8t Petersburg, and Saradoff lays plbns to have them arrested as conspirators aitainet tbe government. Ill and IV— Hamnond at a review saves the. life of Colonel Jarosiav. Proceeding to Moscow, they are arrested and Bent to Sibera. On the way the boat on which they travel catches fire, and they, with two other convicts escapt In » skiff.V VI and VII—Hammond and i anvers pursue their way with the two other prl'onere, who attack an approaching wagon. Hammond and Daovere defend an officer In the wagon. A troop of Cossacks appears and recaptures all the prisoner*. The officer tells the Americans tost they will probably be shot, butin vie* of their services to him he will do ail he can for them. V1I1, IX X—They are sentenced to be shot. The sentence Is commuted to imprisonment at Kara, but a riot In which they are Involved results i in their being- put to work In tho mines of Kara | ' CHAPTER XI. | THE MINES OF KAKA. They were hurried through tie corridor into a rear apartment, ajid the door vas quickly closed. The danger was past, however, and the Cossack officer, alter driving his men from the house, returned to claim his prisoner*. "Yes," he said, "these are my men. This is Platoff, the fellow who caused all the disturbance." And he glared threateningly at the Russian, who was iitting on the floor nursing his wounded leg. Then, turning to the officer In command of the building, he added: "I •hall have to leave these fellows in your charge overnight. I fear many of the convicts have escaped, and we must lose no time in retaking them. We have taught your Irkutsk mob a, lesson they won't forget, and we are by no means done with them yet." And swearing •violently he hurried away. "Where ara we?" asked Platoff of tho officer who had arrested them. "What hour^is this?" «r to •you liafe assaulted and broken in- the czar's storehouse of exile sup- ! with abundant proofs of the dreadful crime. Of himself Platoff spoke little. Ee bad been neither a terrorist nor an extremist, he said, but had merely labored in behalf of social reforms. On the flimsiest of evidence he was convicted and sentenced to Siberia for ten years. He had been educated at tbe Moscow university and was an educated and scholarly man. These and many other topics he discussed with the boys at every opportunity on their long march, aad in this way both .Maurice and Phil acquired a fluent knowledge of the Russian language that permitted them to converse freely. Platoff told theza much about the mines of Kara, its rules and regulations. "We are all three political prisoners," he said, "and we shall be treated as such. For some months we shall be kept in close confinement in the prison. At the expiration of that time, if we behave ourselves in accordance with the rules, we will be permitted to join the frw command and live outside the prison in cabins, subject, of course, *o constant police supervision.'' "But how about the mines?" asked Maurice. "Will we not be compelled to work in them?" "No," replied Platoff; "only the ordinary criminals do that. Politicals never labor in the mints." "And when once we are allowed to j»>i« this free command and live outside the prison what are our, chances of, escape?" continued Maurice. Platoff shrugged hjs shoulders. "We won't discuss that," ha said. "Many escape every year, some striking westward, others down the valley of the Amur toward the Pacific, but all are eventually recaptured and are made to pay dearly for their brief pe- j teTed atxxnt, ontTSoi naif enough Co accommodate the inmates of the prison. Inside the doorway the newly arrived exiles, not more than 30 in number, were halted, and an officer, with a paper in his hand, called" out the names one by one and checked them off as they were responded to. Tbe commandant of the prison, a tall, bearded officer, wii;h a harsh face, stood by his side, closely watching the proceedings. When the last name had been called, the officer rolled up the paper and handed it to the commandant, saying: "There now, Captain Daroman, my duty is done, and I will leave these fellows under your authority. Take good care of them and don't give them too rich food or they will all get dyspepsia." The officer laughed at his own weak witticism and passed out of the door, which one of tha Cossacks held open for him. The weary exiles made a motion to press forward into the room, but Captain Daioman waved them back with his hand. Then in a hoarse voice he begap to speak briefly, going over the prison rules and reciting at length the severe punishment in store for any one daring enough to break them. Maurice watched him closely and read in the lines of that cold, stern face tl»e evidence of « pitiless and malignant disposition. Wretched indeed would existence be in that prison tinder t'ae will of Captain Daroman. He ceased at last, and as he turned away Paul P-latoff stepped quickly forward. "Captain Daroman," he said respectfully, "I am a political prisoner, and so also are these two men," designating Maurice and Phil. "1 should like to know why we have J»tn brought here instead of to the political prison at the lower diggings?" plies," was the stern reply, "and I am | r j oc j O f liberty. Yet if a chance offered +Vi.ci /•iffinGT ^TI r*r\tvi m ?\iifl <rf 1 fc * * T ii • I_T TJ j._.1_ n ;*' m;_-.« .-«; 11 4-nl the officer in command of it. This announcement was a great surprise to Phitoff. The fact that he h;id stormed single handed a building held by the soldiers seemed to impress him from a ludicrous standpoint, for he turned toward the. boys with a comical expression on his face. Maurice was trembling in fear of the consequences of this rash act, and Phil was leaning against the wail, very pale and dazed. A surgeon presently arrived, who dressed the bullet wound in Platoff's leg, uud then the prisoners were led away and placed in separate cells, large, dreary apartments half filled with huge wooden chests. Maurice spent a wretched night. He tossed from side to side tryiug in vain to sleep, and listening to the monotonous tread of tho sentry. At daybreak a file of mounted Cossacks uarne after the prisoners. Platoff, on account of his wounded leg, was mounted on horseback, and the boys, heavily ironed, were placed between two columns of soldiers. As they passed through the square Maurice could with difficulty believe that it was the scene of last night's struggle. The place was almost deserted. A few people stood on the street corners, and the shutters of the somber gray houses were tightly closed, probably to hide the broken windows. The forwarding prison was soon reached. It was a large, dilapidated building on the outskirts of the city. The boys were separated from Platoff as soon as they entered the courtyard and taken away to a large cell, where they were locked up together. Here they spent neatly two weeks of trying suspense, expecting any moment to be led out and shot for their participation in the riot. The guards visited them daily, but it was impossible to obtain any information from them, and Maurice's entreaties to the commanding officer of the prison were unheeded. Then one cold, raw morning they were hurried through the courtyard in the early dawn. Outside in the dreary street an exile party was forming, and before it •was fully light the long procession was winding over the frozen ground toward the distant mines of Kara. That last stage of tho journey was more dreadful than anything that had preceded it. Winter set in with arctic severity, and the wretched exiles toiled through snow and ice, shivering iu their scanty garments, weak for want of nourishing food, and sleeping at night in road stations where every form of disease brooded in the vitiated air. Many died, uud some were left in vayside hospitals, but Maurice and Phil fortunately escaped serious illness, though they grew more emaciated day by day. One slight, consolation alleviated their misery. Paul Piatoff journeyed at their side each day, and the strange acquaintance that began on the terrible i f olce night of the riot ripened into a deep j and lasting friendship. The famous! revolutionist, for such he was, possessed many traits which the boys admired. He was kind hearted and sympathetic, and, more than all, he readily believed the tale of crime and sorrow that they poured into his willing ear. Consolation, however, he could not give them, j He explained the iniquities and tho cor- ; ruptiou of Rn=siau. justice with a viv- i idness that made his hearers shudder, : and he showed them how utterly hope- ICM it would be to attack Vladimir , Bmadoff'g intrenched oosjtion. even I think I would take it. Time will tel whether I will be compelled to serve out rny sentence at the mines of Kara.' "How far from the mines is the Pa cific ocean?" inquired Phil. "Less than 1,000 miles," was Pla toff's answer. "The Amur river leads right to Vladivostok, the Russian seaport. '' "And once at Vladivostok wha' chance of liberty %vould there be?" asked Maurice eagerly. "In the harbor," said Platoff, "there are constantly English, French, German, Spanish and American vessels— and Russian corvets," he added, with a grim smile. The boys scarcely heard the last words. In imagination they saw a noble vessel riding at anchor, with tho dear old stars and stripes wav ing over her deck. "March lively, now, do yon hear!" cried a Cossack soldier harshly, and with tear dimmed eyes the boys quick ened their steps, while Platoff trudged stolidly forward, buried in his own thoughts. One thing they had overlooked. In the time that had elapsed since the riot at Irkutsk and their assault on the czar's storehouse they had come to believe that no further punishment would be inflicted upon them. Even Platoff, who should have known better, was lulled into a false security. Everything must have an end, and 80 this apparently interminable sourness, this toiling over desolate Siberian wastes and frozen rivers, was finished at last, and one dreary afternoon in the month of January the mines of Kara burst upon the heartsick exiles, and presently the command to halt ran up and down the line. In the thickly falling snow little could be seen—the dim outline of gloomy houses, gronps of exiles moving to and fro and squads of armed Cossacks in all directions. For two hours or more the newly arrived party were kept standing in ranks until their limbs were frosfi bitten and the snow was heavy on their heads and shoulders. It was dark when the little column was ordered forward again. A brief march brought them to a low, gloomy log building, and presently the prison doors were closed behind them, and the long march was ended. The gold mines of Kara are the private property of his imperial majesty the czar. They consist of a series of open gold placers, located along the banks of the river Kara, a narrow and rapid mountain stream. Through this Kara valley lies a scattered chain of prisons, mines and convict settlements. At the lower diggings centers the administration of the whole settlement. There resides the governor of the prisons, and there, in barracks, dwells a military force sufficient to quell any insurrection that may arise. Closely connected with the lower diggings lies middle Kara, where the gloomy prison of the working convict is located. There, in company with the ordinary and vicious criminals, Maurice and his companions had been placed, though the significance of the fact did not once occur to them. The interior of the con\ict prison was gloomy and wretched beyond description. The floor and the walls were covered with the accumulated dirt of years, the narrow windows admitted through their dusty panes a meager supply of light, and the atmosphere waa vile and stifling. Long, slanting platforms of bare., nnplaned boards served for sleeping purjjqses, A_levr benches wet«.scat- CHAPTER XIL A DARINO ACT. Captain Daroman wheeled like flash, an ugly expression on his face. "Yon mutinous dog," he shouted "beginning already, asre you? I'll maki an example of yon for th.e benefit of th> others.'' He turned toward the soldiers apparently on the point of giving son: orders, while Platoff's face flushed crim son and his hands quivered nervously. However, Captain Daroman suddenly changed his mind, and he turned onee more to Platoff, with a grim smile hov ering on his lips. "So you wish to know why you. ar< here, do you? So this place is not good enough for you? You'll find out befon you get through, let me tell you What's your name? I can readily guess, though. You are Platoff, *±f. revolution' ist. Stand to one side the?y and let your two friends come forward too. Birds of a feather must flock together." Maurice and Phil timidly advanced few paces from the throng, and the commandant surveyed them with a lowering aspect. "What are your names?" he asked fiercely. Maurice hesitated. To proclaim him- eelf under tbe false title by which he had been arrested would be, a tacit acknowledgment of the name, while to tell the truth would undoubtedly cause serious trouble and excite Captain Dar- oman's wrath to its fullest extent. At this critical moment Platoff came to the rescue. "Their names are Cunningham and Burton," he said respectfully. "They are but little acquainted with the Russian tongue." , Maurice attempted to titter a feeble protest, but a glance from Platoff ei- lenced him. The commandant scanned the paper he held in his hand. "Platoff, Cunningham, Burton," he muttered under his breath. Then, looking up keenly, he said: "And so yon think it is strange that you were not taken to the political prison: Have you forgotten Irkutsk on the night of the 22d of September? Etave you forgotten the riot, the slaughtered soldiers, the 1 What are your names?" he asked fiercely. attack on the czar's storehouse? Did you think to escape the penalty of those misdeeds? Justice does not sleep in Russia. Yon were cried and convicted without your knowledge. Sentence was ;iven—you say yon did not know it" Very well, I have the decree of sentence here. It is enough for yon to mow that yon are condemned to work out yoor time at hard labor in the mines nstead of idling in a political prison. In me you will have no lenient taskmaster. I shall esac.t the fullest obedience. I know how to deal with fellows ike you. .Now go and be prepared in the morning to handle your picks in the czar's gold mines." Captain Daroman turned haughtily away, and the crowd pressed forward, dragging Maurice and bis companions with them. Dazed by what they had just heard, iey dropped mechanically on the wooden platform. It was difficult at first to realize the nil infport of Captain Daroman'a words. The truth dawned on them gradual- y. and their own fate jwai brouei* more Yiviary to mlnfl "by the arrival ot a convict party from the mines, a haggard group of men, soaked to the skin, who entered with a clanking of chains between a file of soldiers. Toil and sleep, ever the same, without rest or change—such is life at the mines of Kara, Platoff first fell into a paroxysm of anger, but in presently passed off, and he went calmly to sleep, an example which tbe boys, through sheer weariness, were forced to imitate. Maurice awoke first. A faint streak of gray was shining through the dirty window, and as he sat up rubbing hi eyes a druro began to beat, and the con victs aron:od him left th£ir hard bed without an instant's hesitation. "Come," said Platoff, seizing Man rice by the shoulder; "delay will insure a speedy punishment." Phil waii up by this time, and they joined the crowd, who were pressin ; forward toward the d'oor. A Cossaci officer stood at the entrance, book in band, and at once proceeded with th< morning verification. The men answer ed to the:ir names as they were calle< out and Khen scattered through th< room. A few moments later breakfast wa served, consisting of weak tea and blac] rye' bread, and as soon as this was ove: tbe working parties were made up fo: the day. Two gangs started from the prison, each surrounded by a squad o Coesacks* Maurice and Platoff were in one of theise, and Phil was in the other They inarched past the few scatcered log buildings that surrounded tho prison and tramped for an hour or more the gloomy valley. The sky was dark witi clouds, and a fine enow was tail ing. The mining operations gn the Kara river had reached a point BOLQ« distance from the settlement, thus faro- ing on the-convicts tiie additional misery of a long tramp through tbe enow each morning and evening. The gangs consisted of 20 men each, a»d as soon as they'reached the spot work was begun. Each party was instructed by an officer, while the Cossacks, drawing a complete cordon around the convicts, built fires to keep themselves comfortable. The gold bearing sands along the banks of the Kara river lie buried under a stratum of clay and gravel varying in depth from 10 to 20 feet. This is dug out by picks and carted away until the bed of sand is exposed, and the gold is washed out by rude hoppers. Under the watchful eyes of the overseer the men labored unceasingly. It was a sad sight, the grim soldiers pacing through the drifting saow or group ed about the f res, the wretched toilers bending to their work with aching limbs, and in fitting harmony were the clank of chains, the creak of the wheelbarrows and the monotonous tap of the picks. To Maurice this unaccustomed labor was especially severe. In a short time his back ached and his hands were blistered. Platoff tried to encourage hiro from time to time, but be was compelled more than once to stop work from exhaustion. The overseer showed some leniency toward those convicts who had just arrived from Irkutsk, and these short periods of rest were not rebuked. At midday a lunch of tea and bread was served, and then the labor continued without intermission until late in the afternoon. They marched back to the prison at sunset, so weary that every step was torture. The principal meal of the day was now served, consisting of weak soup, rye bread and a small quantity of meat, and then the convicts went to sleep in rows on the bare platforms, some with their coats rolled up for pillows, others without pillows at all. To Maurice and Phil the first week at the mines was a period of horror, and for the first time they began to realize the unutterable misery of their situation. Platoff, with whom they were still able to converse at night, gave them no bope, and indeed they could see for themselves how perilous an attempt to escape would prove under the circumstances. One poor fellow had made a dash for liberty while returning from the mines at sundown, and his bullet riddled body was brought to the prison on a plank. "Try to keep up yonr courage and wait," said Platoff. "That is all I can tell you. It may be that harder times are before us. Captain Daroman was summoned away the day after we arrived here. When he returns, we shall feel the change. Do you wonder now that men turn against the czar and his ;overnment?" "No," said Phil, with a bitter laugh. 'I am surprised at nothing, Platoff, and I am getting desperate myself. Some day I shall lose all control and ;urn on these fiends." Platoff looked at the lad grimly, noting his flashing eyes, hie heaving chest. "You will be shot," he said quietly, and then to himself he added: "He's a ine fellow, with good stuff in him. We might do something after all. I'll have to look into the matter." Platoff was right. The next day Cap- ain Daroman returned, and the predicted change came with a vengeance. Che supply of daily food was shortened, all conversation was strictly forbidden, and the wretched toilers in the mines were refused a moment's rest, with the exception of a scant ten minutes for nnch. For a time" these hardships were borne without complaint, but it soon jecame evident that the commandant iad a special hatred against the three (olicical prisoners, and he lost no Op- (ortnnity of displaying his feelings. One bitterly cold morning the convicts were trudging in pairs over the snow clad plains to thair daily toil Maurice and Platoff inarched in ront, and close behind them was Phil, who had been transferred to their gang aome time before. They had barely left he settlement and were passing along ;he base of a hill, part way np which stood* half a dozen straggling cabins. Some of tbe free comrgand live tbaze." whispered Platoff. and Mamies 1 looked wifl> envy at the Bomes-ot the unfortunate people who were yet ten times better off than himself. Suddenly he saw, to his great surprise, a girl standing by the roadside a few yards ahead. She was not more than 16, slender of figure and dressed in a long fur cloak and cap. Her gaze was fixed compassionately on the approaching convicts, and Maurice's heart thrilled as he met a pitying glance from her dark eyes. The sight of this innocent yonng maiden in such a strange place reminded him irresistibly of home, and for a moment a mist swam before his eyes, aad he staggered against his companion. "Who is that, Platoff?" he asked in an undertone. "What can such a creature have to do with this miserable place?" "She must belong to the free command," replied tbe Russian, "a daughter probably of one of the exHes, and yet she does not look it," he added after a closer survey. Tee convicts filed sullenly past, and still the girl stood motionless as a statue, her dark eyes looking unutterable sympathy at the doleful procession. Near the end of the line came Captain Daxoman, mounted on a Cossack pony. He frequently accompanied the working parties to the mines to see how much gold was being washed out, and this was one of his inspection days. Strange to say, he was in a passably good humor this morning, and his flushed face showed that he had been indulging rather heavily in vodka. From under his fur cap be observec the girl by the roadside, and of the pony brought him opposite he slipped ovu of the saddle and stepped up to her be fore she had time to raove. ",-W'ell, my pretty maiden, have yon a kins for me this morning?" he asked with a smile. As the startled girl ria- ooiled he threw his arms around her. She uttered one loud cry and struggled fiercely to -free herself. Maurice wheeled round and took in th» situation at a glance. There was no help for the girl. The convicts never even turned their heads, and the soldiers marched stolidly forward. It was no business of theirs. She Was only an exile's daughter. One brief second Maurice stood thus, his eyes flashing, his hands clinched. Then, loose from Platoff's detaining RED ROUGH HANDS Itching, ncaly, bleeding palms, ehipeleM toail», and painful linger end*, pimples, blackhead*, oily, molhy ikia, dry, thin, .ind {ailing hair, itching, scaly »c«lp*, all yield quickly to warm bull* with CCTICURA SOAP, and guntle anoitningi with OCTICUBA (oinunent;, the great siiu care. (uticura Ii told thronihont the world. POTTIE Dura AMI Cut*. COKF.. Sole Prop*,. Btwton. air- * How to VroduM Soft. Whit* Hmd«," frw. ITCHING HUMORS^lS^&t.. b 7 Se fluna him with all his strength to the ground. grasp, he bounded from the ranks. Two Doesacks ran forward, but he slipped easily between them, and spring-' ng at Captain Daroman be seized him by the throat, tore him by main force from the struggling maid and flung him with, all his strength to the ground. ':. 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