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Full text of "Prince Schamyl's wooing : a story of the Caucasus-Russo-Turkish War"

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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA. 

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PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING 



A STORY OF THE CAUCASUS 
RUSSO-TURKISH WAR 



BY 

RICHARD HENRY SAVAGE 

AUTHOR OF 

"MY OFFICIAL WIFE" 

"THE LITTLE LADY OF LAGUNITAS " 

ETC., ETC. 



NEW YORK 

THE TRADE SUPPLIED BY 

THE AMERICAN NEWS COMPANY 
1892 



o 1 6 3 

COPYRIGHT, 1892, BY 
RICHARD HENRY SAVAGE. 

(All rights reserved.) 



Press of J. J. Little & Co. 
Astor Place, New York 



CONTENTS. 
BOOK I. 



PRINCE CHARMING AND THE ROSE OF TIFLIS. 

PAGE 

CHAPTER I. The Mess-Room of the Guard 
Uhlans. Children of the Flag. 
Coming War Clouds. A 
Princely Judas, - 7 

" II. Brothers no more. At the Turk 

ish Ambassador s Ball. A 
Royal Deserter. Diplomatic 
Spider-Webs, - - 25 

" III. In the Cavalry School. Called 

by Gortschakoff. Dimitri s 
Doom. In the Golden Horn, - 42 

IV. The White Countess s Boudoir. 

With General Ignatief in Con 
stantinople. Where is your 
Brother? On the Bridge of 
Karakein, - -62 



BOOK II. 

THE DESERTER. CROSS AGAINST CRESCENT. 

CHAPTER V. A Stormy Interview. The Rose 
of Tiflis. Schamyl s Quest. 
The White Cross of the Grand 
Duke, - - 91 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER VI. Missing. Under the Shadows of 

Ararat. A Mother s Memory, - 117 
" VII. Tcherkess against Kurd. An Old 

Friend with a New Name, - 136 
VIII. Abdallah s Ruse. Schamyl s Spy 

in Kars, - - ic8 

IX. In the Wolf s Den. Kars. The 
Message of the Rose. Ahmed, 
my Lover ! - 177 



BOOK III. 

WINNING THE ROSE. 

CHAPTER X. The Cannons Speak. Hassan 
Bey s Message. Moussa s Bat 
tle in the Night. Face to Face. 
-Turns of the Tide. The 
Medjidieh Redoubt, - 203 

" XL The Storming of Kars. At the 

Armenian Convent. Old Has 
san s Faith. Ghazee s Flight. 
Safe at Last ! - 230 

" XII. Beyond the Danube. Victory. 
Constantinople. G r o n o w s 
Warning. The English Fleet. 
On the Verge. Peace at 
Last. Schamyl s Vision, - - 258 

" XIII. By the Neva. Ghazee s Revenge ! 
At the Opera. The Lost 
Handkerchief. Dr. Abdallah, - 283 

" XIV. Home Again. In the Orbelian 
Palace. Finding a Sister. 
The Opening of the Neva, - 301 
XV. An Emperor s Gift. The Brides 
of Dargo. Tidings of Ghazee. 
A Last Shot. Under the 
White Tower. Treasure- 
Trove. Kismet, - 324 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING 

A STORY OF THE RUSSO-TURKISH WAR. 



BOOK I. 

PRINCE CHARMING AND THE ROSE 
OF TIFLIS. 



CHAPTER I. 

THE MESS-ROOM OF THE GUARD UHLANS. CHIL 
DREN OF THE FLAG. COMING WAR CLOUDS. 
A PRINCELY JUDAS. 

" HURRAH for Suleiman Effendi ! 

Glasses crash. The walls ring again to the guards 
men s cheers. Foaming wine flows in rivers of 
gladness ! 

First in bonhomie, the dare-devil Uhlans of the 
Imperial Guard are the gayest mess in all mad St. 
Petersburg. Just a " good-by " breakfast to " Cap 
tain Suleiman," who has won all hearts while serv 
ing as Military Attache of the Turkish Embassy ! 
A dozen of the daredevil Russian Uhlans surround 
the jolliest little Turk who ever smoked a chibouque. 



8 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

It is a fateful time. December snows whirl down 
in great cottony flakes without. Merry-jingling bells 
tinkle as the troikas fly by. The city by the Neva 
is in the high tide of its winter social splendor. 

A general restlessness of the conquest-craving 
Muscovites gives " lan " to a season of feverish 
gayety. This is 1876; the Conference of Constan 
tinople wearies along at the never-ending task of 
patching up the elastic map of Turkey ! 

Peter s Town is filled with the " cream of the 
army." There is a flavor of " war " everywhere. 
Mobilization is the pivot of all gossip. When these 
falling snows shall pass away, the tramp of the 
legions of the White Czar will shake the land. But, 
in the mess-room of the Uhlans, only hospitality 
reigns. Beside the rich board (through clouds of 
smoke) and over the vari-colored wine glasses, gallant 
faces beam kindly on that gay Moslem, " Sulei 
man." 

His embassy will soon be gravely wending its 
way toward the Bosporus ushered forth with hol 
low Slavic official courtesy. Captain Suleiman has 
his summons to report at once in Constantinople. 
He will be a cyclopaedia of valuable information at 
the Turkish War Office. 

In his diplomatic sejour of three years, Suleiman 
gathered hosts of friends. A bright-eyed, merry 
man, a capital rider, a game " bon vivant," and a 
charming host ! 

His red fez has added a point of flaming color to 
many a dazzling fete. Calmly he engulfs the wine 
of Shiraz, and eke that of Roederer. 

He can twist a papyrus, tell a story, and criticise 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 9 

the ankles of the unsurpassed ballet with any of the 
" jeunesse dore"e " of the Guards. 

Though Suleiman dances not, he has an extensive 
acquaintance with the voluptuous priestesses of the 
" opera coulisses." 

In short, a Turk a la mode whatever slips from 
the orthodox Islamism his easy nature has brought 
about, he piously regards a diplomatic sacrifice to his 
country s " interests." 

Sighing to think of his last passage over the hair- 
like bridge of Al Sirat, he drowns these gloomy 
presages of conscience in the soul-entrancing wine. 
Reverently he murmurs, " Mashallah ! Bismillah ! " 

He is beloved of the Uhlan circle. He has taught 
many a gay Muscovite rider a trick or two picked 
up on the Armenian plains. He is " a soldier every 
inch of him." . . . Yet a Turk ! a Turk ! 

Suleiman raises his glass, and (in the easy French 
of his adopted calling) invokes the blessing of Allah 
upon the friendly circle of swordsmen. 

The train is making up now at the Moscow sta 
tion, which will bear him flying homeward via 
Odessa. 

Thence the steamer will waft him over the Eux- 
ine to the romantic shores of the Golden Horn. 

This Moslem is affected in his heart of hearts. 
Will he meet the brave Uhlans next in the swamps 
of the Danube. or on the plains of Armenia? 

ItMS the " fortune of war" with his friends. To 
Suleiman Effendi it is Kismet. 

There is a suspicious sparkle in his eye as he 
grasps each outstretched hand. All the morning 
there has been an exchange of tokens. A cigarette 



io PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

case here, a dagger there all the little trifles of 
cameraderie at parting. . . . 

When the grave mess-steward announces Sulei 
man s sleigh, he rises. Now he fights his way to 
the door with a last warm cry : 

" Au revoir, mes freres ! " " Bonnes chances aux 
braves! Vivent les Uhlans!" 

Pausing in the arched entrance of the great mess- 
hall, he throws his arms around a young giant, and 
whispers in Turkish a few words. 

The three black orloffs dash away with a wild 
clash of their bells. Suleiman is " en route." 

Gathered around the smoking-table, the knot of 
officers indulge in those incomparable cigarettes 
the delight of the Russian. 

In this glittering circle no one is peer to the 
stately Mohammed Ahmed Sckamyl, who seats him 
self in silence as he enters with Suleiman s last 
words ringing in his ears. 

Prince Schamyl s dark eyes gleam with strange 
tenderness as he takes a cigarette from his old chum 
in the Corps des Pages, Paul Platoff, a dashing cap 
tain of horse artillery of the Guard. 

Schamyl is the only member of the Uhlan mess 
who is at once a Russian officer and a Moslem born. 

Indescribably haughty and graceful in his bearing, 
Ahmed Schamyl retains the charm of the wild Cir 
cassian mountains in whose snow-crested gorges he 
was nurtured. 

The youngest son of the great warrior Sultan 
Schamyl of Daghestan, his twenty-seven years of life 
in camp and court have been busy. Tall, dark, 
with flashing, brilliant eyes as lissome as a panther, 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. II 

the young major bravely bears his splendid Cir 
cassian uniform of the Imperial Personal Body 
Guard. 

It needs not the silver cartridge cases, heavy jew 
elled belt dagger, and the Damascus " chaska " in 
its rich sheath, with the natty astrakhan turban, to 
indicate the caged " Prince of the Caucasus." 

While Platoff and his friends pledge the success 
of the coming war, Ahmed Schamyl s mind wan 
ders away to a stirring future hidden yet by the 
smoke wreaths of battlefields nearing every day. 

The " good-by " of little Suleiman, whose em 
bassy is practically closed, grieves this alien soldier 
of the Czar. 

Back from the past, with all its record of early life 
in Page Corps and cadet school (long before he had 
learned to whisper burning words to the spirited 
maids of honor in the Winter Palace), comes the 
memory of the day, when, as a lad of nine, he clung 
to his mighty father as he proudly descended from 
the eagle-nest of " Aul Gunib." 

Thirty years of bitterest war against Russia ended 
when the Prophet-Chief of the Caucasus surrendered 
to the chivalric Prince Baryatinsky. 

Ahmed Schamyl remembers well his august father, 
now lying dead at Medina, among the holy shrines 
of the great Mohammed. 

His mother . . . Ah ! Perhaps, in the war 
cloud which is drifting toward him, some flash of 
strange light will tell him of that sweet-faced woman 
who is only a hallowed fairy of his childhood days, 
" la dame blanche." 

In his regimental mess-room, surrounded by the 



12 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

gay comrades of his later days, strange fancies 
haunt the mind of the noble Circassian soldier. 

He has dearly loved the man who left him but a 
few moments past. In a short military apprentice 
ship in the Caucasus years gone by, at Tiflis, he met 
Suleiman, whose father was a Pacha at Erzeroum. 
Many a lively day of chase by the rolling Kura, 
many happy hours listening to the old legends of 
Georgia, Armenia, and Anatolia, cemented a friend 
ship, renewed, when, as captain of the Etat-Major, 
" Suleiman " came to St. Petersburg " en diplo- 
mate." His Turkish comrade is gone. 

Ahmed Schamyl quaffs the regimental loving cup, 
but his heart is sad. Suleiman s last whisper thrills 
him yet. 

" We will be brothers, Ahmed ! even if we meet 
on the field, sword in hand ! " 

Thus old friends meet as new foes under warring 
flags! 

Suleiman s blade will flash under the crescent! 
Ahmed (a royal-born warrior-prince), of a prophet- 
sire, who was a Moslem of the Moslems, will head 
his undaunted Circassians under the Greek cross, 
and fight for the Czar ! 

Paul Platoff s laughing challenge rouses him. 

"Dine with me, Ahmed! We will go and hear 
the gypsies sing to-night. They have some new 
beauties." 

Schamyl agrees. Anything is better than this 
rattling round of wild " shop " talk. 

Fast and furious grows the fun. On all sides 
would-be generals are settling the diplomatic mys 
teries of the exciting hour. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 13 

" Constantinople Conference," " Allied Powers," 
" Bismarck," " English Fleet," " Balkan Passes," 
" Ignatief s policy," " Gortschakoff s demands "- 
all these stock phrases mingle with the rattle of 
dice and the chat of the social hour. 

Young Schamyl sees the faces of his brother offi 
cers gravely peering through smoke wreaths, as 
they grapple with the unsolved Eastern question. 
Blood may solve it, but not talk. Making his way 
through the friendly throng for he is not on duty 
Schamyl grasps cloak, sabre, and turban. Platoff s 
sleigh bears them both to the artillery caserne. 

Throwing himself idly down on a fur couch, the 
moody prince gazes on his Russian " brother of the 
heart." 

Paul s rifle battery will probably join the heavy 
invading columns of the Danube army. The gen 
eral plans are divined by the initiated. 

Himself he is only " a leaf in the storm " 
whither will he drift ? No one knows. 

" Ahmed," begins Platoff, "I wanted to have a 
serious talk with you. I heard a rumor to-day at 
the Galitzins, which I did not like at all." 

"Well?" slowly speaks the Circassian, as he 
draws mighty puffs from his chibouque. 

" It relates to your brother, Prince Ghazee," con 
tinues the artilleryman. 

Schamyl s brow instantly darkens. He knows, in 
the lonely bitterness of his secret heart, he has no 
real brother. For " Jamal-Eddin," the oldest of 
great Schamyl s sons, lies dead under the drifted 
sands far away in Armenia. He clung a devotee to 
the Turkish service ; dying a Moslem as true as 



14 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

ever listened to the muezzin s call from airy height. 
Him the young guardsman remembers but dimly. 

For when his warrior father came down from his 
inaccessible eyrie at Gunib, in " fifty-nine," and 
sheathed his sword forever, Jamal-Eddin did not 
join the train accompanying the defeated warrior to 
his refuge at Kaluga in the land of the White Czar. 
Golden captivity had no charms for Jamal-Eddin. 

Ahmed recalls the splendid state in which the old 
king of the Caucasus spent his exile, far from the 
romantic land of the " Thirty-five Years War." 

It is now six long years since the fiery captive 
hero asked the Czar the last boon of going forth in 
his old age to Arabia, to die beside the tomb of the 
great Prophet at the Holy Cities. 

His brother ! Then it is surely " Ghazee Moham 
med " the Guardsman brother only in name. 

"What of my brother?" coldly queries the 
princely .youth. 

" Several general officers were there all growl 
ing over the coming campaign. They hate so sud 
denly to leave these lovely witches of society and 
of the ballet," said Platoff with a sneer. " Your 
brother was named. I caught a few words. Old 
Lazareff said he would not be trusted with any 
command." 

" Why ? " demands Schamyl, fiercely, half starting 
up. 

"Because his relations with Countess Nadya 
Vronsky are too well known," 

" And ? " Schamyl s eyes are very eager. 

" I don t know where Vronsky picked her up. 
He s dead and gone, poor fellow ! But she was from 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 15 

the Balkans somewhere. I am told she is the main 
stay of the Turkish chargt d affaires in all 
intrigues a dangerous bit of dimity." 

Schamyl paces the long room like a tiger. 
Platoff quietly resumes. 

I wanted you to know what is going around. 
It may hurt you in your chances for separate com 
mand." 

How can it hurt me, Paul?" demands Ahmed. 
" They say," replies Platoff, " that a great uprising 
in the Caucasus will be the Turkish stroke in our 
rear ; that the great Schamyl s son will lead the 
Moslems. He is to be made Chief Pacha of Arme 
nia as a reward ! " 

Ahmed s eyes are blazing like a lion at bay. 
They claim he will desert and betray the Czar, 
he hisses. " Is that the lie ?" 

-Exactly so, Ahmed," kindly rejoins Platoff. 
I knew you ought to hear this at once. You can 
trust me, Prince, can you not ? " 

"To the death, Paul!" Schamyl answers, as he 
measures the room with the light stride of a wolf 
of the Ukraine. 

There is silence. The deep boom of the giant 
bells of St. Isaac s breaks the stillness. It is a feast 
day. Fifty-two Sundays and the same number < 
feast days make an agreeable change in the Mus 
covite year. This is a masterly stroke of Russian 

" tyranny." 

Ahmed places his hands on Pauls shoulders. 
Look here, Platoff, I will trust you. I am going 
to see this man. Before I^do, I will give you my 
heart. I want your advice." 



16 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

" Sit down, Ahmed! Tell me what you wish," 
answers Paul. He pities the young prince s out 
raged honor. Ahmed s eyes are hopeless. 

Both sons of Schamyl wear the Czar s uniform. 
" Noblesse oblige." Schamyl a warrior yes ! But 
a traitor and deserter never ! 

Ahmed raises his head from his hands after a 
moment s thought. He speaks partly to himself. 

" I am not like the others. My father was a 
great soldier, priest, king, and open rebel. He was 
born on the glittering crests of the peaks of uncon- 
quered Daghestan. He fought for his own land. 

" Forty long years the cannon s roar and the crash 
of volleys echoed through the lovely valleys of Cir- 
cassia. 

" Four times he drove great Russian invading 
armies back in defeat and gloom. When he came 
down from Gunib and took a soldier s oath to 
Baryatinsky, the honor of the family was then 
engaged. The Czar Nicholas kept faith. The 
Emperor Alexander has done the same. My 
father lived like a king ; the great Czar allowed him 
to go and die like a prophet on holy ground." 

Platoff nods assent. 

"You know, Paul, this gloomy, middle-aged, red 
bearded conspirator has nothing in common with 
me. The Czar has educated us as reigning princes, 
attached us to his court, and preserved our personal 
wealth. There will be one Schamyl to draw a 
sword loyally under our flag! I must save the 
family honor ! " Schamyl s eyes blaze in rage. 

" Thank God, Ahmed ! you speak like a man," 
cries Paul, with joy at his heart. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 17 

" I never knew my mother," softly says Ahmed. 
" Schamyl s three sons had each a different mother. 
1 sometimes think there is a mystery held back, 
Paul ! I am dark, like a Georgian. My father was 
light of hair and eyes. 

" Ghazee has held himself aloof from me for 
years. In fact, we have been strangers since our 
father died. He does know of my birth, but hates 
me cordially, I fear. He is silent. He has no heart 
to give any one. My father had his mystic dreams, 
his wild exaltations, and all his dark secrets died with 
him. Of course, you know, Paul, he had several 
living wives, a la Turque." 

Platoff bows. 

" I think my blood may bring my loyalty from 
the weaker side, perhaps from a Russian mother. 
Who knows? " 

Ahmed s eyes are dreamy. His thoughts fly 
away to the grand old Pontic realm, where the giant 
peaks of Ararat and Kasbek buttress the blue 
skies with their silvery, massy crests. 

" Have you ever thoroughly questioned old Ser 
geant Hassan?" interpolates Paul. 

Ahmed starts. 

" Useless ! He is a gloomy old man, half pagan, 
half Moslem. 

" When he came back from Medina, after my 
father s death, he attached himself to my person. 
He must know all, for he fought twenty years at 
my father s side. I think he knew my mother. 
He carried me in his arms on some of our re 
treats. 

" On my hunting trip to the Caucasus (after I 



1 8 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

left the cadet school), he showed me all the scenes 
of my father s campaigns. 

" When I would question him, the sergeant 
always growled : 

" I have sworn on the Sultan s amulet. He 
would go no further." 

" But he is in your power now," eagerly cries 
Paul. 

" True," rejoins Ahmed, " yet he loves me. He 
would not serve Ghazee, though he gave him the 
sacred amulet my father carried in the fifty pitched 
battles as a holy charm. 

" My sire was a mystic seer. 

"You know his gloomy ascendency over his 
warriors, devotees, or dupes as you might call them. 
He deposited some Arabic scrolls for Ghazee, with 
his last wishes. He sent him this sacred amulet, on 
which his followers swore that awful oath of the 
old fire-worshippers, and with it the message, 

REMEMBER ! 

" Ghazee, my stony-hearted brother, is twenty 
years older than I am. When I spoke on these 
matters to him, he turned on his heel, ejaculating; 
* I have nothing to tell you. His eyes are fixed on 
a shadowy crown. The old sergeant has been a 
faithful henchman to me. It is strange, Paul, he 
clings to me yet. I am not a Mohammedan in faith, 
as you know." 

Paul crosses himself piously. 

" Old Hassan is a stern Moslem. He is true to 
Prophet Schamyl s dying command, yet serves his 
Christian son, and will not obey the head of our 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 19 

once royal house, Ghazee, the Russian-bred Mos 
lem. 

" I wonder, dear Paul," Ahmed sadly concluded, 
" whether my stray bullet will come along before I 
pierce this mystery. The war will be on us as soon 
as spring grass peeps out on the southern plains." 

" Prince," replies Paul Platoff, " I am touched 
with your loneliness, yet we talk now of our duty, 

" You must begin to unravel this knot. See 
Ghazee at least prevent him disgracing the name 
of Schamyl. Do not let him be a deserter and 
a fugitive. Think of your prospects, your own 
future command, the succession to the Caucasus, 
as its chieftain of the sword. 

" You have spoken nobly here, Ahmed. You 
alone can save the honor of the name of Sultan 
Schamyl. It has given you as royal a heritage as 
that of the Hapsburgs, Hohenzollerns, or even the 
Romanoffs a heritage of glory." 

" I thank you, Paul," cries Ahmed. " I will seek 
Ghazee to-night. . . . Where are his haunts now ? " 

" Ah ! that is the most compromising thing. The 
Turkish Charge, Countess Nadya Vronsky, and 
Prince Ghazee Mohammed Schamyl are a plotting 
triumvirate. Don t go in there. We had Captain 
Suleiman to-day at dejeuner. Remember how you 
might be suspected. Not too much Turkish friend 
ship ! " 

"True," gloomily replies Ahmed. "This is the 
icy land of Doubt and Distrust. I will drive up 
with my sleigh after dinner, and see him. You 
shall know all." 

Paul Platoff s maitre d hotel announces dinner. 



20 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

It is a masterpiece, " en petite comite," for Platoff, 
of an old Boyar family, is a " rara avis," noble yet 
not a prince, Russian and yet no prodigal. 

Ahmed s face brightens as the two friends run 
over the chances of the campaign. Bulgaria, Servia, 
Bosnia, Herzegovina, the Danube advance all are 
canvassed. Black Sea complications and the great 
Asiatic struggle in the Caucasus, Anatolia, Georgia, 
and Armenia, conned with eager eyes. 

" This time we will take and keep Kars, Batoum, 
and Erzeroum," Ahmed prophesies. 

Platoff merrily drains his glass. " True, cher ami, 
the Emperor needs a road to Baku and 

"Turkistan," finishes Schamyl, with a grim fore 
thought of that great future struggle for the heart 
of Asia, Persia and India, which will swing England 
and Russia yet into a war " a 1 outrance." 

" You ought to serve in your own land, Ahmed," 
says Platoff, thoughtfully. " You know the frontier 
well." 

" I know every gorge and valley from the great 
pass of the Elburz, from sea to sea, and as far as 
our eagles will soar for we must stop now at Tre- 
bizond." 

" Why so ? " interjects Platoff. 

" England," sententiously rejoins the Circassian. 

"Try thisChambertin," hospitably commands the 
gunner. " I pledge you one toast." 

Ahmed s eyes are inquiring vaguely. There is a 
roguish smile on Paul s face as he answers : 

"Maritza, the Rose of Tiflis." 

"With hearty good-will," is Ahmed s response. 

They both know the Princess Maritza. Among 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 21 

the noble beauties of the Catherine Institute, none 
has ever surpassed the budding Georgian heiress 
of the great house of Deshkalin. 

With two lovely patrician girls of her own age, 
this beauty of the Trans-Caucasus was sent to St. 
Petersburg in charge of the wife of the governor of 
the great domain. 

Happy Ahmed ! On guard at the palace, during 
her brief stay in the suite of the Empress, as maid of 
honor, the young soldier has listened to the glori 
ous beauty while their voices mingled in the al 
most forgotten tongue of her native land. To the 
envy of the other curled Guardsmen, Schamyl has 
the rare ability of using her own Georgian dialect. 

While he sips the velvety Chambertin, Ahmed 
sees again Maritza s flashing dark eyes, liquid with 
the light of unchallenged beauty s dower. 

" Ah ! The star-eyed lady is far away now, Paul ! 
There are many gallants around the vice-regal court 
of Tiflis." 

It is indeed true that the peerless Georgian has 
returned, with new Russian graces, to charm the 
pleasure-loving circle at the great headquarters, on 
the border where Russia, Persia, and Turkey join. 

" She owns some of your old family domains, 
Ahmed ? " questions Paul. 

" En verite ! " laughs Ahmed. " My dear boy ! 
The Deshkalins control the greater part of our heri 
tage, from the black pass of Dariel to the rose-gar 
dens of sunny Tiflis. My royal father held the land 
with forty thousand mailed horsemen a strong title. 
We have now money, thanks to the magnanimity of 
the Emperor. But the house of Schamyl has noth- 



22 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

ing left in lands but one old eyrie of Gunib and the 
romantic hunting parks of Dargo ! " . . 

Slowly sipping their coffee over cigars and liquors, 
the two friends commune as to the possibility of a 
Turkish uprising in the Caucasus. 

" If Ghazee plays the Emperor false, Ahmed, you 
may not be sent to your native mountains, but over 
to the swamps of the Dobrudsha. 

" How could they count one brother as a rene 
gade, and give the other full sway ? The Emperor 
cannot know all." 

" Ah ! Paul, it is sad ! " cries Ahmed, with clenched 
hands. " I cannot denounce even such a brother in 
advance ! 

" Can I plead a loyalty for myself which I have 
not yet proved ? But ! " his eyes flash " the field 
will tell the story." . . . 

" I counsel you to do nothing to prevent your 
Moslem half-brother from slipping out now, Ah 
med," wisely remarks Paul, studying the noble face 
of the young Uhlan. 

" Why ? " wearily queries Ahmed. 

" Bring it to a head to-night. You are not able 
to keep him faithful. Let him go. War will not 
be declared for three months. If he goes now, you 
can prove your innocence. 

" If he deserts at the last moment, you are ruined 
for this campaign." 

" Paul, I thank you." Ahmed springs up, prom 
ising to return and report. 

There is an ugly look in the glittering dark eyes 
of the Uhlan. It bodes no good to Ghazee. Toss 
ing his cloak over him, lightly swinging his heavy 



PRINCE SCHAMVL S WOOING. 23 

" chaska " to its belt, with the stride of a moun 
taineer Ahmed descends the stairway. . . . 

A clatter of bells, a flash past the window, 
Schamyl whirls by like the drifted leaf in the storm 
toward his bitter tryst. 

" Gallant fellow," ruminates Paul, as he tries a few 
pages of a naughty French novel. " I think there 
will be a stormy scene. Ah, well ! this is a case of 
Kismet." 

The Battery captain s eyes wander over the seem 
ingly trite pages. He hurls the volume at his dog. 

" Basta ! " he cries. " I wish I could dance the 
mazurka just once more with lovely Maritza, the 
Rose of Tiflis. Great God ! what eyes ! " Platoff 
has recourse to the papyrus he half closes his eyes. 
This scheming Ghazee ! 

" By St. Vladimir ! I have it ! I see that devil 
Ghazee s scheme. He pursued Princess Maritza here 
with desperate attentions. He hopes to see the 
Crescent pushed as far as the line of the Caucasus. 
If he aids the movement, he may be Pacha of 
Georgia. Will he reign supreme over this fairy 
domain, and wear the Rose of Tiflis on his heart?" 

Paul excitedly takes a draught of vodki. "I 
must warn Ahmed about this. He will he must 
protect her! Yes! it would be strange to see 
Sultan Schamyl s two sons cross swords, in their own 
land, over this lovely Rose of Georgia." 

Platoff is heart whole and a philosopher. " I 
must go and tell my brother Ivan. He can inform 
Prince Gortschakoff how true Ahmed is. Our foxy 
old premier can guess the rest. 

"Ahmed must serve in his own land. Great 



I RINCE 9CHAMYI/S WOOING. 

George ! what a country- for battery practice !" 
Platoff wanders in the smoke of yet unfought fields. 
. . 

As Platoff dreams and smokes, Ahmed, raging at 
heart, drives to his brother s splendid town-house. 

Ghazee Mohammed does not disdain a luxury 
which impr- n the lavish Ru 

The obsequious dvornik informs him that his 
Highness sups with the Ottoman Charge d Affaires. 
The young prince dashes thither. The palatial halls 
are all lit up. 

Cards, conspiracy, women, and low plot 
ting." Ahmed gnashes his teeth. " Old Ben 
Schamyl ruled like a Sultan, not thus debasing him 
self before his inferiors." 

Drawing up before the Legation, the major 
scrawls a few words in the patois of his boyhood on 
a card. The dragoman bows, he knows too well the 
fiery ian would not brook a moment s hesita 

tion. He returns with timid eagerness, hat in 
:. L r. ~ . 

The Prince will be there. Salaam Highness." 

For twenty minutes Ahmed drives up and down 
before the great Catherine statue on the Nevsky. 
well-known troika approach, he springs 
from the sleigh, and his high Circassian boots 
crunch the crisp snow of the square, where, placed 
above her many sculptured lovers, the Great Cath 
erine (a bronze goddess) is enthroned in the crystal 
line winter starlight. 

his brother is coming ! His brother and his 
enemy now ! PerL ^ 



PRINCE SCIIAMYL S WOOING. 25 



CHAPTER II. 

BROTHERS NO MORE. AT THE TURKISH AMBASSA 
DOR S BALL. A ROYAL DESERTER. DIPLO 
MATIC SPIDER-WEBS. 

"You want me! For what?" Ghazee s heavy 
foot strides along by the side of the agile Ahmed. 

A lumbering, sullen, red-bearded man of middle 
age is the head of the house of Schamyl. His 
voice bears neither tenderness nor passing interest. 
He would be back with Mustapha Pacha. 

" Ghazee, I have a few words to say to you. 
You can answer or not, as you wish. You have 
never been a kind brother to me, yet we bear the 
same name. You still wear a Russian uniform." 

" Proceed," growls Ghazee. " Be brief." 

Ahmed s eyes blaze like black diamonds. His 
voice rings like a bell. They are far beyond the 
driveway, where sleighs laden with lovers dash 
along (meteors of the night), swift and spectral as 
the black coursers of Fate. 

" Are you going to desert your flag in this war?" 

" Who says so ? " snarls "Ghazee. 

" A man I am going to shoot to-morrow for 
lying, if you say it is not true," is the cutting re 
sponse. 

" Where is this talk? " demands Ghazee, fiercely. 

" In the salons, the clubs, the casernes," hisses 
Ahmed, facing his brother, like a duellist, a la 
barriere. 

" I have no answer. Go to the devil ! " is the not 
over-judicious remark of the senior. 



26 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

Ahmed lightly springs upon his companion. He 
grasps his wrists and eyes him steadily. 

" Are you mad ? " he queries. 

" No ! I am going to keep out of this war. I will 
not be questioned." Ghazee has cut the bond at 
last. 

Ahmed drops his wrists. 

" I will give you till noon to-morrow to resign 
unconditionally from the Russian service, or I will 
denounce you myself. I shall report at the Ministry 
of War." The young man is wild with shame. 

" You may throw away your own honor. You 
shall not ruin me. If you go, go as a man, not as a 
renegade and traitor. You shall not stay and play 
the spy/ 

The silent stars shine down on two princely 
brothers facing each other, under the shadows of 
Catherine s lofty monument. 

" Now, by the grave of my father, dog, fool, and 
lickspittle of the Giaour, I curse you by this ! To 
Eblis, the home of the damned ! I swear it ! " 

The amulet of Ben Schamyl glitters in the pale 
starlight. Ahmed s hand seeks his dagger. He 
drops it in wonder. Is his brother mad ? 

" We meet again, as deadly foes," is the last snarl 
of Ghazee, who turns his back. 

Ahmed, motionless, sees the retreating form of 
the man who is brother no more. Surprise par 
alyzes him. It is over. 

The troika dashes away. Standing, drawing lines 
in the flake snow with his sabre sheath, Ahmed 
Schamyl knows he is now alone in the world. It is 
then true. Ah ! disgrace ! 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 27 

Leisurely walking to his sleigh, he drives to 
Platoff s house. His being is stagnated. 

At least, his brother s blood is not on his hands 
yet. Yes ! Paul is waiting still. 

The two friends meet without a word. Ahmed 
throws himself down. 

Platoff can hear his own heart beat. 

After a few moments, Schamyl wrings his hand. 

" I ll tell you all to-morrow, Paul. Come to my 
quarters at four." 

Mechanically draining a stirrup cup, he smiles 
faintly and clanks down stairs. 

His face looked green and stony in the lamp 
light as he passed the door. 

" Just the way Bolski looked when he fell with 
Orenburg s sword in his heart," thinks Platoff. He 
sleeps, for another day s revelations wait him. 

Paul Platoff s dreams were not pleasant. 

While he tossed and turned, there was yet high 
revel at the Turkish Embassy. There is music, 
flowers, feasting, dancing. 

Groups of men and women " a la mode," and 
everywhere " vive la bagatelle." The Russian life 
of the salons. Prince Ghazee Schamyl pushes his 
way through the gay crowd. Unheeding laughing 
salutations, and merry challenges of rosy lips, he 
seeks one well-known figure. 

Ah, yes! There enthroned, with her amber 
hair, and steady, cold blue eyes, Nadya Vronsky 
queens it in her place of honor. 

Brushing aside the smaller fry of her adorers, the 
burly prince whispers a word. 

Offering his arm with the aplomb of a veteran of 



28 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

many Petersburg seasons, Ghazee leads the lady to 
an alcove. 

A few whispered syllables throw an ashy pallor 
over the beauty of her haughty Austrian-like face. 

" To-night, Prince?" she murmurs. Her bosom 
heaves. It is a lightning stroke. 

He bows sullenly. " Tell him he must give me 
fifteen minutes at once, in his own room." 

" And what of me ? " There is a quiver in the 
voice of the cold countess. 

" That you will learn when you join us. Be care 
ful. Do not be observed." 

He bows low, and saunters carelessly into the 
buffet supper-room, nodding to a friend here and 
there. A club rendezvous for a roulette duel? 
Yes. Passing through a portiere, the prince pushes 
his way into the privacy of the sanctum of Musta- 
pha Pacha. He drops on a divan. 

Ghazee Mohammed Schamyl lifts his head calmly 
as the dark-bearded Charge glides in, closing the 
door. There is an eager question in the diplomat s 
eyes" What stroke has fallen ? " 

" It is all over, Mustapha ! " Ghazee growls. " I 
leave to-night or never! But how? I may be 
arrested any moment. That mad fool Ahmed has 
heard it in the clubs." 

u Do you speak Persian ? " Mustapha quickly 
queries. His lightning mind suggests a way out. 

Ghazee nods. 

" You are saved ! " cries the host. Mustapha 
then claps his hands. The valets pour in. In ten 
minutes Ghazee is no more the Guardsman, en demi- 
tenue. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 29 

He is a shawled, turbaned Persian merchant. 

" Is the stain on my hair dark enough? " Ghazee 
queries. 

" The rest at the Bazaar," replies the diplomat. 
A dozen nimble hands have aided in the task of 
disguise. Countess Nadya Vronsky enters the 
secret room. She aids in the last drapery touches. 

" I have full passports vised for these travelling 
merchants who go to Hamburg. Iskander, my 
Armenian secretary, will attend to all. He will 
pass you on the steamer. Give him any cipher 
letter for me." 

There are tears in Nadya Vronsky s eyes. " You 
go alone ? " she falters. 

"Yes, if I can," growls Ghazee. "Now, get 
down with the other fools, and leave the ball as 
soon as you can. No nonsense ! Go openly, with 
an air of fatigue. 

" Don t whimper when I am gone. You ll get to 
Constantinople soon enough." 

The Vronsky s head drops in her hands. Bitter 
tears steal through her jewelled fingers. He sneers 
his parting advice : 

" Now end this. Mustaphawill look out for you. 
Wait for his wishes. I must leave. They would 
not dare to search this Legation ; but the Russian 
dogs will watch every one leaving, and play their 
clumsy part as spies." 

If ever Nadya Vronsky s heart clung to an idol, 
Ghazee was that divinity of her strange affections 
a paradox of love. 

Throwing her arms around him, she whispers : 
" At Constantinople, soon ? " 



30 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

" Yes, yes ! " rapidly speaks Ghazee, pushing her 
to the door. He roughly embraces her. 

She is gone. The door is locked. 

" Now, Mustapha, have your people destroy my 
entire uniform and cloaks here. Let my driver be 
told I have gone to the club with a friend. Give 
me a good dagger ! Yes, that s right. Now, send 
this ring to Dimitri, my Greek maitre d hotel, to 
morrowafter we pass Cronstadt. H e knows the sign. 

" I must not linger here now. Send that devil of 
a woman down to Constantinople, by Vienna not 
too quick." Ghazee leers to himself. "You can 
trust her with anything for me." 

"Do you wish anything more?" anxiously que 
ries the Sultan s representative. He craves the 
safety of solitude. 

" Yes, your flask some of that old cognac. Ci 
gars? No. Cigarettes? Yes. 

" There ! Now you will soon be with us. How 
do I go out?" Ghazee is ready for flight. " More 
safely by the servants entrances ? " 

" Here ! Osman will conduct you. Now, depend 
on Iskander. Allah be your guide. Money ? " 

"No." 

" Well, Iskander will furnish you any amount at 
Hamburg!" 

Before the last words are finished Prince Ghazee 
Mohammed Schamyl has disappeared. The Im 
perial Guard has lost an officer. 

Drowsy porters, scullions, and the " valetaille" cast 
but a contemptuous eye on the passing Asiatic who 
disappears in the night. Some peddling jewel mer 
chant trash and turquoises ! 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 31 

As his attendant guides him, Ghazee hears above, 
the ceaseless clatter of the wassail rout. 

His path of treason begins in darkness. A few 
paces and a passing sleigh is caught. In an hour 
Ghazee slumbers in the midst of the Persian trav 
ellers. His guardian Osman lurks on watch over the 
traitor. 

Mustapha Pacha mingles once more with his 
guests. A dozen cavaliers throng around, eager to 
escort Countess Vronsky to her carriage. As she 
takes leave of her host, he suavely remarks : 

" Ah ! madame, your faithless prince has gone to 
the club, I see a little roulette." 

The circle of cavaliers hear of the departure of 
Ghazee Schamyl with joy. The path is now open 
to lesser luminaries. They struggle for the escort 
of the fair goddess. 

Before the tired beauties who graced the diplomat s 
fete have taken their morning chocolate Ghazee 
Schamyl is tossing on the high rolling waves of the 
Gulf of Finland. Cross-legged and seated with a 
crowd of Persians, he fingers his heavy dagger, as 
man after man, who might know him, passes along 
the deck. 

Yes! Death before capture. His brow is dark. 
It is an hour of fate ! 

There is fair example in the half-frozen Persian 
merchants to warrant Ghazee muffling up his face. 
Wrapped to the eyes, shivering and fearful of the 
sea, they are all as thoroughly hidden from sight as 
mummies. 

The danger is soon over. The forts are now far 
astern. The proud flag of the Romanoffs has sunk 



32 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

behind the blowing fog wreaths. Ghazee has left 
his old life, his new foe (once a brother), and his 
honor far Behind him. He is a deserter now ; a 
traitor to be. 

He is on his way whither? 

Nadya Vronsky s tear-stained cheeks rest on her 
pillows till late in the afternoon. A servant from 
the Turkish embassy brings a superb hot-house 
bouquet of flowers, priceless in the icy land of the 
Czar. 

A tiny note tells her, "All is well. The boat has 
passed Cronstadt. Expect me this evening at 
dinner." 

The sage Mustapha desires to be conspicuously 
absent should Ghazee be sent for. There may be 
no inquiry at the Legation, yet he lingers. The 
faultlessly dressed countess, reassured at heart, is at 
last seated at dinner. No news yet ! The placid 
diplomat arrives, whispering, as he kisses her 
hand : 

" Adjutants looking for Prince Ghazee at his 
house and club." 

Mustapha smiles, however, blandly. The ring has 
done its work. 

Neither hostess nor the now happy guest can un 
derstand the lightning quickness of this discovery. 
They know not GortschakofTs intention. 

While they are discussing the sterlets and Chablis, 
two grave-faced men are seated in Ahmed Schamyl s 
quarters. 

Paul Platoff lingered not when morning roused 
him. 

In memory of his resolution of the night before, 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 33 

he sought his brother Ivan, who was always close 
to the person of the mighty Gortschakoff. 

Venerable and antique diplomat, he, swift to act, 
was yet a patient listener. 

Platoff had not regained his quarters in relief, 
when, over a dish of tea and a cigarette, Prince Gort 
schakoff formed his sudden plans. He discovered a 
pressing need for the services of Colonel Ghazee 
Schamyl, on a special mission to Tashkend, under a 
strong escort. 

" I fancy the escort I will give him will prevent 
this craven scoundrel from wandering off to the 
Golden Horn, unless the dead can walk," ruminates 
the grim old prince, as he receives his colleague the 
war minister. A special list of confidential officers 
being conned over, Colonel Iranoff is sent for on a 
gallop. He receives some instructions at the war 
office which startle him. Yet he opens not his 
round Tartar eyes a whit. It is the Czar who 
speaks, with sacred order. 

Platoff s long shot has done its work. " Thank 
my stars ! I have saved Ahmed the shame of de 
nouncing his brother," he whispers to himself on 
drill. 

Platoff inspects his hardy troops in barracks. He 
smiles to see their rosy cheeks, straw-colored beards, 
and thorough sturdy Russian air. 

" Glory to the Czar! No mountain devils here 
half Turk, half Kurd ! 

" I am not afraid of treason in my battery." 

Platoff is right, for the Turkish leaden hail may 
mow his stalwart gunners down. They will die, to 
a man, for the White Czar. 
3 



34 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

Ahmed Schamyl serves his guest at dinner with 
the scrupulous politeness of his mountain race. 

"Brave in battle," "eloquent in assembly," are 
great titles in Circassia. But he who is the " most 
hospitable " wears the brightest crown of all. . . 

At last the servants depart. Platoff hears the 
story of the parting of the brothers, on the snowy 
square. 

" Had it been any man but my father s son, he 
would not have left that spot alive," is the gloomy 
conclusion of the dark giant, whose hand drops 
nervously on the heavy silver hilt of his belt dag 
ger. 

" And now, Paul, tell me of the day. I have pur 
posely avoided the club. Even on the Nevsky I 
have not ventured. Is there more disgrace? " 

Schamyl s eyes seek the answer in the steady gaze 
of Paul. 

" Prince, I was told, late this afternoon, by Ivan, 
that a special secret expedition toward Tashkend 
was ordered Iranoff with six sotnias of Don 
Cossacks, two light guns, and your brother in charge 
of the mission ! " 

Schamyl s wonder leaves him speechless. 

" The adjutants have searched for Prince Ghazee 
at his house, in vain." 

Prudent Paul says nothing of his own velvet 
hand and Gortschakoff s intention. 

" What answer at his house ?" huskily demands 
Ahmed. 

" The maitre d hotel replied that Prince Ghazee 
went to the club from the ball last night. 

" His carriage waited its turn and was sent home 



PRINCE SCIIAMYL S WOOING. 35 

by his order. He never reached the Yacht Club. 
He has not been found yet ! " 

There is a cold ring, in Platoff s voice which cuts 
the young listener. A deserter ! Ghazee ! 

" Then he has fled ! " Schamyl almost screams. 

Paul bows his head. 

" But where, how, with whose help ? " the loyal 
prince demands anxiously. 

" That we must leave to the Third Section, I 
fear, Ahmed," is the pitying answer of the captain. 

" Schamyl s heir a proscribed fugitive," resumes 
the prince. 

" You know, Prince, that in three days, on the 
summons formally left at his house, he will be 
reported to the Czar as a deserter." 

"And. I have not been questioned !" Schamyl 
murmurs. 

" No, Major ! your position is a delicate one. 
I doubt if you will be personally examined. There 
will be no general publicity. 

" Ivan told me the Foreign office and Interior 
Ministry had telegraphed the usual orders in this 
case to all frontiers and ambassadors." 

" Where shall I see Ghazee again, Paul ? On 
the scaffold ? " Ahmed groans. 

" Prince, I think Ghazee will be surrounded with 
a thousand Kurdish devils; if you meet him, . . . 
it will be on the battle-field." 

Schamyl lifts wearied eyes to his friend. 

" And in the clubs among the regiments " ("his 
eyes are flashing). " Oh, for some foolish tattling 
victim !" 

" Schamyl, you must notice no one. There will 



36 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

be no slurs upon you but you cannot defend the 
absent. 

" No man could go out with you in such a cause. 
Loyalty forbids! " 

Paul is deeply moved. " Magna est veritas ! " 

" You are right, my friend," Schamyl gloomily 
answers. " The eldest son of Sultan Schamyl is 
now a deserter and a traitor. I must bear this 
burden silently." 

Platoff has one comforting conclusion. " Ghazee 
could not get away out of Russia without previous 
arrangement, help, and watchful friends, //"he has 
been smuggled out, it points only to the Ottoman 
Legation. They cannot be questioned too harshly, 
for their whole personnel will soon leave. This 
scandal will be swallowed up soon in the wild 
excitements of the war." 

" By heavens! I ll beard that sly devil Mustapha 
in his den ! " Ahmed springs to his feet. 

" That is what you shall not do ! The gravest 
displeasure of the Czar would punish your impru 
dent action. 

" Wait for the battle-field, Ahmed, and bring 
home a Pacha s standard. You must shun your 
brother s quondam friend, Nadya Vronsky. Cher- 
chez la femme. It is ever so. She is only Ghazee s 
tool. He bends to no other influence! 

" Avoid the circle of his intimates." 

" You are right, Paul ! I rely on you for news. 
But, if I am relieved from my regiment, I will blow 
my brains out on parade. I will not stand open 
disgrace." 

Ahmed is exalted to a nervous tension of mad- 



PRINCE SCIIAMYL S WOOING. 37 

ness. His mood is as high as the frowning Cauca 
sus peaks. 

" My comrade ! Believe me, you must trust to 
the delicacy of our soldier Emperor. Promise me 
you will let me guide you in this." 

Paul s voice quivers. The strong man s heart is 
moved to its core. 

" Platoff, you have my word. Let us take a look 
at the Neva." Ahmed submits. 

In ten minutes the friends are racing along the 
river drive. The cares of the day drift away in the 
mad rush of the steeds. 

While the artillery captain sees Ahmed gently 
softening down from his excited mood, there was 
weaving of the darkest webs over Nadya Vronsky s 
board at the tete-a-tete. 

Mustapha s silken voice unravelled the tangled 
threads of the intrigues of the princely deserter. 

" As you go to Constantinople, you must know 
all. Countess, I promised Ghazee the Armenian 
cavalry command. There are some private matters 
to be discussed yet at the Porte. 

" Without haste, you must shortly leave, via 
Vienna, and take the railway to the Bosporus. 

" We may receive our passports any moment ! 
Gortschakoff, Schovaloff, Oubrey, and that arch 
devil Nicolas Ignatief are ready to light the mine." 

"Can I be of no more use here?" the fair intri 
guante whispers, for even the stone walls have ears 
of acutest power on the Neva. 
Mustapha drains the forbidden glass. He smiles. 

" Chere amie, you have performed wonders. You 
know what the Council will do for you on the 



38 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

Golden Horn. Yet, now, every one knows that 
Vronsky did not bring back a Russian at heart, as 
his marital prize from the Danube ! Your wonder 
ful talent has marked you here too openly." 

"And at Constantinople shall I rejoin Ghazee?" 
She is eager. 

" I fear not, Nadya," replies Mustapha, beaming 
over his glass, feasting his*eyes upon the " shapely 
silver shoulders " of the Turkish secret " mou- 
charde." 

" Ghazee will be climbing the crests of Daghestan 
or toiling over the Kasbek range before you arrive. 

" He is to foment discord and raise a secret 
counter feud against these Russian dogs. 

" Perfect in knowledge of the Caucasus gorges, 
able in cunning disguise, he will sneak over the 
present lines scathless. But he must go in varying 
guises, to outwit that Armenian devil Loris Meli- 
koff. You cannot join him there. 

" I have even begged him not to go to Tiflis : 
Melikoff would not stop to call out a firing party, 
if he were caught. The nearest Cossack s rifle 
would end the days of Ghazee. 

"You will be sent back to the Principalities, I 
presume." Mustapha gloats over his bird in the net. 

" I would brave any risk to go to Ghazee in 
Armenia. Please use your influence for me, Mus 
tapha," the white-faced beauty pleads to the suave, 
insinuating Turk. 

"Chere Comtesse," Mustapha rejoins, in his oily 
manner, edging his chair nearer the eager woman, 
" he won t miss you. He has sworn on his father s 
amulet to conquer and lead away to his harem the 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 39 

beautiful Princess Maritza of Tiflis. You know her 
family hold his old domains now. ... Be 
reasonable, Nadya, do not rage now." He pauses. 
Mustapha has a scheme which includes the white 
Countess Vronsky in his own dove-cot, by the 
myrtle-fringed shores of Istambol. 

" Why seeks he this border woman ? Tell me, 
why ? " Her lips are bitten till they bleed. 

" Ah, my beauty ! " slowly answers Mustapha 
(while his bold dark eyes rove over her charms), 
" he has in his stony heart, besides the devil of 
desire, that giant Moloch revenge. 

" He swears now he will force her yet to hold 
his stirrup before his troops, for she flouted him 
when he met her here last winter." 

" And he lied to me, the cold-hearted devil ! " 
Nadya Vronsky harshly mutters. 

" Ah ! Fair lady, he then did tell you, his heart 
was yours alone ! " 

Mustapha leans back, enjoying her agony. This 
episode gives a real zest to a delicate repast. This 
is the wine of life ! 

" You remember, Nadya, the Duke in Rigoletto. 
One beauty in his straining arms, and the discarded 
one dying without, to the sound of their happy 
laughter. It is delicious to see a woman of the 
world, like you, touched at heart ! " 

" I swear by the God who made me, I will have 
my revenge ! " the excited woman cries. 

"Bah! Dear Countess, there are many other 
budding beauties in Georgia. It is the Land of 
Roses. . . . The fairest women in the Seraglio 
are those queenly Georgians. 



40 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

" Now, be reasonable. Let me advise you. 
Ghazee has no feeling. Yon should know one 
better who is nearer you than this sullen moun 
taineer." 

Mustapha complacently gazes on his vraisem- 
blance in the mirror. 

The white countess fixes her sapphire eyes on him 
with a glare as stony as Polaris shining on the lonely 
ice floes of an Arctic sea. 

"You think I am in your power! You would 
drag me at your chariot wheels ! I am a woman 
who chooses yet her own path." This hard mood 
of Nadya is defiance to the death. 

Mustapha bows quietly as he rolls his cigarette. 
" I know you to be the most adorable of your sex. 
Possibly you are a little short-sighted. / never 
threaten. It is better to allow full head to a fiery 
steed. You will go your own way ! Do so, ma 
belle! /ask you to Constantinople ! You prefer 

" My own way ! " 

The woman s voice is hard and dry. 

" It leads to Siberia ! " complacently murmurs 
Mustapha. He throws a letter carelessly on the 
table. The paper rustles nervously in her trembling 
hands. A deathly chill strikes her to the heart. 
The missive falls on the table. She bows her 
head. " You will abandon me ? " her voice falters 
now. 

" Never ! " cheerfully rejoins Mustapha, as he 
trifles with a " pousse-caf^." 

" When I opened that letter from the foreign 
office, I realized that they want a scapegoat to 
cover Ghazee s desertion. I am asked if you are 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 41 

under Turkish protection. As Vronsky s childless 
widow, you can waive your marriage change of 
citizenship." 

Mustapha beams like a father on the white count 
ess. He cheerfully rambles along. 

" There were some little irregularities in the cere 
mony, n est-ce pas, ma belle ? 

" No permission of the Emperor. 

" No Greek Church baptism. 

"No production of your papers." 

Nadya mutely nods her head. 

"Then, bella figlia, you are safe. It is a polite 
hint from Gortschakoff to avoid an immediate dip 
lomatic rupture over Ghazee, by sending you out 
under my papers. 

" I will do so, if you wish. The beau monde will 
imagine a love escapade of Schamyl the Circassian. 
You know the headlong way of that reckless man 
here. Disappearance ; two months of bliss ; a miss 
ing lady ; Italy ; glimpses of the blue Mediterra 
nean through silvery olive branches ; the wanderer s 
return ; the ashes of time drifted over the burning 
lava of love. An old, old story here 

Nadya glares at the mocking sybarite. " Why" 
(he laughs with a gurgling chuckle), "they will think 
your blue eyes drew the wild prince from his duty." 
She is sobbing now. 

" Go now ! " (he says with decision). " It is your 
only safety. Otherwise, if you decline my protec 
tion, you will be dragged before these cold Slavic 
brutes. They will visit Ghazee s defection on your 
defenceless head. 

" Admit your Russian allegiance and you are 



42 PRINCE SGHAMYLS WOOING. 

lost. I can now protect you. I will, if you see the 
world through my eyes." 

Mustapha leans back in comfort. He has limed 
his bird. 

Nadya thinks of the watchful, scarred-face Nubian 
eunuchs (cimeter in hand) at the stone gates of 
Osmanli harems. Dante s line flashes across her 
mind. 

" Lasciate ogni speranza voi ch entrate." 

Still, a seraglio on the Bosporus is not Siberia. 

One flutter of the wings yet. The bird struggles 
in the net. 

" But my character ! " Her eyes are streaming 
now. 

" Sapristi ! My beauty ! " carelessly remarks Mus 
tapha. " Character is merely comparative. You will 
do very well on the Bosporus. Beauty is the 
4 sine qua non there." 



CHAPTER III. 

IN THE CAVALRY SCHOOL. CALLED BY GORTSCHA- 
KOFF. DIMITRl S DOOM. IN THE GOLDEN 
HORN. 

Two days after her submission to Mustapha s 
logic, Nadya Vronsky steps wearily from her sleigh 
to leave Russia. The Moscow station once again. 

Unattended save by her maid, she drives to the 
depot, leaving her apartment a 1 improviste. Only 
her " batterie de toilette," jewels, and small belong 
ings are in her luggage. She is waiting to dash 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 43 

quietly past Moscow, Warsaw, and Vienna. Any 
where ! As for her establishment, goods, and last 
but not least " debts," the victorious Mustapha 
quietly says: 

" Je m en charge de tout." 

The "dvornik" has orders to obey Mustapha s 
man of affairs, who will close up Mme. Vronsky s 
personal matters. Alas for him ! 

Gloomy is the morning. In the bustling groups 
a society friend here touches a hat, there a lady 
acquaintance smiles no one suspects her departure. 

Lonely enough, without escort, her flitting unher 
alded by " visites d adieu," leaving no snow-storm 
of P. P. C. cards for the careless " one thousand " 
of the " gilded circle," the countess stares sadly at 
the environs of Petersburg as she rolls away. 

" Triste ! " It is only when comfortably reclin 
ing in her stateroom, that she reviews the past 
week ; then there flashes over her mind the social 
effect of her flight. 

The " maimed rites " of society will cause clamor ! 
Sly Mustapha appeared not at the station. Her 
passports, funds, and instructions, quietly furnished 
by him, enable her to be at ease. She is well pro 
vided. 

Yet Nadya Vronsky has left her good name 
behind her forever. 

The clattering viper tongues of " les dames du 
haut monde " will dwell with cold sneers on her 
singular taste in selecting the brutal Ghazee as her 
Abelard. 

" Lightly they ll speak of the spirit that s gone." 

Puppet of policy ! Victim of wily Mustapha ! 



44 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

Scapegoat for GortschakofF s diplomatic unreadiness 
openly to disgrace Ghazee ! " Quien sabe!" 

She is only " rushing onward in the car of 
destiny." 

Will she be followed, dogged, watched ? Do the 
Russians hope to locate Ghazee through her pres 
ence? 

Ah, no ! There is no present answer. Only that 
this u way out " is absolutely necessary to save her. 
Constantinople, perhaps ! Siberia, never ! 

Her aching head falls on her pillow. The monot 
onous click-click of the wheels brings sleep to her 
eyes. In restless dreams she wanders in the land of 
freedom the future. Ghazee is by her side, and 
and he is kind. 

Waywardness of the heart of woman ! Clinging 
to the impossible dreaming of the unattainable ! 

Mustapha s dupe flies southward ! He, busied 
with heightening diplomatic entanglements, gives 
only a thought to his bird of passage. 

" She saved me an official explanation ; she will 
be useful down there, and not bad looking no, 
not at all." (He purrs softly to himself.) 

It is the time for the sword to cut the silken 
tangles of diplomatic lying. Mustapha s ciphers 
tell him the u conference " will fail. It is no longer 
at Constantinople a question of what will bring on 
the struggle, only when ! It will come ! 

The Porte, wise if slow, adroit in intrigue, stub 
born in resistance, is aware that for each slight 
concession wary Ignatief will push forward an inso 
lent new demand ; that behind him is the world- 
worn GortschakofT, soaked with the fiery spirit 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 45 

essence of " highest Russian aggression." u Voila 
tout ! " 

Behind the two stands warlike Alexander (who 
has Catherine s policy in his heart s blood), sword in 
hand. 

The gray masses of the Russian legions gather 
from thousands of haunts (grim wolves of the North), 
gnashing their teeth, pressing, toward the Danube 
and the Caucasus. " Cadmus teeth ! " 

" War," muses Mustapha, " is the application of 
brute force (in organization) to problems not to be 
solved by human reason." He expatiates. 

" It is mingled desire and expediency which swing 
the double-handed sword of conquest. 

" My work is nearly over. Let the uniformed 
fools use powder and ball. / will have a season of 
rest. 

" Pleasant hours can be passed by the groves of 
the Dardanelles ; ah, yes, if the white countess 
does not go into heroics. 

" But I ll find a way to tame that falcon." 



Ahmed Schamyl sternly attaches himself to the 
routine of his profession, day by day. 

Petersburg (like all the other great cities of Russia) 
is now a camp, a mustering place, and a grand school 
of instruction how to get cheaply shot. 

All these last months, in droves, the shock- 
headed, blue-eyed, stalwart Russians have been 
drawn in by myriads to learn one end of a gun from 
the other. 

Gymnastics, drill, exercise, all the preparations of 
the army (from its squads, companies, regiments, 



46 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

divisions, to its unwieldy corps d arme) are un 
ceasing. 

Supplies, the devilish enginery of war, herds of 
cattle, and mounts for the troops are ruthlessly 
scraped together for the great campaign. Moloch 
grins and sharpens his sickle. 

Your war is a huge consumer of necessaries, and 
with mad license, unbridled luxury, human passion 
runs riot ; its awful course sweeps along, blasting, 
burning, destroying. 

Blood and crime, wassail and madness, attend it. 
The wild-eyed Maenads are in ecstasies. Cosmo 
politan human harpies, male and female, flock be 
hind the crimson stains of the bloody feet of military 
glory. Via la gloire ! " Qa ira." 

In the riding-school of St. Petersburg the model 
battalions of officers are receiving the final touches 
of their preparation to meet the Turkish cavalry. 

An unrivalled swordsman, a horseman of classic 
elegance, quick, active, in the flower of youth, Ah 
med Schamyl is second in command of this instruc 
tion of the u elite of the elite." 

As he reins up his superb steed in the centre of 
the hall, giving his battalion a rest (while Mus- 
tapha ponders over his impending departure), 
Prince Schamyl sees his friend Captain PlatofI dash 
up, mounted, to the far entrance. An orderly 
salutes, brings him a message for one word s confer 
ence. 

Galloping over, leaving his cavaliers at a rest, Ah 
med swings from the saddle. 

Paul whispers a word or two in his ear. 

Schamyl s face grows marble in its pallor. " An 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 47 

aide-de-camp is on his way with orders for Major 
Ahmed Schamyl." 

Brother Ivan s quickness has forewarned Paul. 

There is no time to be lost. 

" Remember your pledge to me," Paul whispers. 
" On your honor, no excitement ! " 

" I will obey you, Paul only, if it is dishonor, I 
will not live." 

He signals for his horse. The group of generals 
are entering the distant arch for their morning 
inspection. 

"All is well yet, only Ghazee s departure and dis 
grace is now public." 

Vaulting into his saddle, Prince Ahmed sweeps 
into the centre of the hall, brings his knightly 
riders to a " salute," and awaits orders. 

It is a gallant sight. The " expectancy and rose 
of the fair state " are here, sabre in hand, saluting 
the grim chiefs, who are to send them all whirling 
on the turbaned foe, in that last mad ride, where 
Death is the goal. 

Russia s best blood flows as freely on the battle 
field as the rush of the icy waters of Neva, in the 
spring floods, sweeping to the sea. 

Hassan, the scarred Circassian, standing by his 
master s second horse, casts adoring eyes on his 
chief. The unsubdued old warrior curses deeply, as 
he recognizes Gourko, Lazareff, Skobeloff, and others 
of the men who are to throw the gray coats on the 
Turkish lines in the iron game of war. Giaour 
devils ! 

Hassan will follow his master through battle 
smoke ; but, were it not for the young prince, 



48 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

his aged hand would swing a sabre on the other 
side. 

An officer leaves the gilded throng when the 
salute is acknowledged, and advances to Schamyl. 

He hands him an order. The prince glances at it, 
turns to his mounted adjutant, gives him the order, 
and sits motionless as the adjutant rides out and 
reads it. 

Every officer burns to read the secret meaning 
between its lines. 

" SPECIAL ORDERS OF THE DAY. 

" Major Prince Ahmed Schamyl is relieved from 
duty with the Model Battalion, and will report 
forthwith to the General Commanding for instruc 
tions." 

There is silence ; when the words naming his suc 
cessor are heard, that officer rides out from the 
ranks and assumes command. 

Schamyl s hand drops to his pistol butt. 

Now is the time to escape infamy ! 

" Blood pays all debts ! " 

And yet his promise to Paul ties him down ! 
He will. wait! In the very presence of fierce old 
Gourko (to whom he must report), he will avenge 
himself on cruel Fate. He will not live to be a 
discarded, dishonored man ! 

Riding over to the circle of generals, he dis 
mounts and sends his horses out to await him. 

Stepping up to the officer who brought the man 
date, Prince Schamyl salutes and asks him when 
and where he shall report. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 49 

Exchanging a few words with the chief of staff, 
the officer bids Schamyl report for orders at once 
to General Gourko, who is the centre of the official 
galaxy. He is also commandant general of St. 
Petersburg. 

Prince Ahmed walks up and salutes the stern 
old warrior, who dreams not yet of the fresh laurel 
wreaths waiting for him in the Balkan passes. 

This simple formula over, Gourko growls (with 
a slight softening of his ursine inflections), " Pray re 
main with us, Prince. Breakfast with me this morn 
ing. I will give you your instructions personally." 

The blood surges away from Ahmed s heart. It 
flows back. He draws a breath of relief. 

This welcome before the glittering circle tells 
him that even iron Fate has its pleasant surprises ! 

Soldier as he is, Schamyl knows that some high 
purpose has claimed him not an official disgrace. 
So open, so brilliant, so public, the selection is a bit 
of neat military flattery. 

" The Russian bear can tap delicately with his 
iron paws." 

Falling in with the train, after the " salut de 
ceremonie," Ahmed wonders how the brief duties 
of the morning can drag along. Minutes are hours 
to him now ! What are his orders ? 

All things have an end, even morning drills. In 
a half hour, the coterie of " ranking chiefs " is dis 
cussing a splendid repast in the officers club at 
tached. The privilege of " entertaining their supe 
riors" is freely extended to the swell " messes" of 
Petersburg. 

After the coffee and cigars, Schamyl, seated with 
4 



50 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

the leading staff officers, receives a nod from the 
general. Approaching, he seats himself in a chair 
indicated by the old chief. All eyes are turned on 
him ! 

The moment has come ! 

Gourko is in excellent humor. The wines and 
meats appeased the critical gastronome ; for Gourko 
is as fond of eating as of fighting, and much more 
delicate in the first. 

" Major, I have been directed to send you to 
Prince Gortschakoff (personally) for a special and 
detached service. You had better see him at once. 
I am sorry I may not see you on the Danube, but 
you will find plenty of service where you are going. 

"If you go to Armenia, we may meet in Con 
stantinople. I hope so. I wish you every good 
fortune, for the minister of war told me you had 
been selected on account of the trust the Emperor 
has in your loyalty and knowledge of the Caucasus. 

" A glass of wine, Major. You had better report 
at once." 

Ahmed Schamyl has already faced his man at ten 
paces, when his life depended on the trigger finger. 
His nerve never failed him yet ; but the wine-glass 
trembles in his hand as he touches the general s cup. 

He rises, bows, and, saluting his friends, leaves the 
room. 

His ears are ringing with Gourko s words : " The 
Emperor s trust in his loyalty ! " 

" His knowledge of the Caucasus." 

Great heavens ! There could be no more public 
way of setting a seal on any foolish canard of the 
moment. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 51 

For the great Emperor s words reach far. In so 
ciety, in the clubs, through the army, the Czar s 
trust is a golden star lighting his way. 

As Schamyl sweeps down the broad streets on 
his way to the ministry, Hassan clatters heavily in 
his rear. The young major has sworn to himself 
that his head, heart, and hand shall never fail the 
princely sovereign who has so openly trusted his 
yet untried loyalty. 

He will keep his pistol bullets for the Turkish 
enemies of the aged Czar Alexander. 

Prince Gortschakoff s cabinet in the Foreign office 
is a place of studious retirement. Dignity and re 
pose reign in these halls of thought. 

Massed books of references, maps of the political 
worlds of the past, present, and future, serried port 
folios of papers (each clause a state secret), and the 
wires of the Czar tying this sanctum to the far ends 
of the earth, are the weapons in reserve here. 

Grave-faced secretaries, alert guardians, and stern 
sentinels watch over the archives of the huge em 
pire of the Romanoffs. 

At a table, littered with the debris of toil, aged 
Gortschakoff scans the translations of General Igna- 
tief s ciphers. . . . 

Three men to-day hold the destiny of Russia in 
their hands. The Czar is the child of autocracy ; 
Gortschakoff, a hero of countless diplomatic battles, 
the son of Russia s old genius ; and Nicolas Igna- 
tief, resolute, aspiring, accomplished, an embodi 
ment of the polished Tartar of the nineteenth cen 
tury this is the great triumvirate. 



52 FRINGE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

An attendant announces Major Schamyl. The 
prince takes up a precis not larger than a visiting 
card. 

His nod admits the young soldier. 

" Be seated, Major," he observes in a gentle voice. 
Gortschakoffs beardless face is as refined as any 
marquis of the " veille Roche." 

Ahmed s pulses are throbbing. This parchment- 
faced sphinx would give him an order to go to his 
death, without a change of inflection. 

The premier observes his visitor narrowly. 

" I desire you, Major, to prepare to leave instantly 
for Odessa. You have been selected for special 
duty, under the personal orders of General Ignatief 
at Constantinople. A gunboat will convey you to 
the Bosporus. You will not leave the vessel until 
sent for by the general. He will have news of 
your arrival. You will go ashore and confer with 
him at night. Conceal your identity. Avoid uni 
form." 

Ahmed s bow acknowledges his understanding of 
these directions. 

" You will be attached to the foreign bureau 
until hostilities open (should they occur). My sec 
retary will bring you to your quarters an advance 
sum allotted to you. General Ignatief will supply 
any needs. You are not to speak of your mission, 
of your destination, to any one, even here. Abso 
lute secrecy is required. 

" Make every preparation for a long stay. You 
will not return here till the crisis is over, or the 
campaign finished. I give you no instructions here. 
General Ignatief will direct you in all. Report your 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 53 

arrival at Odessa to me, through the commanding 
general. He will give the gunboat its orders. 

" When can you leave ? " 

Gortschakoff pauses, his cold gray eye fixed on 
the youth. 

" Prince, I shall take the next train." 

" Good," simply says the old premier. He rises. 
It is a dismissal. 

He holds out his hand. 

" Prince Schamyl, the Emperor trusts you. I hope 
you will have an audience on your return. I believe 
that our gracious Emperor will be satisfied with you. 
I am charged by him to say that he regards you as a 
Russian officer and a loyal subject. You may leave 
your family honor in his hands." 

Ahmed bows over the aged man s hands, whose 
finger tips he touches. The exquisite courtesy of 
the old premier has won his heart. He with 
draws. 

While the young warrior bounds down the stairs, 
his armed heels ringing loudly in the silent halls, old 
Gortschakoff seats himself. 

" A gallant fellow," he mutters. " Ah, I was young 
once ! " 

The days when the great Nicholas leaned on him 
sweep back from the mists of the buried years. In 
his old age, he is the Richelieu of another Czar, for 
Russia draws the sword in fight once more. The 
cannon will roar around the Euxine again. 

Gortschakoff sighs as he wonders whether the fat 
tened ravens of the fields will be the only gainers 
by the struggle. 

Folding his arms behind him, the old man walks 



54 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

to a wall-map of Europe. His gaze is riveted on 
the speck marked Constantinople. 

" Ah ! if England if England His revery 
is broken another visitor ! 

He seats himself. He has forgotten Prince 
Schamyl already, for he has sent him forth to life 
or death. 

"In the name of the Czar." 

Straight as a line can be traced, Ahmed gallops 
to his quarters. His heart bounds in his bosom. 
Hassan is off toward the barracks with a card to Paul. 

" Come instantly to me ; I leave in an hour ! " 

Before Platoff s sleigh draws up, Schamyl s prep 
arations are half made. The messenger from the 
foreign office arrives and leaves the sum of twenty 
thousand roubles in notes. He bows as he says, 
"This is a personal allowance for your individual 
expenses ; only give me a memorandum, your High 
ness." 

As he leaves, Paul Platoff bursts into the room. 
A few words to Hassan cause him to join the body- 
servant in packing. En route ! 

It needs only Ahmed s happy eyes to tell Paul 
all is well. 

As the friends seat themselves, Ahmed cries : 

" Paul, I give my life to the Emperor ! I am going 
at .once. I cannot tell you where. It is a trust 
and an honor. I go from the Moscow station on the 
next train. I leave my horses to you. Take them 
to the field. You can trust Kara, the black, with 
your life. I leave my dvornik here. I want my 
campaign baggage sent by the Volga railroad to 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 55 

Vladikaukas. Let the man go with it and wait my 
orders there by telegraph. There is nothing else. 
Let him apply to you, and you settle everything." 

Paul s eyes open wide as Ahmed dashes off an 
order on his bankers for Paul s use. 

" Send my letters on as I telegraph. 

" Now, dear old boy," cries Ahmed (with a glance 
at his watch), " we will break bread together. We 
shall not meet till the last shot is fired, I fear." 

The repast is on the table. While the friends 
make a dash at the luncheon, Hassan appears. 

" Do I go with his Highness?" 

Ahmed starts. His instructions covered no other 
man. Well, he can send him back from Odessa. 

" Get a sleigh for you and the baggage," Schamyl 
cries. 

Before the Burgundy is emptied, Hassan s kit is 
made a soldier s cloak, his saddle, wallets, the 
" chaska " of twenty years service, his tobacco 
pouches, and his pistols. 

Prince Schamyl s luggage and arms are packed so 
as to disguise their nature. 

Five minutes suffice to start the retainer to the 
station. 

Ahmed s dress is already changed. His heavy 
cloak with its sable collar, and otter turban, are 
those of the travelling noble. In a dark gray tunic 
and high boots, he looks the type of a wealthy 
traveller. 

Pockets ? Yes ; the notes in his wallet, his staff- 
map, passports, revolver, and a couple of books to 
lighten the tedium of the ride past Moscow and 
down the Kherson. 



56 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

It is time to leave. One glass at parting. Paul s 
mind flies back to Ghazee. They drain one cup to 
the " Rose of Tiflis." There are smiles of mean 
ing. 

Ahmed gives a few orders to his bewildered man 
of affairs. Thank heaven, Paul can close up the 
details ! 

They are off ! As the snow is spurned away by 
the steeds, Paul says, -" Ahmed, I divine your path. 
May it lead you to Tiflis. Beware of Ghazee s 
subtle deviltry. Watch over Princess Maritza. God 
help her if she ever fell in the power of your brother! 
His plans include her future in some yet unhatched 
scheme." 

Ahmed hurriedly says : " I thank you, Paul. You 
shall hear my news by telegraph and letter. Keep 
me advised of everything. 

" You will watch over my name ! " 

Paul presses his hand. " Leave that to me. All 
know your standing since the orders of this morn 
ing. Before night every pretty woman in Peters 
burg will know that you breakfasted with Gourko. 
That is enough. We need no newspapers here while 
we have the ladies." 

Paul s laugh rings out gayly. His friend goes in 
the path of honor. 

Slipping through the throng, tickets are quickly 
purchased. A glance at Schamyl s passport makes 
the railway official open his dull eyes. It is an im 
perial special passport of the highest grade, handed 
him by Gortschakoff s secretary. 

There is ten minutes in the stateroom before leav 
ing. Schamyl " en mufti " would set every tongue 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 57 

to wagging if recognized. On the long stone plat 
forms merry laughter, careless chatter, sighs and 
sobs mingle. 

The Moscow station is like the wide, wide world 
a place of incessant meetings and partings. Joy and 
sadness wandering hand in hand the one blind, the 
other halting sadly in useless sorrow. 

Schamyl and Platoff review their comradeship in 
a few last glances as they gaze fondly on each other. 
This will be no holiday campaign. Russian honors 
are won in the red whirl of battle. They will chase 
the bubble reputation on varied fields, and far from 
each other. 

Still it is " cor unum, vise diversae." Clanging 
bells tell of the parting hour. Last words are in 
order. Ahmed s voice trembles. 

" Paul, you must go soon. If I never come back, 
remember you have been my only brother. I will 
tell you yet of my quest. Be brave, fortunate, 
happy ! Come back a general." 

PlatofTs eyes glisten as unearthly shrieks of the 
whistle announce the starting. 

" Ahmed ! friend and brother ! May God guard 
you ! Beware of Ghazee s treachery. I wait for 
your glory. 

" Prince of the Caucasus, stand always for the 
Czar." 

A last embrace ! Paul dashes off the train, 
stumbling over a man clambering in. As he darts 
past, Prince Schamyl throws the door shut. It was 
Dimitri, the Greek arch-villain and pander, spy of 
Ghazee ! 

With a scream the train tears away in full swing. 



58 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

Ahmed dares not show himself to watch PlatofT 
straining his eyes after the retreating vans. 

Who set the Greek on his track ? This conjecture 
busied Ahmed. Was he returning to the Levant 
on some secret mission of the deserter, or merely 
fleeing the wrath of the police? 

Call it safety watch, intuition, or chicanery. It 
was a master stroke of the sly Mustapha to set 
Dimitri to dog the movements of the Circassian. 

A hurried secret report of Ahmed s departure 
sufficed to suggest to the Ottoman lago the plan 
of dogging Ahmed to the end of the journey. 

Schamyl remembers the injunction of Gortscha- 
koff. He leaves not the car till Moscow is reached. 
A sight of his passport causes the train guard to 
supply all his wants en voyage, and leave him alone 
in his stateroom. All obey the Czar ! 

Darkness and wintry chill wrap Moscow as the 
train rushes in. Hassan has orders not to approach 
his master until Odessa is reached, and even there 
to wait with the unmarked luggage till sent for from 
headquarters. 

An hour s stay at Moscow decides Ahmed to ven 
ture out in the darkness for exercise after his even 
ing meal in the compartment. Muffling up, he 
descends, and, passing out of the station, breasts the 
wintry winds. 

Glorious draughts of ozone fill his lungs. Tramp 
ing up and down with the zest of a mountaineer, his 
thoughts wander to this mysterious quest. 

Ah ! the train bell recalls him. Carelessly swing 
ing around, his face covered to the eyes from the 
icy blast, as he crosses the dark lane to enter the 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 59 

station he receives a stab full in the breast. 
Treachery ! 

It staggers him ! With a nervous clutch, he 
grasps at a dark form, which flees away down the 
long, outer street of the station. He dares not fire 
his pistol. It would betray his identity. Bewil 
dered, he presses his hand to his breast. Yes, his 
clothes are cut ! He dashes into the station and 
regains his compartment. 

He is not hurt. Locking his door he examines 
his tunic slashed over the heart ! He smiles, in 
vacant wonder, as he draws out his tough campaign 
map case. The assassin s knife has split the strong 
leather. The folded map alone saved him. 

The train is now rolling on. A cowardly cut, 
indeed. " What motive ? " " Robbery ? " " No ! " 
11 Revenge ? " Schamyl has no blood feud. " Assas 
sination ?" "Why?" Ah, the swinging stroke 
recalls the work of Levantine bravos. 

" Was that dark spectre Dimitri?" 

Perhaps. Yet he must make no outcry. His 
sacred mission ! Examining his heavy revolver, he 
slings it around his neck and shoulder with a cord 
a friend in need. 

The door fastenings are right. 

Lynx-eyed must be the villain who will now catch 
Schamyl off his guard. He remembers that he 
bears the Emperor s orders. Defeat is dishonor. 

Calling the guard, a man is posted at the end of 
the car to watch the compartment on peril of his life. 
A glimpse at the imperial passport insures faithful 
ness. The White Czar speaks in its magic lines. 

Two days later Ahmed throws himself into a 



60 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

carriage at Odessa. In ten minutes he is with the 
general commanding. An officer is sent to the 
station for Hassan and the baggage. They drive 
direct to the quay, where the government de 
spatch boat Scevoutch has full steam up. Prince 
Schamyl s telegraphic report to Gortschakoff is 
sent from the general s headquarters. It is followed 
by the official despatch that the saucy Secvoutck 
is out of the harbor. Her last boats and stragglers 
were putting off for the vessel as the general s aide 
escorted Schamyl to the cutter waiting for him. 
He is muffled in a huge boat cloak. 

Schamyl has a cabin assigned him by the com 
mander, who has received his instructions. 

Dashing out into the Euxine, the swift gun-boat 
tosses the spray high in air. Night falls. The 
glorious white stars sweep over the dark blue vault 
above. The prince walks the deck late ; his brow 
is fanned by the breeze blowing down from the 
giant mountains of his youth. 

Leaning over the low bulwarks, he watches the 
phosphorescent waves break in showers of yellow 
diamonds. 

Onward, out into the mystic night and the hush 
of the sea, the quivering ocean rover ever speeds 
toward the eternal sea gates of the empire of the 
East. 

Schamyl dreams of the pine-crested slopes of the 
Caucasus, the overhanging mountains of the north, 
and the bowers of Tiflis. Will he, indeed, see the 
spirited beauty of Georgia once more ? 

Ah! Paul s warning. His brother Ghazee ! What 
deviltry is following the fugitive in his wanderings? 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 61 

Schamyl doubts not that Ghazee will lurk along 
the border to aid the Ottoman hordes. A squall 
strikes the plunging vessel. Breaking in gusts of 
rain, it floods the decks. 

Flashes of blue lightning tear across the now 
blackening sky. Groping back along the deserted 
deck, Ahmed stumbles against a man, who lurches 
heavily against him, as the ship rises to the buffet 
ing waves. 

In an instant, a pair of sinewy arms are round 
his waist ; bending under him, the stranger with a 
quick turn has Ahmed half over the rail. 

One wild swing of the vessel makes the struggling 
scoundrel slip. No word save a muttered curse 
escapes his lips. Is he a madman ? 

In an instant, the young Circassian, by a giant 
effort, bodily hurls the assailant over into the boil 
ing surge. A flash of lightning shows him the dis 
torted face of Dimitri the Greek. He sinks, with 
a wild howl, half uttered. The storm-driven boat, 
sweeping over the foam, leaves the drowning 
wretch far astern. 

Prince Schamyl staggers into the cabin. Sum 
moning the commander, the ship is searched. 
Ahmed reveals only his official order of supreme 
command, handed him by the general at Odessa. 

Nothing is known save that the unknown slunk 
on board with the baggage boats. He was thought 
to be a legation servant. 

Hassan, roused now, sleeps like a dog, crouched 
before his master s door, sabre in hand. 

Schamyl recognizes his brother s subtle work in 
the midnight stab and the deadly grapple on the 



62 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

deck. It is the curse of the Sultan s amulet. 
Sleeping in uneasy dreams, when he wakes it is 
under the fringing cypresses of the Seraglio Point 
on the Golden Horn. 

CHAPTER IV. 

THE WHITE COUNTESS S BOUDOIR. WITH GENERAL 
IGNATIEF IN CONSTANTINOPLE. WHERE IS 
YOUR BROTHER? ON THE BRIDGE OF KARA- 
KEIN. 

PACING a long room overlooking the Seraglio 
Point, Nadya Vronsky crushes a telegram in her 
clinched hand. Constantinople brings her love- 
torn bosom no peace. " Fool and dolt ! 
make no meaning of this. Where is Ghazee ? " 

Throwing herself on a couch, she tries to decipher 
the veiled despatch of Dimitri. 

For nearly two years the wily Greek has been the 
Figaro of her lover Ghazee. 

While Ghazee calmly ran the round of pleasure, 
Dimitri saw the countess in her highest exaltation, 
in the abasement of her sorrow, and the weakness 
of impotent rage. He has all his master s social 

secrets. 

Though never lifting his eyes to the 
image before him, Dimitri s heart is yet on fire. 

He wonders if Ghazee knows the unquenchable 
flame of love which glows in that woman s marble 

heart. 

Stone to all else, she is mere wax to Ghazee, 

melting at his touch. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 63 

For long months the greedy. Greek has privately 
sold the gossip of his brutal master s movements to 
the one woman who loves him. Her argus eye fol 
lows his path by day and night. 

When he clutched the crisp hundred-rouble notes 
Nadya threw at him in their last interview he would 
not tell her he was paid twice as well as she could 
pay him to disguise Ghazee s movements. 

Mustapha, with diplomatic acumen, reasoned out 
the policy of the Russian government. 

One princely brother should find the other. A 
private feud between them might remove the Mo 
hammedan aspirant to the Armenian crown. The 
fugitive Guardsman ! The Russian deserter ! 

Mustapha the ambassador a Moslem of the faith 
of the Sunis burns with shame to know that the 
great Sultan, who now rides to St. Sophia in splen 
dor, is the son of a Christian Armenian woman. 

Mustapha was in Constantinople when Sultan 
Abdul-Aziz, after a fearful night of storm and 
struggle, lay in his royal pleasure rooms, stark and 
stiff, yielding up his life to a pair of sharp scissors 
in the hands of a ferocious Nubian eunuch. The 
purple marks of fingers on his throat were never 
seen. His veins were said to have been opened a 
suggested suicide. 

The fearful butchery of three cabinet ministers at 
Constantinople was not all in all explained by the 
hanging of the desperate Circassian Major, who 
killed nine men in all before a bayonet in his spine 
paralyzed him. 

The Softa s riot of mad thousands, wild with 
frantic rage ; dull Sultan Murad s election to the 



64 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

throne of Turkey, and his early deposition all these 
dark events Mustapha well knew were the work of 
that Russian prince of deceivers, Nicolas Ignatief. 

Yet now, Sultan Abdul Hamid the son of an 
Armenian Christian beauty wields the sabre of 
Solyman, and is lord of the Bosporus. 

He is Ghazee Schamyl s best friend. Even the 
" Sheik ul Islam " has fallen before Ignatief s in 
trigues. To-day even the great statesman Midhat 
Pacha, Grand Vizier, is an exile in disgrace. 

Ignatief, under a strong guard of Russian marines 
laughs at the storms of Istambol and ^the wreck of 
thrones. It is his diplomatic " metier." 

Mustapha s advices prove that the new Sultan 
and Prince Ghazee Schamyl are close friends, 
are both Armenians. So are Melikoff, Lazareff, and 
the throng of Russian generals in Asia Mil 

Armenians all. 

In chattering fear, he cannot leave to Nadya 
Vronsky the power to sell Ghazee s secret 

Ignatief. - 

Dimitri the all observing-has sold the confi 
dence of the White Countess to Mustapha. A 
double traitor. 

The ambassador smiles as he thinks she dwells in 
his palace at Istambol, yet knows not of Ghaze. 
near presence. 

Dimitri on the track of Ahmed, in his flight south 
despatches to Nadya Vronsky that the younger son 
of the great rebel goes to Odessa. 

It is a Moscow telegram the countess dreams 
over. Where is Ghazee? Prince Ahmed is com 
ing Will he, too, join his brother in the Caucasus ? 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 65 

Cooped up in a golden palace, the countess pon 
ders. From Odessa a second telegram clears up a 
part of the puzzle. 

" The bird comes on the Seevoutch despatch. I 
fly also. His mate lost." Then Ghazee is not 
tracked by Dimitri. But the Greek will find him 
must find him ! 

To bribe the watchers at the gate to set spies to 
give her warning of the arrival of any Russian 
cruiser, is any easy conclusion for the love-sick 
woman. Ghazee is still missing. His brother must 
surely know. 

Dimitri servant, thief, and spy has sent her his 
friend at Constantinople his " alter ego " to aid 
until he can reap the golden harvest alone. 

While the despatches lie idle in her lap, Nadya s 
heart beats time by dragging seconds. Her jewels 
her very all she will give Dimitri to discover to 
her Ghazee s abiding-place. 

For her only safety, her only means of avoiding 
the golden barriers, making her cage a prison, is to 
leave Constantinople under Ghazee s sheltering arm. 

From her windows she can see the whole sweep 
of the Golden Horn. No Russian flag greets her 
eyes. 

Long in the watches of a weary night she eyes 
the narrow inlet. 

Before the song-bird takes up the nightingale s 
refrain, as morning smiles over the Dardanelles, 
her trusty spy Dimitri s friend eager and excited, 
tells her that the Seevoutch tosses on the waves 
below the Karakein bridge. 

Ahmed Schamyl is on board, for the crafty Greek 
5 



66 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

as a fruit pedler has visited the gunboat. He 
knows the young prince by Dimitri s sketch. Alas ! 
Dimitri will never finish his report. 

A Maltese sailor gives the spy the whispered story 
of a midnight encounter. 

The White Countess, with lightning mind, takes 
her desperate resolve to see Ahmed ; to find his 
heart ; to gain news of Ghazee. 

And how ? Any pretext will do. 

Ah ! He must surely report at the Russian em 
bassy. Penning a few lines, she wraps them in a 
handful of gold. 

" Follow this man. Give him this paper unob 
served, and return to me." 

The Greek is gone. 

She dare not go to the Embassy, she may be 
watched. Ignatief s people might repulse her. Life 
itself may be her dreadful forfeit, if Mustapha should 
suspect treachery. And Russian vengeance ! 

Schamyl would never come to her. In the heart 
of Istambol, he would be tracked. He would fear 
an ambush. 

As she ponders (while the messenger tells her of 
Dimitri s death), her eye sweeps over the bridge. 
There, below the barrier, the delicate spars and 
dainty beauty of the Seevoutch attract a crowd 
on the Karakein bridge. 

Why not there, in that place ? Every one can go 
there. With a woman s inspiration she asks Ahmed 
to meet her there at midnight. 

It is this request her messenger bears. For as 
she looks in the glass, as the beauty of her imaged 
self smiles back on her, she says softly : 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 67 

" He is only a man. He will tell me all. I will 
have news of my lover from the one man who can 
pardon my love his own brother." . . 

Schamyl is on deck when morning breaks over 
the cypress-lined shores of the Bosporus, and the 
anchor rattles down in the Golden Horn. It is a 
day of fate. 

The Seevoutch swings quietly in the silent waters 
of the lovely inlet. 

Schamyl knows well these classic banks. He 
dares not feast his eyes from the deck upon the 
panorama of the world s most splendid harbor. He 
must wait in hiding. Ahmed grimly smiles as he 
looks at the slashed tunic. That coward stab at 
Moscow is now avenged. 

When Dimitri sank u with the bubbling cry of the 
strong swimmer in his agony," he carried all his 
dark secrets to the black depths of the Euxine. 

Schamyl cannot show himself until Ignatiefs 
messenger comes to call him to the soldier dip 
lomat s presence. 

The Greek may have telegraphed from Moscow, 
in cipher, to the Moslems of Constantinople. 

Ahmed gazes from the cabin port-holes at the 
white-walled houses of great Scutari ; on the fra 
grant gardens of Seraglio Point ; peerless " Istambol," 
the crowned city of the Crescent ; Pera and Galatea 
to the north cluster thickly ; there in the Russian 
embassy the master mind battles for the Czar and 
holds sway over the shifting balances of peace and 
war. 

Old Byzantium and classic Chalcedon were once 
great cities here, before the mild-eyed Nazarene 



68 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

smote the gods of Greece with that pallid finger, at 
whose touch the graceful idols of the classic ages fell. 

From this vantage-point Grecian civilization 
spread in centuries past to the shores of the Black 
Sea. 

It is the centre of the old world of creeds and 
empires. A few beggarly hundreds of miles em 
brace, in a small triangle, the birthplaces of Christ 
our Lord ; of the giant Machiavel of earth, Moham 
med ; and the fiery Othman, who from Biledzik, in 
Anatolia, sallied forth to found an empire destined 
to wrap the world in flame. 

Schamyl knows now that in the scenes of his 
youth, where Persia, Turkey, and Russia meet 
under the shadows of Ararat, a new crusade will 
soon throw the sons of the Cross against the tur- 
baned children of the Crescent. 

As the Circassian frets (waiting for night), the 
breeze which fans his brows blows over the mingled 
dust of Goth and Greek, Saracen and Crusader. It 
sweeps over the graves of the unnumbered clans 
who met in fight beside these sculptured shores of 
Marmora. 

His report to General Ignatief is despatched by an 
orderly ; Schamyl idly watches the thousand slender 
caiques darting rapidly over the blue waters. 

Up and down the old bridge and its fellow, the 
Karakein (joining the splendid groves of Istambol 
to modera Pera), a ceaseless throng of wayfarers 
presses across the Golden Horn. 

Schamyl sees the line of carriages bearing the 
Moslem aristocracy on softest cushions, while the 
foot passengers envy the proud Pacha or dainty 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 69 

harem beauty (gauze veiled) with her velvety dark 
eyes. 

A boat flying the Russian flag approaches. 
Orders at last ! 

The deck officer (who has grasped the idea that 
Schamyl is a " personage ") announces the drago 
man of the Russian Embassy. 

"Admit him!" briefly commands the prince. 
Shawled and turbaned, cimeter at belt, silver- 
headed staff in hand, the important official enters. 

He bows low, and presents a letter silently. 
Ahmed tears it open. 

It is a note from Count Ignatief, stating that the 
steam launch of the Embassy will be alongside, at 
eight o clock in the evening, with a trusted officer 
to escort him to the count s residence. 

" Say to his Excellency, I await the honor of his 
reception, and shall be ready." 

(The note states that a verbal answer only is 
required.) 

Schamyl raises his eyes to the dragoman, who is 
scanning his features curiously. 

He cries, " What ! Tarnaieff ? " 

"The same, your Highness!" He grasps the 
hand of Prince Schamyl eagerly. A comrade of 
Circassia. 

" Sit down, my old friend. How do you come to 
masquerade in this costume? " 

Tarnaieff accepts the cigars and wines offered by 
the prince. Noblesse oblige. 

" When we finished our hunt in the Caucasus, 
Prince, you returned to St. Petersburg, / made a 
thorough reconnaissance of the Caucasus. 



70 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

" I wished to know all our frontier passes. Gen 
eral Melikoff detached me from my regiment (on 
secret service) for a year. 

" A Circassian Guardsman may not make a good 
dragoman ; but I have been at Erzeroum, with 
our consul in that station, for six months or more." 

Schamyl eyes his comrade curiously. Tarnaieff 
is a dashing Armenian. 

Just the dare-devil to carry out Loris MelikofTs 
secret plans. 

" Now, Tarnaieff, what was your real duty at 
Erzeroum?" queries Ahmed. 

Schamyl knows ambition goads on Loris Melikoff. 
The keen Armenian general has sworn that he will 
be governor-general of the Trans-Caucasus, and 
some day lead an army over the Arpa Tchai. 

His hawk eye catches the rising war-cloud. 

Melikoff swears the White Czar shall have the 
quadrilateral forts Batoum, Ardahan, Kars, and 
Erzeroum ! Visions of a royal province at his feet ; 
an army under his baton ; and and why may he 
not be the Emperor s chief aide-de-camp? 

It is an epoch of many rising stars. Skobeleff s 
red planet of war gleams in right ascension. 

Melikoff knows the Czar must have the road to 
Persia and the East. 

For the Russian octopus throws out its feelers 
toward Merv, Samarcand, the Indian frontier, the 
Chinese border, the shores of the Black and Cas 
pian. 

Soon a steel line will creep from the Urals 
toward Irkutsk and the Trans-Baikal. Russia in 
Europe will be joined to the Amoor regions, and 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 71 

Vladivostock, the gate of the East, be bound to the 
heart of Muscovy with magic rails. 

Court, cabinet, and camp are thrilled with this 
well-judged plan, to fight Turkey on the Danube ; 
but Russia must take and hold Asia Minor, and the 
gates of India. 

This campaign talk is a lengthy one. 



" Prince Schamyl," slowly replies Tarnaieff, " I 
can trust the Lord of the Caucasus. I have made 
sketches of all the Turkish works at Ardahan, Bay- 
azid, Kars, and Erzeroum. Melikoff is ready to 
cross the frontier ! 

" Of course, you know, Ignatief will coldly juggle 
till we are ready. As soon as our troops can move, 
we will fight. 

" The conference is, even now, a failure." 

" How did you come here, Tarnaieff ? " asks the 
prince, his eyes half closed. The panorama of a 
long war in the valleys of the Araxes and the Kara 
passes before his eyes. 

" You knew Colonel Kondukoff ? " Tarnaieff 
rejoins. 

" Very well ! " sententiously replies Schamyl. 

" He was a valuable officer, from his knowledge of 
every inch of ground from Batoum to Sinope, from 
Trebizond to the Caspian." 

" Well ! " interrupts Schamyl. 

" He has deserted us and joined the Turks, under 
the name of Moussa Pacha ; he is raising a force of ren 
egade Circassians and Kurds to ravage the border ! " 

" The black-hearted scoundrel," cries Schamyl. 

Tarnaieff resumes : 



72 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

"General Melikoff wants him traced up, and 
especially those flocking to him. I was sent here 
to act under Ignatiefs orders; of course, as soon as 
war is declared, I hope to rejoin Melikoffs staff. 
He fears internal trouble in Circassia." 

"Why?" anxiously queries Schamyl. 

" Prince " (the dragoman lowers his voice), " we 
have lost fifteen officers in a month, by desertion ! 
They have slipped (one by one) over the borders to 
the Turks. There is some more potent charm than 
this thick-headed Kondukoff at work. He is, thank 
God, so stupid, he cannot harm us much in the field. 
If we catch him, we will hang him in his regimental 
square, the false dog ! " 

Schamyl s cheeks are burning red. This secret 
devil is " Ghazee " his brother. 

Does Ignatief know ? Does Tarnaieff suspect ? 

Tarnaieff rises. 

"I must go now, Prince! I will come with the 
launch and a dozen trusty men here to-night. By 
the way, Count Ignatief has one valuable hint as 
to the insurrection in our rear." 

Schamyl starts. 

" You remember Suleiman Effendi, our gallant- 
hunting companion ? " 

" Yes, yes ! " cries Schamyl, impatiently. 

" He was sent on to Petersburg as military attache. 
He has returned." 

Schamyl nods. 

" He is to have a frontier brigade, under the title 
of Mehemed Pacha/ He is a gallant fellow and a 
good soldier! " 

" Certainly," Schamyl interjects. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 73 

"General Ignatief tells me that Suleiman is to 
move along and try our lines, coopeVating with 
those cut-throat bands under Moussa Pacha the 
renegade. Their object is to keep up a disaffection 
among the Abkhasians and Circassians in our rear. 

"When I fully understand General Ignatief s 
ideas, I am to stay to the last : then take the field 
against these spies and rebels." 

Tarnaieff salutes ; he turns to go. " See here, 
Tarnaieff," slowly says Ahmed, " I want to have a 
private hour with you after I have done with 
General Ignatief. I think I may be sent away sud 
denly. I rely on you for a personal service." 

" With all my heart," answers the dragoman, 
whose twelve sturdy rowers are soon bending to 
their oars, throwing high the diamond sparkles of 
the Golden Horn. 

Prince Ahmed paces his cabin rooms like a caged 
tiger, as the long afternoon wears away. Shall he 
tell Count Ignatief all he knows and fears ? 

In the throng pouring over the bridges are eager 
eyes watching the dainty Seevoutch. 

Russian adroitness may meet its match in a chain 
linking Mustapha the diplomat, Ghazee his devilish 
brother, and the " White Countess," to Kondukoff 
and the warlike Suleiman. 

Ahmed recognizes in this desertion the work of 
Ghazee. Present gold, attractive promises of rank, 
and the most subtle flattery have carried men who 
know too much into the ranks of the Sultan. 

" Is Ghazee in Constantinople, or some other 
hostile conspirator on his own track ? " 

When the stars swing up from the far eastern 



74 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

land of the fire worshippers, Schamyl throws a heavy 
boat cloak* around himself, as the whistle of the 
steam launch sounds alongside. His revolver is 
ready in his pocket. He slings his trusty Circassian 
dagger at his tunic belt. It is the "sine qua non." 

It makes no noise. Swinging down the com 
panion way, young Schamyl goes to the presence of 
the great soldier ambassador. 

Tarnaieff bows in silence as the swift launch 
steams to the shore. In five minutes the Pera 
boat landing is reached. " Caesar has burned his 
ships." 

Lightly jumping ashore at the foot of Karakein 
bridge, Ahmed enters a waiting carriage. 

Tarnaieff lingers to bid the launch await his 
return. He whispers to Ahmed as the horses 
spring away : " We can take a little run in the 
launch later, and be entirely alone." 

Up the street, where forgotten armies have trod 
den for centuries past, and defiled by the famous 
cross-roads, the carriage dashes. It stops at the 
Russian Embassy, opposite the Hotel d Angleterre. 
Here, at the Municipality house, Russia, Turkey, 
and England meet, in social opposition, but tied by 
fate in a knot only to be cut by the sword. 

The Embassy windows are darkened. Tarnaieff 
bids Prince Ahmed follow him. Through a side 
door the prince enters that superb residence, which 
is Russia, though its walls are in Turkey. 

Here the hatching of plots, the weaving of 
snares, the daily diplomatic tangle, is guided by the 
ablest dissimulator of the century, Nicolas Ignatief. 

A grave-faced lackey bows low. He conducts 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 75 

Schamyl to the private study of the ambassador. 
Opening the door he announces, " Prince Ahmed 
Schamyl." 

The young soldier enters. He bends his stately 
head as he sees, beside the man of the hour, his 
gracious and beautiful wife. 

With consummate courtesy, General Ignatief 
presents Prince Ahmed to the delicate lady, who 
lost no prestige as a Galitzin heiress when she 
gave her hand in wedlock to Count Nicolas 
Ignatief. 

Serene, blonde in beauty, with the exquisite 
manners of " a duchess," Madame la Comtesse 
Ignatief places the young man instantly at his 
ease. 

Ahmed has not forgotten his graceful early 
lessons of the Page School. While he presents his 
personal homage to the distinguished chatelaine, he 
studies the great man before him. 

In the uniform of a general, with the aiguillettes 
and crown-bearing epaulettes of an imperial aide- 
de-camp, Ignatief shows the thorough soldier in his 
well-set frame and perfect self-control. 

A high forehead, crowned with thick, long black 
locks, with piercing, deep dark eyes ; a drooping, 
pointed Tartar mustache, and a smooth shaven face 
which shows the professional smile of the arch- 
Jesuit or the duellist " en garde" Ignatief is a 
man of strange appearance. 

His ready, mobile smile can stiffen into the set 
decision of a man who would send battalions calmly 
into a hell of fire, or charm with its winning frank 
ness. 



76 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

When his roving, bold black eyes have finished a 
survey of the youthful warrior, Madame Ignatief 
rises. 

Schamyl springs to the door. He is rewarded 
with a smile which is doubly beautiful from its rare 
ness. It is the alpenglow. 

The Countess Ignatief s smiles are precious even 
in Russia, that land of most bewitching ladies. 

Seating himself at a nod, Prince Ahmed awaits 
the general s pleasure. 

" Where is your brother?" the ambassador asks, 
as sharply as a rifle shot. 

" I cannot tell you, general," Ahmed frankly 
answers. He is paralyzed at this thrust. 

Ignatief leans back in his chair. His eyes are 
half closed. . . . 

" Tell me of his departure, Prince," he continues 
in an ordinary tone. 

Schamyl briefly reports the facts as to Ghazee s 
disappearance. 

"You have had no communication with him?" 

" None at all," rejoins Ahmed, proudly. 

"Tell me of your trip!" Ignatief is studying 
the ceiling intently. 

Schamyl describes his voyage. He tells of the 
attack at Moscow, the weird scene on the deck of 
the Seevoutch. 

His brief report is soon over. " Finit opus /" 

Ignatief muses. 

" It is as I feared. They know of your secret 
voyage. Nothing is sacred in St. Petersburg. 
There are spies every where . . . even here." 

The count is talking to himself. He rouses. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 77 

" Prince Schamyl, I intended to keep you here 
until I could explain the grave duties which will be 
intrusted to you. I do not wish to pain you. The 
influence of your brother Ghazee may be annoy 
ing to us in Asia Minor. I see he has already 
tried to have you assassinated. Now I shall send 
you at once to Kertsch, on the Seevoutck. 

" She will sail at daylight. Go from there by rail 
to Vladikaukas and join General Melikoff at Tiflis. 

" I will send Tarnaieff over with full details when 
I leave here. An imperial courier can come across 
before the war. 

" I have prepared a despatch, which I give you 
now. It is in a cipher which Loris Melikoff alone 
knows." 

General Ignatief hands Ahmed a sealed packet, 
addressed officially to Count Loris Melikoff. 

Schamyl bows as he receives it. A trust f . 

" My young friend " (calmly continues Ignatief), 
" I know your mystic land. When I left Moscow and 
put my first uniform on, I served in desperate 
mountain warfare against your great father. 

" I saw Sultan Schamyl come down from his great 
eyrie at Gunib, leading you by the hand, when he 
surrendered to Prince Baryatinsky, 

" Stirring days," muses Ignatief. " They made 
Baryatinsky a prince and field marshal, and me~& 
soldier. 

" Thirty years warfare. Two hundred thousand 
lives were laid down to subdue your warlike father 
and to gain us the silver-crested line of the Caucasus. 

" When Jamal Eddin, your brother (now long 
dead), was delivered up by your noble father, in a 



78 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

truce, two great armies in array watched over the 
scene. 

" You see what we gave in blood and toilsome 
years to get the Caucasus ? " 

Ahmed bows. His eyes are roving over the great 
study, with its myriad books, its piles of maps, its 
pyramids of labored papers. The count is a man of 
the pen as well as the sword, a very hard fighter 
and a much harder student. 

" Prince," continues Ignatief, " your royal father 
kept his word when he surrendered to us. You 
know the late Emperor was princely in his undefiled 
honor. It rests with you alone to keep the family 
name white ! 

" As soon as I have made a tour of the European 
capitals, I shall rejoin the Emperor at Kischereff. 
Prince Dolgourouki and myself will attend him to 
the field as special aides." 

Schamyl s eyes sparkle. The eagle of the Cau 
casus scents human blood ! 

" These immovable Turks will refuse all wise 
concessions. Gortschakoff will then define our posi 
tion in a logical circular letter to the powers. We 
will instantly attack the Turk." 

Ignatief rests. His glittering eyes are fixed on 
the young soldier. 

" The Turks are lost in their own quarrels. We 
incite tnese disturbances, for we must have Asia 
Minor as far as the Euphrates! You will find the 
Grand Duke Nicholas at Tiflis when you arrive. 
Among the leading generals are our very best fron 
tier soldiers Melikoff, Heimann,Lazareff, Komaroff, 
Count Grabbe, and TergukassofT. But it rests alone 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 79 

with you to counteract your mad brother Ghazee s 
influence. To us he is merely a deserter. To you, 
a deadly enemy a would-be assassin ! 

" The Emperor looks to you, loyal and true, to 
combat the schemes of Ghazee, Kondukoff, 
Mehemed Pacha, and that black-hearted Kurd Is- 
mail Pacha the Vali of Erzeroum. 

" They will spread treason and insurrection 
silently in our rear." 

" Do you anticipate hostile foreign influence, 
General ? " Ahmed queries. 

" Hardly/ replies Ignatief. " France and England 
helped your father in his last struggling years. 
Only a few resolute men like Captain Burnaby, 
Baker Pacha, Hobart Pacha, and Sir Arnold Kem- 
ball are trying to open the eyes of the English !- 
Fat-witted and too rich ! 

" They are too slow, these dogged islanders," 
sneers the count. 

He rises. Stepping to an ebony escritoire, he 
hands to Prince Ahmed a magnificent Tcherkess 
dagger. " Prince," the old ambassador says, " your 
warrior father gave me this blade on the sad day of 
Gunib. Take it back. You go to the storied land 
of guerilla war, to impending death, to the land of 
the old Vendetta, to the land of the mystic fire 
worshipper, the land of savage witchery. 

" May your fate be fortunate ! I am authorized 
by the Emperor to say that he trusts you to the 
very death ! Beware of sly Moslem wiles shun the 
lurking assassin ! If you are in sudden danger, de 
stroy your despatches. Let them not leave your 
person for a moment ! 



8o PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

" At Kertsch you can take a nominal guard a 
picked escort. 

" Now, Prince, beware of your wily brother ! 
YOUR life is valuable to the Czar, for you alone 
shall lead the loyal Circassians in this war! " 

Ignatief concludes. It is a gracious conge". 

Prince Schamyl presses the silver-shafted dagger 
to his lips. 

" I swear fealty, to the death, on this sacred em 
blem ! The Czar holds Schamyl s honor ! " 

The stern general s face softens. He rings a sil 
ver bell. 

A servant bears in the never-absent wine of the 
Muscovite. Ahmed s lips barely touch the crystal 
glass. As the general drinks he pledges, with a 
smile, to Schamyl : 

" To our next meeting in Constantinople in the 
hour of victory ! To the cross on St. Sophia ! " 

A heavy boom shakes the casements. Prince 
Schamyl springs to the window. There, a few 
cable lengths away, swings on the sea a huge black 
sea monster. 

Another gun ! It is the stern voice of England. 

" What is that, General ? " the Circassian queries 
with anxiety. 

Ignatief s voice shakes slightly. 

" // is the English despatch boat sahiting the Sul 
tan ! This voice of the starlit night is an omen of 
evil import to the White Czar." 

England s rough barkers growling a hoarse trib 
ute to the crescent flag of the Moslem ! 

Schamyl springs lightly down the marble stairs, 
his nerves tingling with the anti-climax. The great 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 81 

steel cannon of the queen of the sea disputed boldly 
the ambassador s prophecy over the wine. " No 
thoroughfare yet." 

Passing out, the carriage lights meet his eyes. 
With foot on the step the footman salutes and says : 
" Major Tarnaieff will join you instantly, Prince." 
As the servant speeds to call his companion Schamyl 
lights his cigarette. A swift-footed passer-by thrusts 
a paper into his open hand, and rapidly turns the 
corner of the Embassy. 

Ahmed springs like a deer to the dark crossing. 
Many mingled forms, in all costumes of the day, are 
pressing toward the bridges in a huddle. The quest 
is useless. 

Tarnaieff joins him as he endeavors to scan the 
mysterious billet. A second thought : What hos 
tile eyes may now be fixed on him ? He enters the 
coupe. 

Tarnaieff closes the door sharply. In a few min 
utes the two friends are at the landing. The panting 
horses rest. 

Muffled up well, Ahmed descends to the cabin of 
the launch. The disguised dragoman is about to 
give the signal for leaving the strand. 

" Wait ! " Ahmed cries. " Look here, Tarnaieff. 
The billet of the unknown is simple enough. Meet 
me alone at midnight, in the middle of the Kara- 
kein bridge. The life of the Rose of Tiflis is in 
your hands. " 

" A trap ! " Tarnaieff snarls. " An enemy s de 
vice ! " 

Schamyl s eyes are fixed upon the signature 
" Nadya Vronsky." 



82 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

Ahmed ponders. The " White Countess " here. 
Mustapha s tool. Ghazee s fair devotee. 

Then Ghazee himself is not far off. 

Tarnaieff watches the young soldier. " You are 
not mad enough, Prince, to fall into this snare ? " 

Schamyl hears him not. He gazes on the lonely 
bridge intently. Launches and caiques innumerable 
crowd the glassy Golden Horn. His plan is instantly 
made. 

" To the ship ! " he commands. 

The little steamer throbs to the twisting screw. 
On the passage Tarnaieff cries : 

" It would be madness. I have orders for the 
vessel to leave an hour before daybreak for Kertsch 
under your directions. The ship s company will 
be inspected, the boat searched for intruders. I am 
to go to Kertsch with you and report back your 
departure by special train to Tiflis." 

Ahmed answers briefly. His mind is dwelling on 
the picture of the Diana-like Maritza. Those love- 
lit eyes shine on him once again. The soldier s 
blood is throbbing in every pulse as he recalls those 
drooping lashes, when she simply said, at their 
parting : 

" Mon cher Prince. Au revoir a Tiflis ! " 

Fairest of the maids in the land of Prometheus and 
Cadmus ! The armed men are now springing up 
around her. 

Born on those classic shores, where, on a lovely 
island of the coast, Aurora and her dazzling train 
swept along in the dance of the Hours, in the old 
golden days a daughter of the fabled Amazons 
scion of the great prophetess " Thoulme," mistress 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 83 

of all weird mystery Maritza de Deshkalin is now 
the reigning queen of his lawful patrimony in the 
Caucasus. 

Her innocent life in danger ! Is it a bold inven 
tion of the Vronsky ? Who knows ? 

Can he meet a woman whom it were madness to 
trust ? His honor ! His oath on his father s dagger 
fresh on his lips. Ahmed s love combats his duty. 

No soft daughter of luxury is the beauteous 
Georgian. Spirited and brave is she a scion of 
that noble race which held the defiles of the Cau 
casus against the invincible Alexander. 

Pompey s legions recoiled before her warrior fore 
fathers. Attila, Tamerlane, and Genghis Khan 
swerved aside from the fierce mountaineers, who 
battled to the death under the shining crests of 
Kazbek and Ararat. 

The haughty Persian and even the merciless Turk 
failed to subdue her martial ancestors. 

Platoff s warning flashes to his mind. Is it a plot 
of the leaden-eyed Ghazee? 

His head says, No ! His heart cries, Yes ! Love is 
prophetic. 

For the sweet Rose of Tiflis, he will keep the 
dangerous midnight tryst. 

Schamyl sees the glittering stars hanging high 
over the eastern skies, where the giant slopes of the 
Caucasus buttress the Czar s blood-bought domains. 

These sparkling lights of night speak to him of 
Maritza, only Maritza. 

Tarnaieff raves when Schamyl tells him his de 
cision. 

" I will take a boat with a dozen well-armed men, 



84 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

and a couple of rope ladders. We will row to the 
Seraglio Point. When we have gone well above the 
bridge, we will then drift down. You and I can go 
along the bridge. You follow me, a few hundred 
feet away. If there is treachery, I will fire my 
pistol. The men will be at hand. We can drop 
into the boat and return to the vessel." 

" Are you mad, Schamyl ? " Tarnaieff cries. " I 
will not go with you, Prince. What can you say to 
your commander ? " 

Circassian blood brooks no checking. Schamyl 
says, in a chilling tone : 

" All right, Tarnaieff, I ll go alone. You can wait 
here at the ship." 

His friend bounds to his feet. Ahmed s words 
cut him like a whip-lash. 

" Schamyl, I will not abandon you. I am yours 
to the death. But you are taking a fearful risk, my 
old comrade." 

" We will take the risks together, then, Tarnaieff," 
Ahmed says affectionately, for his loyal friend s 
prudence alone held him back. 

The preparations for the expedition are soon 
made. Schamyl s despatches remain on board. 
Hassan insists on tumbling into the boat. He 
scents danger. 

At eleven the low cutter glides away to the 
gardens of Seraglio Point. 

Even at this late hour, boats are darting over the 
waters. Twinkling lights on the anchored ships are 
mirrored with the trembling stars. 

Under the bows of the English despatch boat, the 
armed boat speeds toward those bowers, whence 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 85 

dome and minaret, spire and arcade, rise faintly 
lined against the blue vault. 

From the thickets, the perfumed breeze wafts the 
thrilling plaint of the nightingale. 

Schamyl bears at his waist his father s dagger ; a 
belt under his cloak also carries his army revolver. 

To his ardent and impulsive soul, the plash of 
the oars, the birds song, the sighing of the winds, 
repeat only that magic word " Maritza." 

Tarnaieff, in the hour of waiting, has told him all 
the diplomatic secrets of the day. They are to be 
companions in the coming war, until perhaps a 
shell, perchance a Turkish cimeter, may divorce 
them forever. Both are food for Turkish powder. 

Hassan eyes his master like a wolf hound. He is 
once more " en Turque," his normal guise. 

Strong arms propel them far up the stream, then 
drifting slowly along the strand, after a few whis 
pered words, Schamyl springs ashore. Hassan 
gravely breasts the throng and wends sullenly 
along the bridge to his post, which is to be a hun 
dred yards beyond the middle of the bridge. He is 
to conceal himself, and keep guard. 

Schamyl loiters along, scanning the passers-by. 
He hears the click of the oars, as the boat speeds 
along, to station itself under the central span, in 
hiding. 

Tarnaieff, on the other walk, lingers and smokes 
his cigar. He follows the tall form of the prince. 

Ahmed s every faculty is strained. Casting his 
eyes uneasily around, he sees behind him the great 
dome of St. Sophia hovering between heaven and 
earth. Will the Greek cross rise there ever? 



86 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

The thousand lights on the three varied shores 
twinkle lazily. Down the Bosporus, moving red 
and green lanterns show the track of swift packets. 

Reaching the middle of the bridge, it lacks but 
five minutes of twelve. The belated stragglers are 
few. Loosening his revolver, with his belt-dagger 
in his left hand, Ahmed stands on the middle of 
the roadway. His heart is beating fast. Nothing 
in sight. No sound save the indistinct murmurs of 
the shores, where a million wait for the coming day. 
It is rash to be here. Hark ! Clear and sweet, 
from the anchored ships the sound of eight bells 
strikes his ear. The boom of a distant heavy bell 
intones midnight. Where is Nadya ? 

Is it the roll of a vehicle ? Yes ! Swiftly, from 
the Istambol bank, a double carriage approaches. 

Tarnaieff, lurking along the eastern rail of the 
bridge, stands motionless. 

The carriage soon halts. Some one is coming. 
Ahmed s heart is beating high. It is surely a 
woman. At a distance of ten paces a servant 
follows. 

Schamyl scorns to show suspicion. As the 
woman approaches, he advances on guard. A 
white gauze veil covers the unknown features. She 
need not speak. The springy stride, the dainty 
bearing, are those of a European. No dumpy, over 
fed harem beauty this sombre witch of the night, 
whose white veil gleams like silver. 

She pauses; with a quick movement of her arm, 
the attendant halts. 

" Major Schamyl?" Her voice is broken and 
agitated. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 87 

" At your service, madame," calmly replies the 
prince. His keen eyes search her face. 

She drops the gauze scarf a moment. 

" Madame la Comtesse Vronsky ? " he bows low. 
" Pray be brief, madame. You sent for me ? " 

" I did. Your brother plans the capture, ruin, or 
death of Maritza de Deshkalin ! Look to her ! 
His agents are everywhere. Tiflis is swarming with 
spies. Georgia is filled with his minions. I care 
not for this war of tyrants ! But I know his dark 
purpose. The would-be Pacha of Georgia craves 
the Rose of Tiflis for his harem queen. If Ghazee 
leads the Turks to the heart of Georgia, she is lost. 
Let her leave Tiflis. She is only safe in Petersburg. 
Watch over her! " 

"Madame, your motive?" Ahmed coldly mur 
murs. He muses. He is off his guard. 

She throws aside her veil, and clasps her bosom 
with her nervous hands, flashing with gems. 

" I have stolen away, at the risk of my life, to tell 
you this. Gold unlocks even the guarded gates of 
Istambol ! The road which leads him to her, takes 
him far from me. I love Ghazee ! For God s sake, 
tell me where he is ! " She is sobbing now. 

She lifts her head to cry: "Save yourself!" 
With a wild scream, Nadya Vronsky falls senseless 
at Schamyl s feet. He turns his head. Two writh 
ing, struggling forms are behind him. One breaks 
away before he dare fire, and flees wildly up the 
bridge. He drops his revolver on its cord sling. 
Who is it lying there prone ? 

Ahmed is bending over old Hassan, whose heavy 
breathing proves his suffering. 



88 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

Ah! Warm blood ? Yes! From his side a stream 
trickles over Ahmed s fingers. 

Tarnaieff has now raised the woman. The silent 
attendant springs to his side. While they seek to 
lift the fair burden and bear it to the carriage, the 
clatter of horses feet dies away along the cause 
way. 

Ahmed need not blow his boatswain s whistle, a 
half dozen stalwart fellows clamber over the low 
bridge parapet. That woman s scream has brought 
the sailors up. 

The coxswain calls for a coil of rope. Old Hassan 
is lowered into the cutter. 

Schamyl s presence of mind returns. 

" Leave four men here ! Row to the ship ! Have 
the surgeon instantly dress this man s wounds ! 
Return at once to the foot of the bridge where we 
landed! Give way strong ! "-he cries. The boat 
is already sweeping toward the gunboat. 

Side by side with Tarnaieff, Schamyl, aided by the 
four men, bears Nadya Vronsky to the carriage. 
There is something clutched in his hand which poor 
Hassan grasped in his stiffened fingers. Who was 
the assassin ? 

While Tarnaieff pours a little brandy from his 
flask down the fainting woman s throat, Schamyl 
looks at the object he retains. 

The carriage lamp shows him Sultan Schamyl s 
amulet. It was Ghazee the deserter ! 

" You lured me to my death, you she-devil," he 
grimly says, as the woman opens her eyes. She is 
trembling like a leaf. . . . 

" Drive on slowly," he commands in Turkish. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 89 

The servant mounts the box. By the side of the 
carriage the four sailors tread, pistol in hand. 

Nadya Vronsky s hand clasps his. He throws it 
off. 

"As God is my judge," she moans, " I knew 
nothing of this. I saw the man stealing toward 
you, and the flash of a knife. The other man 
sprang out and grasped him. I knew no more. I 
feared it was murder. 

" I wished to warn you against Ghazee, and save 
that poor girl from his clutches." 

" Liar and traitress ! It was Ghazee who attacked 
me," Schamyl cries. 

" I am lost ! Mustapha has played me false. 
Ghazee will kill me ! " moans Nadya Vronsky, and 
sinks senseless on the cushions. 

Driving slowly to the bridge head, Schamyl aids 
to revive the frightened woman. Halting in the 
shadowy of the overhanging cypress groves, she 
whispers: 

" For my life, leave me now, at once ! I am well. 
I must regain my home. Follow me not, on your 
honor. Prince, I have risked my life for you to 
night. The harem walls tell no tales. Quick, 
quick ! May God protect you ! Beware of Ghazee ! " 

Schamyl s foot is hardly on the ground, with 
Tarnaieff by his side, when the carriage dashes away 
at headlong speed. The servant has entered, throw 
ing the door to with a crash. 

Silently the party regain the boat. Leaping high 
out of the water, the bows cut the flashing ripples 
of the inlet. 

Seated in the steamer cabin, Prince Schamyl 



90 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

listens to the surgeon s report. The wound is deep 
and serious. Hassan is very weak from loss of 
blood. He must not be disturbed. 

It is half-past one. The anxious commander 
suggests immediate departure. 

Schamyl consents. 

In a half hour, while Ahmed andTarnaieff discuss 
a bowl of vodki punch, the dainty Seevoutch is 
tossing aside the dashing spray of the strait, as she 
drives into the teeth of the northeast gale, headed 
for Kertsch. 

Beside Schamyl lies his father s amulet, and 
below decks his old henchman groans under Ghazee s 
stab. 



BOOK II. 

THE DESERTER. CROSS AGAINST 
CRESCENT. 



CHAPTER V. 

A STORMY INTERVIEW. THE ROSE OF TIFLIS. 
SCHAMYL S QUEST. THE WHITE CROSS OF 
THE GRAND DUKE. 

FLYING steeds, panting and foam flecked, sweep 
into the court-yard of Mustapha Pacha s palace in 
Istambol. The carriage stops with a crash. The 
Countess is half led, half dragged out. Nadya 
Vronsky passes the outer guard in silence. Her 
attendant roughly urges her along. He grumbles: 

" Lady, I have earned your gold. If this night 
ride be ever known to Mustapha Pacha, I will be 
bastinadoed and sent to the trenches ; he never for 
gives." 

With haggard eyes the woman watches him as 
they hurry through the silent corridors to her 
rooms. 

" And myself ? " she hoarsely whispers. " Myself, 
good Abdallah ! " 

The man gloats over her delicate beauty. He 
eyes her askance. Drawing his hand over his throat, 



92 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

significantly, he growls, " Down there, with the 
others gone before ! " 

He sweeps his arm toward where the moonlight 
shimmers on the deep, silent waters of the Golden 
Horn. 

Shaken and unnerved the White Countess throws 
herself on a divan as the servant closes her room 
doors. 

" Stay, Abdallah." She fears to be alone. Any 
pretext to keep him. He can be paid. Ghazee 
may soon wreak another s vengeance on her if he 
is in his mad hour. 

" I will give you gold more gold. Seal your 
lips. Let no one know. Stay now on watch in 
the corridors. If any one comes, give me warning." 

" Good ! " grunts the slave, now master of another 
harem secret. " This fair Prankish woman has gold 
and jewels of price." He bows and leaves. In a 
few moments he returns. 

" Drink this cordial," he says. " You are weak." 

The potion he gives her restores her shattered 
self-control. Her brain is once more at work. 
How to turn Ghazee s fury how to defend her 
self against Mustapha s vengeance ! 

The clatter of hoofs resounds in the court. Yes, 
yes, Ghazee has ridden over the other bridge ! 
Abdallah glides down the corridor. 

If he has corrupted the harem slaves, he was fore 
warned of her visit at night. 

Does he suspect treason or an intrigue ? Nadya 
shudders, for she knows many a servant has had his 
teeth dashed out by a blow of Ghazee s dagger 
shaft for a mere word. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 93 

This man, who had laughed and gayly breakfasted 
at her house an hour after killing poor Oliviera, the 
Portuguese attache, is coming to call her to account. 

" The fool leaped in the air and spoiled his beauty 
as he fell when I shot him. I told him I would kill 
him with nt> trouble." Ghazee Schamyl gloated 
over his wine, on the poor boy s dying agony. 

" I never liked his pretty face," he sneered. 

With frightened haste Abdallah rushes into the 
room. 

" The Prince Ghazee comes ! Furious ! " 

He glides around the corridor into a window 
recess. Ghazee has bribed all the higher servants 
of the harem. They fear the desperate Circassian. 
With an imperious toss of the curtains of the portal, 
the maddened deserter strides into the room. 

Nadya Vronsky s face is buried in her hands. 

He drags her by the wrists to a window. " I 
want all your story now. One lie, and I will throw 
you out and break that white neck. It is not far to 
the shore." 

He growls like a wounded bear. 

" What deviltry were you plotting ? Telling all 
you know to that Slav cur, Ignatief ? 

" Speak ! I will throttle you, if you don t find 
words." 

Her heart bounds under her silken gown madly. 
She is on the brink of her grave. 

" Ghazee ! It was love for you led me to risk my 
life." 

He snarls. " Love ! A likely tale ! You lie ! 

" I found out where you were. I watched your 
messengers hanging around the quay. I had a 



94 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING 

report from a spy at Odessa that Dimitri was fol 
lowing that Giaour slave, my brother, here. 

" I watched him. My men saw your messenger in 
waiting. I read your billet. I would have killed 
that young fool, but for the old wretch who has a 
taste of my dagger. My trap was to catch him, 
through you. 

" Now I will settle with you." He throws him 
self on her. 

Clasping him around the knees, the frightened 
woman begs for mercy. 

" I wanted to see you you alone ! Oh ! take me 
away from here. Anywhere, but with you. Musta- 
pha will kill me when he comes, if you leave me. 

" These slaves will tell him all. He may even 
harm you. I will tell you news." And she gives him 
the story of Dimitri s death of Mustapha s under 
plots against him. 

Ghazee throws her off. He muses. " Sit there," 
he growls. " Answer me. 

" Does that fool Ahmed know my plans ? " 

"No!" she falters. 

He glares at her in silence. 

Ambition goads him to a brother s murder for 
that glittering coronet of Armenia. 

" I will take you along. If you have given 
Ahmed any news which will reach Ignatief, I will 
have you thrown to the wild Kurds as a camp 
follower. 

" You may be of some use to me at Kars. I will 
have some woman s work for you there. If you are 
wise, you will obey me strictly. If you play me 
false, you may come back here to have Mustapha 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 95 

work his will on you. I will send him a cipher 
that I have taken you along. These slaves are in 
my pay. They will be silent. If you are sensible, 
I may send you back here to watch the palace 
intrigues. Mustapha is a deep schemer, but I must 
keep his friendship. You might spy on him for 
me here." 

Nadya Vronsky throws herself on her knees be 
fore him. " I swear to you, Ghazee, I will follow 
your orders in life and death. I love you ! You 
know my past. I will die for you with you ! 

" Take me away from here. The very air breathes 
murder ! I loathe these slaves ! I shall go mad 
here ! v She is sobbing wildly. 

" Get up ! No hysterics ! You may yet be the 
friend of the Princess of Armenia." 
He walks the floor. 

" It is true ! Mustapha hates Armenians. This 
fool has an influence over him," he muses and 
speaks. 

" I wish to draw off that Georgian tribe who fol 
low the girl Princess of Tiflis. She must be treated 
well. You may help to amuse her." 

" And you will make her your wife," Nadya mur 
murs. 

" One of them," Ghazee briefly adds. " My faith 
allows me several. You will do for one. Don t 
forget my caution. Serve me and watch my inter 
ests, for your life hangs on your fidelity ! " 

The next day Mustapha s harem has lost one 
tenant, for the White Countess is on the deck of a 
Turkish steamer with Ghazee sailing toward Trebi- 
zond. His troops wait him at Kars. 



g6 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

While the Seevoutch dashes northward through 
the silent night, Schamyl and Tarnaieff unravel the 
seeming mystery of the attack. 

Ghazee must have succeeded in reaching the Bos 
porus to confer with the immobile masters of 
Muhktar Pacha and the great Osman. These great 
leaders now watch the Turkish lines in Asia and 
Europe. 

A " holy war " will be proclaimed by frantic Der 
vish and sly Ulema. The hated Russ will be 
attacked (in front and rear) in Asia Minor, and 
withstood along the Danube. 

Tarnaieff is ignorant of the social tableaux pre 
sented in the shifting kaleidoscopic salons of St. 
Petersburg. 

He, however, instantly divines the policy of 
Ghazee. Nadya Vronsky, Mustapha s spy, must 
be watched until the Turkish legation leaves St. 
Petersburg. The ambassador s " honor " is at 
stake. 

Ghazee s enormous wealth and his secret connec 
tions at Constantinople make it easy for him to 
watch, by his spies, the Russian Embassy at the 
" four corners." 

Ghazee had discovered his brother s arrival. 

The friends sit late over the flowing vodki bowl 
(for the breeze wails coldly from the north). They 
agree that Mustapha has secretly advised Ghazee to 
watch every movement of the impulsive " White 
Countess." She might play the famous " double 
cross," and give Ignatief news of vital importance. 
Russian gold is as heavy as Turkish. 

Strange, mysterious philtre of love ! Burning 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 97 

human madness! Unreasoning desire to attain 
the unreachable! Nadya Vronsky s only motive is 
a frenzied woman s jealousy. 

Her two masters basely think she slaves with un 
sleeping cunning for gold alone. 

It is to them the sparkling, invincible yellow 
stream of the coveted dross which passes through 
the finest diplomatic nets burning, cutting, break 
ing down. 

Nadya Vronsky shuddered when she left her 
gilded prison walls at Istambol to meet Schamyl. 

She knows well many fair women s faces have 
drifted upturned on the deep waters of the Bos 
porus. A scream, a plunge dark forms watching 
the sinking victim, as a white robe flashes once or 
twice on the merciless waters ! Silence, and a few 
broadening circles. 

The leafy groves of Seraglio Point could whisper 
tales of murder chilling the blood. 

Dissimulation and death reign over these beauti 
ful harem bowers, whose fragrant boughs sweep to 
the ground loaded with the rich fruitage of orange 
and pomegranate. There, in the silent glades, the 
bird of night sings over the graves of the forgotten 
and hapless victims of lust s fury or deadly intrigue ! 

Ghazee s gold had easily corrupted the messen 
gers of the White Countess. Slaves sell their very 
soul. 

It was indeed his design to cut the succession to 
the coveted coronet of the Caucasus with the blow 
intended for a brother s heart. 

When morning dawns, the two friends stand by 
Hassan s bedside. The tough old servitor is able 



98 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

to thank Schamyl with his dog-like eyes. When 
questioned, he turns his face to the wall and whis 
pers: " The great master." He knew well whose 
hand guided the knife. He fears Ghazee s awful 
curse. 

There is no danger of a grave result. The heavy 
blade fortunately slipped and turned on a rib. 

The boat races along over the curling billows of 
the Black Sea. Tarnaieff is glad to be relieved 
of the responsibility of his princely friend, who 
bears the precious despatches. No more escapades. 

Schamyl listens impatiently to the many warn 
ings of his comrade. He cuts them all short. 

" Tarnaieff, I go now direct to Tiflis. After last 
night, I shall show Ghazee no mercy ! He cannot 
reach Tiflis as soon as I will even if it were not a 
desperate quest for a Russian deserter, whose life 
would pay the forfeit at once. 

" If we meet on the field, there will be no quarter. 
I would not he dies by my hand, but I shall strike 
home and spare not ! " 

Thirty-six hours more brings the low hills and 
mud huts of straggling Kertsch up from the hori 
zon. Hassan is able to hobble ashore. 

The commander grins with joy as his mysterious 
charge leaves the ship s side. He fain would have 
no further mishap with this too important person 
age. 

An officer of the staff, warned by telegraph, 
salutes Schamyl. In an hour the special train is 
puffing at the depot. The general in command 
will waive any formal visit. 

Ahmed s orders are to proceed forthwith. In 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 99 

the second car of the little train, a sergeant and 
half a dozen Cossacks of the Ataman Regiment of 
the Don, are a ready body-guard. They wait the 
beck and call of their lieutenant (a hawk-eyed 
youth), who reports to Schamyl, as guide, guard, 
and companion. 

TarnaiefT glances toward the rolling yellow hills 
rising up to the east and north the first spurs of 
the grand Caucasus. 

" We shall meet, my Prince, and lead a charge 
together on those rascals over there ! Au revoir at 
Tiflis." 

Wringing Ahmed s hand, the gallant young 
Armenian watches the train dart away. 

In a half-hour, the Seevoutch skims like a swal 
low toward the lovely harbor of the glowing south, 
where inscrutable Ignatief is now preparing for his 
last " coup de theatre," of breaking off all relations. 
His " promenade en diplomat " of the capitals awaits 
him. War is only waiting for the snows to melt. 

Then the truncheon of the mighty White Czar, 
lord of a hundred tribes, will be thrown down for 
a murderous war. 

"Au revoir at Tiflis!" Yes, these words haunt 
Schamyl as the light train flies over the bare plains 
of the southern steppes. 

His heart beats lightly. Every revolution of the 
wheels bears him nearer to sweet " Maritza." Fleet 
are the panther feet of love. The plains fly by 
unheeded. Home of the Crim Tartars and the 
Don Cossacks old lands trampled under the 
charger s feet of the " Golden Band," the " White 
Horde," and the savage Scythians. 



100 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

On the grassy hillocks the mounted Cossack 
watches his herds. In a month, the signal cry will 
rally the wildest riders of the world, under the blue 
and white cross. Their lances will shine on the 
Armenian plains. 

Hassan is gaining hourly. He grimly smiles, as 
he realizes he will see again the holy land of the 
Tcherkess the defiles of his own rugged Daghestan, 
and the fruity bowers of lovely Georgia. 

Morning comes, after a wild rushing night, racing 
over the rough foot-hills. 

Schamyl refreshes himself en route. Save for 
fuel and water, there are no stops. 

Fast are the Czar s riders. Like lightning his 
august mandates are borne through storm and 
stress. 

Afar in the south, a silver cone now rises glisten 
ing in the vast sea of the grassy prairie, swept by 
the icy breeze for countless miles. 

Hassan struggles to his elbow. He faintly calls 
Schamyl. Pointing a feeble finger he murmurs, 
" Dsching Padishah," " the Great Spirit ; " for it is 
indeed the mystic Elburz peak towering over 
eighteen thousand feet to heaven. 

Anon, Kazbek lifts its rugged mass sixteen thou 
sand feet in air, world-famed Ararat rises in this 
awful trinity of rose-tinted, silvery snow moun 
tains. 

Pagan and Persian, Gheber and wild Moslem, 
fiery Armenian clinging to the Cross, and scattered 
Kurdish devil-worshippers all find inspiration in 
these awful monuments of God s sculpture. 

Now the sunlight breaks upon a thousand lower 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. IOI 

silver-sheathed mountain peaks. It is the snow 
king s citadel. The train flies along at fifty miles 
an hour. 

Below the snow line, dark purple masses of mist 
roll away. There in witching beauty lie the heavily 
wooded ranges of the second mountains. 

Giant oaks, cedars, bloodwood, and taxus crown 
these misty hills, where the savage wolf, the bound 
ing deer, and tusked boar are lords of the hill. 

In among the gorges and defiles the road twists 
and turns. 

For thirty years Russia poured its devoted 
soldiers into the gloomy fastnesses of the forests 
now spreading their savage grandeur around a 
graveyard of armies. 

Rich valleys, deep defiles, and splendid river 
canyons open into the heart of the Caucasus. 

Five millions of half-subdued liegemen of the 
Czar roam over the two hundred thousand square 
miles of the great Caucasus range. The Kuban 
railway is one of five great military routes joining 
Russia and Asia Minor. 

Four hundred miles from Kertsch to Baku, the 
great chain sweeps, breaking in Daghestan into 
huge hills, seven and eight thousand feet in air. 

Schamyl s heart beats proudly, as, far toward the 
rising sun, he sees the sharp peaks hanging over 
distant " Gunib," where the Lion of Daghestan 
held so long his mountain eyrie, undefiled. 

Through these gorges, for a generation, the oft- 
defeated armies of the Czar plodded to their death 
under Jermoloff, Paskiewitch, Von Rosen, Grabbe, 
Mouraviefl, and Woronzoff. 



IO2 



After the devoted gray-clad Russians had 
watered every acre of this mystic land with their 
heart s blood, the gallant Baryatinsky reduced, one 
by one, the great fortresses of nature these strong 
holds which foiled even desperate armies led by a 
Czar in person. 

Schamyl is in revery as the train sweeps past 
the queerly decorated and palisaded wooded houses. 
Flocks and herds are everywhere. In the long 
stretches of forest, the box, fig, pomegranate, and 
wild pear enrich the shrubbery. 

Perfumed branches of laurel and myrtle, with the 
azalea, arbutus, wild roses, and violets, will make 
this a paradise when the spring sun bids the blos 
soms open. 

Buffalo and wild horses and the giant elk abound 
here in the meadows. 

Above, on the crested heights, the gazelle, cha 
mois, and silver moufflon gaze at the meaner world 
below. 

In and out the rock-ribbed gorges, the little train 
twists. On these northern slopes, the bear, wolf, 
jackal, and tiger stray. The mighty aurochs wan 
ders sullenly in the glen. Pheasants whirr from 
tree to tree. They wait the richest season of the 
year, when the plum, apple, peach, and pear trees 
bend and groan under their precious burdens. 

There is no land like the Caucasus. Its magic 
panorama of daring, witching beauty is wild and 
lonely in unearthly loveliness. 

Huge granite and basalt masses lie around, scat 
tered by the Titans of old in their play. Far 
above towers the mount where Prometheus in 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. IO3 

agony, bound to the rocks, was the sport of the 
gods on old Kasbek s seamy sides. 

The " sacred fires of Baku " still burn in their 
holy wells, adored here by the last of the dreamy 
Persian clan of Ghebers. 

This is the land of hospitality, of beauty, of im 
passioned oratory, of wild tradition, of freedom ! 

Stepping stones to God s freest vaults of ether 
are these romantic peaks. 

Around them the world has grown old and worn. 
They mock to-day the dozen conquests of great 
Constantinople, lying over against them at the out 
let of the Black Sea, a mere lake at their feet. 

Fiery Tcherkess, wild children of Daghestan, and 
the devilish Kurd are here unchanged and unchange 
able as the rocks under their feet. 

Everything in this romantic morning land speaks 
to Schamyl of his warrior father, the weird seer and 
sultan of the sword. 

Rushing along the splendidly constructed road, 
Schamyl, in the heart of the mountains (while his 
engine is changed), telegraphs Platoff at Petersburg 
to send all to Tiflis, where the next day s sun will 
greet him. 

Hewed out of the mountain sides, the superb main 
road (a triumph of modern engineering) leads from 
the Volga to the great fortress of Vladikaukas, the 
gate of the Caucasus, holding with steel-mouthed 
cannon the grand pass of Dariel. 

By five railroads the Czar can throw troops and 
supplies to far Baku, or rapidly reinforce Tiflis and 
Goomri, the great border stronghold on the Kara, 
now Russianized as " Alexandropol." 



104 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

There is a wonderful genius in these ample provis 
ions to hold communication for even the greatest of 
modern armies. The Czar s flag is planted on the 
Persian borders of the Caspian, as well as flutter 
ing defiance along the great Turkish frontiers, facing 
Kars, Bayazid, and Erzeroum. 

Ahmed listlessly tries a game of vingt et un with 
his wild-eyed escort officer. 

He is a mere thing to swing a sword on ! Relaps 
ing into moody silence, Schamyl watches the play of 
the sunset glories among the purpling hills. 

Through the silent glories of the starlit night, with 
the wild voices of the singing pines wailing above, 
onward ever, there is neither stop nor rest ! 

Gratefully does Schamyl leave his swaying de 
spatch-car when the warm mountain spring sun of 
morning sparkles on the white crests at Vladikau- 
kas. 

Out of the embrace of the black mountains the lit 
tle escort speeds into the rich beauty of the heart of 
Georgia. For Ahmed has two hundred miles of a 
ride to finish his journey. Three days travel ends it. 
He must first report. Then will it be " au rev.oir " 
at Tiflis? The ardent Circassian thinks less of the 
fiery Melikoff than of the darling woman s face whose 
sweetness and passion haunt his waking hours 
whose unrivalled beauty gilds his dreams at night ! 

Crowds of soldiers and guards throng the streets 
at Tiflis. Creeping out from under a high mountain 
range into the fertile plains of the Kura, the military 
causeway enters the Georgian capital on the river 
bank, five hundred feet only above the Euxine level. 

While Schamyl heartily greets an old friend of 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 105 

the Guards, now an aide of General MelikofT, he 
is bidden to join the general at breakfast. Ahmed 
leaves the care of his wounded servant and luggage 
to the escort officer. 

The despatches ! A soldierly welcome from the 
glittering circle of the staff is waiting Schamyl, 
whose quarters are assigned already. His own 
despatch by military telegraph has arrived. 

Huge parks of artillery, mountainous piles of 
shot, shell, and munitions are littered around the 
town. Sentinels and guards stalk everywhere. As 
Schamyl drives through the old quarters of Tiflis, he 
notes the town of a hundred thousand is tempora 
rily almost doubled in size. Every possible accumu 
lation of stores gluts the magazines. In the Asiatic 
half of the capital, the mingling of varied colors and 
diverse types is strangely bizarre. Armenians (hol 
low chested and mournful eyed), noble Georgians 
(type of the Caucasian race), sly-looking Persians, 
stolid Russians, unkempt Cossacks, bustling Ger 
mans, outlandish Kurds, and humbled Jews pour 
along the ways. 

Ponies, camels, chargers, tamed buffalo, and wild- 
eyed mountain cattle throng the narrow streets, 
whence shouts and yells arise in Babel-like confusion. 

The stone and mud walled houses rise no higher 

o 

than two stories, with bosky gardens fronting on 
the rushing Kura or " Blackwater." 

The heavy forts and outworks are strongly gar 
risoned, for Tiflis is the central nucleus of the army 
of Trans-Caucasus, a hundred and fifty thousand 
strong to be. 

Though stifling hot in summer, and icy cold in 



io6 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

winter, Tiflis has its social charms. It is now 
throbbing with the life of the semi-regal Governor- 
General s court. 

As the carriage sweeps over to the luxurious 
modern Russian quarter on the great square, a 
superb band is playing witching Strauss waltzes be 
fore the palace of General Melikoff. 

The yellow and black double eagle of the iiru 
perial standard floats lazily on the palace. The 
Grand Duke Michael is here to superintend the 
military pageantry of hurling a hundred thousand 
men on the turbaned foe. Calm Gortschakoff is 
even now inditing " protocols," which in their artful 
wording are more bitter than myrrh to the Turk. 

Thrilling along the talking wire a simple mes 
sage 

" Cross ! " will soon bring the fateful forward 
movement toward Constantinople. 

In this early January sun the square is alive with 
officers, ladies, and all the entourage of a great head 
quarters. A restless impatience thrills the com 
munity. Towering in air, the old cathedral disdains 
the meaner mosque and the clustering Armenian 
convents. 

An air of brisk gayety haunts Tiflis the Paris of 
Asia Minor. The grand ducal palace, a splendid 
opera-house, with clubs and hotels a la mode, are 
monuments of the luxury of the city of provincial 
government. Fifty-four empty churches attest the 
fierce rivalry of different warring faiths. Good seed 
wasted on the stoniest soil. They are empty ever. 
The opera bouffe and cafes chantant are crowded 
with the epauletted pride of Russia. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. IO? 

Viennese dancers, Hungarian gypsies (their eyes 
as black as sloes), and all the wandering flotsam and 
jetsam of Continental womanhood minister to that 
morbid craving for amusement, which is a reflex of 
the war fever. 

Wine flows and gold rattles. Laugh and wild 
jest, with thunders of applause, greet the merry 
tricks of the fair sirens. Vive la bagatelle ! 

In the suburbs long lines of stalwart soldiery 
parade between their winter huts. In bazaar and 
by street, the treasures of Aleppo, Samarcand, 
Damascus, Teheran, and the unrivalled metal work 
and embroideries of the Orient tempt the unwary. 

Pearls of Ormuz, sapphires of Ceylon, azure tur 
quoises of magic virtue are displayed in heaps, with 
the jewels, amber, and filigree so beloved by the 
Moslem. 

While Schamyl s carriage parts the throng in the 
square, he recognizes, here and there, a defiant, 
lithe Circassian, moving with that air of indescrib 
able haughtiness which has given rise to the proverb, 
when a swelling port is exhibited : 

" He is either a commanding general or a Cir 
cassian of the Guard." 

Jealous and quick in quarrel, as keen eyed as the 
mountain hawks circling in the thin ether, the 
Circassian is the king of men in his majestic 
bearing. 

At the threshold of the grand ducal palace, the 
sentinels present to the aiguillettes of the aide. 

In five minutes Schamyl stands before General 
Loris Melikoff, " the coming man." 

Alert, robust, thin lipped, with cold, steady, deep 



io8 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

searching eyes, the Armenian- general lifts his eyes 
from his map. 

" Prince Schamyl, you are attached to my staff. 
General Dragmiroff will give you your orders. You 
have despatches from General Ignatief ? " 

Schamyl bows as he hands the Czar s wily cham 
pion the sealed packet. 

The man who is to lead into the field a Grand 
Duke (as military mentor) tears open the papers. 

Heedless of Schamyl, standing " at attention," 
Melikoff devours the cipher. 

" This must go to the Grand Duke. You will 
breakfast with me." 

He nods carelessly, and, grasping his sabre, strides 
out of the room, followed by two enormous Siberian 
hounds. 

In three hours Schamyl has made himself " au 
fait " with the racy gossip of Tiflis. His simple 
manage as a soldier is in order. A couple of huge 
palace rooms are his, an orderly at his disposal, and 
his seat at the staff table assigned. 

At the breakfast hour he is presented to the 
Grand Duke Michael, who is affability itself. 
Schamyl is " en regie." 

" Ah, Schamyl, you are the man we want ! Just 
reported ! Let me see. Are you we ll mounted ? " 
The Grand Duke chats over his wine. 

Schamyl briefly reports the reason of his arrival 
without chargers. 

" Get some good mounts. I am going to send you on 
a general tour, with a couple of sotnias of the Guard 
Cossacks. Your old regiment may come to us later." 

When the glittering " mess " breaks up, Schamyl, 



PRI HAMYL S \V UX 

with one or two friends, passes his day in choosing 
a couple of animals worthy of the Centaur he is. 
ng price does not frighten him. " In Eastern 
countries the steed often bears the master in life and 
death dashes." 

Despatches and mail from Platoff tell him of mo 
bilization. His man and heavy goods wait him at 
the border. He telegraphs for the maitre d hotel 
and his reserve luggage. 
Paul writes : 

I go with the horse artillery to the Danube. 
My battery is in splendid order. Nothing here but 
war talk. 

Hy the way, the Turkish Embassy leaves here in 
a few d.. 

\V; i:e me to my corps headquarters as soon as 
o. Till then, here. I await your news impa 
tiently. My compliments to the lovely Prir. 
Maritza!" 

Ah, yes! the lady of Georgia! While Schamyl 
gallops his new steeds a half-hour or so in the sub 
urbs to try their paces, he carelessly asks his fellow- 
aide, Gronoff, where the Princess Mar v be 
found. 

She is vith the Lazarefi- -it their 

pal. You remember, Nina Lazareff and Tia 

/re at the Catherine Institute with the 

\\ V does Schamyl remember the lovely trio, 
called the ** Th: - - by their fond girl iss 

.il instil 
" There is their pal.i I v ;ra in 



no PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

Gronoff indicates its white fagade with his whip, 
as they swing their steeds homeward. 

" There is great fun up there now. General Laz 
areff has no less a visitor than the Lady Fatima, the 
daughter of Ismail Pacha, the vali of Erzeroum. 
She has been at the schools here, and will soon be 
sent home under an escort of honor. A wild, un 
tamable hawk is that Kurdish princess! Just as 
dangerous as a young tiger ! 

" Prince, you will see all the famous beauties at the 
grand ball which General Melikoff gives to the Grand 
Duke in a few days. We can show you as pretty 
a ball-room here as at the Cercle de Noblesse in 
Petersburg." 

Schamyl gives his charger the rein. There is no 
reason why he should disguise any longer his hand 
some proportions en mufti. Yet, he must wait. 

The next day crawls along until the afternoon. 
The morning brings his man and luggage. 

There is a spice of military coquetry in the care 
with which Ahmed dons all the bravery of his pic 
turesque uniform. A little billet, in answer to his 
own, tells him that the Princess Maritza will see him 
with pleasure. 

When the carriage sweeps up to the portals of the 
Lazareff mansion, Schamyl eagerly enters the salon. 

Duty causes him to linger with his lips on the hand 
of Madame Lazareff "grande dame " and a kindly 
friend. 

Raising his eyes, he sees at her side, with her lovely 
laughing companions, the lady of his dreams, the 
belle of belles sweet Maritza. 

"You have not forgotten me, I trust, Princess," 



PRINCE SCHAMYLS WOOING. Ill 

he murmurs, as her splendid eyes are fixed upon 
him. 

" Mon Prince! It was au revoir at Tiflis! - 
n est-ce pas ? Fate brings us together in the Cau 
casus, on the eve of a terrible war, I fear ! " 

Her wistful voice thrills him with its exquisite 
music. 

In a half-hour the bevy of graces have taken the 
young Guardsman into their fairy junta. The grand 
ball is the topic dear to the hearts of these budding 
beauties of Tiflis. Ahmed does not lose a moment 
to claim the honor of the mazurka at the fete. 

It is granted. Love s madness chains him. 

Wandering in the great gardens, where delicate 
leaves already speak of spring their slopes sweeping 
down to the willow-shaded banks of the swift Kura 
Ahmed walks alone with the young princess. 
Stretching far away over the bleak southern stony 
valley are three highways leading to the Turkish 
frontier. 

On the other side, huge masses of Turks are ready 
to reach, in three days, the lines where the Moslem 
cavalry even now picket the border. 

In the gardens Schamyl meets a tall veiled lady, 
followed by two attendants. It is the young Prin 
cess Fatima. When Ahmed greets her, in her native 
Turkish, he can only see two dark eyes glittering 
like basilisks. Though an adept in Russian and 
French, the Lady Fatima prefers her own dialect. 

" I knew your brother, the great Prince Ghazee," 
she sharply says, eying Schamyl s Russian uniform 
askance. 

Ahmed starts. 



I 12 



" Indeed, Princess! Where did you meet him?" 

" He visited my father last year at Erzeroum. 
They are very great friends." 

Schamyl finds this conversation awkward. Then 
Ghazee has laid his secret snares long in advance of 
the coming conflict. For Ismail Pacha is the hard 
est task-master and coldest brute even among the 
rapacious pachas of Asia Minor. Fit associate of a 
renegade traitor ! 

" Where is your brother? I liked him very 
much," the Kurdish princess demands. 

" I do not know," Ahmed replies, at random. He 
catches a swift glance from the Princess Maritza. 
His brother s shame is now known to all! 

" He is a great warrior ! He is a Moslem," the 
Kurd says proudly, as she turns away. " I hate 
the Giaour and the Russ ! " 

"A strange being," Ahmed says, to break the 
awkward silence. His companion s eyes are down 
cast. She pities him. 

"She is very strange," Maritza replies. "She 
talks always of your brother Ghazee. I feared 
Prince Ghazee always. He is cold and haughty." 

Schamyl checks his speech. Shall he warn her 
now? No! At the ball he can talk. He will not 
alarm this gentle girl yet. He will talk with the 
LazarefTs. She should go ! Yet, love ! 

As they stroll back to the mansion, Maritza tells 
him all her girlish budget of news : 

" We have had a great panic here at Tiflis, until 
the main body of the troops came. It is only three 
days march to the frontier. Bands of Kurdish 
horse have overrun the border. They live by 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 113 

plunder only. And, Prince, there have been many 
desertions of men and officers all along our line 
from Goomri to Baku." 

"Will you remain here, Princess?" queries 
Schamyl. 

" Unless Madame Lazareff goes into Russia when 
the general takes the field. The Abkhasians are 
very restless along the Black Sea around Poti. 
They are treacherous. But, if the troops cross 
over to the Araxes and the Euphrates, we will stay 
here, Prince unless " 

"Unless what, Maritza?" Schamyl speaks ea 
gerly. He drops into anxious fondness. 

" They say," the girl falters, " that your brother 
Ghazee will stir up a great revolt among the Circas 
sians. Then, it would not be safe here. He is 
feared by all. We women would all have to go 
beyond the Caucasus." 

"You know of his dishonor, Princess?" Ahmed 
asks, his cheeks burning. 

"Yes, we all do! His secret agents and spies 
swarm from sea to sea now. He has connections 
with all the disaffected. I hear General Lazareff 
often talk of him. They have already executed 
some of his agents." 

Schamyl cannot linger now. When the conven 
tional visit has been already far prolonged, he takes 
his departure. 

Was it a faint returning pressure of the hand he 
felt, as he said adieu to the Rose of Tiflis? 

Standing in the rich salon, her exquisitely 
moulded form draped in fleecy cashmere of the 
rarest Persian looms ; her necklace of pearls, no 
8 



1 14 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

whiter than the swan-like throat a dark-eyed god 
dess with features of the rarest mould, Maritza de 
Deshkalin is as fair a daughter of Pontus as ever 
graced this morning land of loveliest women. In 
these later days, a truant young Greek nymph a 
dream of beauty. 

For two long hours next day, Ahmed toils with 
General Melikoff over plans and maps. He receives 
a list of telegraph stations, a route covering several 
hundreds of miles, and instructions too important 
for any but a commander s own lips. Schamyl 
hears calmly of his desperate quest. He is to visit 
the whole frontier secretly, to pursue and break up 
knots of malcontents ; a warrant under the Grand 
Duke s seal authorizes him to use any garrisons and 
moving troops. 

,At each point he is to report in telegraphic 
cipher. 

Above all, the capture of the arch-traitor Ghazee 
is to be sought, for crafty Melikoff has sounded the 
dark partnership of Ghazee and the bloody Kurdish 
Pacha at Erzeroum. 

" I will watch these Abkhasians on the Euxine. I 
wish you to make sure of Daghestan and the line 
from Bayazid and Ardaban to Baku," Melikoff 
says earnestly. 

" There is no reward you cannot claim of the 
Emperor if you prevent a general revolt in Daghe 
stan and Circassia. As soon as the armies take 
the field, and the danger is past, you shall have a 
brigade of horse, Prince," promises Melikoff. 

" Hold yourself in readiness to leave at night 
within two or three days. Lazareff has detailed 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 115 

two sotnias of picked Cossacks. Every man is a 
veteran. You will have a double set of officers to 
each troop. No one must know of your errand ! " 

Schamyl rejoices that his old retainer is now able 
for the saddle. For Hassan speaks every border 
dialect, he knows every nook and cranny of the 
Caucasus. Can the prince depend on his loyalty ? 

Schamyl swears the old sergeant, on the sacred 
amulet, to bear him faith in the campaign. 

Hassan growls, "I will! The * great master 
shed my blood and would have killed you. He is 
accursed now ! a son of Sheitan ! " 

Revenge is the one unfailing passion of the war 
like Circassian. Hassan s side burns with his knit 
ting wound. 

Absolute secrecy is enjoined upon Schamyl. His 
heart fires him to go once more to the presence of 
the gracious woman whose lightest touch thrills his 
bounding pulses. He must see her before the ball- 
before the summons. For " boots and saddles " 
may sound any instant. Duty yields to love. 

The war news swells on the rising gale. Ignatief 
is even now departing for his tour of the great 
capitals; the Russian Legation at Constantinople is 
closed. . . . He is with her once more. 

Seated in the drawing-room at the Lazareffs, Ah 
med tells Maritza that he may depart suddenly on 
secret duty. 

With frankness he imparts to her Platoff s fore 
bodings, the White Countess s warning, and bids her 
beware of dark Ghazee s snake-like treachery. 

The beautiful dark eyes linger tenderly on him. 
Her voice is low and strangely sweet. 



ii6 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

" Prince ! your brother is not my friend. I know 
it. Last winter " she checks herself. 

Ghazee s suit was, then, unsuccessful. His heart 
bounds. 

" I am an orphan ward of the Emperor ! He 
would never permit me to marry a Moslem." 

A strange light shines in Ahmed s eyes. He 
takes her trembling fair hand in his own. 

" Princess, I leave you soon ! Will you give me 
a little token that you will not forget me till I 
return? I may even go before the ball." 

Maritza glances at Madame Lazareff. The good 
lady is intent upon the Revue des Deux Mondes* 

Hastily drawing from her slender finger a great 
pigeon blood ruby ring, she drops it in his hand, 
and whispers : 

" Wear this for my sake ! " 

Their eyes meet. In all the splendid depths of 
her dark glances he , can read the shy self-defence 
of the proud girl s nature. She would not be too 
easily won. ... A princess in her own right ! 
The chatelaine of these storied hills a daughter of 
the gods ! 

" I will guard it with my life t ill I come back to 
you. I shall see you to-morrow." 
| Faint and soft as the chime of distant bells, her 
voice repeats, " To-morrow Prince ! " 

As he rises she shows him a face whose burning 
blushes cannot mislead him. A rustle of her gown 
the goddess has fled ! 

Murmuring a few commonplaces to Madame la 
Gnerale, Ahmed drives to the palace in a happy 
unconsciousness of time and place. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 1 1/ 

For Love s dainty sceptre has touched him. The 
Czar s soldier once, he is only now a slave in the ser 
vice of Queen Maritza! 



CHAPTER VI. 

MISSING. UNDER THE SHADOWS OF ARARAT. 
A MOTHER S MEMORY. 

PRINCE SCHAMYL S head tosses on his pillow all 
night. In his dreams, Ghazee drags the beloved 
Maritza down into the black waters of the Kura. 
He cannot hold her back. . . . Agony haunts 
his sleep. With a bound Ahmed springs to his 
feet. 

Those hideous visions of the night fade away. 
Morning already ! His orderly is knocking. 

"Highness! This is immediate!" The soldier 
salutes. 

He tears open Melikoff s hasty scrawl. 

" Report at orderly hour. Haste ! 

MELIKOFF." 

Schamyl despatches a Spartan breakfast ; old 
Hassan nimbly assorts the camp outfit. 

" Ready for the road." Hassan hobbles away to 
inspect the animals. The veteran Moslem is good 
for a dozen raids yet. 

As Loris Melikoff steps into his orderly room, the 
staff officer announces: 

" General, Prince Schamyl in waiting ! " 

A satisfied gleam crosses the Armenian s cunning 
eyes. He is like the white general Skobeleff. His 



n8 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

staff officers must appear like sprites, and move 
with lightning speed. 

MelikofT nods when Schamyl enters ; the Grand 
Duke Michael is also at the table. 

Their faces are grave. 

" Major," MelikofT growls, " our signal officers re 
port many beacon fires on the mountains to the 
north last night. 

" Prince Tchavachavadze, lord of the Abkhasians, 
reports the signals also on the mountains behind us 
here. He is already miles away toward Poti and the 
Black Sea. 

" We fear some dangerous uprising. I have sent 
your squadron of Cossacks off at daylight. 

" One officer waits to guide you out at nightfall. 

" His Highness wishes to keep your mission a 
secret. You will leave without a word to any one. 
You have your orders." 

Melikoff twists a cigarette carelessly. 

The Grand Duke Michael adds a few words : 

tl Prince Schamyl, the Emperor has given a divis 
ion of cavalry to Tchavachavadze. He^is the chief 
of all the Eastern tribes. The Princess Maritza is 
firmly attached to our gracious Empress. She is 
the last of the line of Georgia. You are now the 
chief of Circassia and Daghestan." 

Schamyl bows in silence. 

" We know well the importance of tradition with 
these uncertain Asiatics. Count Ignatief writes me 
that in Thibet, in Turkestan, in his years in China, 
he has met no nature as proud and defiant as your 
own people." 

Schamyl s eager eyes rest on the Grand Duke. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 119 

He knows what the prince of the house of Romanoff 
would not dare to say. His heart beats wildly. 

" I send you, Schamyl, with a stainless sword to 
hold your old altars and castles for the Emperor." 

The Grand Duke detaches a great white cross from 
his bosom. Handing it to the young man, he says 
simply : 

" My Brother gave it to me. Go now, my young 
friend ! " 

The subtle flattery of this great prince sets the 
soldier s heart on fire. 

There are tears in Ahmed s eyes as he salutes. 

Melikoff says, simply: " Send back a man to tell 
me of your first march. Telegraph direct for orders 
from every garrison." 

Noblesse oblige. Ahmed s cheeks burn as he 
affixes the white cross to his breast. It may not be 
hidden, but he has not fairly earned it yet. 

As he passes out of the ante-room, thronged with 
grizzled veterans, there is a hum of envy and aston 
ishment. These princely youngsters rise so easily ! 

Reaching his quarters, Schamyl spends a restless 
hour in writing Platoff and in arranging his simple 
kit for the scout. His troops are away. He chafes 
for the road now. The music floating in from the 
square, where hardy battalions are exercising, re 
minds him of that grand ball which he cannot 
attend. 

And Maritza is queen of hearts now ! 

He dares not visit her again so soon. Les con 
venances ! 

At dusk his horse s head will be turned toward 
Daghestan. He may not come back. There are 



120 PRINCE SCHAMYLS WOOING. 

swords as sharp as his own in those rugged hills. 
Shall he send a message a letter? Whom can he 
trust ? 

As the lover ponders, Hassan gravely enters. All 
is ready. 

With inspiration, Schamyl pens a brief note. 

" Will the Princess Maritza ride this afternoon to the band 
practice ? " 

Hastily sealing it, he bids Hassan mount and bear 
it to the Lazareff mansion. 

Schamyl tells him to ask for the Princess Maritza 
herself. 

Clattering hoofs tell him the rider is on his way. 
Schamyl paces the room uneasily. From the win 
dows he can see the wooded hills, rising four thou 
sand feet in air, where last night the fires of treason 
glittered. 

There already lurk the dastards in the rear who 
would give up their own native land to the Turk ! 

Ahmed remembers grimly that his own father was 
a Moslem of the Moslems ; that a hundred and fifty 
thousand Circassians are even now, after two hun 
dred years of warfare, fanatical sons of the Crescent, 
though clutched in the never relaxing grasp of the 
Eagle of the North ! 

Ghazee, the renegade, now wears the fez and tur 
ban of a Pacha in the Turkish ranks ! 

With a rush Hassan s charger reins up in the 
court. Love s messenger appears. His eyes are 
shining. 

" I saw the lovely daughter of the morning, 
Highness!" Hassan announces, handing a billet to 
the Guardsman. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 121 

The note is brief, but precious. 

" We ride at four this afternoon, in the square. Au revoir. 

MARITZA." 

Ahmed thanks his lucky stars that the general 
order has been given for pleasure parties not to 
cross the line of sentinels on the town limits. All 
the beauties of Tiflis ride in the great square. 

For the black-hearted Kurds are abroad ! Con 
cealed by day (thieving and plundering only at 
night), their zone of rapine and murder unites the 
two opposing lines already. 

" The day star spoke in my own language," 
proudly exclaims old Hassan. 

" She is more fair than the moonlight on the 
waters! " The old messenger s heart is captured by 
her native graces. 

He is gone. 

Ahmed smiles at this poetical outburst of the 
cut-throat descendant of Hafiz. 

Hassan s words haunt him. " She spoke to me 
in my own language ! " 

Ah ! General Melikoff, love will ever find the 
way ! Your orders will not be literally disobeyed ! 

When the line of carriages sweeps around the 
square in the afternoon, Prince Schamyl slowly rides 
past the procession. His new charger is a towering 
son of night. A white star blazes in his forehead. 
The Circassian silver trappings deck the noble steed, 
whose princely rider s face is haughty and un 
moved. 

All eyes gaze on the tall youth, whose heavy 
Tcherkess sabre swings easily from his jewelled belt. 
There s not a lovely Russian " aristocrate " in the 



122 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

line who does not glance kindly on the man whose 
white grand cross tells the story of the honors 
of the morning. 

The mysterious freemasonry of garrison gossip 
has already spread abroad the singular distinction 
of the Prince of Daghestan. 

Far up the line Schamyl recognizes the livery of 
the Lazareffs. Lovers eyes are keen ! 

Dreamy, delicious music floats over the parade. 
Far away the course of the Kura divides the great 
valley beyond, on whose farther crest the Moslem 
foes are even now mustering. His own brother 
waits to cross swords with him there ! 

With the easy grace of a Bayard, Schamyl reins 
up his fretting horse beside the carriage. 

" Place aux grandes dames ! " The prince can 
hardly trust his voice, as he pays an homage " not 
altogether guileless" to Madame Lazareff a beauty 
yet, a reigning belle once ! 

His bow to the young ladies brought his noble 
head to his charger s mane. 

Madame la Generate smiles as she notes the highly 
prized decoration. 

" Mon Prince ! Je vous en felicite." 

These moments are ages to Schamyl. He has 
now a fair excuse to address the young reigning 
beauties of Tiflis. 

His French and Russian sound charmingly to the 
merry Nina and the bright Tia. 

When he softly speaks to Maritza, it is in the 
beloved tongue of her childhood. 

The eagle-eyed young prince knows he is be 
loved. For she has said it ! Schamyl needs not 



PRINCE SCHAMYLS WOOING. 123 

wait for the seventh heaven. He is realizing it here 
on earth. 

A wary glance from Madame Lazareff bids him 
restrain the sparkling eagerness of his eyes. Does 
she suspect their secret ? 

Even duennas know the language of love ! And, 
in Russia, an emperor s orphan ward is sacred. 

Around the parade, the cortege of rank and 
fashion creeps. These blessed moments fly all too 
soon. When Madame Lazareff draws her Persian 
shawl (a prince s ransom) around her, for the 
evening chill is falling, Schamyl knows the Fates 
are cutting the thread. The parting moment comes. 

Raising his astrakhan shako artlessly, he presses 
to his lips the blood-red ruby ring. 

Maritza is leaning forward slightly. Her glorious 
eyes dwell a moment on him with a tenderness 
which thrills to his bosom s core. 

He is the " Prince Charming " who has come 
across her unvexed girlhood to lead her " over the 
hills and far away," out into the fairy land of love 
which wraps this work-a-day life in a glamour of 
enchantment. 

She knows he cannot grace the stately ball of 
the Grand Duke. While she dances there her lover 
will be far on his way to the robber-haunted defiles 
of Daghestan, at the head of his troops. 

With courteous salutation he greets the other 
ladies ; in wheeling his charger, he brings that blood- 
red ruby ring once more to his lips. 

Princess Maritza does not watch how grandly his 
black orloff dashes away, for there are shining 
mists of happy tears veiling the eyes of the fairest 



124 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

maid in Georgia. The dialogue in Georgian puzzles 
Madame Lazareff. Maritza s heart goes out with 
him on the dangerous quest, wherein he must earn 
the white cross already given by the Emperor s 
brother. The Czar alone can give away her hand. 

Princess Maritza s fluttering heart prisons her new 
secret, as the carriage rolls along. 

Her lover s praises are sounding in her ears. 
Schamyl " has builded more wisely than he knew " 
in his Grandisonian tenderness of manner to 
Madame Lazareff. 

The bright twin stars, Nina and Tia, chatter in 
their heart-whole glee. They can freely rally Ma- 
ritza, for they have not yet tasted the elixir of 
love. 

One bright star hangs over the high northern 
hills, when Schamyl, followed by Hassan, dashes 
out of the eastern guard gate of Tiflis. His horse s 
feet sound sharply on the jagged stones. He is 
musing, dreaming of the fair girl who in her lonely 
room, sitting in the evening shadows, murmurs, 
"When shall I see him again?" 

Four trusty Cossacks, with a corporal, are waiting 
at the first village. They left with the packs four 
hours ago. The three riders join them. 

Winding down the willow-screened banks of the 
Kura, his escort officer at his side, Schamyl takes his 
place in front of the little squad. 

The mechanical rise and fall of the horses feet on 
the frosty road lulls him. His heavy hood hides his 
face. Once on the road, Ahmed is a soldier again. 
From these wooded bends of the Kura a lurking 
band of Kurds may dash out at any moment. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 125 

It is long after midnight when the camp of the 
squadron is reached. 

Schamyl s heart bounds as he sees the stern riders, 
in bivouac, around their tethered steeds. 

Sitting by the camp-fire, he realizes he has entered 
into the enjoyment of his patrimony the empire of 
the sword ! 

Examining the carefully posted sentinels, with 
brief directions to his officers, the lover throws him 
self down to dream of Maritza, the dark-eyed, whose 
smile gilds even the darkness of the chill January 
night. 

He has indicated a star on the Circassian s dial. 
When that bright spark reaches the western horizon, 
the squadron will sweep swiftly toward the gloomy 
hills hanging over Bayazid the outer gates of Erze- 
roum. 

When Hassan rouses Schamyl, with his coffee, the 
two " sotnias " are in arms. Gathered around the 
camp-fire, the eight officers greet their young com 
mander. 

Hassan and the orderly remain with the guard 
squad when Schamyl s breakfast is despatched. In 
a half-hour, they will overtake the command, with 
the pack animals. 

Sweet is the sound of the singing bugle as the 
young chief rides to the head of his cavalcade. 

A guide, a trusty sergeant, and three troopers lead 
the advance. The two sotnias, in column, tramp 
along, the hardy horses tossing their heads in the 
nipping morning air. 

As the sun leaps out of the plains of Khorassan, 
Schamyl surveys his bold riders. 



126 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

Trim, brawny horsemen, in short tunic and leather 
trousers, a warm cloak over their shoulders, and 
wearing rakish sheepskin caps, they are the pride of 
Russia, these dare-devil Tcherkess swordsmen ! 

Schamyl has ordered them to leave their lances 
behind. With a Berdan rifle in its leather case, two 
pistols, their belt-daggers, and the heavy razor-edged 
Circassian sword swinging noiselessly in its wooden 
sheath, they are armed to the teeth. 

They stride along, riding easily, with knees high 
drawn up. Their neat-limbed chargers are as agile 
as mountain deer. 

Accustomed to govern and direct themselves i-n 
fight, they neither give nor take quarter when they 
meet either of their deadly foes the thievish Kurd 
or lumbering Bashi-bazouk. 

In single fight they mow down the despised 
Turkish cavalry, or pick them off with unerring aim. 

Proud are the Ataman riders that the Czarewitch 
is the titularly lord of the Don Cossacks ! Mazep- 
pa s mantle descends upon the eldest son of the 
Romanoffs. 

It is to the uncorrupted fidelity of these war 
riors that the sacred body of the Emperor is con 
fided. They are the inner ring around the imperial 
person. 

" Preobajensky," " Cuirassier," nay, even the 
white " Garde a Cheval," must yield in personal de 
votion to these fierce children of the mountains and 
steppes. 

Man and horse (blended in a double unit) camp, 
sleep, eat, and play together. 

The faithful steed is a living bulwark as he drops 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 127 

at a signal, his rider firing over him. Swimming 
like an otter, climbing like a mountain goat, dog-like 
in fidelity, the Cossack horse is his master s greatest 
treasure. 

Along their line the magic word " Schamyl " is 
whispered. With sparkling eyes they follow the 
tall form of their new chief, who was cradled in the 
arms of the great sultan of the sword, the Imam of 
Circassia. Every childhood song, every wedding 
feast harangue, every legend of this wild, bookless 
nation, burns with praise to the mighty chieftain of 
Gunib. 

It is his princely son who rides at their head, in 
the flush and glory of young manhood. 

Schamyl communes with himself. He knows 
these rolling hills, these grand woods, these defiles 
where a few may hold a host at bay. 

He will please the eagle-eyed Melikoff. When 
he has broken his next camp, sending back a report 
as ordered, he will strike boldly across the broken 
mountains, from the Kura to the Araxes, and reach 
Erivan (the last Russian stronghold) before Baya- 
zid, on the open gorge of Erzeroum. 

On this lonely way he will surely meet any wan 
dering parties. He needs no map. The eagle of 
the Caucasus finds his way alone. Each boyish 
memory is a treasure now. Then, refitting, he will 
(by the mountain defiles) gain great Himri, the 
birthplace of his stern father. 

If Ghazee is stealing along the lines, his spies will 
be busy in the heart of Daghestan. 

Woe to that traitor if he meets this forlorn hope 
now sweeping along under Ahmed ! 



128 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

While from the heavy forest the small animals 
flee at their approach, herds of deer troop over the 
misty meadows. It is a land of silence and savage 
beauty. 

At noon Ahmed halts his squadron beside a 
sparkling river. 

Throwing himself down under a tree, the young 
major communes with his officers. 

While Hassan (who scorns that another should 
serve his master) spreads the repast, Schamyl 
exchanges a few words with his subordinates. 

An old gray-headed captain interests him a 
captain at fifty. 

" You have served here ? " he asks. 

" I know this region well, Prince ! It was from 
these very mountains your father dashed down in 
* forty-eight, and captured our Russian Princess 
Orbelian, the general s wife." 

Schamyl eyes the bristling peaks with interest. 

" I was a boy soldier then, just joined. I was 
cut down trying to save the princess. I lay in the 
forest, unnoticed, and was brought in by the rescue 
party." The old captain sighs. 

Ahmed s memory is strangely moved. 

"The Princess Orbelian!" His father s noble 
captive. He wonders. 

"Tell me the whole story," he directs. When 
the captain s brief recital is over, Ahmed remem 
bers that the Russian Government gave up, in later 
years, his captive brother Jamal Eddin, in exchange 
for the Princess of Abkhasia and this lovely Prin 
cess Orbelian. 

" Ah, Hassan must surely remember ! " He signals 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 129 

to the veteran who is bearing along his master s 
viands. Speaking in the tongue of his youth, he 
queries : 

" Hassan, do you remember the Russian Princess 
Orbelian?" 

The veteran drops his dishes, open-eyed. He 
mutters wildly, and proceeds to recover his scattered 
charge. 

Schamyl sharply cries : " Well, can you speak ? " 

Hassan turns a frightened face on his master. 

" My oath ! The great sultan ! No, I never speak 
of those old days of the great master. May Allah 
be my guide, I know not!" 

When the cavalcade sweeps up toward the spiral 
height, from whence he will break away toward En- 
van, Schamyl is haunted by the soldier s story as 
he rides. 

" The Princess Orbelian ! " He questions his serv 
ant again. 

Hassan s obstinacy foils him. He will not speak. 

As the wind sweeps through the lonely forests 
where his father s voice so often cheered the wild 
riders onward when they struck the Russian foe, Ah 
med s boyhood comes back. Somewhere, in yonder 
sparkling mountain ranges, sleeps the gentle-eyed 
woman whom his fancy, born of an unloved boy 
hood, paints to him as a tender mother bending 
over her child. t 

The Princess Orbelian ! She was seven long 
years in great Schamyl s eyrie. 

The reins lie idle on his horse s neck. He forgets 
even the star-eyed Maritza to dream of the dear 
unknown (hidden from him by the mists of buried 
9 



130 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

years), whose ears never lovingly heard him say 
" Mother." 

Chill winds whistle over the rocky ridges at sun 
down, as Schamyl pickets his weary horses on the 
southern slope of lofty Mount Alacez, three days 
later. 

Hassan s knowledge of the old Tcherkess trails 
enables the fiery major to gain unperceived this 
point, from which he can strike quickly in any 
direction. 

Schamyl is happy at his good progress and unper 
ceived march as he sweeps his glass over the won 
derful panorama. In sending back his courier from 
the first day s bivouac, he has asked permission to 
leave a half sotnia, "en perdu," in the groves of 
Alacez. All is quiet so far here. 

From his vantage ground to the north great 
" Goomri " hangs over the Araxes in warlike defi 
ance to the Turk. It is the Russian frontier strong 
hold. 

His nimble warriors have climbed out of the Kara 
valley ; below him, to the southwest, lies the great 
Araxes River, whose northern branch, the " Arpa 
Tchai," is the hostile frontier. 

Due west one hundred and fifty miles, Kars 
frowns under the Kara Dagh (only thirty miles 
from Goomri). It is the goal of General Loris Mel- 
ikoff. His marshal s baton awaits him there. He 
has the Grand Duke s pledge. 

Southwest the road sweeps up the valley of the 
broad Araxes toward populous Erzeroum, in its 
amphitheatre of cannon-crested hills. 

Due south rises the awful mass of Ararat, unde- 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 131 

filed by man s polluting foot, and a little to the 
west is the city of Bayazid, the third precious mor 
sel for the maw of the Russian. 

There, at Ararat, a man in a run of fifty yards 
can wander in Persia, Turkey, or Russia. It is the 
one giant corner post of Asia Minor. 

Schamyl sighs to think that though his keen eye 
can sweep over the whole valley of the Arpa Tchai 
and the Araxes (fenced across by the great ridges 
of the Kara Dagh and Agra Dagh), it will take 
months to make that bloody march. 

Fiery though Melikoff be, fast though his riders 
press to the front, it may take a year s time, and a 
hundred thousand lives, to grasp in the iron hand 
of Muscovy those three priceless jewels glittering 
under his feet Kars, Bayazid, and Erzeroum. 

Yet the White Czar must have them to fence, 
with their massy citadels, the flanks of his great 
strategic railway from Batoum to Baku. Batoum 
yet flies the crescent and star of the Ottoman. It 
is the fourth jewel of the quadilateral. 

Eastward, lying under Russia s claws, are Merv, 
Khiva, Turkestan,* Cashmere, and Khuldja. 

Not in vain did wily Nicolas Ignatief toil for 
four years in the Asiatic Bureau of the Ministry of 
the Interior. His fertile brain has caught the 
enormous value of the Baku oil regions. The " sa 
cred wells " of the fire worshipper will furnish fuel 
for hundreds of locomotives on the railroads of 
treeless Asia and its barren steppes. 

Steamers, by the fifties, on the swift Volga and 
the Caspian Sea, will be propelled by these liquid 
riches wasted for long centuries. 



132 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

Ignatief s keen mind has discerned the royal road 
of advance to Central Asia. The conqueror s sword 
must now carve out a line to keep the Turk at bay 
on the Euphrates. 

Morning mists scarce roll away before Schamyl s 
pickets are sweeping (in dispersed knots) away on 
their searching raids. 

So far hut and village, forest and dell, are unpro- 
faned by the Kurdish struggle. 

One platoon is to thread the border as far as 
" Goomri," reporting to him at Erivan by telegraph 
from that fort. 

Another will search, in loose order, the wooded 
plains as far as the junction of the Araxes and Arpa 
Tchai, rallying at Erivan. 

With the other forces, Schamyl spreads a line ten 
miles broad, flanking the main road to Erivan. 
There he will be able to telegraph Melikoff that the 
southern border is clear of marauders. 

Strong bodies of horse are already picketed on 
the frontier from Ararat to the Caspian. With the 
Abkhasian cavalry on the Black Sea flank, and 
the Caspian troops to his left, Scliamyl s duty is to 
guard inviolate the roads to Daghestan and his 
own wild Circassia. 

Ahmed leaves the trusty old captain on Mount 
Alacez with orders to send each day a rider in to 
Erivan. 

They will pass a daily vidette, returning from the 
stronghold, where that unrivalled tactician Tergu- 
kassoff is ready to seize Bayazid the moment that 
"protocols "and "Vienna conferences" are aban 
doned. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 133 

Schamyl has been over a week in the saddle when 
his jaded troopers ride into Erivan. 

To report to the fort major and despatch sup 
plies to his troop left at Mount Alacez, is his first 
charge. To report himself \.o the commanding gen 
eral and inform General Melikoff of his dispositions, 
is the second duty. 

Bravely has Hassan, the mystic retainer, kept his 
sturdy roan at Schamyl s heels. The old swords 
man seems all the better for his blood-letting. In 
vain has Schamyl urged him to speak of the Prin 
cess Orbelian. 

" The great sultan sealed my lips when he died. 
The curse of Allah rests on the babbler." 

Leaving his second in command to arrange the 
details of rationing his outposts and quartering his 
men, he lightly gallops over to the headquarters of 
the division commander. 

As he swings himself out of the saddle, a staff 
officer hurriedly accosts him. 

" You are to see the General without delay, 
Prince. Important orders await you ! " he says, 
with an anxious face. 

In five minutes Schamyl has made his brief report 
to Tergukassoff. What new anxiety ? The chief s 
brow is gloomy. He tosses a telegraphic order to 
Ahmed. It is personally signed by Loris Melikoff. 

Schamyl reads its few stern lines. He utters a 
cry like a wounded lion. The fatal words are 
burned into his brain. It is three days old ! 

"COMMANDING GENERAL AT ERIVAN : 

" Send Major Schamyl with all his force to scout the Arpa River 
banks from Parnault and Assar, to meet our own force descending 



134 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

from Goomri. Princess Maritza and Lady Fatima were carried 
away last night from Lazareff s gardens. Kurds supposed to have 
descended river. Send him to report back from Goomri. 

" MELIKOFF." 

The general growls out : " I have sent out already 
four companies of Cossacks to scout from Ararat to 
Assar. They left in an hour after the news came. 
If you are able, you had better strike now for Assar, 
with a fresh half sotnia. I ll send an officer to lead 
your own men down to the river at Kizilkule to 
meet you there. I will station another company 
on the mountain. Can you start back now?" 

Schamyrs eyes are blazing. He has already for 
gotten his fatigue. For Maritza s sake, anything ! 

" As soon as I get fresh horses, and my troops are 
ready, I will go, General," the prince gasps. 

" Good ! " growls Tergukassoff. " I should judge 
that Melikoff is not very happy over this. That 
young princess is the head of the Georgians now. 
These sneaking Turkish spies may have cajoled her 
away. It s a bad time. But what did they want to 
steal the Kurdish girl for also? " 

Ahmed is about to speak. He masters himself. 
A spectre of Ghazee rises before him. 

" Sit down and write your report to Melikoff. I 
will send the despatch on at once. I approve all 
you have done, Schamyl. You have made a good 
march!" 

Ahmed blunders over his official lines, for his 
heart sinks within him. Maritza, the day-star, now 
>n the power of the black-hearted Kurds, who spare 
neither the living nor the dead ! His brain is on fire. 

The general reads Schamyl s despatch. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 135 

Touching his bell for his adjutant, he simply says : 
" Carte blanche for Major Schamyl. He goes at 
once on special service. Look here, Pashkoff, 
don t forget to give him a good dinner." 

The busy commander kindly dismisses the restless 
young prince, who joins Pashkoff in the staff head 
quarters. 

" Schamyl," says Pashkoff, an old Petersburg com 
rade, " I have a telegram here from Gronow to you. 
While I get your dinner up, read it, and tell me what 
you want." 

Fresh horses and refreshment for his orderly and 
Hassan are Ahmed s first thoughts. He tears open 
Gronow s telegram. 

" DEAR SCHAMYL : Madame Lazareff frantic ! Princess was sur 
prised walking in garden on the evening of the ball ; undoubtedly car 
ried off in boat, with Fatima. Object unknown. Ransom, perhaps. 
Kurds must have been hidden along river bank. Official telegrams 
from Turkish commanders. Nothing known by them. Some say 
Princess joins Turkish party. Will write you fully at Goomri. Answer 
this. I suspect treachery ! 

"GRONOW." 

Ahmed s whirling brain will only permit him to tel 
egraph Gronow : 

" Despatch received. Start in half hour along river to Goomri. 
Troops in the field everywhere. Greeting. 

" SCHAMYL." 

Pashkoff with difficulty detains the young chief 
of the Caucasus long enough to swallow a few mor 
sels and drain a bottle of Burgundy. Before the 
first star sparkles over blue Ararat, Prince Schamyl, 
on Pashkoff s best charger, is spurring ahead of his 
fresh Cossacks 



I 3 6 

Hassan strains the pace of his big roan to keep 
up with Ahmed. 

As they ride, they commune in the language of 
Daghestan. 

Hassan has played the border guerilla in his 
younger years and is a master of every Kurdish arti 
fice. The rugged henchman smacks his lips, for he 
knows the pack mule, urged along with the com 
mand, is loaded from Pashkoffs generous larder. 

Their own command will cut over to Assar and be 
fresh to meet them there in two days. Schamyl 
rides out into the black night to glean from the vil 
lagers or friends along the river some news of the 
kidnapping party. 

It is between Goomri and Assar that the enemy 
must have crossed from the Kura to the Arpa. It is 
the road to Erzeroum, the home of Fatima, also to 
Kars. That hideous night-dream comes back! 

Great God ! This is Ghazee s work ! 



CHAPTER VII. 

TCHERKESS AGAINST KURD. AN OLD FRIEND 
WITH A NEW NAME. 

ONWARD, in the darkness of the lonely roads, 
Schamyl threads the path toward the meeting of 
the Arpa Tchai and the Araxes. 

A quick road trot keeps the column awake. Scha- 
myl s black follows the three shadowy forms in 
advance. His heart is on fire ! On, on to the 
rescue ! 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 137 

They keep always within sight of the Cossack 
guide. 

Turning now and then, Ahmed sees the spectral 
forms of his platoon. 

Hassan takes his cat-naps in the saddle. 

Before daylight the drowsy ferry-man at Choban- 
kara passes them quickly over the north branch of 
the Araxes in two squads. He has seen no wander 
ing Kurds. It is too near Erivan. Tergukassoff is 
a vigilant soldier and knows his outpost duty. 

A long halt at noon, at the main crossing of the 
Araxes, enables Schamyl to snatch a rest, while the 
hardy Cossack ponies nip the tender shooting leaves 
and munch daintily their grain. 

When Hassan rouses him, with his coffee, the 
exhausted leader rubs his eyes. Blessed sleep has 
brought oblivion of that gnawing pain at his heart. 

Yes, he is here in the heart of Anatolia. His wild 
horsemen are ready for the road. Far to the south 
the savage crests of the Jula Gadek fence off the 
Turks, with their snowy barriers. 

Springing again into the saddle, Schamyl rides 
on to Kullink. If he reaches that town at night, he 
will be ninety miles from Erivan. 

There is a military telegraph there. He can 
despatch to the commanders of the four river gar 
risons between Assar and the main fortress of 
Goomri. 

As he rides with bowed head, in silence, Ahmed 
studies the situation. 

It would be impossible to transport two ladies in 
litter or carriage past Goomri over the border with 
out suspicion. The river is closely picketed from 



138 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

Goomri down to Assar by the troops of both 
armies. 

Any floating boat would be fired on from both 
sides, if suspicious. 

Besides, at this season, the travel must be slow, 
with two young girls unused to fatigue. 

The air is sharp enough even now to try the 
patience of even a Circassian scout. 

Down the wild Kura (by boat), concealing them 
selves by day, floating with the five-mile current at 
night a hundred miles would be the easiest way 
to escape the Russian outposts of Tiflis. Then 
across the valley, travelling at night, hiding by day, 
to the Arpa Tchai at Kizilkule. From there the 
rushing* current would swiftly take a well-guided 
party to the Kurdish villages of the impregnable 
Kara Dagh. 

When rested, a dash of three days would suffice 
to reach Erzeroum. 

Some one has planned this raid who knows every 
foot of Anatolia! Is it the devil Ghazee ? 

The weary prince groans as he rides along. A 
thousand desperate expedients flit over his mind. 
A quest to Erzeroum ! Useless ! He cannot dis 
guise his face and form. For Kurdish eyes are the 
sharpest in the world. 

Where Fatima appears, there will be news of the 
lost Rose of Tiflis ! The Kurds will never harm 
Fatima, Ismail s favorite daughter. She is their 
" queen " ! 

What if the wily old scoundrel Ismail made his 
daughter play a deep part in this scheme? He 
will dissemble and lie. Shut up in the Pacha s 



PRINCE SCHAMYLS WOOING. 139 

household, Fatima cannot be reached. Even were 
she, Schamyl remembers her snaky words : " I hate 
the Giaour and the Russ ! " 

His sinking heart tells him Maritza will not be 
taken to Erzeroum. 

Though the Kurds are " called out," though 
their lances bristle along the Arpa Tchai, war is 
not yet declared. Intercourse is indeed^ cut off, 
but there is no means of using military force in this 
chase. 

His instructions are to bring on no conflict, save 
with some armed party of raiders. Spies he may 
arrest and bring in. 

It is ten o clock when the column straggles into 
Kullink. Schamyl blesses Tergukassoif for the 
plenary order given him by the adjutant. 

While the escort officer places the men at their 
ease for the night, Ahmed is at the telegraph. 
Despatch after despatch forces the operator to pro 
test vainly. The lover s mind is too quick for his 
fingers ! 

The major is an anxious man as he listens to the 
rattle of the magic key. 

Hassan throws Ahmed s blanket roll down on a 
rude couch in the office. Squatted on the floor, 
he smokes a la Turque. The lesson of the 
bridge is enough for the retainer. While Schamyl 
slumbers, Hassan fingers his sabre or feels his 
heavy Smith & Wesson at the slightest noise. 
He is "on guard." No more treachery! The 
brief answers to Schamyl are soon read. IJo 
news ! Every scouting party reports no sign of 
fugitives. 



140 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

Ordering his men in the saddle an hour before 
dawn, Schamyl forgets all his woes in a dreamless 
slumber. His own and only love blesses his dreams. 
By noon next day Kulpi is reached. The garrison 
commander has official reports urging every activity. 
Nothing yet ! 

Sending a dozen men to ride across the country 
to Parnault and scout the river bank to Assar, the 
major cheers them with relief there, for his own 
men will await him. 

Bending to the right (in a three hours smart trot), 
the command draws up at the Etat-Major in Assar. 
Crossing the Araxes, Schamyl learns that the river 
front is now swarming with the irregular Turkish 
cavalry and the Kurdish thieves. 

A company is on picket at the ferry. Their officer 
tells Schamyl there have been disturbances the 
whole week along the lower river. 

Prince Schamyl (seated at ease with the colonel 
commanding at Assar) finds that he has been forced 
to draw in his outposts along the river to prevent 
bringing on an irregular warfare. 

Schamyl is a happy man when he sees at night 
fall his own men ride in from Erivan in good order. 
Tossing his head, the gallant black charger is ready 
for his master once more. 

A telegram announcing his platoon up the river, 
in rendezvous at Goomri, is answered with orders 
to join his main body at Kizilkule from the moun 
tain. 

Long and late Schamyl discusses the grave situa 
tion with the colonel. His orders are imperative 
to search the river from its junction to Goomri, 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 141 

It will take a strong force to move there with 
safety now. 

The cautious colonel hesitates until the plans 
arrived at are sanctioned from Erivan. Schamyl 
displays his positive order from Loris Melikoff. 
Every one bustles at Melikoffs beck and call. 

At the gray of dawn, three strong companies of 
picked cavalry wait on the parade for the prince. 
A couple of light mountain " galloper " guns are 
also ready for the road. 

Tergukassoff s despatch sanctions all these risks. 

The post-commander sends a steady old lieuten 
ant-colonel to bring this force back when Schamyl 
reaches his own troops rallied at Kizilkule. 

Directing the main body due north to the great 
bend at the foot of the Kara Dagh, Schamyl sends 
a company to scout the river bank. They will join 
the main body at the old crossing under the frown 
ing peaks where the Kurdish robber chiefs still hold 
their mountain eyries in the very teeth of the Rus 
sian garrison. 

It is late in the afternoon when the battalion is 
abreast of the point of the Kara Dagh. 

Born with the border chief s instinct, Ahmed 
leaves the main road, and leading his silent riders 
into a valley (to the north) he bivouacs the men in 
cover. 

A half company in rear are stretched in a picket 
line to the river, with orders to send into camp the 
scouting party from the banks. 

Leaving the lieutenant-colonel in command, Ah 
med, riding to a high knoll, sends out a half com 
pany in a fan-like chain of videttes covering five 



142 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

miles. Riding on their lines (three hundred yards 
apart), these men can stop any wanderers of the 
night. 

Two or three small squads occupy salient points, 
ready to gallop to the sound of firing. 

Schamyl knows that the unusual activity along 
the river banks may drive any raiders to swing low 
down toward the Kara Dagh. 

His net is spread. By a little camp-fire, hidden 
by a rocky cleft, Ahmed listens to Hassan s tales of 
the old border days of warfare. 

Sleep comes not to his eyelids. He must finish 
this quest. One deserter has brought a stain upon 
his family name. To endeavor to pierce the Turk 
ish lines in search of Maritza now would be mad 
ness. No ! he will report from Goomri, and ask 
General Melikoff to order him into Tiflis. Then, 
when the war begins, he will take the advance and 
cut his way to where his darling love is hidden from 
him. That is best. 

Bidding Hassan watch, Schamyl tries to sleep a 
few hours. There is silence in the camp. Only a 
charger s neigh, or the foot of a sentinel slipping on 
the grass, disturbs the sleep of two hundred men. 
The river patrol is in. All quiet on its low banks. 

Schamyl awakes as Hassan s hand is slipped over 
his mouth. The old man motions for silence. Spring 
ing to his feet, Ahmed grasps his sabre and revolver. 

" Come, master," whispers the old sergeant. He 
climbs a little knoll. Pointing to a few flaming points 
of light on the Kara Dagh, he softly says : " The 
Kurds are talking to their friends." 

Prince Schamyl rubs his eyes. These are surely 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 143 

stars twinkling over the crests of the lofty range. 
In a few words he sneers at the old man s suspi 
cions. 

u They are on the peaks, miles apart from each 
other. You have slept four hours. / crept up and 
watched them. They never move. They are fires. 
The Kurds are coming back from this side." 

It is even so. They would not signal if their men 
were on their side of the river. 

Lightly as a mountain deer, Ahmed springs down 
the knoll. Awakening the officers, they return ana 
join Hassan, who stands grimly surveying the ene 
my s lights. 

The veteran lieutenant-colonel slowly says : 

" It wants two hours of day. They always cross 
back just before daylight. They are either signalling 
our presence or warning their friends up the river." 

" Get the men under arms in half an hour, colonel. 
We will be ready for any alarm." 

The field officer rouses his adjutant. In ten min 
utes the Cossacks are silently moving among their 
horses. Dark, double shadows in the faint, thin 
light of the fading stars make man and horse take 
on unearthly forms. 

Hassan stands ready with the noble black tugging 
at his rein ; his own horse is patient. 

The Cossack s witchery has conquered him already. 
He points his fox-like ears. 

Schamyl drains a draught of PashkofFs good 
brandy from his flask. 

Ha ! a sharp, snapping shot a half mile away. Half 
his men are already in their saddles. Another, 
another ! It is now the heavy ring of the Berdans. 



144 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

A faint sound of distant yells floats on the silent 
night. Shot follows shot. 

The men are motionless as rocks. The colonel is 
at his side. 

" Lead one troop and follow me. I will take the 
first." Springing on the black, whose back quivers 
under him as the high-blooded charger gathers for a 
bound, Schamyl calls out as he whirls to the front : 
" Only the sword ; no firing till orders ! " A guide and 
fierce Hassan range alongside of the young prince, 
whose first field is this one under the black shadows 
of the Kara Dagh. 

Leading his men steadily, he rides down into a 
long valley, at the head of which confused firing and 
yells prove that the Kurds have broken his thin picket 
lines and are hastening toward the river. On for 
Maritza ! His heart thirsts for vengeance. 

Behind him, the cold daylight begins to streak the 
eastern skies. The sloping valley stretches two 
miles to the ford, unuer cover of the overhanging 
cliffs across the river. 

A regular ringing crack of rifles tells Ahmed his 
pickets are following the main body of the raiders, 
and teasing them. 

Schamyl raises his sword. The column halts. 
Five minutes now to breathe the horses and men. 
The colonel rides up. 

The young leader falters not. 

No ; the light of battle flashes in the dark eyes of 
Ahmed. Revenge for Maritza ! 

" Colonel, send half a company to cut them off 
from the river and open a rifle fire. You follow with 
the rest of your sotnia, and charge them home with 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 145 

the sword, /will attack them here in flank. Wait 
my signal." 

It is high time ! Seven hundred yards away a 
band of scattered horsemen are pricking toward the 
river, in wild confusion. 

Schamyl waves his sword, the rifle platoon dashes 
down the slope, racing for the bank. 

Leisurely the old colonel leads his half company 
down, at a slow trot. Every bright blade is out. 
The excited men see their hereditary enemies. 
Only the Sioux and Pawnee can close in as deadly a 
grapple as Tcherkessand Kurd. War to the knife ! 

Quarter ! It is an idle by-word. Mercy is for 
gotten ! Leaning forward, his " chaska " double- 
knotted to his wrist, Ahmed settles his shoulder 
revolver-string, and watches for the main body. He 
wheels his men into a loose line. 

There they come ! Breaking out of the under 
brush, pack animals are dashing along. A mass of 
yelling riders crowds down the valley. Several 
hundreds press along in the mad race for life. 

Old Hassan s blade is bare ! 

Schamyl presses the panting sides of the black. 
Like a whirlwind he dashes down the slope. His 
last sharp order to the company leaders is to follow 
the mass and charge through it, wheeling and riding 
back. 

Three minutes after, with a wild u Hurrah ! " the 
Tcherkess strike the turbaned invaders. 

In the front, the ring of the Berdans knells the 
death of the foremost fugitives. 

Hassan is hard by Schamyl, as the fleet black 
tears his way through the frightened huddle. 



146 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

Schamyl sees a huge rider in his front. Some 
thing flashes. It is a long flintlock pistol. Drop 
ping his point, he feels through his heavy blade the 
sickening yielding of soft flesh. He is ten yards 
away as the Kurd drops from his saddle. His hands 
are wet with warm blood. The tiger in him is loose ! 
It is a mad five minutes of frantic struggle. 

He strikes for Maritza ! 

Encumbered with their lances and long, useless 
guns, exhausted and breathless, the Kurds, wrapped 
in floating draperies, make no real stand against the 
Tcherkess. 

Breaking up in little knots over the plain, they 
now straggle toward the river. 

Revolvers begin to ring out where a resolute few 
couch their slender lances, as Schamyl s troopers 
pour in a deadly fire. 

Whirling down the valley, pursuer and pursued 
near the river. The Kurds fight now like demons, 
for life. 

Followed by Hassan, Schamyl charges on the 
heavier knots of fugitives, leading the wild-eyed 
Cossacks in their dashes at the strongest clusters. 

He is sick of this slaughter. Over the valley the 
sunlight steals. The heavy blades glitter as they 
rise and fall. 

A scattered train of the dead lies along the half 
mile of the flight. 

Prince Ahmed casts the eye of a leader on the 
river bank. It is lined with his advance guard, 
whose Berdans are pouring in a deadly fire. 

The " rally " has been sounded by his bugler. By 
sheer dint of survivorship, a frantic mass of fifty to 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 147 

seventy Moslems plunge into the long ripples of the 
swimming ford of the " Arpa." 

As his men coolly pick off these tired swimmers 
in the stream, a useless hail of spent balls falls 
from the rocks of the Kara Dagh, opposite. 

They are swarming now with hostile Kurds. 
The river resounds with their frantic yells ! 

All too feeble are the old carabines of the wild 
hill tribes. The balls fall short. 

Yet their numbers are imposing. Prudence re 
turns to Schamyl. Sounding again the " rally," he 
draws up all who will obey the call, in two forma 
tions, a hundred yards from the bank. 

The colonel rides up to him with dripping 
sword. 

"Take charge and watch the river now. Send 
down and stop all useless fire across the stream. 
For ammunition is precious ; the tribes may attempt 
to revenge the surprise." Ahmed screams his orders. 

Rattling down the slope, the light guns and the 
camp reserve join the two rallying sotnias. 

Schamyl sends out a sergeant and ten men to col 
lect his scattered troopers and bring in the riderless 
horses. 

Dashing around the field, with dragging bridles, 
the Kurdish ponies are loaded with plunder, or 
buried under the huge peaked saddles of the enemy. 

Schamyl s pickets, are leisurely riding, in loose 
order, down the valley. Now and then the crack of 
a revolver or a sabre flash tells of the coup de grace 
given to some foe, wounded yet living, or else 
hunted, unhurt, from a covert, to die in mad flight. 

Scattered plunder covers the path of the sword. 



148 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

With unscrupulous readiness the practical Tcherkess 
are already looting the dead. 

Black browed and fierce, with drooping mustaches 
and tufted crown, the Kurds lie stiffened in every 
repulsive attitude of the battle-field. 

Picking his way along, the noble black throws 
high his head in air on nearing the clumps of the 
dead. He scents the blood and trembles as he 
bends his royal head away. 

Despatching a flanking squad to watch the river 
above and below the bend (from the heights), Ah 
med rides over his first victorious field. He has 
lost but three killed and a few wounded. 

His eye recognizes the path of his mad charge 
down the hill. The piles of dead begin there. The 
trampled earth, spurned by the charger s feet, shows 
the frantic rush of that rce for life in the dam. 

Yes! There, great among his fellows in death, 
lies the brawny Turk who fell beneath his own 
thrust in the charge. 

A hundred and seventy Kurds lie silent in the 
half-mile of the struggle. Their dead are scattered 
far to where they first forced the picket lines to the 
north. 

It was their vain belief that they had merely en 
countered a passing patrol at first. 

Schamyl, in calmer mood now, is revolted at the 
awful work of the Circassian ". chaska." He rejoins 
his main body and finds a dozen or more straggling 
prisoners. 

These he sends Hassan to question in their own 
tongue. A courier is spurring already back to 
Assar to report the smiting of the borderers. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 149 

Though war is not yet declared, no formal orders 
are needed. Tcherkess and Kurd are never at 
peace. Anybody of the enemy on the Russian side 
is fair game for the Cossack, whether they be sol 
diery or only predatory thieves. 

Scattered along the fringes of the woods, the Cos 
sacks are lighting their cooking fires. The handy 
plunder of the foe enriches their larders. 

Directing his field officer to send out a detail and 
bring the arms and plunder in, Schamyl occupies a 
high knoll from whence he can view the whole river 
bank. 

The horses are grazing alternately, with saddles 
on, a strong herd guard in charge of them one 
company ready for action. 

The two rifle guns command the ford. Schamyl 
does not wish to open fire across the Arpa Tchai 
unless forced to by a counter attack. 

The prisoners, bound securely, are passed in re 
view before the Prince of the Caucasus. Sullen, 
low-browed brutes are they, in the main. Among 
them is a poor wretch who howls his innocence, in 
Russian. 

Calling up his officers, Schamyl seeks to see if 
any of them know of him. 

" His huts, a few miles above the bend, were 
burned and plundered by the Kurds, and two or 
three of his companions killed. It is four hours 
march away." 

" Keep that man with us," Schamyl orders. He 
says, " We will march by your place. If you have 
lied, we will shoot you and leave you in the road 
for the wolves ! " 



150 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

The man solemnly protests his truthfulness. 

" We shall see!" says Schamyl, grimly. "Col 
onel," he directs, " send these prisoners over to 
Assar, to your commander, with a sergeant s squad 
to drive in all the captured horses and collect the 
arms." 

The old field officer nods assent. He grumbles : 
" You may as well shoot them here, as there ! Eri- 
van orders are to execute them forthwith." 

" I am no butcher ! I am a soldier," coldly says 
Schamyl. 

Yes ! by the token of his blood-stained blade and 
signal victory, the young eagle has fleshed his talons 
now. 

As he despatches a mid-day repast, he waits for 
the marshalling of the command. 

They must hasten up the winding Arpa, for it is 
two days march to Kizilkule. He burns to report 
his combat to General Melikoff. One blow for 
Russia ! The first ! 

An officer from the river picket dashes up, 
mounted. 

" Highness, a body of regular Turkish cavalry and 
a white flag are at the head of the ford. What are 
your orders ? " 

Schamyl sends his old field officer, with one gun 
and the company on duty, to take post on the bank 
and cover the crossing of an officer with a white 
flag, who will meet the enemy s flag at the rapids 
and report the object. 

No treachery for him. He calls for his horse 
men to follow. The sound of wild outcries from 
the knot of prisoners diverts him now. 



PRINCE SCHAMYLS WOOING. 151 

The Russian captive, whose hands have been 
loosened, is trying to throttle a hang-dog-looking 
Kurd, who essays vainly to protect himself. 

"Ah! Villain! Son of a dog ! You butchered 
my wife ! You came in the boat, you devil ! " 

Schamyl is curious. " A boat ! What boat ? 
Explain ! " he sternly commands, as the man is 
wrenched away from his victim. 

" Highness ! " he cries, falling on his knees, " my 
life be on my head if I lie ! Four nights ago a boat 
with a party of Kurds came down the river in the 
night. I have lived in peace and long traded over 
the stream. My brothers and their wives lived with 
me. 

" The boat party all landed, for they knew my 
huts. The party were from up the river, and had 
a lady with them. She was cold and sick. They 
made us serve them. My wife fed the stranger a 
veiled Moslem. 

" I feared them not. After daybreak they were 
warm and rested. The men all went to the boat 
with the woman. They pushed across the stream. 
Some went away with the lady. I saw horses ready. 
Five or six came back with the boatman. I liked 
it not ! We tried to flee, and then to fight. My 
poor old wife was killed. The other women were 
carried away. All my brothers slain. Me they took 
away to guide them back from this last raid. This 
devil here was one ! The other hill soldiers came 
down from the Kara Dagh. They burnt my house ! 
Let me kill this beast ! " 

Schamyl s brow grows black. He is a true Cir 
cassian. He cries: 



152 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

"Keep that man with us. Send the rest off to 
Assar. If your story is true, you shall kill him on 
your own hearth-stone." 

Revenge for blood is the first commandment in 
Daghestan. 

Schamyl gallops swiftly to the bank where the 
white flag waves. He unslings his glasses. 

Surely they are regular Turkish cavalry, in order. 
He instantly summons his whole force and the other 
gun to move up, in support, leaving only the camp 
guard on the field. He may have a serious engage 
ment. 

His second in command reports the return mes 
sage. 

The Turkish commander wishes to confer in per 
son with the commanding officer. He begs per 
mission for a party of Kurds to pass unarmed and 
carry away their dead. 

" I will see him ! " cries Ahmed. He may learn 
here of Maritza. If she has joined the Turks, it will 
be noised abroad with much flourish. May God 
grant it ! 

Riding into the stream, with his bugler carrying 
a white pennon (on a captured spear), Schamyl 
meets in mid-stream the officer, who is similarly 
guided. 

The troops of both watch the meeting. 

With a start Schamyl cries : 

" Suleiman, my friend ! " 

" Prince, I am now Captain Mehemed Pacha," re 
plies his late guest at the Uhlan mess. " How did 
you come here ? " 

Suleiman is astounded, 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 153 

" By the same path of duty which led you," is 
Ahmed s softened reply. " Ride over with me, with 
a couple of your officers." 

In a few moments two dark-eyed wearers of the 
fez salute the bold Circassian. 

Riding up to a knoll, in full view of the troops on 
either side, Schamyl asks his second officer to join 
him. 

He may not confer alone, even with a friendly 
enemy. 

In five minutes the business is despatched. 
Schamyl agrees to withdraw his command to the 
heights to the west and allow some unarmed villa 
gers to cross and bear away the bodies of the 
slain. 

" I care not for this carrion. These Kurds are only 
thieves. My orders are to watch the river," says 
Suleiman. " These robbers crossed before my 
arrival." 

In a half-hour a hundred swarthy wretches are 
bearing the Kurdish slain to the banks. Their 
women wail loudly at the other shore. 

Suleiman agrees to leave the other bank with his 
force at once. 

Ahmed eagerly asks if Suleiman came down from 
Erzeroum. 

" I did not, Prince. I have moved down the in 
terior valley from Kars, and have been scouting for 
three weeks along the river hills." 

" Did you meet any parties on your road who 
passed up from here ? " 

His heart beats. Shall he tell him of the boat 
party? Duty forbids. 



154 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING, 

"Only a few horsemen convoying the Lady Fa- 
tima to her father at Erzeroum." 

" Was she alone?" Ahmed queries, as he hides 
his anxious face by swinging his steed. 

" Yes ; she was in a mule litter. There was no 
other woman in the party. Ah, her father is a rare 
old scoundrel !" 

Schamyl fears lest some straggling shot may em 
broil the horsemen lining the river banks. He says, 
with a glance of old-time friendship : 

" Captain, we must part. I hope, if we meet in 
the field, you will remember that it is duty alone 
divides us. I shall be on Melikoff s staff." 

Captain Mehemed rejoins with pride: " I will be 
with Mukhtar Pacha. I would not serve under the 
old Vali Ismail. He is a thief and coward ! " 

Schamyl rides down to the river with Suleiman. 
As they ford the waters at the parting, Schamyl 
whispers: " Where is Ghazee ? " 

" He is at Kars, Prince," Suleiman sadly answers. 
He knows the dark gulf of crime between the 
brothers. 

" Suleiman," Schamyl says, " if I can serve you in 
any proper way, write me to the Etat-Major at 
Goomri." 

Suleiman grasps his hand. " Old Abdallah, the 
jewel merchant in the bazar at Goomri, will con 
vey a letter to me any time. Write me if I can do 
anything, for I fear we will have war in a few weeks. 
May Allah guide and guard you ! " 

They clasp hands in a soldier s farewell. With 
rare politeness Suleiman moves his men a few miles 
parallel on the Turkish bank, as Schamyl s column 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 155 

marches, led by the prisoner to the plundered 
huts. 

Schamyl orders the two Cossacks leading the cap 
tive Kurd to keep him at the head of the line. As 
night approaches, the advance halts around the ruins 
of the poor prisoner s house. It is desolate and 
burned. 

His tale is too true, for, as the troops draw up, two 
half-famished wretches crawl out of the bushes. They 
are the survivors of the dwellers at the little river 
station. One of them is well known to the guide. 

Schamyl examines the crumbled ruins. The fugi 
tives have dragged the bodies of the slain into the 
bushes. Schamyl directs a few men to cover them 
with the half-frozen sand. He will not leave his 
command here, exposed to a dash from the other 
side. Night is falling fast. The men need rest. 

" Bring up that Kurd," he commands. He has 
ordered food and a flask of vodki to be thrown to the 
starving sufferers, who feared the return of the invad 
ers and hid in the thickets. 

As the Moslem is dragged forward, he loses heart. 

He cries, "Amaun! Amaun ! " and besides, howl 
ing for quarter, frantically insists he will tell all. Has 
san, in his border jargon, interprets the Kurd s plea. 

" Stay ! " orders Schamyl. " Send a couple of the 
guard here." They dismount and approach, with 
their pistols in hand. 

" Hassan, tell him if he does not instantly tell us 
about the Lady Fatima, his brains will be blown out 
at once." 

The frightened wretch volubly describes how, led 
by two men of higher station, the party of twenty 



156 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

Kurds lay concealed a week in the river forests in 
front of Tiflis. 

One of the men stole into Tiflis as a jewel pedler 
and communicated with. the Lady Fatima. A dozen 
of the raiders brought the two ladies to the boat 
at nightfall. The Russky princess was bound and 
gagged. Down the " Kura," and over the hills to 
the " Arpa Tchai," they safely fled. The " Princess 
of the Russkys " was afterward well treated. She 
mourned unceasingly, but the Lady Fatima was 
cheerful. 

Schamyl s heart is about to burst its bonds. 

" And where is she now ? " he hoarsely demands. 

" She was taken to Kars by the Alam road. The 
man Omar Effendi said she was worth a thousand 
purses in Kars for the great Pacha Ghazee. It is 
five days since she left the river below Kizilkule, 
where a carriage and a squad of zaphtiehs were in 
waiting. She was a beauty fit for the Padisha s 
harem." 

Schamyl s face grows harder than flint. He orders 
the commander to lead the troops on. There is a 
good forest, with water and shelter on high ground, 
four miles farther. 

The hardy victors of the morning fight file by, 
with pride in their dashing leader. A lieutenant 
and the rear platoon alone wait. 

Schamyl speaks, in Russian, to the refugee : 

" You and your friends can follow my men into 
camp. I will take you up to Kizilkuie, and you 
shall be well treated. I le ave you this man." 
Making a sign to his escort, he rides slowly away, 
leaving Hassan watching the howling murderer. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 157 

As he gains fifty yards, he must turn his head. 
There are three struggling forms around an awful 
shapeless thing lying prone on the ashes of that 
plundered home. 

Hassan rejoins his master in a few minutes. The 
released prisoner is running at his stirrup. The other 
waifs follow at a dog trot. As Schamyl halts to 
question Hassan, the houseless wanderer hands 
back old Hassan s belt dagger, which seems to have 
fallen to the ground ; or had he loaned it ? 

Prince Schamyl asks no questions. The dead 
Kurd is left alone, with his staring eyes upturned 
to the darkening heavens, ft> be food for the wolves. 

In an hour the victors are bivouacked in comfort. 
Blazing fires shed their genial glow. A dozen re 
captured kine have been slain, and their carcasses 
loaded on Kurdish ponies. It is a camp feast. 
While the keen-eyed sentinels and strong outlying 
pickets watch the lines, and the herd guards move 
gently among the hobbled steeds, the troopers sleep. 

Schamyl, wrapped in his cloak, gazes intb the 
watchfire, around which his gallant officers are 
feasting. His stricken heart is cold as stone in his 
bosom. What is victory ? His love is a harem 
captive. 

Maritza, queen of roses, in the power of Ghazee 
at Kars ! Double-dyed, damned treason of the 
wild girl " Fatima" ! Haste now to Kizilzule and 
Goomri. He will despatch direct to General Meli- 
koff. He will reclaim the girl of the Turkish com 
mander. 

Mukhtar Pacha is no black fiend, but a high- 
souled Osmanli. 



158 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

*. 

Ah ! Deadly wiles of Ghazee ! He may conceal 
the Rose of Tiflis and deny all knowledge. 

As for Ismail of Erzeroum and his daughter, it 
were idle to believe their latest dying word. They 
are haters of the Russ ! 

The grand white stars swinging high over his first 
battle-field shine unpityingly on Schamyl, whose 
ruby ring speaks sadly of the vanished Rose. 

He falls into broken dreams of her, with a last 
oath to high heaven, that even behind the walls of 
Kars he will find her yet. For Ghazee may not 
dare to press to the extreme his villany. 

The Princess of Georgia is a great factor in the 
future of Armenia even in captivity. 



CHAPTER VIII. 
ABDALLAH S RUSE. SCHAMYL S SPY IN KARS. 

Two days later the battalion sweeps proudly into 
Kizilkule. Schamyl has now fathomed the mys 
tery. 

The river was the line of retreat. Every hut on 
its banks has been examined. Another halting- 
place was found where the Lady Fatima came 
alone ashore. Her good-humored chatter with the 
obsequious escort proved the pleasure of the Kurd 
ish princess in her pretended abduction. But the 
Rose of Tiflis is behind the walls of Kars. 

Schamyl has been unable to control Hassan. 
Since the fight he spends his leisure in sorting a 
varied loot, secreted in his strangely swollen saddle 
holsters and valise. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 159 

A princely shawl, a priceless sword (he knows 
the old Damascus mark), a string or so of pearls, 
and rich jewels adorn him. A remarkable ameliora 
tion in the splendor of his horse gear also proves 
that Hassan has gleaned the red fields of Bellona 
to great profit. 

Prince Schamyl thinks that his own sumpter ani 
mal looks strangely like the royal bay ridden by the 
Kurdish leader who fell under his sword. 

And yet the work-a-day animal is also there, plod 
ding along under a heavy pack. A sudden increase 
of live stock ! " Hassan," the prince dryly says, 
" did we not have one pack-horse ? " 

Praise be to Allah!" replies Hassan the un 
blushing. u We now have two ! " 

" What is he loaded with ? " 

" My baggage," gravely answers Hassan. " My 
lord rides far* I need many things." 

Alas for Hassan s conscience ! He is a self- 
elected general heir of many Kurds who are " not 
lost but gone before." Schamyl abandons this 
vain curiosity. 

Hassan makes a very brave appearance at Kizil- 
kule a cross between a retired pacha and a wan 
dering millionnaire of the bazaar. 

Fit henchman for a Falstaff ! He would have 
been a worthy member of General Jim Lane s Kan 
sas cavalry regiment. Nature endows him with the 
greed of a New York alplerman ! 

There is great joy in Kizilkule at the victory. 
Schamyl finds, at this outpost, his own squadron 
reunited. All his detachments are in. 

By the talking^vire, he reports to General Meli- 



160 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

koff. He receives orders to push on to Goomri, 
and there take the road to Tiflis, after resting and 
refitting his own troopers. 

It is a brave sight on the parade at Kizilkule 
when the Erzeroum troops defile past Schamyl s 
own chafing warriors, who envy them the glory of 
the fight. 

They are homeward bound ; a strong regiment 
with four guns now holds the " Kurds crossing." 
The Erivan chief is awake to the wants of the hour. 

As the brigade bands sound the Emperor s hymn, 
Schamyl passes his own Circassians along the lines 
of the garrison in review before the commanding 
general. 

Proudly they defile at the walk and trot. On 
the third passage, there is but a tossing sea of 
steeds, dashing along at a full run. The Circas 
sians are hidden, like Comanches, behind their ani 
mals. As they gallop by, they are greeted with the 
plaudits of the garrison ladies. 

Evening shadows fall on Ahmed s sturdy troop 
ers, thirty miles toward Goomri, where stout Gen 
eral Komaroff holds that enormous river fortress, 
ready to fall upon Kars with his force. His horses 
and crowded troops are under the sweep of the 
bristling guns of the citadel. Before the daylight 
gilds the Aladja Dagh, the eager steeds are snuff 
ing the morning air. 

Hassan lingers at the town of Abduhraman, 
chaffering for the supplies dear to an old cam 
paigner. 

He overtakes Prince Schamyl with a rush. 

" Highness," he breathlessly announces, for the 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 161 

command is well past the town, " this is the nearest 
crossing-point for Kars. I have found the road of 
the day-star you seek. Come ! " Ahmed drives 
the spurs into- the plunging black. In five minutes, 
Schamyl reins up beside a ferryman s cottage. A 
lank Armenian youth, his eyes rolling in terror, is 
pushed forward. 

He nervously eyes Ahmed s revolver as he talks. 

" Last week I was at the ferry. Late at night a 
boat came down. I hailed it. A stranger gave me 
two gold pieces to run over the hills to Alam, and 
bring down the carriage waiting there for Omar 
Effendi. I reached there at daybreak, and came 
with it to the great rocks on the Arpa, below Bai- 
rain Kend. There I waited with it till night, and 
hailed the same boat on the river at the rocks. 
Omar Effendi, who gave me two more gold pieces, 
got in the carriage with a lady, who was fair as the 
stars on the moonlit river. I know it, for she 
dropped her hood. He had soldiers. 

" I knew the other lady in the boat was the Prin 
cess Fatima. I ferried them over when they last 
went to Tiflis." 

" And the boat ? " Schamyl demands. 

" Went down the river," the frightened boy 
answers, " with the other lady. They passed both 
the forts above in the night." 

Schamyl tosses the lad a gold piece. He dashes 
up the river road, followed by Hassan. 

Long that night, by the camp-fire, the eagle of 
the Caucasus talks with his sly old retainer. 

It is but thirty miles from Goomri to Kars. Yet 
Schamyl may not hope to traverse it in months. 



1 62 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

As he thinks of his pathway up the river, the 
words of Suleiman return to him. 

" Hassan," he cries, " do you know old Abdallah, 
the jewel merchant at Goomri ? " 

" A wise Hadji ; a rich Hadji. He has jour 
neyed to the holy places." Hassan reverently 
uncovers, bowing to the east. This perfunctory 
reverence is like the genuflexion of the Calabrian 
banditti, and equal in sanctity to the pious sign of 
the cross made before the Russian burglar will dare 
to break a lock mechanical devotion. 

" How long have you known him ? " Schamyl 
queries. 

" Many years, my lord. In his day he brought 
pearls from Ormuz, turquoises from Samarcand. 
I know he was trusted by the * great master, your 
father." 

" We will see this man at Goomri," concludes 
Schamyl, as he closes his eyes. 

" He is wise and powerful," answers Hassan. 

A thousand twinkling lights surround the great 
border fortress of Goomri when Schamyl rides 
through the main gate in the shades of the next 
evening. 

Crowded one on the other, great bodies of infan 
try, cavalry, and artillery crouch under the frown 
ing walls, where a hundred Krupp guns protect 
the priceless military magazines of the White 
Czar. 

Dismounting at Kpmaroffs headquarters, Schamyl 
is soon at his ease. His men are well bestowed 
without the walls. Hassan, with the chargers 
housed, makes merry in the courtyard. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 163 

There is pride in Prince Schamyl s glance when 
he reads the despatches waiting him. 
Melikoff says briefly : 
" Good ! Report here at once with your command." 

The Grand Duke Nicholas deigns to send a spe- 
cial telegram. 

"Well done, my faithful Tcherkess ! General Tergukassoff com 
mends you. I renew my regards. 

" NICHOLAS." 

Tearing himself away from the merry bumpers of 
the mess, Ahmed finds the fame of his achievement 
has run on beyond him. It is the first blood of the 
coming campaign. 

Doubt lingers no longer as to a bloody war. The 
Emperor is ready to leave Petersburg. Troops 
massed in Bessarabia wait but the word to cross the 
Danube. Melikoff is ready, and Ignatief travels 
through London, Paris, and Berlin wending toward 
Vienna. " La danse va commencer." 

" What can I do for you, Prince ? " heartily queries 
Komaroff, as Schamyl takes his leave. 

The Circassian proposes to sleep in three days at 
Tiflis. He has a boon to ask of Melikoff. 

Maritza s fate depends upon his brain, his own 
loyal heart, and his sword. 

"General, do you know Abdallah the jeweller?" 
the young lover respectfully asks. 

" Very well. He is our best agent in the secret 
service at Kars, Erzeroum, and Trebizond. We 
permit him to remain here and guard his riches, un 
touched by Pacha or grinding Kaimakan. He is 
true to his word, able, and devoted to the Czar." 



164 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

" I would like an hour with him on my private 
affairs," Schamyl answers. 

Komaroff seals a card with his own signet ring. 

" Show him that, major. If you want anything 
more, bring him to me." 

The latticed second-story windows of Abdallah s 
spacious house are gayly lit up as Schamyl and Has- 
san loave their steeds in front with the orderly. A 
cross-legged old servitor rises and answers Hassan, 
who beats on the iron barred lower door with his 
dagger-shaft. 

Sending up the general s card, Schamyl gazes on 
the dark shop, lit only by a swinging cresset. Here, 
the crafty Moslem will chaffer over a five rouble 
turquoise, or can hobble out and bring bowls of dia 
monds, pearls, and rubies from the gnome-like nooks 
of his masonry vaults. 

A wise old Turk is Abdallah. At this calm hour 
of rest he disdains not the peaceful chibouque, the 
forbidden wine of the Giaour, or the blandishments 
of those docile beauties who peer slyly through 
the lattice of his harem, as the troops pass. - 

Abdallah has reached the comfortable age when 
a gentlemanly avarice and the care of his hard- 
earned hoards make him conservative. He prefers 
the security and flowing stream of Russian gold at 
Goomri to the orthodox life of a subject of Abdul- 
Aziz. It is safer. 

Grave in manner, ripe of years, he keeps his net 
work of bazaar agents spread all over Anatolia. 
Public opinion in Turkey is made by the babble of 
the marts. 

Abdallah exchanges his carefully culled secret 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 165 

reports for the minted red gold of Russia an in 
formation bureau, a la mode. 

A well-fed Armenian Vicar of Bray is Abdallah. 
He has houses at Kars and Erzeroum ; at Ardaban, 
Bayazid, and Trebizond also are branch depots of 
his political exchange and jewel business. 

Mighty Mukhtar Pacha, soldier and governor, 
holding Asia Minor for the Sultan, might well 
tremble did he know of Tarnaieff s little dinners of 
the past year at Erzeroum, in Abdallah s walled 
mansion. The disguised dragoman, over the spark 
ling wine, gained whispered secrets, each worth a 
man s life, from needy Hassan Bey, the Turkish 
citadel commander. Abdallah s Turkish guineas paid 
Hassan Bey well for selling the plans of Erzeroum. 
Russia s secret service money rewarded Abdallah. 

Now the Arpa Tchai is soon to run red with 
blood. Hassan Bey is the confidant of Mukhtar 
at Kars. There are more plans to sell. 

The great Pacha Mukhtar forgets that old saw, 
" Like father, like son ! " in making Hassan his con 
fidant. 

When Paskiewitch swept through Asia Minor in 
1828, he wisely bought the fall of Varna from Has 
san Bey s Judas father. It saved his troops. 

Abdallah s flowing beard wags gravely as he scru 
tinizes the noble Schamyl. 

In an inner room, hung with wondrous shawls 
and choicest arms, lit by crystal lamps, where lovely 
slaves bring the richest wines and fragrant Latakia, 
the jewel merchant listens to Schamyl s tale of hap 
less love. 

Hassan, the swordsman, sits beyond the curtain. 



1 66 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

He has greeted as an old friend the great mer 
chant. 

In the dialect of their youth, he tells Abdallah, 
Schamyl is now the black eagle of the Caucasus. 

When coffee, served in golden cups, follows the 
wine, Abdallah, caressing the diamond circled black 
amber head of his narghileh, slowly answers the im 
patient prince : 

" Son of the great sultan, I will serve you. I 
knew your royal father. I know Ghazee, the man 
of stone." 

Schamyl winces. 

Abdallah calmly proceeds : 

" The great Ferik-Pacha Melikoff must fight 
Mukhtar to the death in the valley of the Arpa be 
fore any siege. But the Russian eagle will fly over 
Kars. The city will be taken Erzeroum also. It 
is written in the stars. 

" Komaroff, your leader here, sends me his signet 
for you. It is enough. 

" Son of Schamyl, I will tell you all. We have 
Osman Bey here now, who knows all the Prankish 
deviltry of war. He learned it in Europe. He is 
the right eye of the Russian general here. It was 
madness for the Turks to drive him into your ser 
vice. He is the sworn brother of Hassan Bey, who 
is the favorite of Mukhtar. They were fellow stu 
dents in Paris. 

" Now, in my house in Kars, all our spies are safe. 
Hassan protects them ! He is to have a mountain 
of gold from your Czar when we get Kars and 
Erzeroum. 

" I have made all the ways smooth to send news. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 167 

For your people may not go and come. My ser 
vants have the eyes of the serpent. 

" I will send your man into Kars ; he can watch 
over the Princess Maritza, if she is there. 

" But I would not try to rescue her till the city 
falls." 

" Explain, Abdallah ! " Schamyl cries. 

" Ghazee Mohammed, your brother, has sent 
secret proclamations all through Daghestan and 
Circassia, that a holy war will be proclaimed. 

" He thinks England will help the Turks. He 
has runners everywhere, bearing messages secretly. 
The Turkish government has given him a brigade. 
He will try to raise the Circassians with his friend 
Moussa Pacha, who was once Colonel Kondukoff, 
you know." 

Ahmed is impatient. 

" Gently, my son ! " chides Abdallah. 

" Ghazee makes his headquarters now at Kars. 
He thinks he will see the Russians driven over the 
Caucasus. As Prince of the Tcherkess, he will re 
main here. The Abkasians will revolt. If he should 
hold and espouse the Rose of Tiflis, it would give 
him all the rights to Georgia and Circassia." 

" True," Schamyl murmurs. 

" He will treat the lady well, and conceal her in 
Kars. It is the safest place. He must keep in good 
relations with Constantinople to become the Pacha 
Viceroy of Armenia when the war is over. He 
would not dare to maltreat Princess Maritza. We 
will find her through Hassan Bey. 

" Now, your man knows every border language. 
Hassan Bey will aid him. We will send him in with 



168 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

some countrymen. He can be a camel-driver. He 
speaks Persian." 

" But how can he -help the princess if a war 
begins ? " 

Schamyl is incredulous. His heart calls for action. 

" Listen ! The English insist upon the protec 
tion of the Armenian convents and churches. If 
we can only find where the lady is, Hassan can help 
us smuggle her into one of the Armenian convent- 
churches. 

" Their priests are all married. The troops will 
not search the convents. She will be safe till we 
know where she is. She can disguise herself. 

" When the city is taken, she can be at once 
found." 

" But can she not be got out before ? " Schamyl 
anxiously queries. 

" I will have letters or a message for you if we 
find her. I fear Ghazee Mohammed might poison 
her! You must keep away. My son, Ghazee will 
watch you, not her! You must keep away. Be 
not rash." 

The jewel merchant is right. While Schamyl 
thinks the scheme over, Hassan and Abdallah talk 
at length. 

" Taib, Taib Ketir ! Very good," says Abdallah. 
" Leave now, my son, your servitor with me. I will 
take care of his horse and his goods. He can come 
to me any time." 

Schamyl offers Abdallah the use of money. 

" Buckra ! Buckra ! Later, my son," replies the 
cunning old Moslem. u We will talk later." 

In a half-hour, Schamyl has closed his conference 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 169 

with Abdallah. A billet for Hassan to deliver 
says: 

"Trust the bearer in all. He will tell what to do. Your lover 
till death. 

" AHMED." 

" My son, the stars are high toward the west. 
You go to Tiflis. I will see that Hassan Bey 
guards your man. You will come back here with 
the invading army. I will work silently in this 
cause. Let the man stay with me. He shall have 
money and all he wants in Kars. To Hassan Bey 
I will myself write, in Persian, by my own spy. He 
will send the Princess Maritza money for bribes, or 
any help he can. You can repay me later. 

" But, if we endeavor to bring her off, Ghazee will 
poison her or send her away into the heart of 
Syria or farther Turkey. If she ventured out of 
Kars, the Kurds and spies spare neither the living 
nor the dead. They are the vultures of the battle 
field. They even rob the Christian graves ! They 
strip the dead. 

"May Allah protect her! We will hide her in 
Kars. When the city falls we can send her at once 
to Russia, far away over the Caucasus. 

"Tell the General Komaroff all. He will help 
me and send you the news. Now go, my son, 
and send your man back in the dark. 

" No one must know where he is. There are 
Turkish spies even here ! " 

Ahmed promises Abdallah a princely reward for 
the safety of Maritza. The old sage is wise indeed. 
Ah ! Osman Bey, the chief of the Intelligence 



170 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

Bureau. He will get Komaroff s order for Osman s 
aid. 

" I will send a message to Suleiman Mehemed 
Pacha. He will watch Ghazee s daily life and tell 
me of those around him. He is a true soldier, 
and my trusted friend." 

Schamyl briefly informs Abdallah of their meet 
ing. 

" Good! I can send him your letter! " 

Saluting the wise old negotiator, Schamyl rides 
to his troops at their camp. It is the best he can do. 

Hassan prepares his entire luggage, and all the 
treasured relics of the Kurdish defeat. He must 
slip out of the camp and say " Good-by " to his 
master, for a time. He is strangely eager for this 
desperate service. 

If discovered, he will be impaled alive, and left 
for the rock-ravens of the Kara-Dagh. 

Schamyl, in plain words, gives Hassan his parting 
commands. He has told him what to do in every 
case above all, not to risk the life of the princess, 
or to make any rash attempt to rescue her. Hassan 
Bey, for Abdallah s gold, will act when chance 
occurs. Schamyl begs Hassan to send out his news 
and any letters to Abdallah. 

" And if the Master Ghazee should try to take 
her away from Kars? " Hassan queries. 

Schamyl is silent. He cannot order the assassi 
nation of his brother. 

Hassan answers for himself as they ride up to 
the dark square where Abdallah waits for Hassan. 

" Highness," says Hassan, grimly, " your brother, 
the master, shed my blood. I am a Circassian. If 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 171 

he leaves Kars with the day-star, I can follow him 
for my revenge. It is my right." 

Schamyl is silent. One last precaution ! He 
hands Hassan a little scrawl to Suleiman Mehemed 
Pacha, his old friend. 

" Should you be captured, Suleiman will help. 
You may tell him all, if you fall in his hands." 

They are at Abdallah s gate. Prince Schamyl 
remembers the secret of his birth, locked in that rug 
ged old breast. Only Ghazee and Hassan know. 

He pleads with his old servitor. Hassan bows his 
head. 

" May Allah judge me ! I gave my oath to the 
dying. Should the dark angel s wing sweep over 
me, you will know then, but not till then." 

The parting moment comes. Schamyl holds up 
the mystic amulet of his father. 

Hassan kisses it humbly. 

" Swear faith to the princess, Hassan," he sol 
emnly says. 

" I swear on the tomb of Mohammed," utters the 
old man. 

He is gone. The courtyard gates, unbarred, hide 
him. Schamyl gallops to his troops ; the twinkling 
stars hang over distant Kars, where his lost love, 
perhaps, watches for the help which comes not. 

Before KomarorT has buckled on his sabre next 
morning for parade, Schamyl s squadron, sent in 
advance, is twenty miles toward Tiflis. 

Ahmed s steed champs below. Three orderlies 
wait with him to overtake the column. 

General KomarorT gives Prince Schamyl his latest 
despatches. To both the general and Osman Bey 



1/2 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

he imparts the secret of old Hassan s desperate 
venture. 

" I will see that Abdallah and Hassan Bey, in 
Kars, have every aid my headquarters can give. 
Pray ask General MelikofT to send you to lead my 
advance, Prince," says the old fighter, as Schamyl 
bends low in thanks. . . . 

The three days march to Tiflis is a dream to 
Schamyl. Pricking sharply along the road, he 
heads his men cheerfully. Osman Bey, as chief of 
the Intelligence Department, can use every wire in 
the Trans-Caucasus. A few cipher words exchanged 
will enable Schamyl to hear of every movement. Now 
for Circassia ! Then for the field! The sound of 
wedding-bells was never as welcome to eager groom 
as the first roar of KomarofT s cannon will be to 
fiery Ahmed. 

When his splendid squadron swings into line on the 
square in front of the Grand Duke s palace, Schamyl 
dismounts, to be greeted by Gronoff with the enthu 
siasm of a brother of the sword. 

" Breakfast with me. I have letters for you," he 
whispers. Schamyl s magic word " Despatches " 
gives him precedence over all the waiting generals 
of the garrison. 

Loris Melikoff is not chary of his praise for 
Schamyl. " You will dine with the Grand Duke 
and myself, alone, this evening. To-morrow you go 
to Circassia and Daghestan ! " 

In a few words Melikoff tells him of the fruitless 
search for the Princess Maritza. Schamyl s reports 
alone indicate her presence in Kars. MelikofT 
pledges the whole secret service in her aid. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 173 

The Turkish commander as yet denies all knowl 
edge of her. He even promises to aid! 

Schamyl rejoins Gronoff. Seated in the luxurious 
mess-room, the grand square before the palace win 
dows is a living picture. 

February breezes move the budding leaves. Pass 
ing troops and all the bustle of an early war keep 
up a daily excitement. 

Gronoff hands him a sheaf of letters Paul Pla- 
toff, his brother officers of the Uhlans, Tarnaieff 
from Constantinople, and many others. 

He tears open Tarnaieff s first, at the well-spread 
table covered with the dainties of Tiflis. It is sol 
dierly in its brevity : 

"DEAR SCHAMYL : I find from our secret service here that Countess 
Vronsky has joined Ghazee Schamyl in Asia Minor. She took the 
steamer to Trebizond. His brigade and Moussa Pacha s are at 
Kars. Look out for him ! She is also dangerous. I think Mus- 
tapha was glad to get her away from Constantinople, for fear of 
Ignatief. I hold on here to the last. The embassy is shut. I join 
by Odessa and Sughum-Kale next month early. I am to see the 
commander in Bessarabia, and then report to Melikoff. Will hope 
to meet you on the staff. 

" TARNAIEFF." 

Platoff writes from the frozen mud of the Do- 
brudsha : 

"Our artillery is here, all waiting for the signal. All your brother s 
estates, property, and goods are confiscated, and his commissions and 
titles cancelled. You are now Schamyl the chief ! Beware of assas 
sination. 

" PLATOFF." 

Thrusting the mass of unimportant matter into 
his tunic, Schamyl listens to GronofFs description 
of the sorrows of the Lazareffs, and the two lovely 
friends of Maritza, the missing Rose. 



174 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

" My dear Schamyl, there is a growing fear that 
Princess Maritza has joined the Turks. It is all we 
can do to keep the Abkhasians from open revolt. 
The official denial of the Turkish commander of her 
presence leaves us no means to force the search 
for her now. We must all wait." 

Gronoff gives Schamyl the latest phase of the 
war news. 

" Only waiting the signal ! The Turks dally, and 
will not sign the protocol. St. Petersburg s cabinet 
waits but one word from the Emperor to issue its 
circular note to the powers. A second nod of the 
august imperator will throw four hundred thousand 
men on the foe ! " 

Schamyl hardly listens to Gronoffs gossip. His 
heart is in Kars with Maritza. 

Nadya Vronsky, the " White Countess," there ! 
Can he not use her jealousy in some way ? He must 
warn Abdallah ! Hassan Bey may watch the love 
sick dupe of Ghazee. She will ferret out the hiding- 
place of the Rose. Can he trust her ? 

Schamyl s lip curls in a cynic sneer. 

" Can we trust any one in this world ? " 

Schamyl s visit to Madame Lazareff wrings his 
heart with the old anxiety. Nina and Tia mourn 
for their beloved Maritza and refuse to be com 
forted. 

Ahmed dares not trust himself in a long interview 
with Madame la Generale. His judgment tells him 
the fall of Kars will be the prelude to the real search 
for the Rose of Tiflis. 

He dares not unfold a whisper of the awful in 
trigues tying Osman Bey to the willing traitor 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 175 

Hassan Bey at Kars. The fate of the campaign de 
pends upon that slender line tied in the golden knot 
of Abdallah s purse-strings. 

Comforting the ladies with his belief that Maritza 
is too powerful a political prize to be grossly mal 
treated, he slowly regains the palace. 

In these warm February days the willows by the 
Arpa Schai are straggling into green. 

A zigzag line of red rifle-pits covers the winding 
river bank, and a double chain of sentinels prevents 
a coup de main. Alas ! the pearl is stolen ! 

His Highness the Grand Duke Michael greets 
Schamyl warmly at the dinner. 

When the circle of officers thins out, General 
Melikoff leads the way to his " bureau de travail." 

Schamyl follows the Grand Duke. There is no 
one present save the factotum Gronoff. 

A huge map of the Trans-Caucasus lies unrolled 
on a table. 

Melikoff with care arranges a number of red and 
black flag-pins over the map. 

In low tones the Grand Duke and his general 
confer. 

At the end of half an hour, Gronoff has traced 
for Schamyl the route of his command upon a cam 
paign map. He retires to prepare the order assign 
ing Prince Schamyl to a moving column of picked 
troops. 

"Prince," the general directs, "you will leave 
to-morrow with your present command. At each 
of the marked points in this list you will pick up 
two more sotnias. Your route will occupy two 
months. After you have moved through Circassia 



176 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

and Daghestan, you will march, clearing away any 
uprising, direct to Goomri. 

" As you return, picking up the troops laid out on 
this route for you, you will arrive at Goomri with 
ten full squadrons. The army will be ready to 
cross, and I hope to see you lead the advance. It 
rests with his Highness to reward your services. 
Don t spare the sword with traitors ! You have 
full power ! " 

Ahmed bows low in appreciation of the honor. 
His secret instructions are prepared. In parting 
the Grand Duke Michael says genially : 

" Prince, you are rather young for a general!" 

Is it a prophecy? It does not rouse the lover s 
heart. Beloved Maritza is his only thought. 

Before the midnight bell booms from the old 
cathedral, a fleet courier is on his way to Goomri 
with a packet for Abdallah. 

Schamyl has given old Hassan his scheme to dis 
cover the lost Rose of Tiflis. A jealous woman s 
wit is sharper than a keen-edged sword. 

The White Countess may turn the tide in Ma- 
ritza s fate. 

By the light of the morning stars Schamyl sweeps 
away to the gorges of the Caucasus, to wander over 
the defiles of Daghestan. He will hunt out, with 
his merciless riders, the vermin spies crawling in the 
rear of the great army. It is now ready to spring 
over the Arpa Tchai, unsta ined for a score of years 
with the blood of warring enemies. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 177 

CHAPTER IX. 

IN THE WOLF S DEN. KARS. THE MESSAGE OF 
THE ROSE. AHMED, MY LOVER! 

A CAPTIVE woman gazes wistfully from a grated 
window in Moussa Pacha s superb headquarters at 
Kars. 

Rising out of the bare Armenian plains, like a 
black ship on a desert shore, Kars bristles rudely, 
its rocky walls armed to the teeth. It t lies under 
the overhanging citadel, on the Soghanly spur, 
the last stronghold of the Turks. 

A thousand feet below the city, crowded on the 
western, southern, and eastern slopes of the steep 
mountain, flows the swift " Kars Tchai." Its deep 
gorge cleaves in twain this town, which is Persian, 
Turkish, or Russian, as fate ordains. Kars is the 
prey of the heaviest sword. Star forts and out 
works dot the desert plains around it. Their para 
pets are piled with shot and shell. 

Every engine of war, from the olden Ottoman 
bronze culverins to Krupp s masterpieces in rifled 
steel, is at hand to welcome the warlike Russ, whose 
own lair can be seen thirty miles away. 

Princess Maritza s tear-stained eyes note the 
crowds of armed men, the groaning wains of military 
stores, the huddle of zaphtiehs, Kurds, deserters, 
renegades, and Bashibazouks. Solid battalions are 
embattled everywhere. 

Forty thousand fierce Moslems listen daily to the 
muezzins wailing cry from the slender minarets. The 
plains are covered with the growing Turkish host. 

It is all so strange, so new, so wild ! The proud 

12 



I?8 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

girl sees the far blue hills of her native Georgia pen 
cilling the pale-green northern sky. It seems like a 
horrid dream, these three long weeks, since she was 
torn from the gardens of the Lazareff palace. 

Since she entered the gloomy sally port, on the 
southern wall, she has been a close prisoner here, 
her brutal warden the detested Ghazee. 

Every day the princely deserter renews his passion 
ate arguments and prayers. She is deaf to all his 
entreaties. And even he dares not use force. He 
fears noble Mukhtar. 

Her mind is fixed on the horrors of those hours 
when, muffled and bound, she floated down the 
dangerous Kura, under the very guns of Tiflis. 
Yet her wild captors, her savage companion (the 
Kurdish lady), were not unduly rough. 

Lonely days in a frail river boat, hiding in the 
marshes by daylight, floating under the chill winter 
winds at night, brought to her only a dumb sense of 
suffering. Across the wintry plains of Anatolia to 
the valley of the broad Arpa Tchai, and by carriage 
to Kars, she was hurried with cold sternness, but no 
positive cruelty. 

Omar Effendi but once in this journey showed 
his tiger claws. Muffled in a Turkish lady s bashlik 
and veil, she was driven quietly into Kars, with a 
significant hint as to any outcry. 

A drawn dagger terrified her shaken soul. 

Alone and a prisoner ! She was betrayed by the 
mocking she-devil Fatima, who only answered her 
reproaches with the taunt at parting : 

"You will be comfortable enough in Prince 
Ghazee s harem by and by." 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 179 

Conducted to secluded rooms, where she is waited 
on by two stolid Turkish women, she fights off the 
dread thought ever gnawing at her heart : 

" I may die here alone before I am freed." 

For, though the Russian blue and white cross has 
twice waved from Kars citadel, Paskiewitch s cap 
ture in 1828 was useless; the treaty of Adrianople 
gave it up again to the Crescent. In 1855 the 
Russian gained Kars once more, to lose it by the 
juggling treaty of Paris. 

Now, between her loyal friends and her prison 
door are the bayonets of forty thousand sturdy 
Moslems in arms. Mukhtar will contest every inch 
of ground from the boundary line. 

Clouds of recruits pour in every day to swell the 
ranks of Mukhtar s troops. 

Her flesh creeps at the memory of Ghazee s slimy 
advances, as he gloated first over her helplessness. 
Her arrival inflamed his olden greedy passion. A 
lonely Rose, indeed ! 

Solemnly has she sworn to him that her death 
will follow his renewal of a detested suit. 

The daughter of the old Greek warrior princes 
has still the bearing of a goddess, though caged 
within these sad stone walls. Death before dis 
honor is written on her bright brow. 

In vain Moussa Pacha diplomatically pleads the 
cause of the wily Ghazee. His voice falls unheeded 
on her ear. 

" When I am again at Tiflis, when you are once more 
Colonel Kondukoff, I will listen to you ; not till then." 

The deserter renegade s cheeks redden under her 
bitter words. The days are wearing away into 



i8p PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

March, the war cloud settles into overhanging black 
ness. Any day the crackling rifles may rain their 
death hail over the Arpa. 

From her iron-barred windows she can see the 
roofs of the Armenian convents near by, surmounted 
by the cross. Oh, for one friend ! never so humble, 
still a friend and true ! 

The Christian population live in Kars on suffer 
ance. Bereft of her money and jewels, only sup 
plied with Turkish garb for her daily use, with no 
means of bribery, she is absolutely powerless. 

Day after day drifts by. Leaning her pale, proud 
face against the casement, Maritza dreams of Ah 
med, the soldierly brother of the cruel scoundrel 
who holds her in his net. Is he faithless? Is he 
O God ! is he dead ? 

Her abductor has never mentioned Prince Ah 
med. Is it state policy ? Is it as a hostage for the 
future, or to serve a mere caprice of the deserter 
who shines " en Pacha " now, that she is confined 
in these lonely mansion rooms with her watchful 
women attendants? 

Ghazee Schamyl Pacha s daily visit brings her a 
fear of the worst of fates. The spring flowers are 
peeping out now on the slopes of the Kara Dagh. 

Ghazee at last shows his true colors. He will 
plead no more. " Princess," he roughly says, " I 
have pointed out to you the advantages of a union 
of our houses. This holy war will wrap the Cau 
casus in fire and flame. Within a fortnight I shall 
go forth to the field with my troops to cut my way 
to Tiflis. Ismail Pacha, from Erzeroum, will invade 
Circassia with fifty thousand men. The Sultan will 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 181 

erect Georgia, Abkhasia, Circassia, and Daghestan 
into a vice-royalty. I ask you to share that throne 
with me. England is with us. We must succeed." 

Maritzade Deshkalin s first answer is a contemptu 
ous glance which cuts the renegade. She slowly 
says: " I swear to you, by my mother s grave, I will 
kill myself before I will be your bride! Wear your 
stolen crown alone." 

"Ah, you will have time to think better of that ! 
I will send you to the farthest castle in Kurdestan, 
and there give you time to think it over, while we 
bait the wolves with the Russian dogs." Schamyl 
Pacha s anger rises. " One week I give you now. 
Before then you will know how to answer me." 

Maritza is mute. Unknown future horrors haunt 
her. 

As Ghazee mounts his horse to ride to his brigade 
camp, he jostles a camel-driver at Moussa s door. 
Full on the back of the poor peasant falls Schamyl s 
koorbash, cutting to the quick. The howling man 
darts into the courtyard of the house. 

Shaven and blackened, a coarse brown skull-cap 
on his head, a dirty caftan fluttering around his bare 
legs, his feet shod with rawhide sandals, only a wand 
in his hand Hassan, the old borderer, howls under 
the lash of Ghazee. His old master rode him down 
without knowing him. A compliment to his dis 
guise ! A sore one ! 

Hassan is no more the gorgeous legatee of 
departed Kurds. Though his back smarts (the blood 
streaming freely from the sweep of the rhinoceros 
riding whip), there is a wild gleam of triumph in his 
glittering eyes. 



1 82 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

His sworn revenge can ivait. His triumph is near. 

For, day by day, he has dogged Ghazee over Kars. 
In every visit within the town the watchful eyes of 
Hassan follow the proud pacha. 

Sneaking at night into Hassan Bey s courtyard, 
the old Circassian, in the darkness of night, whispers 
to the staff officer his daily report. 

With all Abdallah s gold, with Hassan Bey s com 
plete knowledge of the town, no news of lost 
Maritza has yet reached the anxious Abdallah at 
Goomri. Even when the houses are listed, and the 
Christians are turned out to make room for troops, 
no trace of the hiding-place of the Rose of Tiflis is 
found. 

Hassan conceals in his girdle the little strip of 
parchment with Prince Schamyl s greeting to his love. 

Hassan has searched every bazaar and coffee-house. 
Not a whisper of the vanished Rose. 

Hassan Bey, eager to hold Abdallah s favor, daily 
watches Moussa and Ghazee. No trace of the dark- 
eyed " day-star." 

But now the Circassian has at last a clue. Sev 
eral times a week he has followed Ghazee to Mous- 
sa s quarters. Long the pacha s charger stands in 
the court, and Moussa is not there. To wander 
over the silent mansion of Moussa is an impossi 
bility for any humble servitor. What can he do? 
The day-star must be hidden there ! 

Leaning against the walls, jostled by the waiting 
crowd of attendants, a grim smile flickers over Has 
san s face. Pie has a desperate plan. 

He is a Turk of the Turks in his knowledge of 
customs. But one sacred sufferer cannot be turned 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. . 183 

from the Moslem door. Where even a holy pilgrim 
may not claim hospitality, the unfortunate fool may 
enter at will. God s wanderer, bereft of his senses, 
cannot be roughly treated under the crescent flag. 
He is free and guarded by the prophet s blessing. 

Haste ! haste ! Hassan the camel-driver ! In two 
hours a gaunt form wanders down the street, where 
Maritza hopelessly peers from the diamond-screened 
lattice of her prison. 

Hanging jaw and rolling eye proclaim the sacred 
sufferer whom Allah has chastened. 

Roaming at will, even the Pacha of Kars dare 
not maltreat this child of misery. Mixing with the 
scullions of the Turkish kitchen, he signs for a cup of 
water. It is offered in Mohammed s sacred name. 
Up the stairways, unopposed, the idiot wanders. 
There are no lattices on the rear of the mansion 
overlooking the dark river in its dismal gorge below. 
The side walls are blank. She must be on the front 
corridor. Fearlessly he wanders along. 

Two rows of arabesque windows overlook the 
noisy street with its throng of passing soldiery. 

Unnoticed by the guards, the sacred fool may 
pace to or fro. It is the black curse of Eblis to 
drive him from any Moslem s door. 

One room after another does the fool wander 
through, his broken voice jibbering words from the 
Koran. 

In the corridors he passes the loitering, dull- 
eyed women of the house. They pass in bated 
breath, for the awful spell of Allah s words is on 
them. 

A heavy curtain swings before each door ; with 



1 84 PRINCE .SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

a skinny hand, Hassan pushes aside the last one of 
the row. 

Seated on the window bench, friendless and sor 
rowing, Princess Maritza turns her head. 

Startled yet not dismayed for Tiflis has also its 
wandering mollahs, its semi-frantic dervishes she 
regards the intruder. He eyes her closely. 

It is indeed the lost Lady of Tiflis the Princess 
of Georgia ! At the distant door, with timidity 
the attendants watch the progress of God s wander 
ing visitor. He can do no harm. 

As he approaches, Hassan murmurs a word or 
two of her native tongue. Maritza s cheek grows 
very pale. Seating himself on the floor, he intones 
a wild harangue of Turkish. In a low voice he 
whispers quickly the messages of Ahmed Schamyl. 

Princess Maritza is herself once more. Hassan 
tears his gown. He rocks to and fro. He plays 
with pebbles and some bits of colored glass. 

Dropping at her feet the little slip of parchment 
from his girdle, he raises his strained voice in a 
chant of Moslem praise. 

Her flaming eyes are on him. The listless attend 
ants wander in the corridors. 

There is a gleam of joy on Maritza s face. In a 
few moments, she knows that the traitor Hassan 
Bey is a friend to the Russia ns. Abdallah s agency 
and Schamyl s wishes make her heart bound. 

" Be calm and quiet, oh day-star ! " Hassan inter 
jects, in his praying. " I will be under your window, 
and can warn you in our own language. I go now to 
Hassan Bey. He will contrive the way to get you 
out of here. I watch over you night and day now." 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 185 

Wildly swinging his arms, Hassan arises and 
paces slowly from the room. There is foam on his 
lips. Down the corridors, past the armed sabre- 
bearing eunuchs at the door, the poor fool wanders. 
He is soon lost in the wild throng outside. He bears 
a token. 

Maritza can send no message ; no word will she 
yet trust, save to give the messenger a red rose. 
The flowers are blooming now in the garden of the 
palace enclosure. 

" To Ahmed, my lover, this rose," she whispers 
as the messenger departs with a little paper. 

Hassan Bey sits pondering over the war tele 
grams in his headquarter room. A dark form 
stands in the. doorway. The- Circassian wanders 
past him into an inner room. 

There is triumph in the eyes of the old spy. He 
tells his story. Keen-witted and subtle, Hassan Bey s 
plan is soon made. He has now found the bower 
whence Countess Nadya Vronsky watches uneasily 
Ghazee s movements now by day and night. Ab- 
dallah s letters give him her full history. 

" Do you know this pale-faced puppet ? " he 
questions of the old sergeant. 

Well does the Circassian remember the elegante. 
The fair Countess Vronsky dashing along the 
Nevsky in her sleigh, or rolling through the leafy 
drives on the island, drew all eyes. 

In his former attendance on Ghazee, he has 
learned to know the face of the lady whose wiles 
embroiled many a " preux chevalier " by the Neva. 

" You await me here. I will see her. I propose 
to have her help the princess out of that wolf s den. 



1 86 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

"You can watch, in your disguise, to-morrow 
morning until she arrives. I will have Prince Gha- 
zee sent out on a reconnoissance for three days. 
The moment we can get Princess Maritza out, I 
will be at hand with a covered wagon. The great 
Armenian convent is the place for her. There are 
fifty nuns there. I will have a guard of my men on 
duty in a by street. When Ghazee returns, all traces 
of her will be lost." 

Two hours later Ghazee Schamyl clatters out of 
the sally port, surrounded by a hundred Circassian 
deserters. Three or four renegade officers ride at 
his side. A sudden order sends him to inspect all 
the outposts. With a hurried good-by to Nadya 
Vronsky the burly, red-faced pacha sets his steed in 
motion for a whirling dash through the circling 
picket camps, fifty miles in extent. 

Hassan Bey s potent touch sways Mukhtar s daily 
orders. A gallant chief ! a faithless confidant ! 

Daintily down the main street of Kars, Hassan 
Bey, the citadel commander, curvets on his splendid 
gray Arab. European polish lightens his manners. 
He has mingled in the gilded circles of the Conti 
nent. 

His jaunty uniform blazes with embroidery ; 
his red fez surmounts a face of inscrutable re 
pose. 

As he throws the reins to an orderly, the obse 
quious attendants of the Hotel de Beyrout an 
nounce his visit to Madame la Comtesse Vronsky. 

A graceful Turkish costume becomes the lovely 
countess, whose fair complexion and light hair be 
tray her masquerade. 



PRINCE SCH/ lYL S WOOING. l8/ 

Hassan Bey, with easy politeness, explains his 
object in calling. 

" I have received letters concerning you, madame, 
of a private nature, from my friend Mustapha Bey, the 
charge d affaires at St. Petersburg. You know him ? " 

Nadya Vronsky s pale face is a shade paler. She 
inclines her fair head. 

" I wished to speak with you on his behalf. I 
premise that this conversation must not be imparted 
to Schamyl Pacha." 

" Why so ? " the lady coldly asks. 

" Because," Hassan answers, in his fluent French, 
" it would be very dangerous for you." 

" Ah ! you threaten a woman ! " her voice rings 
with a cutting sneer. 

" Not so, madame ! I only ivarn" quietly answers 
Hassan. u Pray pardon my directness. You have 
been a private Turkish agent at St. Petersburg. / 
am in charge of the secret service here. Several 
of the ablest representatives of this service have 
disappeared from time to time." There is an 
ominous hush. 

Nadya Vronsky trembles at heart. She is no 
longer in the pale of even semi-civilization. In sav 
age Kars, Mukhtar Pacha reigns as absolute dic 
tator. Hassan Bey is his factotum. 

" What do you wish of me ? " she murmurs. 

" Only this : Schamyl Pacha is deceiving you. 
He hides a sweet divinity whom he worships in the 
palace of Moussa Pacha. He has lied to you. He 
loves you not. He stole this woman, Princess Ma- 
ritza, away from Tiflis, and now means to marry her. 

" He is ambitious. He would sacrifice you to his 



1 88 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

greed for power. For he would gain a crown through 
her." 

Hassan Bey touches the right chord at last. Ah 
med Schamyl s letter to Abdallah gives Hassan Bey 
the keynote of her stormy nature an insane jeal 
ousy ! 

She is aroused. Her blue eyes blaze. 

Hassan calmly continues. He assumes her per 
fect acquiescence. For the citadel commander is 
all powerful. 

" Listen ! I have sent Schamyl Pacha off on a 
three days -tour. To-morrow, at nine o clock, you 
will go to Moussa Pacha s house. Take with you a 
couple of your attendant women. Let one of them 
put on two shawls and veils. I will .ride into the 
courtyard of the house as you approach. I wish 
you to bring the Princess Maritza out of the house 
in the disguise of one of your servants. She will 
be warned. 

" At the door of the mansion she will disappear. 
I pledge you that Schamyl will never see her 
again. I will be near you." 

" I demand an explanation of this. I will not 
take these risks blindly," Nadya answers. Her 
nerve returns. What is his real object ? 

" Bah, madame ! You are finical. No one will 
know who you are when veiled, /will protect you. 
Ghazee and Moussa are both Russian renegades. 
They are powerless here ; we use and despise them. 

" You are the last one he will suspect of knowing 
his dove s retreat." Hassan s sneer is coldly pre 
meditated. She has fallen low enough a betrayed 
mistress ! 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 189 

" And my reward ? " she doubtfully asks. 

" The confidence and protection of Mustapha 
Bey when Schamyl Pacha casts you off. He has a 
heart of stone." 

" I will be there !" cries Countess Vronsky. 

" Good ! " exclaims Hassan. " I will extend to 
you every favor in the stormy days to come. Kars 
will be no paradise in this coming siege." 

With morning s glimmering dawn Princess Maritza 
is at her window. When the attendants bring her 
"food, she forces herself to eat. A wild excitement 
burns in her veins. The sun mounts in the east; 
its golden lances break on the crags of the Kara 
Dagh. 

Hark! Beneath her window now rises the shrill 
sound of Moslem song a wandering mollah. 

Yes beneath her casement the wild singer throws 
aloft his lean arms in prayer. It is her savior Hassan. 

His eyes are fixed steadily upon her windows. 
When the street is silent a few words reach her. 

Her heart beats wildly. The hour is at hand. 
In a half-hour her curtain is swung aside. 

A veiled woman enters who speaks in Russian. 
Two Turkish maids follow her. 

" Quick ! Not a moment lost now. Wrap your 
self and follow me." 

The visitor throws her a shawl and heavy veil. 

Maritza s knees give way. 

" Courage, fool ! I risk my life for you." 

With a sweep of her own veil she shows the face 
of Nadya Vronsky. Maritza saw it last in Petersburg. 

Bewildered, Maritza dons the heavy mantle, and 
twists the veil over her head. The maids linger 



190 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

in the room. Her form is swathed from head to 
foot. Now, for liberty and to Ahmed ! 

Down the corridors, among the waiting suitors 
and idle officers who throng the crowded court 
yard, the veiled lady passes, her servants straggling 
well behind. Moussa Pacha is away. No one re 
gards women around the harem ! 

Princess Maritzka stands now in the street. Her 
heart beats wildly. By her side the mollah moves 
up closely. A covered wagon receives the vanish 
ing form of her conductress. The servants sepa 
rate and are lost in the throng. Down toward the 
narrow street on the river bank the insane dervish 
leads. A few steps bring her to the corner. In a 
curtained chariot she is quickly concealed. An 
officer and some troops block the street behind 
them. It is Hassan Bey ! 

" Drive on ! " he yells, in Turkish. 

By her side old Hassan sits, his eyes dancing 
with joy. He tells her of her destination. 

The wagon rolls into the courtyard of the gloomy 
old Armenian convent. 

Hassan springs out. A side door opens in the 
area. 

The frightened girl is safe under the cross. It is 
a small room, where before a huge ebony and ivory 
crucifix a candle feebly burns. 

The rumble of wheels tells of the departing 
chariot. Hassan stands by the door ; a heavy dagger 
is gleaming in his hands. He is a crouching tiger. 

As a door from the interior opens, a grave, bearded 
priest heavily treads over the stone-tiled floor. 

"Hasten, my daughter; there is no time to 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 191 

lose ! " By his side is Hassan Bey, the citadel com 
mandant. 

A few words in French adjure her to implicitly 
obey the old priest. She knows now Abdullah s 
sly agent. 

" I will send this old man daily to you, or the 
prior, to communicate. Thank me not, lady. I 
am acting for your friends at Tiflis. Keep my secret 
with your life. Both our heads are in danger ! " 

Hassan, the Circassian, whispers: "I will come 
to-morrow." He disappears by the court. . 

The Turkish staff officer is gone. With a kindly 
voice the bearded priest bids her follow him. 

An hour later the splendid richness of Princess 
Maritza s hair is given up to the nun s shears. 

A sombre religious robe and veil disguise her. 

She is no longer the Rose of Tiflis. 

" Sister Agatha" is the handsomest neophyte in 
the old nunnery. But even the nun s mantle can 
not dull the richness of her eyes. 

A quiet rest steals over her, for a spacious and 
well-furnished cell hides the once laughing Peters 
burg beauty from her baffled captor. The Arme 
nian convent walls are inviolable, even in Turkey. 

While Maritza dreams in peace of a princely, 
dark-eyed rider, pressing to his lips her ruby ring, 
her slumbers are only broken by the boom of the 
convent bell. But Nadya Vrofisky tosses upon 
sleepless pillows. Her master will return ! 

The awful wrath of Ghazee may crush her ! His 
treachery proves to her that lips of love can lie in 
passion s wildest kisses! Ingrate ! 

Haughty Ghazee Pacha, galloping up the valley 



IQ2 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

from the Arpa-Tchai a day later, passes a humble 
donkey driver, belaboring a jaded animal. 

No human eye can discern the deadly import to 
the proud city of the crescent of the papers hidden 
in the cushion s linings of the rude saddle. 

The peasant wanders along to Goomri unchal 
lenged. Poverty is his safeguard ! The best ! 

Abdallah, seated in his den at Goomri, waits for 
the words penned by Maritza for the absent man, 
on whose finger flashes her ruby ring. Hassan bears 
a lett(?r every word dear as a. diamond to Schamyl. 

Gloomy and lowering is the brow of Moussa 
Pacha, when he listens to Ghazee s frantic ravings. 
He bastinadoes his louts of domestics uselessly. 
The Rose has vanished in mystery. 

Moussa was away on duty himself. The two serv 
ing-women are gone, none know whither. They did 
well to flee the vengeance of the murderous Ghazee. 

Attracted by some fellow-servant s jabber they 
had only returned to find Maritza s rooms empty. 

Every guardsman, each swart eunuch, swears that 
no one passed the portals ! The two refugees dare 
not openly complain. There is danger in their 
situation. 

Fear of the mighty Mukhtar ties Ghazee s tongue. 
For the great Moslem general is a loyal soldier ! 
Should he discover the princess in Kars, she would 
be openly held as a political prisoner of rank. Ghazee 
would then lose her forever. 

Ghazee vainly sends his trusted renegade officers 
by day and night searching over the town. There 
is not a trace of the proud beauty no sign of her 
bewitching loveliness. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 193 

If the earth had opened for her, the mystery were 
no greater. She is lost among a hundred thousand. 

Countess Vronsky eyes askance the lowering 
brow of her careless lover. As each night settles 
down on Kars, its chill darkness seems to drag her 
down toward the chasm of the rushing Kars Tchai. 
An impending doom appals her. But Ghazee is 
only gloomily silent. He suspects nothing! 

The days drag on wearily. Maritza, in seclusion, 
hugs to her heart the joyous news that her letters 
to her lover have safely reached Abdallah. 

Faithful Hassan (once more the ragged camel- 
driver) haunts the courtyard of the monastery and 
convent. 

A dozen times over he tells the glowing girl the 
stirring history of Ahmed s battle with the Kurds. 
Her pulse bounds with pride. She can wait with a 
patient heart. Her lover is a hero. 

Hassan Bey comes not. An awful punishment 
hangs over his slightest misstep. He would die in 
the torments of the damned ! His messages to 
Maritza are borne by the disguised Circassian. 

On her knees, before the image of the dear Christ 
who died for us all, Maritza prays nightly for her 
champion. 

A message from Abdallah tells her Ahmed Scha- 
myl is now threading the wild defiles of Daghestan. 
It is Abdallah s sage advice to conceal her hiding- 
place even from the Russians until the army reaches 
Kars. For then the sword will set her free. 

Free she is from the traitor unless some fatal 
accident arrives. 

Hassan cheers her daily with his presence. He 
13 



194 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

will stay to the last. Watching over her, he can 
slip out with Hassan Bey s help, and guide the 
rescuers to her place of refuge. The prior concurs 
in the evident wisdom of this. The sanctity of the 
convent is assured by treaty with the powers. 

Before the first cannon s roar wakes the echoes 
on the Arpa Tchai, Princess Maritza prays daily for 
the success of the Russian arms. It is her salva 
tion that fluttering blue and white cross. 



Far up in the awful chasms of the Caucasus, 
creeping below basalt cliffs, threading gloomy for 
ests, scaling nature s battlements, Ahmed Schamyl 
sweeps along at the head of his warlike column. 
He has gazed once more upon lofty Gunib eight 
thousand feet in air his own mysterious birth 
place. 

His charger paws the earth where once the em 
battled Russian army received his father s last sur 
render. Aul Gunib is vacant now ; only a few old 
crones linger there. 

Far above on the cliff stands the " eagle s nest," 
within whose walls the smile of that lovely, dreamy 
vision of childhood his mother shone upon him 
in the years gone by. A nameless angel ! The 
lovely valleys and dells are all silent. The fright 
ened villagers avoid his troops. Silent women, shy 
children alone meet him. The men are buried in 
the forest to avoid conscription. They war only of 
their free will. 

Onward to the great keep of Himri, where Sul 
tan Schamyl lay for dead after its terrific storming 
by Grabbe, he sweeps through the budding glories 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 195 

of spring. Ball and blade could never kill charmed 
Schamyl. 

Here " Khasi Mollah " died, whose mystic lore 
was his father s awful legacy. By a charm of the 
Kabala, Schamyl of the " shining veil," at this 
place, escaped again the red death. So swear the 
old survivors with bated breath. 

A heap of gray ruins meets his eyes when the 
coursers measure four days farther march. Here 
Sultan Schamyl priest, magician, leader, general, 
and bravo was the only one who left the burn 
ing tower alive. Hamsad Bey died there, under the 
vendetta of the Tcherkess. Schamyl took his honors. 

Far and wide, Ahmed sweeps over the romantic 
land, where forty thousand horsemen once owned 
the sway of that great arch-rebel. The chief of 
thirty years war, whose name he bears, has made 
these glades historic. 

Prince Ahmed gathers in his train a few malcon 
tents. He finds the hill-dwellers in trembling fear 
of that keen sword of war which smites both ways. 

Yet no welcome waits his path. None of the 
children of the thousands who died for his royal 
father throng in to welcome the young prince of the 
land. 

Is it the subtle influence of the Kurdish Free 
Masons, who .date their mysteries back to ages 
before the days when the Assyrian scrolls were 
moulded ? 

Is it the Kurdish hatred of the Russian, or the 
illicit trade in the beautiful children of Circassia 
and Georgia, which holds the people away ? 

No ; the Kurds are in both Russian and Turkish 



196 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

pay. It is not local sympathy; for in 1864 all the 
Moslem Tcherkess crossed the lines to Turkey, 
when the Russian flag was nailed to the mast. 
Over Circassia, in final conquest, the Christian faith 
triumphed. 

Maps of Europe change ; heroes live their brief 
day ; but Russia never loses an inch of blood- 
bought ground. There is a strange silence, a cold 
unrest, in the lofty mountain homes of the only race 
on God s footstool to whom courage and beauty 
are a never-failing heritage. 

Here, an Emperor of Russia vainly sued to gain 
the affections of these " dwellers of the mist," after 
a hereditary war of two hundred years had brought 
them to bay, but never to their knees. 

The cherry blossoms hang over the path as 
Ahmed Schamyl rides in the land of his birth over 
his great father s fields. March gives way to fra 
grant April. 

Long before Byzantium gave its name to new 
Rome, centuries before Istambol changed the cross 
for the crescent, freedom reigned here on these 
sculptured mountain heights. God s own sunlight 
and the sacred Persian fires light yet the crests of 
the awful Circassian peaks. The barriers held by 
these peerless swords against " Timour " were only 
broken by the gallant, patient " children of the 
Czar " the soldiers of destiny. The Man of Aus- 
terlitz foresaw the sweep of the men who humbly 
kneel before their white-robed priest when the bat 
tle opens. They sing the regimental hymns, proudly 
marching along to die for holy Russia. Devotees 
and docile heroes ! 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 197 

Only England sleeps, while the world is waking 
to the onward stride of all-conquering Russia. 

Tiletti s towers rise before Prince Ahmed. There 
the Sultan escaped General Fesi by an artifice still 
staining the great Schamyl s honor. He surren 
dered and broke his oath, taking the field again. 
He had a " revelation " which justified his du 
plicity ! 

Over the field, where the bones of Count Ivil- 
itsch s doomed regiments fell under the keen Tcher- 
kess sword, and on to great Akhmulgo, the column 
wearily plods. There, on the heights above a new 
Mokanna, Sultan Schamyl s " silver veil " glittered 
on a servant s brow. The poor slave died a mar 
tyr ; while the crafty old leader himself fled down 
the river in a boat, leaving hecatombs of dead. 
The victims of the Russian assault mutely attested 
his third great " miracle." His splendid court life 
of five years made Akhmulgo a dazzling palace. 
The bats flit through the crumbling windows now. 
Prince Ahmed asks not to see the gloomy keep 
wherein old Schamyl s own mother died, under his 
hand, by the lash. This mystic fraud, the awful 
barbarity, the foul ingratitude chills the bones of 
the son of the chief of the " Sunis." Nature abhors 
the human monster who emulated Nero ; yet Chris 
tian England and France sent money, swords of 
honor, and munitions of war to this man. His own 
aged mother died under his rhinoceros lash, as a 
martyr to Moslem superstition. 

Dargo, with its gloomy history of a three years 
siege, rises before him. General Grabbe, after the 
terrific battle in the dark, tangled woods there, 



198 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

returned to the Neva to answer the question of a 
Czar, borrowed from a Roman emperor s anguish, 
11 Where are my legions ? " And yet, stern Woron- 
zoff finally drove Schamyl from these heights, 
under the pelting butchery of a desperate as 
sault. 

Over the broad plains of the " Kabardas " (where 
the countless Tcherkess horse once swept in pride, 
led by the Silver Veil), Ahmed Schamyl leads his 
watchful men to the river ford. Here two great 
armies witnessed the delivery of his brother " Jamal- 
Eddin " to the sultan after a long captivity. It was 
here the gentle Russian princesses were restored 
after seven years in Schamyl s cruel hands. 

In all this weary round in the marches in cold 
and mist, in the midnight darkness, at the dawn 
a kindly pair of woman s eyes, " weary yet tender," 
beam on the young prince. 

He hears in the sigh of the winds the one loving 
refrain, " Ahmed, my son ! " 

It is his fairy mother who speaks to him. 

The slender wand of memory is broken. Yet 
around the cradle of his infancy that gracious pres 
ence lingers to hallow and to bless. 

If" life is but a progress from the breast of one fond 
woman to that of another," Ahmed Schamyl claims 
a divided duty. Yet his mother s memory is only 
a gracious shade a fleeting charm, like colors of 
the dying day. 

On past the castellated gorges of the mountain 
ranges, out of the land where the religious exalta 
tion of " Ben Mohammed Schamyl " still appals the 
simple warriors far from Dargo s stately palaces 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 199 

(now in ruins, or tenanted by the meaner herd), 
Ahmed journeys. His horses heads are turned to 
ward the battle lines. 

Shy girls in white mantles and silver-embroidered 
gowns, their dark tresses bound with silver lace, gaze 
kindly on the youthful leader. The heavy fruit 
trees fill the mountain roads with fragrant blossoms. 
It is the time of the singing bird. The painted 
pheasants mate in the forest shade. 

In little villages deputations headed by the aged 
welcome the Czar s chosen officer. 

On still, past Tarku, where the Russian legions 
died, over the nameless graves of thousands of for 
gotten soldiers, Schamyl speeds to the dark tryst of 
the Arpa-Tchai. 

At " Amir-Hadje Yar " he views the old hall 
where a single Tcherkess killed three Russian gen 
erals before he was hacked to pieces by the guard. 
The mountain lion dies hard. 

Camping at night, Ahmed wanders alone among 
the mysterious children of the Tcherkess the land 
of free and merry girls, who proudly ride on their 
lovers cruppers ;, the land where a woman s face 
shines openly on all until her marriage ; the land 
where the bridal veil covers the wife forever ; where 
the husband steals as a lover in the shades of night 
to his consort. 

By day the man is busied with hospitality, with 
wise discourse-, with war, or the songs of war. It is 
only the evening star which brings him homeward. 
A land of the sword and spear, of the chase and 
mighty woodcraft Circassia ! 

Jealousy guards with a keen sword these moun- 



200 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

tain thresholds. Revenge, the vendetta, and kismet 
are the awful trinity of Circassian honor. 

Blood is here atoned by blood alone, or a solemn 
tribal settlement. The sense of personal honor is 
fiercely fantastic. Here the young humbly respect 
and fear the old ; here the wife crouches under the 
awful frown of her liege lord. 

Purchased brides meet their lords, with open 
hearts. The forlorn widow is given away to some 
member of the clan who will shelter her. Alas 
for the widows ! 

Here, in Circassia, where the groom rips the 
bridal corsage with a sharp dagger, where the play 
of war heightens the festivity of the wedding day, 
among these olive-faced, dark-eyed, Grecian beau 
ties, Schamyl dreams always of the starry-eyed one 
who pines for him behind the black walls of Kars ! 

The pretty Tcherkess lasses, in scarlet bonnets 
and floating braids, with gay jackets laced with 
silver, natty skirts and broad girdles, smile on him 
in vain. 

Dainty hands with slender wrists wave unheeded 
their salutations to the lord of the Tcherkess. He 
heeds not the quaintly dyed finger-nails, the won 
derful lace mittens of gossamer. 

Schamyl rides the lanes unmoved. In vain the 
wild game spring up under his charger s feet. He 
goes to the chase of men. Village maid and bloom 
ing matron tempt not his eye. He is a faithful and 
pining lover. 

He seems to see before him the presence of his 
great father a white-haired chieftain, superbly 
mounted, in silk vestments and silver-steel chain 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 2OI 

mail. His gray eyes are shining under a golden hel 
met. At his side the priceless sabre of Omar swings. 
Pistols and the death-dealing rifle, his jewelled belt- 
dagger, and the shining white mantle, lend their aid 
to his martial presence. A god among men ! 

Beneath the princely rider, the fleetest steed of 
the Caucasus bears the blue velvet saddle, richly 
crested with its jewels and silver trappings. The 
black enamel of the Caucasus hides the glitter of 
the metals. The shade of Sultan Schamyl beckons 
his son to the red field of honor. 

In all these visions, in the proud mystic stories of 
his race, Prince Ahmed (dreaming on his horse s 
neck) soon forgets his majestic warrior father, his 
princely brother who died as the son of a king, and 
thinks only of Maritza s tender dark eyes. Over his 
slumbers hovers the sweet womanly face, which, 
even here, beneath the singing pines after long 
years have chilled her gentle heart whispers, in the 
one unselfish love of life, " Ahmed, my son ! " 

Down, like an eagle in his fall, swings the impa 
tient lover to the valley of the Arpa-Tchai. Past 
villages where stately men, in Persian caftans of 
bright hue, sit among their many fair wives ; through 
the land where Persian, Russian, Arabic, Armenian, 
and Turkish voices mingle ; past the tender-budded 
groves, where the returning birds sing in the cold, 
pale moonlight Schamyl marches, his outpost duty 
done. 

In another month this land will be a very paradise. 
But his sabre will flash in the sunlight of the 
Euphrates. Mountains of marble and alabaster, 



202 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

dim reaches of witching woodland, lovely meadows 
where the roses bud, stay him not. The veiled 
women sigh over his princely bearing. He gallops 
(hounded on by love, in its delicious torment) to the 
black plains of the Araxes, where the singing bugle 
calls thousands now to their death. Steadily thread 
ing the river, across which he can see the Kurdish 
camels playing around the conical skin tents of these 
men of blood, he rides in at the head of two thou 
sand men, to hear Melikoff send the first shotted 
defiance of the Czar across the still waters. 



BOOK III. 
WINNING THE ROSE. 



CHAPTER X. 

THE CANNONS SPEAK. HASSAN BEY S MESSAGE. 
MOUSSA S BATTLE IN THE NIGHT. FACE TO 
FACE. TURNS OF THE TIDE. THE MEDJIDIEH 
REDOUBT. 

OUT of the gloomy forests, where from their high 
stockaded forts the Russians, goaded to madness, 
sallied on their wild foemen, the column swings 
past the Golgotha where Grabbe s thousands died 
under the dashing attacks of the Tcherkess horse. 
Away, far away from the rocky gorges, where the 
terrible war-cry of the children of Schamyl broke 
on the silent night, Ahmed leads his troopers to the 
black, stony plains of the Arpa-Tchai. 

The cannon thundering loud as he nears Goomri 
bring his men to a gallop. The guns of the for 
tress are covering the crossing. His thirty poor 
captured conspirators, under guard, are left to the 
mercies of the Provost of Goomri. He draws his 
men into line. The great army is on the march. 



204 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

The forces are crossing the Arpa-Tchai, for it is 
the 24th of April. War is declared ! 

As Schamyl leads his fierce riders up to the terre- 
plein of the fortress, he meets Gronow in field 
attire. His own express rider preceded him by 
three hours. 

" I am directed, General, to lead your men across 
and place you in the advance," Gronow cries. 

There is a pontoon bridge over the Arpa-Tchai. 
Before Schamyl can collect his thoughts he is on 
the Turkish side. It is now a war, " a 1 outrance," 
between the men who built the Ottoman Empire of 
the Dardanelles on the crumbling ruins of broken 
thrones, and the Czar s troops. Persian, Roman, 
Greek, Hun, the Slav, the Arabs under the great 
golden sceptre of Haroun al Raschid, give way to 
the dogged Moslems, who fight to-day the Russ of 
the North! 

For two hundred years of the first thousand of 
the Christian era the Russians sought the city vainly, 
battling four times in siege for Constantinople. 

The race of Alexis Comnenus, with their brief 
glory, gave way, after two hundred years of storm, 
to Michael Palaeologus and his heirs. 

In the fifteenth century the patter of the feet of 
Turkish horse sounded first outside the sacred 
walls. Amurath s weak assault was followed up by 
fiery Mahomet, who grasped the Golden City in 

1453- 

Unchallenged queen of the world in the four 
teenth and fifteenth centuries, the Russians and 
English together assaulted it unsuccessfully in 1770. 
How fickle the faith of allied princes! In 1807 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 2O5 

Admiral Duckworth led the English fleet to useless 
slaughter under the seraglio batteries alone. Now 
the Russian fights his old ally England in Asia 
under cover. 

As Ahmed rides out, spreading his light cavaliers 
before the embattled hosts of the Czar on this 
bright April day, he grimly smiles to think that 
nothing will keep the children of the great Peter, 
the heirs of the mighty Catherine, out of the 
Golden Horn. A shadow falls on his mind ! 

His sabre drops loosely in its strap, for he re 
members, with a thrill, the crash of the casements 
when he stood with wily Ignatief where the English 
boat swung, a gloomy black mass on the waters, that 
starlit night in the Golden Horn. 

England fights for the Turk now ! 

" Defender of the Faith!" Which faith? O 
wearer of the crown of the Empire of the Seas! 
Cross or Crescent ? No ! The faith of the English 
is the faith in the sanctity of the British pocket. 

Schamyl watches his swift skirmishers press to 
the front in the beautiful work of the Russian 
cavalry. He turns to Gronow. 

" You.have news for me?" 

" Yes, General," his old friend says, with an evi 
dent respect. Schamyl s heart is with Maritza. 
He hears not the salutation " General." Beyond 
his front, in the advance, lie closed columns of solid 
white-capped regiments, squadrons of heavy dra 
goons, and parked siege batteries, with an unending 
black mass of baggage trains. 

Light batteries whirl by, going into action with 
lightning speed. 



206 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

Gronow hands him several letters and despatches. 
On the broad plain before them, for they have now 
covered the slower movement of the heavy troops, 
a dropping fire shows that the sons of the Sultan 
are " en presence." 

Schamyl gathers his charger. " To the front ! " 
Gronow rides across his path. 

" Pardon me ! Prince, you are a general now. 
You cannot charge with your own skirmish line, like 
a trooper." 

Schamyl s eyes seek his in wonder. Gronow 
points to the letters. 

Calling to a captain, who gallops to the front, 
Gronow resolutely detains the prince. 

Ahmed opens the first document. It recites his 
appointment as brigadier-general of cavalry. His 
tall form rises proudly in the saddle. A general, 
and a wearer of the white cross ! 

The cracking rifles of his troops salute the Grand 
Duke s youngest general. 

The next letter he opens is from Abdallah. It is 
only a simple slip of paper, with a single withered 
red rose. The simple words are traced there : 

" Ahmed, my lover ! " 

His eyes are dim. The soldier-lover s heart bounds 
with j^oy. 

In a few moments the scrawling characters of Ab 
dallah himself are deciphered. Schamyl knows now 
that his love waits for him behind the walls of Kars. 
She is there in the blue horizon to the southwest 
and thither rolls the tide of war. 

Thrusting the papers in his tunic, the young gen 
eral hoarsely whispers : 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 207 

" Forward ! For Maritza s sake ! On ! " 

He gives the fretting black the rein. He rides 
along his line under the cheers of the troops, who 
have caught the welcome news. 

In an hour Gronow and Schamyl are seated under 
a plane tree. The light troops have swept far off, 
clearing a zone to the front. Schamyl s eyes are 
proudly fixed on the flashing sabres of his brigade. 
It is a knightly command. 

Ten more sotnias give him the full present of his 
imperial master a peerless command of his own 
wild liegemen. 

Now he knows that the right column of the army 
has thrown itself toward Ardaban ; that the dash 
ing Tergukassoff from Erivan is marching with tiger 
tread on Bayazid. Along the Danube, two hun 
dred thousand Russians press over the swamps to 
ward the yet undefiled trenches of Plevna. 

For Ignatief and Orloff, Gortschakoff and Schow- 
aloff, have laid down the pen. The sword alone rules 
now- From Kirscheneff the veteran Czar Alexan 
der, with Ignatief and Dolgourouki, hastens toward 
the Danube with a glittering personal train of four 
hundred cavaliers of the household. 

The protocol was uselessly agreed to by the 
powers. 

The Turk has resolutely refused the pressure of 
the powers, and will not sign. War to the knife ! 
It is now Russia against the Turk. 

The first rifle shot, with its puff of feathery smoke, 
blew away the relics of " protocol " and " confer 
ence," of " negotiation " and " wise discussion." 

For the grass is waving now, the roads are firm, 



2o8 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

the skies are balmy, and the harvest of blood is 
ready for the sabre sickle. 

But one brief week ago Count Ignatief joined his 
imperial master at KirchenerL The English falter 
and stand mute, while the Russian legions pour into 
the open gateways of the East. 

Poor Burnaby threw himself desperately, in later 
years, on the Abyssinian spears. He died in vain for 
England s might ; his warning voice was unheard. 

Schamyl knows that if the cabinet of St. Peters 
burg sees the Russian eagles on Batoum and Kars, 
on Ardaban and Bayazid, there it will stay, blood 
hallowed in victory forever. 

For Constantinople the Czar can wait. The future 
has its mysteries. 

But the swinging car of Destiny rolls thither 
apace. 

Schamyl, seated with Gronow, inspects the cower 
ing prisoners brought in by his line. 

He learns from them that the cavalry of Moussa 
and Ghazee Schamyl are in his front. 

Leaving Gronow to his merry chat with the vic 
torious officers, Prince Schamyl walks aside in the 
shadows of the night. The army has safely crossed. 

Maritza s eyes shine on his shadowed heart. 

The Czar s hosts battle for a new kingdom, on the 
old roads where Xenophon marched his unflinching 
Greeks back to the blue and beloved sea. From 
these storied waters the white-limbed Venus rose 
to hold all men in thrall. Schamyl fights for honor, 
his only prize, and the hand of the defenceless girl 
who is praying for him now behind those rocky 
parapets under the frowning Kara Dagh. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 209 

The empress of his soul ! The dark-eyed beauty, 
whose withered rose rests upon his throbbing heart. 
It is a summons and a talisman. 

He joins the dashing staff officer Gronow, who 
hailed him first as " General." By his side a horse 
man is dismounting. In the flickering light of the 
camp-fire, he recognizes gallant Tarnaieff. 

The " dragoman " has given way now to .the 
hardy " soldier," who .exclaims joyfully : 

" Prince ! We will ride into Kars together ! " 

The wailing bugle sends the forward lines to the 
silence of rest. Only the watchful pickets and 
silent videttes strain their nerves to catch the mys 
terious voices of the night. Before Schamyl s limbs 
are relaxed from the ride of this eventful day, the 
reveill^ is sounding. 

A messenger is at his side on the line of the 
bivouac. He has grasped a treasure richer than 
gold and gems. 

It is a letter from Maritza, who hears now from 
her convent refuge the dull boom of the cannon at 
the ford. 

Hassan, the servitor, greets his lord, and waits to 
show him a secret way to scale the beetling heights 
of the Kara Dagh. For his argus eyes are every 
where. 

No foot of the thirty miles toward Kars but 
trebles itself under the princely lover s impatience. 
Shall he ever see her beloved face again ? 

His renegade brother in his front ! Schamyl s 

brow grows stern. Alas ! Even with the goddess 

of victory smiling, it will be long months before 

Kars can be reduced. Mighty Paskiewitch spent a 

14 



210 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

year in 1828 and 1829 to carry the double eagle in 
victory over the road now open to his horse. 

And Mukhtar Pacha is a lion in the path, with fifty 
thousand armed men. Kars bristles with heavy 
guns. 

Ahmed Schamyl s heart is filled with one holy 
purpose. Ghazee is in his front. To search the 
field and scatter his renegades, to save the innocent 
girl he dragged from her home this is the heritage 
of the last bitter two months of agony. 

When Sultan Schamyl blazed in glory at Dargo, 
holding royal state, three wives reigned over the 
palaces, before whose crested slopes twenty thou 
sand Russian corpses lay in the three years siege. 
By the dark mystery of his birth, Ghazee seems to 
have been his foe from the moment of his father s 
death. They never were brothers of the heart. 

An undying bitterness, a hatred born of fanati 
cism, the scorn of a Moslem for the accursed Giaour, 
has been Ghazee s only brotherhood. Is it the 
succession to the shadowy coronet of the warrior 
prince which galls him ? 

Riding out to a knoll where a headquarters en 
sign marks the commander-in-chief s marquee, Scha 
myl receives his orders from General Dutrovskoi. 
He is the chief of staff of the princely commander 
Loris Melikoff. 

The Grand Duke Nicholas, at Tiflis, holds the 
nominal command, surrounded by every enjoyment. 
But the iron truncheon of battle is wielded by Loris 
Melikoff, his keen eye fixed on his own rising star. 

" Prince Schamyl, your brigade will be held for 
special service, as the reserve of the main advance. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 211 

Your task will be, especially, to watch and counter 
act the movements of Moussa s Kurds and renegade 
Circassians. They all know the ground. We rely 
on you, General, to cut them up. 

" I am instructed by his Highness the Grand Duke 
Nicholas to say that your new rank is a reward for 
your splendid fight on the Arpa, and your successful 
guarding of our left flank and rear in your long scut. 
By the way, General, I suggest that the uniform of 
your grade will become you." 

Escaping from a storm of congratulations, Schamyl 
gallops off to his own troops. 

Gronow s thoughtfulness has provided him with 
his campaign baggage. 

Surrounded by the officers of his hastily chosen 
staff, Prince Ahmed sadly misses the ubiquitous old 
Hassan, for that veteran servitor is a master of 
the arts of making camp comfortable. 

The days fly by. All along the valley of the Arpa, 
hurrying hosts gather for the shock of battle. Tele 
grams tell of the movement on the Danube. The 
Kurds and Tcherkess are called out. From Poti, 
Sughum Kale, and Ardaban the news of sharp battle 
rolls along. 

Seventeen thousand men, crossing at Ungheri, 
wait for General Melikoff s wild dash on Ardaban. 
Tiflis is in panic. The Turkish host is magnified into 
vast proportions. 

Ahmed Schamyl, drilling and exercising his 
splendid riders, is in the saddle from dawn to dark. 
He inflames the haughty pride of his officers. 

They are to meet in single combat the chosen 
irregulars of the Turks. Soon a swift courier takes 



2i2 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

to all-knowing Abdallah, Schamyl s entreaties for 
secret information of Moussa s and Ghazee s every 
movement. 

It is their merciless horse he wishes to meet in the 
open field. By day, with his glass, he can see the 
cone-shaped Kibitka tents of the Turkish camps. 
" His dearest foe " is on guard. His traitor brother. 

Osman Bey glides through the army, in his serpent 
path, as chief of spies. He keeps up the line of 
Prince Schamyl s secret intelligence. 

The days are stirring with fray and skirmish. At 
night, by the camp-fire, Ahmed reads the brief words 
of his beloved. Still dragging suspense ! She is the 
loved and lost ! 

Her faded rose rests upon his heart. The mystic 
red rose beloved of the Turk ! Bom of a drop of 
Mohammed s precious blood, it is the lovely theme 
of their daintiest legends. The vulgar may not touch 
its sacred petals. Only on solemn feasts it may be 
plucked. 

The precious attar distilled from its bosom con 
secrates the house of prayer, and sanctifies the body of 
the believer as a chrism of the holy Prophet s blood. 

Dear as the red rose is to the pious Moslem, who 
prays before it, in penance, when wounded con 
science stings the heart, the rose which Maritza s 
loving hand sends him as a token is holier yet to 
the ardent Circassian lover. 

Her gentle hand lends it a charm more potent than 
the richest drops of great Mohammed s veins. 

By this token he consecrates himself to the quest of 
the lovely prisoner, the sweet counterfeit nun of Kars. 
He will win the living Rose or die in seeking her. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 213 

Chafing at inaction, Schamyl s blood bounds when 
the cheers of the army welcome the glorious news of 
the day of May 17. 

Melikoff, with Komaroff s column, has stormed 
Ardaban, and the river runs red with the enemy s 
blood. Now, to the front ! 

The bugles rouse the forces. The right and cen 
tre columns now close in. 

Stealing into Schamyl s camp, a messenger from 
Abdallah brings to the general, news which makes 
his heart bound in mad delight. 

Moussa and Ghazee are encamped half way 
between Kars and the front, and creep nearer for a 
night attack on the Russian cavalry. 

A half-hour conference with General Melikoff gives 
Schamyl full power to throw himself on the enemy 
at his will. " Smash them ! " says Loris. 

Dearer than the tidings cheering his soldier s heart, 
of the rapid advance on the Danube and the splendid 
capture of Bayazid, is the latest letter from Maritza, 
which tells in burning words "what the mute rose 
cannot say. For its fragrant petals are silent. 

Hassan, the camel-driver, haunts the camp of the 
Turkish cavalry. His practised eye tells him of 
the movements day by day. A deserter crawls over 
the lines and gives the Russian pickets the tidings 
of the impending attack. 

Day by day Schamyl s orderlies ride along the 
front. No message comes yet from Hassan. 

Schamyl s brigade is ready. Gallant Tarnaieff, 
who knows every inch of the ground, volunteers to 
go as guide with the general, who has not yet 
fleshed his sword in open battle with the Turks. 



214 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

The approaches of Kars are now beleaguered. 
With his glass Schamyl sweeps the distant hills 
of the Kara Dagh. 

There in that half moon of crowded houses be 
low the high mountains, with the towering citadel 
in air, a blue cleft marking the path of the rushing 
river with its three old stone bridges, he can almost 
see the old convent where Maritza is safely hidden. 
Ghazee knows yet nothing of her. 

From the Danube to Erzeroum, at Batoum, Kars, 
and along the whole theatre of war, the roar of 
fight rolls along. 

Day by day Schamyl impatiently rides his outposts. 
No movement yet of his enemy. He frets while 
the two generals watch each other twenty miles 
from the city. 

Those ugly outlooks and the lofty walls crowded 
with heavy cannon make a sudden dash impossible. 
To sit inactive while the town may be slowly 
bombarded, is madness. His heart is with the dear 
lonely girl who hides in the shadows of the cloister. 
Shot and shell may rain in on the devoted city. 
Her fate is joined with that of the other Christians 
now cooped up. For the Russian lines spread far 
around. A general battle impends. 

Cautious Mukhtar stands at bay. Melikoff 
watches for an opening. 

Schamyl leaps into the saddle when an order is 
delivered him by the gallant Gronow to head a col 
umn of cavalry toward the Russian outposts sixteen 
miles from Kars. 

It is the hope that the Turks may attack this 
force which causes the advance. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 215 

Riding with the impatient Tarnaieff, Ahmed at 
nightfall bivouacs his men, without fires, around 
the little village of Beghli-Ahmed. He is among 
foes. A few sullen Moslem villagers glower from 
their huts at the invaders. He stations a guard 
to hold them. 

A column of several heavy dragoon regiments 
follows a few miles in rear. They openly encamp, 
and leisurely occupy a favorable plain. 

Schamyl s hidden pickets watch the woods and 
valleys. 

Keeping his column in readiness, the prince waits 
for the shadows of the night to draw his men 
secretly away and leave the other camp apparently 
exposed. 

Leaning on his sword, waiting the agreed signal 
to move his command into ambush, the young gen 
eral at last springs to his feet. The guard drags 
along a straggler. He protests that he is a deserter. 

Fiery Tarnaieff sternly says, " Shoot him in the 
morning. He is a spy ! " 

A sergeant approaches the commander. He 
whispers a message. 

Schamyl, in briefest words, gains the wanderer s 
information. 

He hands Ahmed a little twisted billet. Hassan 
Bey speaks at last. Russia s red gold was well spent. 

" Moussa and Ghazee, with four thousand men, are bearing down 
to attack the exposed camp." 

Old Sergeant Hassan also sends his slyly gleaned 
knowledge of their march. The straggler is reliable. 

Dismissing his messenger to the care of the guard 
for the night, the Circassian draws his men off 



216 

quietly to prevent any chance encounter. He sends 
Tarnaieff on a gallop to give the other commander 
the news. Four thousand crouch in readiness. 

In ten minutes the dark squadrons of Ahmed s 
riders are swallowed up in the forest gloom. A few 
men are scattered across a high defile, a half mile 
away, to noiselessly announce the passage of any 
heavy force. 

Two squadrons, led by the old captain of his 
escort, steal silently, holding their scabbards, to a 
dell, whence they can hold the pass and cut off the 
retreat of Moussa and Ghazee. 

In solid line, Schamyl s brigade awaits one signal 
shot from a light rifle gun. 

Behind their camp-fires, where a few men linger 
as a decoy, the heavy dragoons wait in the darkness 
until the enemy pour out on the plain. 

Half the Russian force is posted, sabre in hand, to 
receive the charge. The other half, mounted, is 
drawn off the roads ready to charge in flank at their 
commander s signal. 

Every squadron commander has his orders. Tar 
naieff sits, stern and watchful, on his horse. 

Schamyl has told him, in this silent waiting-hour, 
the story of his, love. Ahmed s last words were : 

" Stay with me in this fight. If I fall, lead the 
men out and avenge me. General Melikoff will rescue 
the princess. You can tell him all only if I go down." 

Tarnaieff mutely presses his hand. When mid 
night darkness wraps the broad valley, closed at its 
farther end by the narrow defile, there is a faint 
sound like the rustling of a breeze through a heavy 
forest. The enemy are coming ! 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 217 

Every man in the command knows the renegades 
and Kurdish thieves are pouring down the valley. 
They hope to surprise the camp. 

The shadows deepen on the road four hundred 
yards away. There is a soft trampling of feet. 
Crawling back, a dozen scouts come running in. 
The head of the column is past. 

When the last Turks are out of the defile, Schamyl 
waits for the signal volley of his skirmishers. 

Ten minutes pass. Every rider is bending for 
ward, sword in hand. A rattling fire in the gap 
tells of the passing of the Moslem rear. 

Swinging his sabre, Ahmed calls out " Fire ! " to 
his signal gunner, whose light piece is ready. 

The ring of the three-pounder wakes the echoes 
of the night. 

By its flash, a confused mass is seen surging over 
the plains. The Tcherkess dash on with wild cheers. 
The sword is at work. 

Racing with Tarnaieff, Schamyl rides at the front, 
crying, u No quarter for renegades ! " 

His left squadrons wheel off to the pass, where 
they join the squadron cutting off the retreat. 

Swinging his line, as previously ordered, Schamyl 
throws his brigade on the yelling and bewildered 
foe. It is a surprise, indeed ! A double one ! 

Far to the front, the bitter rattle of the dragoons 
rifles tell that the camp-lines have been reached. 

A wild " Hurrah ! " sweeps down the wind. The 
mounted dragoons are hewing away at the Turks. 
In the mad panic of flight, Moussa s force wheels 
to meet the awful shock of Schamyl s solid squad 
rons. By the dim starlight, the white caps of the 



2i8 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

Russian troopers alone tell friend from foe. The 
Circassians have left their black turbans in camp. 

Yells and savage cries rend the midnight silence. 
The crash of the volleyed firing at the front sounds 
high above the shrieks for quarter. 

Schamyl has a knot of a dozen faithful troopers, 
who, even in the tangle of the slaughter, close 
around their young leader. 

Tarnaieff clings at his general s side. The plain 
is already strewn with heaps of dead. 

Forming up in knots, the Russians hew at the 
frightened mass, now pouring backward toward the 
pass. 

Ahmed s arm is weary He shouts in vain direc 
tion of this mad battle in the darkness. He watches 
by the flash of pistols for the horse-tail standard of 
a pacha. 

In twenty minutes, the four regiments of Ghazee 
and Moussa are a bleeding mass of frantic fugitives. 
By common impulse, they pour backward toward the 
pass. The Circassian chaskas drink Moslem blood. 

Schamyl has directed the squadron commanders 
to let the foe break backward and choke the pass. 

There, they will be met by the rifles and sabres of 
his fresh force secretly posted. Tarnaieff rallies a 
hundred men beside the general. The retreating 
Turks fall on all sides. Schamyl s men hang on 
their right and left flanks, cutting them down. 

The dragoons, now all in the saddle, bear down in 
line, driving the yelling fugitives to the gap. 

Breathing for a few moments, Schamyl waits to 
form his body-guard once more, and hurl them on 
the flank. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 219 

A clump of a dozen lances twinkling round a 
pacha s horse-tail standard struggles toward the 
watchful knot of troopers around Schamyl. 

Other Russians have dimly seen it. A crush of 
the white-capped pursuers presses toward it. 

Is it the traitor Ghazee s ensign, or Moussa s ? 

With a wild cheer Tarnaieff yells, " Come on ! " 

Ahmed rights his way into the press. It is a 
prize to win Melikoff s general order. 

Down go man and horse under the impact of that 
solid charge. 

There is a struggle around the waving symbol. 
With the voice of a lion, there Ghazee fights at bay. 
Ahmed fights for the lost Rose of Tiflis. He forces 
his way to the standard-bearer. Encumbered with 
the staff, the Turk tries to turn. The wild black 
horse rears as Ahmed swings his keen sabre. He 
tears the staff from the falling man, for Tarnaieff s 
blade has pierced him through. 

A dozen troopers dash at the burly Ghazee, who 
has cleared a ring. He is a devil ! 

Schamyl cheers on his men. He hears a growl of 
rage. Ghazee s splendid horse wheels and bears 
him out of the melee, a defeated fugitive! 

In an hour the last broken remnants of the 
Turkish hosts have passed through the defile, under 
the merciless rifle fire of the ambush. 

The forests and woods are filled with the panic- 
stricken fugitives. 

Out in the valley the wild Russian bugles are 
sounding the recall. For Turkish hosts may come 
up to aid the irregulars. 

Schamyl, rallying his scattered men upon the 



220 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING, 

main road, sends a squadron down to stop any rash 
pursuit over the ridge. A heavy force may follow 
Ghazee. 

The white caps fall in as they may. 

Two hours later the growing dawn shows a fearful 
field of carnage. There has been " no quarter." 

By the earliest light the Turkish fugitives put 
miles between them and their pursuers. 

Halting for a rest and a hasty meal, while the 
plunder and captured horses are secured, the two 
Russian commanders exchange felicitations. 

Fourteen hundred of the enemy lie scattered over 
five miles of the road. It is a crushing blow. 

At nightfall Schamyl dismisses his battle-wearied 
men on their lines in front of the main Russian 
army. The standard of Ghazee waves in triumph 
before Ahmed s tent. Moussa Pacha s wild irregu- 

o 

lars spread panic to the walls of Kars in their re 
treat. 

Prince Ahmed sends Tarnaieff to the command 
ing general with his trophy traitor Ghazee s 
standard. 

The day after, MelikofT sweeps by at evening 
parade, with his headquarter staff. He sends the 
men his verdict : " Brave fellows ! " Schamyl is 
cheered to the echo. 

Twelve days later, at Taghir, the whole main 
column breaks up on Mohammed Pacha s advanced 
half of Mukhtar s forces. Melikoff sees an opening 
at last. After a bitter battle the flying Turks leave 
three thousand dead on the field, besides their un 
fortunate General Mohammed. 

Schamyl and Tarnaieff swept up the hill together 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 221 

in that splendid charge of the Russian horse. The 
blue and white cross is in the ascendant. 

Mukhtar with half his army stands at bay at 
Zewin. He hastens Ismail the Kurd s forces to 
join him from Erzeroum. It is salvation to him. 

In these days of fierce battle creeping ever nearer 
to Kars, Prince Ahmed with an aching heart faces 
the Moslem foe. Maritza, queen of hearts, still a 
captive ! All other rewards are nothing. 

No news from Kars. The secret lines even are 
paralyzed. Abdallah is silent now. 

Glorious news from Tergukassoff brings ringing 
cheers from the Russian line. Mukhtar himself has 
been routed at Eshek Khaliass. 

The centre column is wild with joy. Will the 
great stronghold of Erzeroum surrender before Kars? 

Two weeks of inactivity brings gloomy news. 
The tide turns ! Victory veils her face ! 

Though Bayazid is in the Russian hands, Tergu- 
kassoff is beaten on the bloody hills of Zewin before 
Erzeroum. Mukhtar s sword is wreathed with 
laurel. For the Turk can fight ! 

Still the column is near Kars, and the Grand Duke, 
in person, now superintends the beginning of a bit 
ter siege. The batteries are thundering away at the 
forts of the city. 

Straining his eyes, Schamyl can see the shells 
burst over the town. 

Fortune frowns her gloomiest now. Rumors of 
disaster on the Danube appall the battling soldiers 
of the Czar. A paralysis unnerves the Russian 
leaders everywhere. The long days wear away in 
grim siege and dull bombardment. 



222 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

Bayazid is retaken by Jthe Turks. Only the citadel 
holds out. The garrison is massacred. 

The July and August days are days of defeat, 
sadness, and gloom. Horror follows on horror. 

Great lines are furrowed in Schamyl s face. He 
hears not one word from the city which is the 
hidden refuge of his beloved. From Circassia the 
news of a rebel outbreak drifts down. The plains 
of Armenia are. alive with Kurdish cut-throats. 

Wearied, harassed, and baffled, Schamyl s spirits 
break when the besiegers suddenly fall back from 
Kars. In retreat, covering a dispirited army, Prince 
Ahmed crosses the burning plains, now one vast 
graveyard. Sickness, stifling heat, privation, and 
ruin reign over the Russian camps. 

As the defeated troops file back over the hard- 
won ground, the awful news of the terrible butchery 
at Plevna dispirits even the boldest hearts. 

Melikoff s brow is furrowed. His hawk eyes are 
haggard. 

The cross pales before the crescent. 

Two more terrible battles of indecisive butchery 
wear out the month* of August. Will it ever turn 
this tide of disaster? And Maritza! God! not 
a word ! 

Schamyl cannot quit his post. Detaching Tar- 
naieff, he sends him to Goomri to gain from Abdal- 
lah any news of the imprisoned Princess Maritza. 

In four days he is back. Victorious Mukhtar 
has almost driven the Russians into the Arpa-Tchai. 
Even Tiflis is no longer safe. 

Abdallah at last sends a brief message. Maritza 
is yet in shelter. This he learns only from Hassan 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 223 

Bey, for the whole land now swarms with bandit 
plunderers. Even the Russian graves are opened 
by the wild Kurds ! 

Still from the Danube comes the news of useless 
slaughter. Turkey and Russia force fresh thousands 
to the front. 

On October 11 to 15 the fires of hell light up 
again the Aladja Dagh. Thousands of doomed men 
dye the hills with their blood. The Grand Duke 
and Melikoff throw their whole maddened army on 
Mukhtar Pacha. Ghazi no longer ! He reels back 
at the head of a broken host. 

Pushed to the very gates of Kars, the dispirited 
Pacha leaves ten thousand prisoners in the hands 
of the Russians, now desperate in their hour of 
victory. On they leap ! The ringing siege guns 
roar once more ! Fifteen thousand defeated Turks 
are cooped up in high-walled Kars, which is now 
surrounded on all sides. The Russian batteries 
rain a fearful fire upon the doomed city. It is the 
beginning of the end ! 

Along the road to Erzeroum, rallying his de 
feated stragglers, the great-hearted Pacha retreats 
to join Ismail, the wild Kurd, and stout old Faizi 
Kohlman Pacha. All is not yet lost. The Turk at 
bay is a hero. 

Schamyl, ordered in hot pursuit, hangs for days 
upon the flanks of the retreating Moslems. 

Tarnaieff with him urges the fiery Tcherkess 
mercilessly upon their foes. Even to the gates of 
Erzeroum, the Circassian sword reeks with blood. 

Ah ! Horrid wavering of the awful balances of 
war ! Before Plevna, mounds of severed heads 



224 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

attest the fearful slaughter of the peerless Russian 
grand army. The sound of wailing goes up alike in 
the land of the crescent and of the cross. Darkness 
descends on thousands of Russian households. Is 
the road to Asia worth all this? 

Sick of carnage, weary at heart, Schamyl led the 
terrific assault on November 4, which sent Mukhtar 
behind the walls of Erzeroum with a loss of ten 
thousand. The Moslem at bay appeals to his 
prophet. The dervishes wail in the mosques. 

The crescent droops under these fearful blows at 
Kars and Erzeroum. Kurd and bandit flee from 
the plains of Anatolia. 

On the night after the great defeat of the Turks 
at Erzeroum, Schamyl and Tarnaieff sit by their 
camp-fire. A courier rides up and hands Prince 
Ahmed a letter. It is the first tidings in three 
weary months from Princess Maritza. 

Her lines are few : 

" I am here unhurt in the awful bombardment. Every one says 
the city soon will fall. By the love you bear me, Ahmed, come as 
soon as you can to my rescue. Old Hassan will guide you. My 
Ahmed ! come to me ! I am yours to death. MARITZA." 

There are streaks of gray in Schamyl s raven 
locks. For three months he has been under arms, 
day and night. Fifty skirmishes and combats and 
a dozen battles have made him callous to carnage. 
His blood has flowed more than once. 

Will Erzeroum fall ? He can then lead his trium 
phant horse back to Kars. Maritza waits him there. 

Even if his own troops cannot be spared, he will 
ask to join in the Kars assault. Batoum, Ardaban, 
Bayazid, are all now in Russian hands. On the. 



PRINCE SCUAMYL S WOOING. 225 

Danube, starving Plevna totters to its fall. The 
end cometh. The camp is dreaming in silence. 

Tarnaieffs noble face shines out by the camp-fire 
in deep thought. He has thrown himself on a roll 
of blankets. A gloomy master-thought possesses him. 

All afternoon he has been in close converse with 
the higher generals. Sturdy old General Heiman 
knows that Tarnaieff can, in the dark, find every 
corner in Erzeroum. It may be taken by assault. 

The stars are twinkling on the walls of the silent 
town where Mukhtar stands at bay. 

Schamyl s face shines with the happiness of the 
news so long coveted. Tarnaieff lifts his head as 
an aide dashes up. " Orders for Colonel Tarnaieff/ 
He dashes away. In an hour the returning hoofs 
of a horse ring out, and Tarnaieff swings to the 
ground. 

His face is very grave. 

" Prince," he quietly says, " I am going to lead 
ten battalions in a forlorn hope attack upon the 
Medjidieh fort. Sixteen more will assault the 
southern works. The troops move at midnight." 

Schamyl is startled. His iron heart shakes. 

11 It is a desperate venture. The town is crowded 
with an army. The Azizi forts heavy guns sweep 
every inch of your route," he says. " The citizens 
are all armed." 

" True, Prince Ahmed. But I alone know the 
ground. The honor of leading is assigned mes we 
shall creep as near as possible, and attack precisely 
at the earliest flashes of day." 

By the firelight Schamyl can see that his face is 
very pale, but firm as a classic Roman marble. 
15 



226 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

" Do you know who commands the Azizi fort ? " 
Tarnaieff says. 

" I do not/ Schamyl wearily replies. He is sick 
of blood. More thousands for the ravens! 

" It is our old friend Suleiman, now called Me- 
hemed Pacha. He is the ablest and most gallant 
man in the Armenian army to-day, the equal of 
Mukhtar or Faizi Pacha in all but experience. 

" I dislike to attack him ; we were always close 
friends." Tarnaieff is musing. He feels the chill 
of an open grave. But the Czar calls him ! 

u Prince Schamyl," he resumes, " I must leave 
you now. Do you remember the night we destroyed 
Moussa s cavalry ? We watched the stars of vic 
tory together. I shall never see the stars rise again 
over Ararat." 

He hands Schamyl a letter. " If I fall, please 
send that safely. That is all. I am a friendless 
man." 

It .is true. Lonely Tarnaieff has nothing but his 
stainless sword in the world. 

Moved by some strange impulse, Schamyl says : 
" Tarnaieff, my dear old comrade, I will go with 
you." He cannot abandon the man who shared his 
first victory. 

Without a word Tarnaieff clasps his friend s hand. 
There is a tear sparkling in his eye. Soldier brothers! 

Just before dawn, the divided column of Tarnaieff, 
which has crawled forward at midnight, rushes into 
the Medjidieh lunette from its front and the open 
gorge. A roar to the south proves the other attack 
is in progress. 

Schamyl leads the body over the redoubt ; Tar- 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 227 

naieff, the party at the gorge. In five minutes the 
garrison are prisoners five or six hundred sleepy 
wretches. 

Ah ! the clamor of the awakened city arises ! 
Yells of rage fill the air. Fireballs from the minarets 
, prove the crazy mollahs are on the watch. A wild 
mass of Turkish regulars dashes into the work, where 
the victorious Russians are forming up. At their 
head, Suleiman cheers on his men. In one body 
the Russians are fairly hurled out of the work or 
driven in knots from its gorge. Fighting hand to 
hand in the growing daylight, thousands of fero 
cious citizens stream out to pour a hell fire on the 
bewildered Russian columns. They all. have arms. 
The huge guns of the Azizi work now open, with 
crashing shell, upon the Russian reserve battalions. 
The tired men go down in windrows. 

Borne away by the retreating mass, Schamyl is 
breathless, bruised, and trodden down. 

With a cheer of desperation, the Russians pour 
over the walls of the lunette once more, for gallant 
TarnaiefFs ringing voice leads them on. 

Sword in hand, Schamyl throws himself over the 
parapet, followed by his eager men. The roar of 
cannon deepens into a steady crash. The guns of 
the Azizi are playing on the Russian masses, in rear, 
over the heads of the human fiends in the work. 

Schamyl rushes toward TarnaiefT. With yells 
the Turks sweep forward. TarnaiefT dashes, with 
raised blade, upon Suleiman, who is in the van. 

A flash from Suleiman s revolver ! Tarnaieff falls 
heavily forward and never moves. Friend has met 
friend. Lonely Tarnaieff is a dead hero. 



228 PRINCE SCHAMVL S WOOING. 

Schamyl springs toward his friend, and, in the 
very face of Suleiman, falls senseless from a blow of 
a cannon rammer. 

In an hour, Schamyl opens his eyes. He is in a 
low, dark vault. Beside him sits an old Moslem 
sergeant. He feebly motions for water. The Turk 
hands him a gourd. Blest gift of God ! water to the 
wounded ! Roar of cannon and musketry resound. 
He is a prisoner, and yet the actions of the man are 
friendly. 

In Turkish he whispers: u Silence, Kffendi ; when 
the stars rise, you are free." 

Bleeding, bruised, and wounded, Schamyl sleeps 
even in the din of battle. He is in an underground 
magazine of the lunette. The old man is the guard 
ian. Some friendly hand ! The silence of death ! 
Night falls. Silence reigns once more. In the 
darkness he can only hear the slow, wheezy breath 
ing of the aged sergeant. 

A man creeps into the magazine. Handing him a 
Persian conical cap and a long caftan, he says : 
" Come, now ! " He offers a flask of brandy. 

It is Suleiman, the victor of the most fearful day 
the ramparts of Erzeroum have ever known. 

" I am going the picket rounds, and will take you 
out of our lines in safety. I have a horse on the sunk 
road, in rear. Don t speak. Come on, now ! 

Crawling out of the magazine pit, Schamyl stum 
bles out of its opening. His wounds are sore. 

By the glimmering stars, he can see double ranks 
of Turks sleeping on their arms around the parapet. 

A few sentinels stalk along silently. 

The interior of the lunette is piled with dead. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 229 

They are all stripped. In falling once or twice, he 
sees that they are headless. 

A nameless horror seizes him. He would speak! 
Suleiman grasps his arm. Two horses wait at the 
road behind the fort ; a squad of a half-dozen Kurd 
ish lancers are in the saddle. 

Mounting in silence, they ride over the field to 
where the picket fires of the Turks blaze in full view 
of the Russian position. The frightened steeds start 
at the piles of mangled dead. These are the work 
of the huge Azizi guns. 

Ghastly forms, men and women, sneak silently over 
the field ; the fanatics of Erzeroum are stripping and 
mutilating the dead. Schamyl is almost insane with 
the awful mental strain. Swiftly down the road the 
frightened horses gallop through the Golgotha. The 
Turkish lines are reached at last. 

Bidding his escort wait, Suleiman rides out to the 
crest of a deep ravine sweeping toward the Russian 
outposts. Passing out beyond the sentinels beat, 
Suleiman speaks. His voice is broken. " Go, now, 
my friend ! May Allah guide ! Ride straight down 
the ravine. You are safe. Beware how you come 
on your own pickets ! " 

"And Tarnaieff?" he whispers, as he clasps Sulei 
man s hand. 

" Lies dead in my quarters, my friend. All that 
these fiends have left of the bravest of the brave. 
He fell like a star ! 

" Now go ! Go quickly, my dear Schamyl ! No 
thanks ! Remember Suleiman, always your friend." 

As the lithe steed springs down the sloping dell, 
Schamyl turns his head. Suleiman is seated on his 



230 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

horse, his soldierly figure sharp cut against the sky, 
watching over his flying friend with his face turned 
toward the enemies of his unhappy country. 

In a half-hour Ahmed Schamyl rides into his own 
camp. Hailing a picket boldly, he is conducted to 
his lines by a squad wild with delight. He was 
already on the fatal black list. Victory has been 
torn from them. The assault has failed. 

Throwing himself on the pile of blankets he 
shared with poor Tarnaieff, Schamyl, after calling 
his senior colonel to take command, closes his eyes 
in utter exhaustion. 

Three thousand dead of each army lie piled 
around the Azizi fort. Tarnaieff, the gallant and 
gentle friend of his youth, lies silent and disfigured 
in the Turkish redoubt, where his heart s blood wet 
the sod. 

Ahmed Schamyl s eyes are filled with bitter tears 
as he looks at the vacant couch of the daring young 
leader. Dead on the field of honor ! 



CHAPTER XL 

THE STORMING OF KARS. AT THE ARMENIAN CON 
VENT! OLD HASSAN S FAITH. GHAZEE S FLIGHT. 
SAFE AT LAST! 

BEFORE the frowning walls of Kars, under the 
cover of its huge outworks, Ghazee Schamyl, the 
renegade, rides through his troops in bitter silence. 

Now the glories of Zewin are faded. The tele 
graph brings from the Danube the news of a crush 
ing defeat at Shipka Pass, and of the impending 
fall of Plevna. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 231 

It is the middle of dreary November. Day by 
day the Russian batteries pound away at Kars. 

Ghazee spurs his horse in rage, till the blood 
streams. His eyes show him no golden crown hov 
ering over the silver lines of the Caucasus. 

Wearied Mukhtar is shut up in Erzeroum. The 
town of Kars, held by Hami Pacha, must finally 
yield, for the Russians press on its very outposts. 
An assault may come at any moment. And the 
princess still lost to him ! 

Every turn of fortune s wheel drives the traitor 
nearer madness. 

The insurrection in Daghestan is crushed under 
the armed heel of the Russian. Circassia too is 
lost to the Turk forever. 

In useless rage he has listened to the salvos of 
the Russian cannon in honor of their last victories. 

Even the road to Erzeroum is in the enemy s 
hands. 

Should the assault occur, he will be shot like a 
mad dog, if captured. 

Even a soldier s fame is denied him, brave as he 
is. His troops are the veriest cowards and only 
braggart robbers of the dead. 

Even Mustapha Bey, at Constantinople, has be 
trayed him. For Mehemet Pacha has been made a 
lieutenant-general. 

Poor little Suleiman Bey, as Mehemet Pacha, is 
now commander, with old Faizi Pacha, of the last 
Turkish field army in Armenia. His laurels are 
fresh on his brow. 

Suleiman, his Giaour brother s friend, wears the 
coveted rank of Ferik ! 



232 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

His prey, Maritza, has vanished he knows not 
where. 

Ah, God ! He would grind her to the earth if 
he could find her ! Revenge is his only hope ! 

Even the impotent commander of Kars, Hami, 
sneers at his comrade in command, Moussa, and 
himself. 

The famous irregular troops are a miserable wreck. 
Carefully inspecting them, he selects and furnishes, 
as best as he may, a few chosen squadrons for his 
escort in flight. He must cut his own way out. 

Defeated ! Disgraced ! A fugitive and a desert 
er ! Is this whirling to Tiflis ? 

If he should meet his brother Ahmed at the head 
of that brigade, whose achievements ring through 
both armies ! Then, death for one ! 

A baleful light glitters in his eyes. Money, prop 
erty, jewels of untold value are his, taken safely 
out of Russian clutches before his treason. 

He will not stay to die the death of a cur. He 
will escape in the confusion. He knows every 
secret path. Moussa can join him later. He, too, is 
a renegade. To gain Syria or Egypt. To work a 
deadly revenge on Ahmed. This is his only future. 
He swears it by the prophet s beard ! 

The blood boils in his brain as he bitterly dreams 
of Prince Ahmed Schamyl riding in review before 
the Russian Grand Duke, when the hated blue and 
white cross floats over Kars and Bayazid, Ardaban 
and Batoum, in triumph. His old colors Prince 
of the Caucasus perhaps an aide of the Emperor 
and and Maritza s husband ! 

Never ! by the fires of hell itself ! 



PRINCE SCHAMYLS WOOING. 233 

For he swears upon his soul that the dagger or 
the bowl shall work the revenge he dreams of his 
only prize now ; his last hope. He will reach the 
lovers, even in Riissia. And then, after after all ! 

While the stern-hearted fanatic rides back to Kars 
his heart softens for a moment. 

There, in the beleaguered city, waits and watches 
for him the fearless woman, to whom the world is 
fair only when he is at her side. 

It is so. Nadya Vronsky s love has been the 
anchor of his tossing bark. 

She alone clings to him in his impending ruin. 
Love s crown of thorns ! 

Ha ! she may be even dearer to him than in her 
hopeless love. If she will help him to a subtle 
revenge ! 

He will take her with him. Her wit may bring 
method to his madness. 

While he rides up into Kars, to the retreat where 
the White Countess, under the thunder of the heated 
guns, waits for his return, he knows not that Ahmed 
with a few squadrons is sweeping like the wind to 
join in the grand assault which must be risked to 
prevent a winter siege. 

Throwing himself moodily on a divan, Ghazee 
tells Nadya Vronsky that the town must fall. 

Her pale cheek grows paler. 

" We are so weak in cavalry we can only hope to 
save a few of the leading officers. 

" You can be ready at a moment s notice. I will 
have a couple of wagons, with a few devoted men, 
over at Moussa s palace. 

" No matter what happens, I will save you, for 



234 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

the assault will give its own warning. We will go 
far into Syria, for when Kars falls the game is lost. 
We are beaten ! " he growls. 

" I shall seek you at once, for my mounted troops 
will not be in the walls. We go together. Moussa 
will convey us over the border. He has his own 
neck to save." 

The frightened woman, clinging to the moody 
renegade, swears once more her faith to him, while 
the deep boom of the guns keeps time in wild music, 
as the siege crawls on. 

Riding his lines, eagle-eyed Ghazee Schamyl can 
not understand the ominous quiet reigning in the 
Russian lines. 

Even aided by spies and worming sly dervish and 
mollah, nothing is known in Kars, save that the 
Russians have been heavily reenforced. 

Since Mukhtar Pacha s departure for Erzeroum, 
Hassan Bey, the chief of the citadel, has been the 
genius of the defence of Kars. And well he plays 
his double part. 

Ghazee avoids the general headquarters. The 
open contempt shown him by the leading officers 
is due to the cowardly inefficiency of his disheart 
ened cavalry. 

Since that fatal night when Ahmed smote them, 
they have been scattered a dozen times in battle. 

The Russian horse have ridden through them, 
and spread them, yelling, to the four winds. 

Yet the thirty thousand inhabitants and twenty 
thousand troops in Kars are provisioned for a win 
ter siege. Mountains of military stores are yet on 
hand. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 235 

Hundreds of the defenders dream of a long win 
ter siege. Several brave Russian assaults have been 
repulsed. Only Paskiewitch in 1828 ever stormed 
Kars. 

Now three hundred Krupp guns frown upon its 
stony walls. Kars stubbornly clin gs to the crescent. 

The fanatic riflemen are ready on bastion and re 
doubt. The Turks will fight a gun to the last. 

Though Loris Melikoff is now prince governor- 
general of Armenia, a failure here may cost him that 
marshal s baton promised in return for the fourth 
jewel of Anatolia. 

While Ghazee s eye moodily roves over every 
nook of Kars, he searches for Princess Maritza in 
vain. Is she yet here ? 

Never a trace of her ! She may have been smug 
gled out of the city. Has she bribed her way out ? 

But he has never heard from deserter or refugee 
of her safety in the Russian lines. 

Is she dead ? Has the grave robbed him of a 
sweet revenge ? He has sworn to reach her, even 
in the farthermost palaces of Russia. 

Years are only days to a Circassian vendetta. 
While the November days fall clear and cold, Prince 
Ghazee, at the outposts, sees a flag of truce depart 
to the Russian lines. 

It is Hassan Bey, the Russian spy, who is sent by 
the simple-minded General Hami Pacha to spy 
out the Russian lines ! 

Alas for the stolid general of Kars \ He knows 
not that Osman Bey and Hassan are now plotting 
the last stroke of final treachery. 

Ghazee Schamyl watches the party ride back 



236 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

across the lines. His tiger blood would boil could 
he have seen Hassan, his brother s servitor, riding 
with that secret traitor Hassan Bey, as a horse 
holder. 

The old Circassian has grown into his character 
of citizen of Kars. His disguise is perfect. 

When Judas Hassan Bey and the Russian nego 
tiator Osman together plan the sortie which is to 
leave the Hafiz Pacha Tabia fort in Muscovite 
hands long enough to spike the great guns, the old 
Circassian finds time to tell Osman Bey of the goat 
paths lie alone has found. From thence the great 
citadel on the Kara Dagh can be reached with no 
serious loss. 

Osman laughs for joy. 

" Hassan, the Grand Duke shall make you rich 
for this," he cries. 

The old spy in brief words bids Prince Ahmed 
Schamyl urge his way at once to the Armenian 
convent, for there his Maritza awaits the fearful 
day of the assault. 

A letter in her own beloved hand gives Ahmed 
the history of her dreary life under the shadowy 
garb of an Armenian nun. Hopes deferred ! When 
shall he clasp her to his heart ? 

Riding back to Kars, Hassan Bey, the citadel 
commander, grimly smiles. Treason s mines are laid. 

The long siege is nearly done. For the Russians 
wait only to silence the huge guns of the Hafiz fort. 
Their massy columns are ready, led by the proudest 
of a victorious army, to throw thirty thousand des 
perate men on the city s defences. 

In a few days the treachery is accomplished ! 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 237 

Dashing like wolves at the fort, under cover of a 
prearranged useless sortie, the Muscovites dis 
mantle the great cannon, taking off the breech 
screws. Bravo! Judas Hassan! . . . Now the 
road is open. The Grand Duke, Loris Melikoff, 
Lazareff, and the other generals hasten every prep 
aration. 

Raining down a mock bombardment of days 
while a snow-storm quiets the weary defenders, 
the Russians prepare five huge columns to sweep 
into Kars. The cavalry on the Erzeroum road 
will be ready to cut down the escaping fugitives. 

Two of these columns will open a false attack, 
while the others strike the three great forts Louvan, 
Kanly, and Hafiz Pacha, the key of the citadel. 

Prince Ahmed Schamyl listens, with a beating 
heart, to the last conferences of the great council of 
war. November 17, 1877, dawns clear and cold. A 
full moon beamed over the silent batteries the night 
before. Thousands slept on their arms who saw 
the shining glory of the heavens for the last time. 
The field is ripe for the sickle. 

As the rising moon silvers the splintered crags of 
the Kara Dagh, an unearthly silence settles down 
over mountain and plain. The batteries of friend 
and foe are silent. A ghastly mockery of peace! 

Prince Schamyl creeps with the impetuous Gro- 
now to the head of the forlorn hope of Count 
Grabbe s column. Gronow knows his secret. Scha- 
myl s cavalry brigade is under the Prince of Ab- 
khasia, for the Grand Duke has given the impetuous 
lover the right to enter the town with the foot 
attack. Two squadrons of his brigade await the 



238 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

earliest chance to dash up to the old convent. They 
are his special guard. They will cut their way to 
that point. 

Following the two officers are twenty picked men 
from Schamyl s personal escort. Each man knows 
the quest now. They seek the Rose of Tiflis f 

In the awful silence of the beautiful night, the 
three great columns of Lazareff, Grabbe, and Roop 
move out in the shadows ; they silently steal toward 
the forts of Kars. Not a sound, not a light, not a 
standard ; each stormer holds his breath and stills 
the noise of his arms. 

The false attacks are all ready. 

From his post, the Grand Duke, with anxious 
heart, receives quiet reports : " They are all off." 

He draws a long breath.. At last ! 

The nipping air is below zero. The Turkish 
walls are silent. Not a dropping shot, not a gun. 

In half an hou/ a few rattling musket shots tell 
that the farther columns are engaged. 

The Grand Duke twists his mustache and stamps 
his armed heels. Suspense! Agony! 

Ha! the false attack begins ! A terrific Russian 
cannonade, on a distant point, to mask the real 
attacks. 

Yells and clamor arise. The lines of Kars flash 
out in light. The roar of hell swells on the wintry 
wind. Each huge rampart blazes and rocks under 
the discharge of the enormous guns. 

The Turk at bay fights like a devil incarnate. 

Along twelve miles of line, fifty thousand men 
are struggling like demons. 

The moon sails high above this fiendish clamor. 



PRINCE SCHAMVL S WOOING. 239 

Still no cessation. Shock on shock the great guns 
rend the night with horrid voice. 

A wild wail, cheers, and mad yells sweep down 
from the key points. Victory hovers indecisive. 

Ahmed Schamyl and Gronow, sword in hand, are 
swallowed up in a struggling mass of friends and 
foes. Gallant Count Grabbe falls dead from his 
horse within Fort Kanly. In an hour and a half 
the Turks are driven into a huge barrack. The new 
commander, heroic Belinsky, is shot dead at its 
doors. 

From Fort Louvan, Schamyl can hear at last 
the victorious yells of the Russians. Melikoff has 
carried his great point. That work is won. 

By the flashes of the advancing guns, Ahmed sees 
the solid Russian columns throwing the Turks in 
the river from the stone bridge they have bought 
with their blood. 

Far away the frantic roar of victory swells from 
the Hafiz Pacha redoubt. Russian cheers tell that 
Lazareff has bought the second prize at fearful 
cost. Yes, it is true, for lines of flashing light tell 
now where his maddened troops sweep up the great 
heights, along old Hassan s secret path. A yell of 
wild triumph from the clouds proves that the great 
citadel has fallen. Hassan Bey s work is done. 
His treachery has saved thousands of Russian lives ! 

Schamyl rages vainly with Gronow at his side. 
His knot of devoted men cling to him. The roar 
and tumult from the town tells of the panic in its 
walls. The Turks cling to the gorge of the Kanly 
fort. 

Far away a dropping fire on the road to Erzeroum 



240 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

proves the Russian cavalry are grimly receiving the 
fugitives from the town. 

Yet the quarter where Maritza hides, in the old 
nunnery, is still unreachable. " Daoud Pacha," 
fanatic and hero, fights at bay in the stone citadel. 
The Moslems swarm in to aid the defenders. 

But the fierce Abkhasian cavalry under princely 
Wittgenstein sweep in and sabre the Turks, who are 
striving to cut out and rescue the Pacha. Hour 
wears along into hour. Still fighting ! It is a dead 
lock ! Schamyl is hemmed in. The fires of death 
sweep the gorge. The moon sinks to the west, yet 
the carnage reigns. It is a hideous night ! The town 
is not yet won. 

All the main works are in Russian hands. Only 
two stubborn forts on the heights and the Kanly 
barrack hold out. It is four o clock before its doors 
are blown in. Grim old" Daoud Pacha" surrenders 
at last his five hundred heroes. Now the golden 
daylight streaks the east. The Russian victors can 
freely open the captured guns on the city. The 
twelve thousand Turks cooped up on the left bank 
are their prey. 

The Grand Duke knows by report and the 
wounded victors, that a few hours will complete 
the victory. Melikoff s baton is won at last. 

Roop s cavalry sweeps up. He surrounds the 
main body of the defenders. They capitulate. 
Hurrahs rend the air! Fighting, urging his way 
out of the Kanly fort, Prince Schamyl with Gro- 
now, sword in hand, reaches the sheltered slope 
where his two superb squadrons wait him. On to 
Maritza, the day-star ! 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 241 

Now the way is clear ! With the yell of a madman, 
Ahmed leads his troopers over the stone bridge. 
For the Russians are in the city at last ! 

The streets are filled with fighting fiends. On 
ward, by sheer weight, he forces his two squadrons 
which are now up. Friend and foe are intermixed. 

The grim forts on the heights are still firing. 
Houses are shattered ; gateways blocked with the 
debris of the awful bombardment. These guns are 
turned in on the town. Fire and flame are added 
to the night s horrors. In square and street, knots 
of ferocious horsemen cut down the fleeing Turks. 

Away out on the Erzeroum road, the carbines are 
ringing. The cavalry are at their work. 

At last the convent looms up. With a wild charge 
Prince Schamyl forces his men to within pistol 
shot. It is but a shattered ruin. Smoke pours 
from its windows, and its courtyard is deserted save 
by the heaps of dead. Schamyl drops his dripping 
sword. It dangles idly from his wrist by its knot. 

Maritza! missing, dead, dying! The convent in 
flames. . . . His brain reels. 

A yell rises. A man at his side raises a sabre to 
cut down a squalid figure. 

It is old Hassan. Ahmed s heart leaps for joy ! 

" Master, master, quick, a horse ! Follow me ! " 
In an instant a trooper is out of the saddle. 

"This way, down the bank! " Hassan has seized 
a dead man s sabre and leads in the wild race. 

He shouts as he dashes along at the side of 
Ahmed. The two squadrons stretch out in a race 
for a life, that darling Rose ! 

" The Prince Ghazee, with two wagons and a 
16 



242 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

squadron of his Kurds, carried off the day-star. 
We were driven out of the convent by the fire. He 
is escaping by the Olti road. On for her life ! " 

Twenty bounds carry the pursuers under the over 
hanging bank, out of the range of the guns still firing. 

The desperate lover leads at a wild gallop ! 
Down to the plain ! On, on for life and love ! 

Yes, the Olti road. Away like a whirlwind, leaving 
the yelling fugitives unscathed ! For on the plain a 
half mile ahead are wagons creeping slowly along. 

The gallant black stretches his noble neck. It is 
a ride for life, for love, for Maritza ! 

Old Hassan s eyes are aflame. He points with 
his sabre. 

In twenty minutes a dozen of the pursuers dash 
upon two wagons, urged along by their frantic 
drivers. 

" Yes ! yes ! " yells Hassan, waving his blade. 

As a score of the flying horsemen dash away in 
all directions, Ghazee s burly form is seen, with a 
dozen followers, circling around the wagons. The 
grim \vild boar is at bay. The Russian squadrons 
are only a hundred yards in rear. The winners 
in the race fight at odds. Help comes ! 
- It is a wild melee. Screams are sounding from 
the covered carts. Sword and pistol begin their 
work. Women wailing! Men dying! Ahmed 
dashes to the nearest wagon! He tears aside a 
leather curtain ! Ghazee, at point blank, fires his 
pistol full at his brother ! A sweep of old Hassan s 
sword ! Ghazee s arm falls. With a yell of pain 
he wheels his horse into the bushes. He is gone ! 
Ahmed is unscathed. What means that groan of 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 243 

suffering ? The last men sweep up. Not too early ! 
Gronow is standing over old Hassan, who has 
dropped heavily from his horse. A mortal sword- 
thrust has pierced his back. The wagons are halted 
acrpss the road. Schamyl gazes wildly around as 
the devoted troopers gather. 

There, in the wagon, white and pale, in the dark 
garb of an Armenian novice, lies his lost love Ma- 
ritza ! Is it death ? No. Yet death is circling near. 
A dozen troopers are bending over old Hassan ! 
He lies by the roadside. It is his last hour. 

Gronow opens the curtain of the other wagon. 
Schamyl springs to his side. The White Countess ! ^ 
bleeding and dying ! Nadya Vronsky s heart s 
blood is welling out under the Persian shawl of her 
disguise. Ghazee s pistol shot was their divorce on 
earth. Her eyes are already set. A white hand 
grasps the shawl s folds over her bosom. Love s 
fatal gift ! death at her lover s hand ! 

A light from other days from happier years 
seems to gather on the devoted woman s face. 

To spring to Maritza s side, to rouse her dashing 
a canteen of water on her inanimate face is an 
instant work for the princely lover. The plain is 
covered yet with fighting fugitives. Already the 
Russian troopers are scouring the field. The scat 
tered escort is all rallied now. They form quickly 
around the wagons. Two of them spring to the 
reins, for the drivers lie under their teams. Gronow 
never loses his head. He is not yet a lover ! 

Gronow begs Ahmed to listen a moment. " He 
is calling for you old Hassan, the man who has 
just saved your life ! " It is even so. 



244 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

Lying on a horseman s cloak, his grizzled head 
propped up, the old Circassian has but a few min 
utes to live. His life pays for his devotion to 
Ahmed s safety. 

Ghazee s shot, aimed at his brother, has killed 
the only being in the world who loved him. 

Some unknown hand brought Hassan low, while 
defending Ahmed. 

Hassan mutters feebly, " Master." He beckons 
with a skinny hand. He gasps. The old soldier s 
day is done. 

Schamyl is on his knees beside him. The aged ser 
vitor gasps feebly, for his life is welling away quickly. 

" Master ! my oath. I swore it to the dying. I 
am now free. Remember ! Your mother was the 
lady ! the Russian lady! the Princess Orbelian ! 

11 Your father took you away ; he would have you 
a Moslem. You ! I kept faith with him and served 
you honestly. The dying are free at last. May you 
be happy with the day-star your princess. The 
other the other you can find the little girl ! " 

His head drops back. The wild old rider has 
reached the last goal of life s race. His dead hand 
is closed over his master s fingers. 

Ahmed hastily orders the body to be placed in 
the same wagon where all that is left of the White 
Countess stiffens slowly into marble. Shots and 
sounds of skirmish grow nearer. 

Gronow and Schamyl, sword in hand, watch the 
suffering girl for whose rescue they dared the hor 
rors of Fort Kanly. Princess Maritza revives slowly. 
Her lovely bosom heaves. 

Her opening eyes meet the burning gaze of her 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 245 

lover. There is a faint smile on her lips. She 
whispers : 

" Ahmed, my lover, my own." The prince clasps 
her madly in his arms. 

He covers her lips with burning kisses. He whis 
pers loving words to calm her fears. Her breathing 
flutters faint and low, but she is unharmed. 

Gronow speaks : 

" Prince, we must instantly draw away. The 
Kurds and fugitives might bear down on us. I 
will command the detachment. Rouse yourself." 

In five minutes, between two lines of the troopers, 
with a strong platoon at front and rear, the wagons, 
move across the plain direct toward the Russian 
lines. There is peace and succor. 

Schamyl s brain is soon quieted. The cannon 
slowly cease to roar at Kars. The whole city is 
now under the guns of the Russian victors. Victory 
folds its pinions. 

Far up in the Kara Dagh citadel, a little flag is 
floating now. Schamyl knows it is at last the blue 
and white cross. Scattered musketry rings out yet, 
the roads are still black with prisoners herded by 
guards. The plains of Kars are a shambles, for the 
Circassian chaska is at its work. 

His lovely charge lies silent and exhausted. Her 
beloved eyes m eet his in the confident gaze of a 
child. She has no fear now, for her heroic lover s 
glance pledges her safety. 

Safe at last ! Thank God ! She drops into the 
slumber of exhaustion. Arrived at the Russian lines, 
Schamyl directs his march to the field hospital. 
Maritza soon sleeps in a comfortable marquee, with a 



246 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

Turkish waiting-woman wondering at the beauty of 
her worn and wasted face. An old army surgeon 
watches till she wakes in reassured peace. The 
death-watchers, in a tent near by, strive to divine what 
wayward fortune brought lovely Nadya Vronsky to 
die on an Armenian battle-field. For the White 
Countess lies pale and still ! The proud, passionate 
heart knows no pang of anguish now ! 

Gronow is off to report to General Melikoff the res 
cue of Princess Maritza. Prince Ahmed soon learns 
of the complete possession of the city. Ringing 
cheers fill the air. The soldiers are wild with joy. 
Even now the staff are arranging for the triumphal 
entry of the victorious Grand Duke. Order is 
restored at the point of the sword. Schamyl knows 
full well that the Armenian campaign is over at last. 
Erzeroum will yield to a quiet siege. If the Danube 
army gains Plevna, it is the beginning of the end. 
And the fruits of victory ! 

Ahmed, while watching over his darling s safety, 
stands, after she is in quiet sleep, by the cold form of 
Nadya Vronsky. Dead ! By a chance shot of her 
murderous lover ! Arid Ghazee, now a hunted fugi 
tive, wounded by old Hassan s sword as he struck 
down the murderous pistol he has met the ship 
wreck of his last hope ! Revenge is his only future. 
His life will be only that of the hunted wolf. Only 
Kurdistan opens its robber shelter to him. 

All over the camp mad rejoicing begins. Yet, 
though fifteen thousand Turks are prisoners ; though 
three hundred guns, and millions in stores and muni 
tions, with the generals, the colors, and the great 
city are a gigantic trophy, there are grievous losses ! 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 247 

Five out of six column leaders lie dead or wounded ! 
Five thousand slain or dying Turks have half as many 
Russian companions in the grave. Friend and foe lie 
in the grim windrows of the mitraille, fruits of mili 
tary glory ! 

When the pale moon smiles once more on a 
quiet night, the Grand Duke enters Kars in tri 
umph. The great dignitaries, Christian and Mos 
lem, receive the imperial conqueror, who graciously 
gives Melikoff the marshal s baton he has earned ! 
Golden honors crimsoned with the best blood of his 
peerless army. 

Maritza de Deshkalin finds a fitting temporary resi 
dence. Clasped in the arms of gallant old Lazareff, 
her guardian, she feels again the dawn of a bright 
future. The telegraphs of victory to Tiflis bear 
news which brings happy tears to those she was torn 
away from. Madame Lazareff is at the summit of 
happiness! Her husband, the hero of Kars! Her 
lovely ward, safe ! 

Schamyl remains in Kars, though his brigade, with 
the advance, is driving the flying fugitives far out of 
the valley of the Euphrates and Tigris. Save at 
Erzeroum and Batoum, the Russian standard floats 
over the whole of Armenia. 

Loris Melikoff, elated with victory, pushes his 
corps, with fifty guns, on to aid General Heimann at 
Erzeroum. The bayonets of the sturdy Turks still 
glitter behind their hard-held ramparts. 

Fiery Komaroff throws himself upon Batoum to 
strengthen the Russian commander. That sea-port, 
as well as Poti, must be secured. They are Black Sea 
gateways of the railroad, over whose future route 



248 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

plotting Ignatief and wily Melikoff have dreamed for 
years, waiting the declaration of war. 

Osman Bey, the secret agent, struts on the ram 
parts of Kars with pride. Hassan Bey, the Turkish 
Judas, wears his golden sabre proudly in the Russian 
lines. Under an escort of honor, he leaves for 
Goomri. He can safely bask in the harem of old 
Abdallah. There are coffers piled with Russian 
gold waiting for the man who sold both his fort and 
flag. 

Ahmed is busied in sacred duties for several days. 
Though officially attached as aide to the Grand 
Duke, he is given a little time for personal affairs. 
His services at Kars claim every distinction. General 
Lazareff tells with gratitude how old Hassan s goat 
path led the stormers safely up to the Kara Dagh. 

Bulmering, the grim old engineer colonel who 
blew in the doors of the Fort Kanly barrack, with 
joy embraces the princely young leader. 

Schamyl clung to the assault with him in that 
awful two hours struggle before " Daoud Pacha " 
gave up his heroic fight. 

There is sadness on the brow of the young gen 
eral when he stands by the open grave of old 
Hassan. 

In the mosque burying ground a double squadron 
of his Circassian comrades fire the last volleys over 
the body of the quaint servitor. A stone with the 
graven turban surmounts the last resting-place of 
the wild feudal vassal. Faithful unto death ! 

The past, present, and future crowd in visions 
and dreams upon Schamyl, when the cortege of a 
few of his friends gathers in the Armenian church, 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 249 

They hear mass, with bell, book, and candle, over 
what was once dazzling Nadya Vronsky. 

Leaning on the arm of General LazarefT, Princess 
Maritza, with streaming eyes, strives to think that 
all of good was not worn away from Nadya s nature 
by her stormy, wandering career. As her own 
beautiful dark eyes meet Ahmed s, he can read in 
their splendid depths the thought, " She gave me 
back to you, Ahmed, my lover !" 

The blood-stained ramparts of Kars are silent 
and peaceful. 

New faces walk on the parapets, strange uniforms 
throng the headquarters. On bastion and outwork 
the flag of Russia floats. High in air over the 
palace the black and yellow insignia of the imperial 
family soars in pride. 

The Grand Duke Michael holds the coveted 
quadrilateral for his imperial brother. 

In abject defeat the waning crescent disappears 
forever from the old stronghold. 

Three days after the entry of the Grand Duke, 
Schamyl receives an order to depart for the Danube 
with the personal despatches of the duke to his 
imperial brother who waits now for the downfall of 
Plevna. 

Osman Ghazee Pacha is nearing the sunset of his 
glory. The tide of Russian victory sweeps along. 

General Lazareff wishes to send Princess Maritza 
at once to Tiflis. Kars is no place for a gentle 
girl. 

The congratulations of the Grand Duke, the hon 
ors of his personal reception are welcome to the 
loyal prince, yet they are worthless and empty to 



250 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

the priceless boon of escorting his Maritza- to the 
safety and comfort of Tiflis. 

Lazareff was a lover himself once. He smiles 
behind his gray mustache as he deftly tells Schamyl 
to prepare Princess Maritza for an immediate depart 
ure. Ahmed s heart throbs in exquisite happiness. 

Seated in his private sanctum, the chief remarks, 
eying Schamyl closely : 

" I suppose you will not be incommoded by the 
duty, Prince ! There are several Christian ladies of 
rank here who wish to leave these scenes of horror. 
A travelling carriage of the Grand Duke will be 
placed at the disposal of the princess. She has 
reliable women attendants already. 

" As I wish my wife and family to go on to St. 
Petersburg, I judge it safe for Princess Maritza to 
go with them. We will reunite when our gracious 
Emperor returns. 

" If it will annoy or delay you, I will send some 
one else," the old fighter slyly remarks. 

" Oh, by no means, General ! " The prince s eyes 
are absently fixed on his wineglass. There is a red 
spot on his swarthy cheeks. 

Even a Circassian lover can blush ! 

Strange to say, Schamyl is inattentive to the dis 
cursive remarks of Lazareff as to certain letters-and 
little instructions with regard to his family in Tiflis. 

" I think I had better prepare the princess for her 
voyage," Schamyl suggests. 

" Most certainly, most certainly, my dear Prince," 
replies Lazareff, with a twinkling eye. 

Prince Ahmed escapes with a celerity which 
amuses the old military governor. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 2$ I 

The happy lover arrays himself in a style of mili 
tary coquetry hardly suited to the grim hero of 
Fort Kanly. 

As he clatters up the street on his bounding 
" Kara " his spirits are clouded by one haunting 
regret. 

The half-told secret ! His Mother, Princess 
Orbelian ! Oh ! that Hassan had lived another 
half-hour ! 

Alas ! No more will old Hassan ride behind him 
an unrivalled squire. 

Past the dismantled walls of the old convent 
Schamyl rides. There are scores of workmen re 
pairing it already. The scattered nuns are safely 
housed. The priests of the monastery are at home 
again. Love leads him to the Rose. 

Schamyl enters the salon where Maritza waits 
him. 

A tender delicacy has kept him from urging her 
to speak of her sufferings. The wise old Russian 
physician, who daily rides up to see his fairest pa 
tient, has ordained quiet and rest. 

The story of her last days at the convent is yet 
unknown to him. 

As he greets the woman he loves, Ahmed sees 
that the roses are coming back to her lovely face. 
She is the Rose of Tiflis once more. 

Care and anxiety, long weary months of hiding 
in the dark convent walls, have strangely sub 
dued her. Something of the nun clings to 
her! 

But to-day, fleeting blushes mantle her cheeks ; 
her eyes are downcast and dreamy. 



252 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

She sees the great ruby flashing on his finger, and 
faintly smiles. 

" I have news of importance for you. Princess," 
he says gently, seating himself at her side. 

He tells her of the impending departure. 

Home, friends, safety Tiflis once more ! To go 
far away beyond all reach of danger. The sudden 
prospect is too much for the rescued hostage of 
love ! 

Her eyes fill with sudden tears of joy. Burying 
her glowing face in her hands, she sobs like a child. 

Schamyl s diplomacy yields to the burning ardor 
of a love which to him has been as yet only a tor 
ment. 

His arms are around her. Silence reigns, till he 
softly says : 

" Now, darling, sorrow and danger have folded 
their wings. In a few days you will be at Tiflis." 

Maritza whispers softly : " Take me away, Ahmed 
far away, from this fearful place." 

Schamyl presses his burning lips upon hers in 
answer. 

" You shall go, my own poor darling far away, 
in peace and safety. Go to St. Petersburg with 
Madame Lazareff, and give me the right to protect 
you forever, when the war is done. I must report 
to the Emperor in person. When the troops come 
home we meet again. Will you then be mine, my 
own, mine only ? " 

The beautiful dark eyes fill his very heart of 
hearts, as Maritza whispers : 

" I will, my Ahmed ! Yours while life lasts ! " 

Here, within the broken ramparts of the old 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 253 

town, two happiest lovers bless the shining stars of 
Fate, which join their paths once more. 

" But you must tell me of your last night in the 
convent," Ahmed asks. 

Maritza shudders. " I can never remember all. 
It was horrible. I knew by the unnatural stillness 
some desperate measure was impending. Old Father 
Anastasius warned us to be ready to follow him, if 
we should be driven from our refuge. . Your faith 
ful Hassan told me of the assault. He promised to 
linger at the gateway and lead you to my refuge. 

" Alas ! It was all we could do to wait helplessly. 
I was ready for flight ! I prepared to follow him to 
you. 

tl The streets were filled with excited people when 
the roar of the cannons told us your columns were 
attacking. 

" Our servants and even the priests barricaded the 
doors, all but one portal. The Moslems were 
running from house to house sacking the Christians 
homes. 

u Louder than the yells ajid sound of the cannon, 
your crashing musketry fire crept nearer and 
nearer. It rivalled noonday, the flashing lights of 
battle. 

" I was terrified. How I spent that awful night, 
I know not. 

" When the morning began to dawn, the Kara 
Dagh battery fired into the town. We knew then 
the Russians had gained the citadel. 

" Joy filled my heart ! Alas ! the bursting shells 
set fire to the monastery ! I was dragged out of 
the side portal, more dead than alive. 



254 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

" Hassan, watching and waiting at the door, had 
some nook of safety devised for me. The falling 
shells scattered our terrified priests and nuns. 

" I ran blindly ; in my fright, my veil was swept 
away. I darted toward a side street. I heard a wild 
yell. In a few moments I was thrust by your mad 
brother into a wagon. Menacing me with a pistol, 
he shouted to his followers. We plunged rapidly 
down the river road. Out upon the wooded plain 
the band dashed at wild speed. 

" I never heard a sound from the other wagon, 
except once a woman s scream, as we passed 
through the line of fire at the outer gates. 

" It was poor Nadya, who risked life to save me, 
and braved her lover s anger." 

Maritza paused, covering her face with her thinned 
hands, to shut out the sights of that desperate ride. 

" Enough," Ahmed cries. "You are safe now, 
beloved ! The priests and nuns were all sheltered 
here and there. There are none missing. 

" Did Ghazee speak to you on this flight?" 
Schamyl s mind calls back the fugitive. 

" Only to scream, as he urged his men on : You 
are mine now, by all the fiends of hell ! Where is 
your Giaour lover ? And then you came, darling, 
with your noble fellows." 

Schamyl folds his love once more in his arms. 
" By all the angels of heaven, you are mine alone, 
now and forevermore." 

" I remember nothing of the pursuit and fight, 
save the firing and the yells around, until I saw 
your dear face bending over me." 

The sweet girl blushes rosy red now, for Prince 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 255 

Schamyl s tenderness is as demonstrative as his 
military valor is dashing. Always a Circassian ! 



Surrounded by a glittering circle, in adieu, con 
ducted to her carriage by the overjoyed old General 
Lazareff, Princess Maritza drives out from the south 
gate af Kars, the next day, with the other ladies 
fleeing from its detested battle memories. 

The Grand Duke himself deigns to ride to the 
outer forts with the Rose of Tiflis. 

Old Father Anastasius in blessing lays his wrinkled 
hands upon her fair young head. He looks askance 
at the handsome face of the stately Ahmed, ever 
by her side. The good priest s reward for his devo 
tion is the eagerness of the Russian officials to 
restore and refit his sanctuary and home of the 
religious. Maritza goes with his benediction. 

In this wise, Kars loses the sweetest nun who 
ever peeped through a veil. Sister Agatha s name 
lingers as a gracious memory. Before the great altar, 
kneeling in thanks, she gave a splendid alms to be 
expended in masses for the repose of the soul of 
brilliant and wayward Nadya. She, poor lost one, 
lies sleeping quietly " after life s fit fuLf ever " in the 
lonely " God s acre " of the old Armenian cathedral Un 
church. 

In safety, in ease, under the too-anxious guard of 
her happiest of lovers, Maritza passes the gates 
of great Goomri and rests a day or two. 

Here, across the Araxes, are bevies of ladies who 
flock to welcome the lovely Rose, now on the soil 
of Georgia once more. 

Abdallah gravely bows his salutations. He, too, 



256 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

must greet the Rose, whose singular and rapid recov 
ery is a crowning professional triumph of the good 
old Russian army doctor. 

In his adieu, the keen-eyed surgeon, pointing to 
Prince Schamyl, says gently, " Highness, 1 leave 
your case now to my successor 

Abdallah the jeweller has found a wonderful tur 
quoise ring, of the peerless blue of Samarcand, 
which he offers as a gage of future happiness to 
the sweet captive of Kars. He wonders not at 
Schamyl s devotion. 

" By Allah ! A jewel ! " he murmurs. 

In easy and rapid movement, with relays, a few 
days travel brings the escort to Tiflis. These 
hours are a dream of happiness. 

Schamyl, with delicate consideration, sends two 
of his swiftest riders flying in advance to notify 
Madame LazarerT. 

Bright tears of happiness sparkle in the eyes of 
the rescued Princess of Georgia when she is led 
through the portals of the LazarerT mansion. 

There are four delighted enthusiasts madly em 
bracing each other. Tiflis regains its day-star. 

Madame Lazareff, the two sprightly demoiselles 
of the house, and the wanderer are a group of the 
happiest women in the Czar s broad domain. 

Prince Schamyl has but a brief respite. On to 
Vladikaukas, to Kertsch and Odessa, down to the 
Danube, to press forward to the great imperial 
headquarters with the papers and despatches, he 
must speed. His two squadrons will escort him to 
the " Iron Gate of the Hills." Thence the railway 
leads to his destination on the Danube. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 257 

It is a happy circle at the dinner table. 

Ahmed sees the household reassembled. Only 
its absent chief, who wears a warrior s crown of 
freshened laurels at Kars, is missing. 

Madame Lazareff, the lovely Nina and her friend 
Tia, cast furtive glances at the unblushing Schamyl, 
whose love shines in every lineament. 

These ladies realize that Princess Maritza has 
found her lord and master in the dashing hero of 
Fort Kanly. Madame Lazareff, reading her hus 
band s letters, welcomes Ahmed as a member of the 
family circle. When the orderly reports his troops 
ready for the march, Prince Ahmed murmurs be 
seechingly to the lady of the mansion : 

" I bring her back to you, madame. Before the 
snow melts on the Neva I shall come and claim 
her. Pray guard her for me." 

Madame Lazareff smiles upon the young lover. 
His confident manner argues a very comprehensive 
agreement upon all future movements with the 
gentle fugitive of Kars. 

Black Kara nods and tosses his proud head at the 
gateway. It needs a second message to rouse Prince 
Schamyl from his delicious day-dream. 

The heaven of Maritza s happy eyes, the witching 
spell of her loving words, the chrism of her kiss all 
these must give way to the stern fiat, " Forward ! 
in the name of the Czar ! " 

Softly putting aside her clinging arms, he whis 
pers : " Darling, wait for me in St. Petersburg. 
The war ends even now. It is only a brief separa 
tion." 

And, as his lips press hers, the bright star of 
17 



258 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

love rises far in the eastern skies beyond the crested 
Caucasus. 

When Maritza s eyes are lifted, the knightly train 
is sweeping down the causeway. 

Her heart goes out into the silent night with her 
adored. She stands a radiant, blushing Rose ! 



CHAPTER XII. 

BEYOND THE DANUBE. VICTORY. CONSTANTINO 
PLE. GRONOW S WARNING. THE ENGLISH 
FLEET. ON THE VERGE. PEACE AT LAST. 
SCHAMYL S VISION. 

UNDER the tranquil starlight Prince Ahmed gal 
lops with his escort. Maritza s farewell kisses are 
yet burning on his lips. It is only when the gorges 
of the mountain road hide Tiflis from his eyes he is 
again the watchful leader. 

The regular dropping of the horse s hoofs on the 
flinty road lulls him to rest. In revery he plods 
on. He is now an " imperial despatch bearer." He 
must make a forced march to the end of the rail 
way. 

All is peace around. The sweeping Russian vic 
tories have chased away all fear of uprisings in Da- 
ghestan and Abkhasia. 

The wide expanse of Armenia shows from the 
Caspian to the Black only two defeated Turkish 
armies pent up at bay in Erzeroum and Batoum. 

The fall of these cities is a mere matter of pro 
fessional siege exercise. Ghazi Mukhtar the Great 
is Ghazi no longer. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 259 

Whither will his fanatic brother drift ? Into Cen 
tral Asia, into Arabia, or with his secretly exported 
wealth into some Pachalik of Syria or Far Turkey 
in Asia ? Sybarite, renegade, deserter, fugitive ! 

Schamyl prays that he has seen that maddened 
face for the last time. Ghazee Schamyl dare never 
again venture north of the Araxes. The ancestral 
coronet will never rest upon his traitor brows. 

As his nodding squadrons wind around the 
gorges, Ahmed recalls the dying disclosure of his 
old henchman. When the war is done he will trace 
out the history of the gentle shade whose memory 
seems to bless him even in these wild hills. He 
is Russian by blood ! He can now see the springs of 
the deadly hatred of his Moslem brother. 

Ghazee Schamyl, dreaming of empire, feared the 
influence of the Russian government in Ahmed s 
favor. 

The Princess Orbelian ! Ahmed dreamily re 
members an old Russian family of that name. 

There are few left to bear it. When St. Peters 
burg crowns his love with the sound of wedding 
bells, he will solve this mystery. 

Tired and happy, proud of his mission, glad to 
avoid this border war, Schamyl pushes sharply to 
ward the Iron Gate. 

Three days later, in splendid array, his two squad 
rons rend the air with their wild parting " houras," 
as the train rolls away for Kertsch. 

Schamyl. is joyous. The magic telegraph brings 
him loving words from the fairy princess who holds 
the empire of his heart. 

Before he reaches Plevna, the circle of his friends 



260 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

at Tiflis will be safe on the Neva, far away from 
war s alarms. 

At Kertsch, waiting for the train, he obtains his 
telegrams and letters. The route to Rustchuk and 
Plevna lies open. The Grand Army of the Danube 
is wild with joy. The ramparts of Plevna are at 
last under Russian colors. The grim Grivitzka re 
doubt is in the hands of the victorious Muscovites. 
Osman Pacha wounded and a prisoner ! 

Ten days later, Prince Schamyl, before his august 
Emperor, a crowned Caesar, in the midst of his vic 
torious army, delivers his sacred trust. 

Over the historic Danube, past the scarred battle 
fields, through the ranks of a huge army in panoply 
of victory, past the world-famous lines of Plevna, 
Schamyl has safely borne the papers from one vic 
torious Romanoff to his imperial victor brother and 
master. Right and left the Russian legions are 
pressing on the flying Turks. It is revenge every 
where. 

Shipka Pass and Philippopolis add to the glories of 
the winter harvest of victories. Gourko is over the 
Balkans ! 

Greeted by old comrades, happy in the telegraphed 
arrival of the Lazareff family at St. Petersburg, 
Ahmed Schamyl s heart is now at rest. 

Princess Maritza is safe on the Neva, and her lover, 
the hero of the Araxes, is attached to the glittering 
staff of the Emperor as aide-de-camp. 

Burning with ardor to rejoin the queen of his heart, 
Schamyl yet cheerfully heads his steed for Constan 
tinople. The Russian s wild desire ! 

On to St. Sophia ! the army presses. Winter 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 261 

snows, desperate Turks at bay, suffering and hard 
ship, fail to withstand the gray-coated legions in 
their holy crusade. 

One shadow only rests upon Schamyl. Platoff, 
friend of his boyish days, is not a sharer of the trium 
phant march onward. Desperately wounded in the 
battle of Lovtscha, he is now at St. Petersburg, just 
able to crawl around. A Turkish bayonet-wound 
makes his pale cheeks interesting to the ladies, who 
adore the man who pushed his rifled guns into the 
flaming crater with Skobeleff, the Ney of the Rus 
sian service. Assuring himself of his friend s safety, 
Schamyl rides proudly in the Emperor s train on that 
long path of glory which leads to Adrianople. The 
last guns are fired. The rifle rings no longer along the 
Danube. There are no more yawning grave-trenches 
to fill. For the magnificent legions of the Czar are 
encamped at San Stefano. 

Six miles from Constantinople, the hosts of Alex 
ander greet their Emperor, and crown him with the 
laurels of his greatest campaign. There before them 
lies the great city of the Moslem at the mercy of 
the Russian conqueror. Only England ? 

The last day of January in 1878 ceases the work 
of the sword. It is the pen which, in a few brief 
flourishes, now consecrates the armistice. The vet 
eran soldier sleeps upon his arms, victorious, yet 
warily expectant. The cup of victory is not drained 
to the dregs. St. Sophia yet bears the hated cres 
cent above its desecrated shrines. Prince Schamyl, 
too, lays aside the sabre for the pen. The uncertain 
post, from the far north, brings him tidings of Maritza. 
Chafing like a caged panther, Schamyl waits for the 



262 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

word to return to the city which is now to him a 
jewel casket. His treasure is there ! Paper missives 
keep alive Cupid s sharpshooting at long range. 

In the splendid circle around the Emperor, great 
as Gourko shines in fame, high as soars the star of 
Skobeleff, no one is nearer the person of the master 
of the icy world than the indefatigable Ignatief. 

Following in fire and flame his lord, he now coquets 
with Savfet Pacha over the veriest trifles of diplo 
macy. Harvest time in winter ! 

The cunning soldier-statesman has a list of 
demands which appalls even the Turk upon his knees. 
The road to Persia is safe. Armenia is Russian now. 
But there is no barrier between the autocrat of 
Russia and St. Sophia save his plighted word to the 
Queen of England, that he will not permanently 
occupy Constantinople. 

The victorious army murmurs and demands its 
prey, now in sight. The long-wished-for goal of the 
Russian ! Skobeleff rages and fumes at the sight 
of the golden domes from which he would tear 
down the Moslem s dishonoring crescent. Generals, 
princes, brothers of the blood, demand to be led in 
triumph into Constantinople. 

Schamyl, tired of feasting and inactivity, weary of 
the hours idly wearing along, in waiting, learns by 
the telegraph that Batoum is in Russian hands. 

The gallant Mehemed Pacha has led out his un- 
conquered troops from Erzeroum. Peace reigns in 
Armenia. The road to India is clear for the Rus 
sian legions of the future. 

Seated in his room, awaiting the assembly of the 
princely throng who gather at the Emperor s table, 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 263 

Schamyl loses his occupation of counting the crawl 
ing minutes. A new quest awaits him. 

A headquarters aide dashes up, saluting as he 
enters. 

" Prince Schamyl will report instantly to General 
Count Ignatief for a special service." 

He springs to his feet, gathering up his sword, 
cloak, and turban. 

As he descends the stairway, his orderly hands 
him a telegram. 

It is from Gronow, the faithful and gallant. As 
he hastens to General Ignatief s quarters, he tears it 
open. He reads with a wildly leaping heart : 

"GoOMRi(by messenger from Erzeroum), 
February 5, 1878. 

" Treachery threatens Maritza. Ghazee plots mischief . I learn this 
here from Mehemed at Erzeroum by private message. Watch over 
her in St. Petersburg. Some deadly peril. Act instantly. He 
seeks revenge. He is with Ismail, the Kurd, in the hills. He has 
means of secretly communicating with Petersburg agents. Have 
notified Lazareff at Kars. Answer to Goomri. 

"GRONOW." 

Schamyl s heart-strings are thrilling when he 
gallops up to General Ignatief s quarters. 

He knows now the bleeding crown of thorns 
which fate presses on Maritza s brow instead of a 
chaplet of roses. Still the implacable hatred of 
the deserter ! 

Maritza ! Orphaned ! Alone ! Only guarded by 
gentle Madame Lazareff. What dark plot may be 
the supreme effort of this fanatic fiend ? His mur 
derous bullet pierced the one heart true to him in 
his reckless path. What is his fell design now ? 



264 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

Only a Circassian can know the Tcherkess heart, 
the awful oath upon the amulets. 

Nailed down by the iron hand of duty, he can 
only pray, only pour out his heart in invocation to 
the great Father of mercies for the safety of the 
lovely one who has already borne love s cross. 

Seated at a table heaped with papers, a campaign 
map spread out before him, Nicolas Ignatief hardly 
sees the young general who waits the orders of the 
coming dictator. 

The count s roving eyes follow the lines of the 
Bosporus and Sea of Marmora. 

Lifting his head suddenly, a wintry smile plays 
on his worn face. 

" My young chieftain once more ! I have another 
task for you." 

With intuition he sees the storm of internal 
mental conflict on the young man s mobile face. 

Love against duty ! 

" Be seated, Prince. Are you ill ? " he asks with 
a real concern. 

" It is nothing, General. I am well enough, but I 
am in trouble," Schamyl wearily answers. 

What to him are stars, medals, and honors if he can 
not shield the one beloved head from the nameless 
death which hovers over it far away by the icy Neva ? 

" Let us talk of duty first, Prince. Then, if I can 
aid you, permit me to offer my assistance." 

It is worthy of the world-worn champion of the 
Czar, for, strange to say, Ignatief has a heart. 

He is not quite Machiavellian, though nearly so. 
With grave preoccupation Ignatief begins. Scha 
myl is the mute instrument of the Czar once more. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 265 

" Your perfect discretion, and the zeal with which 
you have fulfilled your duty in the war, place you 
now in a very important position. 

" I know you are a good soldier." 

Schamyl bows. 

" I am going to make you a sailor, and also give 
you a glimpse of statesmanship. 

" We stand on the verge of a fresh collision per 
haps a second bloody war. The armistice may be 
broken any moment. 

" We have gained all in Europe we fought for. 
We have the royal road to Persia, India, and Asia 
assured. 

u I am on the eve of signing the final peace with 
Savfet Pacha. But the Turks have lately assumed a 
defiant attitude. They are strengthening their de 
fences. Every battalion released from Asia Minor 
is pouring in here. We fear a collision. 

" The Emperor is urged on by the mad section of 
the army to enter Constantinople. 

"He is holding back the turbulent chiefs, while I 
strain every nerve to sign this peace and save the 
solid fruits of this war. 

" A new enemy menaces us. We may lose all. 
A single quarrel, diplomatic or military, would take 
the situation out of my hands." 

"And the new enemy, General ? " inquires Schamyl. 

" Is England s fleet," replies the man of the hour. 
" I have borrowed a yacht from Prince Doria of Genoa. 
She is all ready. I wish you to run down to Tene- 
dos and watch the English ironclads. I know they 
will come up as far as Besika Bay. The English 
minister Layard is coquetting with the other foreign 



266 



ministers. The Porte fears us. It dare not give 
them permission to cover Constantinople. It dreads 
to refuse. We are using unstinted gold to gain 
secret service reports, from the attaches of the other 
embassies. 

" I expect every moment an official threat from 
Layard that the fleet wi\). come up, with or without 
permission. If they force their way to the city, it is 
an act of war. You will have a naval attache to 
direct the yacht. It is the swiftest in the Orient. 
Here are your orders. You are to cling to the 
movements of the fleet. The yacht flies the Italian 
flag. I will line the shore with spies and signal men. 
Should the English ironclads steam to the city, you 
are to run ahead with all speed. When they actually 
move up to the walls of Istambol, you are to hoist 
the imperial Russian standard at the mainmast, and 
run direct through the Bosporus. Your flag will 
be watched for from San Stefano. Hoist it when 
abreast of our lines." 

Schamyl ponders. " And if fired at or chased ? " 
he doubtfully mutters. 

" Press your boat ahead, and keep the imperial 
flag flying as long as a plank holds together." 

Prince Ahmed is very grave. His waiting bride 
may never see him ! 

Ignatief slowly closes. " I have selected you for 
your nerve, coolness, and judgment. The officer 
who goes with you will report every technical move 
ment. He will have his own assistants. On you, 
Prince Ahmed, depends an awful responsibility." 

The old Muscovite statesman-soldier speaks sol 
emnly : 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 267 

" If you come to the Bosporus with the imperial 
flag flying, the whole army will assault the Turkish 
lines. We will open our batteries on the fleet and 
city. It will mean war with England. It may 
decide the fate of India, or it may carry a new 
enemy to the gates of Moscow." He sighs wearily. 

Schamyl accepts this as more desperate than a 
forlorn hope. He may earn the Emperor s sanction. 

" I am ready," he says simply. 

"For God, for Russia, and for the Czar, go, my 
young friend. England," says Ignatief, musing, "has 
one man at home who sees that the fate of India, 
the dominion of Asia, the railway from Batoum to 
Baku, the railway to the Chinese border, may be de 
layed twenty years by a fiasco here. It must not be. 
The pen must save, now what the sword has gained. 
They have awakened too late to the enormous gains 
we have made in Asia Minor. We must not be 
embroiled here." Ignatief resumes: 

" As soon as the treaty is definitely signed, you 
will be recalled. I will send down the legation 
launch. Till then, for life and death, for your 
honor, cruise carefully around the advance of the 
fleet. The Prince s Islands are a convenient cover. 
I will know what they say to me. You must show 
me what they will do." 

" I depart at once, your Excellency." 

" Instantly, as soon as you can get in mufti, I will 
send an aide to conduct you to the yacht. You 
have carte blanche. 

" But you are in some trouble," Ignatief kindly 
says. " Let me help you, while you bear some of 
mine. What is it ? " 



268 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

Schamyl hands Ignatief the despatch of Gronow. 
He briefly explains its import. 

The general s brow grows stern. 

" Ah ! that devil Ghazee ! We must act at once." 
He rings his bell. 

In an instant, a sheaf of telegraph blanks is 
brought in. 

" Write any despatches you wish, to Petersburg, 
Kars, Tiflis, Goomri, Erzeroum. I will send them 
in the imperial cipher. 

" The chief of the Third Section is here in attend 
ance on the Emperor. He will have a special guard 
of the secret police watch the Lazareff mansion. 
I myself will telegraph Melikoff and Lazareff. 
You shall have the whole power of the Emperor to 
save that lovely girl." 

Schamyl s pencil is flying. To Gronow, to de 
spatch personally to Madame Lazareff, to yes, 
to Paul PlatofT. He is bright and resolute. To 
Maritza herself ah, no ! Only love and greetings 
to her. 

Fast as they fly from his fingers the cipher clerks 
are transforming them. In an adjoining room the 
keys click. 

Ahmed pauses. His work is done. 

Is there any one who can counteract this devil s 
long-range villany ? Any one else? He has, then, 
fellow conspirators in Petersburg ! 

He looks at the blood-red ruby on his finger. 
Yes, great heavens, Abdallah the jeweller! He is 
past master of the Moslem secrets of Armenia. 

Schamyl explains to General Ignatief his faith in 
Abdallah. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 269 

" Say no more, Prince. I know him. I will have 
him sent by special train to St. Petersburg and 
attached to Madame Lazareff s household, as guest. 
He shall stay till you return. 

" When this treaty is signed, when your duty is 
completed, I will give you that yacht to take you 
to Odessa, and you can receive us in Petersburg. I 
see you would be happier watching over her your 
self." He smiles even in his friendly anxiety. 

" It is so, General. She is my promised wife," 
Schamyl proudly answers. 

" I myself will gain you the Emperor s permission 
for this marriage," the diplomat answers. 

" Go now. Remember, your hand will throw the 
whole army on the works, if you hoist that flag. I 
will watch over your bride to be." 

In a half hour the dark, snaky Genova is glid 
ing, like a fleeting vision, down the blue waters of 
the Sea of Marmora. 

Three days after, as Prince Ahmed walks the 
deck, gazing on the first evening stars rising over 
the bluest waters of old ocean his great secret of 
state locked in his breast he sweeps for the last 
time the southern waste of blue waters. 

His colleague touches his arm. "There they 
are." 

Four black specks in the distance mere dots 
upon the water. 

" What is it ? " Schamyl questions. 

" // is the English fleet heading for Besika Bay ! " 

Schamyl s heart gives one sudden bound. Will 
it be his fate to bring on the long-delayed war to 
the death between the lion and bear? 



270 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

Southward the dainty yacht speeds, her delicate 
lines quivering under the throb of the superb 
engines. 

In an hour he clearly sees the mighty floating 
fortresses forging sullenly along. 

Monsters of the deep. Yes, the keen-eyed pro 
fessional spies on board, make them out. 

Alexandria, Devastation, Sultan, Achilles the 
huge engines of refined human deviltry. Hornby s 
flag flies on the Devastation. 

When their enormous anchors rattle down at the 
rendezvous, far down the gulf are two more grim 
sea monsters slowly following up in the wake of 
the first leviathans. England s might ! 
. Not a half-hour s sleep visits Schamyl s eyelids 
in this long night. The uneasy dreams of the 
warrior are a torture. When daylight blushes over 
the eastern hills, the yacht, rounding and curving 
along the shores, runs near enough to see the blood- 
red flag of England flying over these floating steel 
castles their huge fires banked down. They are 
clearing for action ! 

Ominous, ready, imposing, they swim in sluggish 
menace on the ocean waves, yet ruled by Britannia! 

A long day passed ; there is time to exhaust every 
pretence of pleasure sailing. 

Torn with anxieties, questioning the great white 
stars above him in his lonely watches, Schamyl holds 
his post with a bosom torn with a thousand fears. 

Vessels pass up and down the gulf; all is peace 
so far, for no rumor reaches the little villages 
where the yacht enters. The black giants lie still 
in ugly readiness. They give but little signs of life. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 271 

Prince Ahmed s heart stiffens into stone. No 
relief, no change, no daily duty save to bear alone 
the weight of his responsibility, the burden of 
Ignatief s prudence. And Maritza in deadly 
danger ! 

It is the thirteenth of February when a fishing 
felucca drives down the gulf, like a wild sea-bird 
seeking its foamy nest on the ocean surge. 

The Genova is artfully moving on her now familiar 
patrol. Each vessel, each shallop is keenly watched, 
for his orders tell him some means might be found 
to warn or guide him. 

As the felucca nears the yacht, bearing down the 
gulf, a tiny flag flutters at the peak and is dipped 
three times. 

Schamyl bounds to his feet. His colleague directs 
the course of the vessel. A signal ! 

In ten minutes the felucca is alongside. With a 
few reverse throbs of the screw, the course of the 
yacht is stayed. 

A gayly dressed Greek fisherman throws a line on 
board. Drifting side by side, as the vessels float on 
the blue tide, the Cypriote springs over the low 
quarter. 

Before Schamyl can advance, the fisher is at his 
side. A little billet is in his hands. Ahmed recog 
nizes the brief signal which accompanied its deliv 
ery , the secret service ! 

Tearing it open, he glues his eyes upon the few 
lines. It is from Nicolas Ignatief himself. 

Involuntarily casting his eyes toward the English 
monsters, there are black clouds pouring from their 
funnels. Has it come at last ? 



272 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

As the dark smoke breaks away in wreaths, Ah 
med reads again and again his last orders. 
"I 3 th: 

" Layard, English minister, notified the Porte yesterday, the 
fleet would come up, permission or no permission. I have sent 
Onon, my dragoman, in with the Emperor s ultimatum. If the 
fleet comes to the city, the armistice ends when they pass the first 
battery. All in readiness for the assault. 

" Remember your duty. The movement depends on you alone. 
The foreign ministers protest. We will fight ! 

"Treaty ready to be signed to-morrow. Watch the fleet every 
instant. Be ready to move at highest speed. Make no mistake. If 
they come beyond Besika Bay, we shall begin to move the troops. 

" IGNATIEF." 

An hour passes on ; the felucca is far away a 
mere speck dancing on the waters. Another hour; 
smoke still pouring from the funnels. Two hours 
afterward, the bows of the monsters are swarming 
with men. It is war! 

Slowly, like drifting black clouds moving on a 
midnight sky, the fleet under way steams toward 
the Sea of Marmora. 

Three miles before it, cutting across their path, 
the Genova leaps through the water and runs 
toward the nearest headlands. 

The great yellow banner with its double-headed 
eagle is reeved on the halyards ready for the hand 
of Schamyl. Will they pass in ? 

Onward, moving grandly, the vessels forge along, 
like a school of enormous whales. 

Two hours now will decide the fate of Constan 
tinople. The blood clicks in Ahmed s temples like 
the movement of machinery. 

By his side, the naval attache quietly directs the 
movement of the yacht. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 273 

Ha ! Far away on the headland a little flag which 
talks! It flutters, and at the masthead of the lead 
ing ironclad there are busy signal pennants dis 
played. 

It is a message of awful import. 

The feeble waving of those bits of party-colored 
rag brings the great ocean monsters to a halt. 

In slanting course, as ocean birds wing the upper 
air, they draw in toward the sheltering shores and 
drop the mighty anchors once more. 

The funnel smoke drifts away. The might of 
England stays its onward course. A breathing 
spell. 

Is it peace ? Is it the heavy hand of imperial Ger 
many ? The harsh challenge of fiery France? Is 
it the voice of the bevy of ambassadors crying, 
" Hold off in the name of Europe ! " which says, 
" No thoroughfare." 

Ahmed Schamyl cannot tell. His whole nature 
sinks under the reaction of these exciting hours. 
Pride fills his bosom ! His soldierly spirit tells him 
it was the gauntlet thrown down by the Czar, the 
defiance of the northern colossus, which seals those 
feebly guarded sea gates. 

Ready at a moment to move ahead, the Genova 
clings to the advance of the war vessels. The night 
passes. Before Schamyl rouses from the deep sleep 
of exhaustion, the Russian embassy s launch is 
swinging alongside the Genova. 

An aide in full uniform leaps lightly to the deck. 
Saluting Schamyl, he hands him a letter. Worn 
with night watching, torn by anxiety, Prince Ah 
med s hand trembles like a leaf in the storm. 

18 



274 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

The words are few : 

" Return in the launch with your associate. Send yacht leisurely 
back to Golden Horn. Treaty signed yesterday. 

11 IGNATIEF." 

In a half-hour the legation launch speeds like an 
arrow along the sheltering shores. Home to Ma- 
ritza ! Love s shining beacon leads him home ! 

As Schamyl seats himself in the cabin, his merry 
associates are pledging the health of the Emperor. 

A burning fever rages in his veins ; he throws 
himself on the cushions. His papers, his secret 
orders, his belongings all there. His duty is done ! 

Yes ! And the baffled sea monsters are receding 
in the distance. Back to the permanent anchorage 
of Besika Bay ! 

It is all over. The lion and bear will not yet 
grapple to the death. Layard s signals to the fleet 
told them the story of the peace. 

And Schamyl is so tired, so weary ! His eyes 
have been strained by day and night. His nerves 
are worn and shaken. His own love in danger! 

Draining a glass of champagne, he dimly sees, 
though the blue wreaths of the papyrus, his naval 
guide and the aide most loyally going down the 
gradations of all the regular toasts in bumpers. 

His aching eyes close in sleep. The yacht is far 
behind under half speed, steadily moving for the 
Golden Horn. 

It is all darkness in the little cabin when Ahmed 
awakes. Friendly hands are on him ; he is struggling 
violently. 

A gleam struggles through the binnacle. His 
friends are holding him. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 275 

"Are you well, Prince? What is the matter?" 
They are both anxiously clinging to him ! 

" I know not," Schamyl mutters, " that dream, 
that vision ! I am better." 

Lights are at hand. 

He wonders at the faces of his excited friends. 

The aide laughs : " You nearly had me throttled, 
General ! I fear you are worn out with your 
cruise. You are a tiger ! " 

The naval associate hands Ahmed a glass of brandy 
the sailor s panacea for all the ills that flesh is heir to. 

" Drink this, Prince. You were seized with a ner 
vous chill. We had our hands full to quiet you." 

The Circassian drains the fiery glass. His head 
falls exhausted on the divan. The boat speeds on 
in the hushed glory of the early morning hours, 
under the trembling stars of night, to the lines where 
a hundred thousand men sleep in peace around the 
ruler of the mighty frozen North ! For the treaty 
is signed at last ! 

Schamyl cannot close his eyes ! In his troubled 
sleep an awful vision froze his blood. 

It comes back that dream ! 

Yes ; Maritza the beloved never more lovely, 
never more radiant in white, with clinging lace and 
great pearls of Ormuz around her snowy neck! 

She smiles and leans forward. Heavens ! that 
glimpse of paradise gives way to another tableau. 
While his outstretched arms are reached to clasp 
her to his bosom, she is changed. 

Lying white and pale, her hands dropping by her 
side in death s relaxed abandonment, her lovely 
head low lying, her eyes closed, and one is bending 



276 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

over a man ; his face is turned away. He tears 
something from her hand. Who is he ? Ah ! Ah 
med s leap and effort to stay the spoiler of this fair 
est of maids awakened him. 

It was this ! Only a dream ! Thank God ! Only 
a dream ! a mad whirling of distorted hopes, wishes, 
fears, and fancies across his mind ! 

Silently, listening to the pulses of the engines, 
Schamyl drops into an exhausted slumber, with his 
whole soul lifted up in invocation for the orphaned 
queen of his heart so far away. 

" The war is over," he murmurs, as his eyes close, 
" and now, and now . 

Gravely his friends watch him till the sunbeams 
dance on the blue ripples off San Stefano. Schamyl 
is in his wonted calm again. 

Half an hour after the boat glides along the quay, 
before the tented homes of the Czar s legions, 
Schamyl is in the presence of Nicolas Ignatief. 
The camp is " en fete." Even the grave soldier- 
diplomat is merry to-day. 

Bands are playing ; review preparations are every 
where. Gilded aides gallop up and down, marshalling 
the great columns, setting out knightly squadrons 
and grim batteries. To-day the pride of Russia 
will march before the Czar. 

Ignatief seizes the young Circassian joyfully by 
both hands. 

" A la bonne heure ! Schamyl, you have done 
well. Return me your secret orders." 

Prince Ahmed hands over his directions. A 
mountain is lifted from his heart. The Czar s trust ! 

As Count Ignatief rings for the ever-flowing 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 277 

champagne, he carelessly tosses the packet of now 
useless orders in the fire. It is a glorious winter day. 

" Our English friends may just as well not know 
how near this grand review came to being a storm 
ing assault by a whole army," the great count mer 
rily says. " They have baffled us ; but, by Saint 
Vladimir, the day of Russia s reckoning with Eng 
land will yet shake its rotten throne ! 

" We have the substantial fruits of victory. Tur 
key in Europe and the principalities are definitely 
and advantageously arranged. Erzeroum is evacu 
ated, and the great quadrilateral of Anatolia is in our 
hands. Our position in Asia Minor will be made 
impregnable. 

" In five years you will see a railway from Poti and 
Batoum to Tiflisand Baku. Then, Armenia can never 
be wrenched from us. We are now the lords of the 
Black and Caspian. Catherine s will is our guide. 

" In ten years our military railway will reach Merv, 
Samarcand, Tashkend, and wrap our English friends 
in a steel band in Asia. 

" Onward to Khuldja ! to Irkutsk ! to the Pacific ! 
The railroad will hold us Persia, menace India, and 
control China. The English are asleep to our great 
march overland. We will seek a French alliance. 

" Let us drink confusion to England s plotting. 
They spoiled our last glass of wine at Constanti 
nople. Prince, they cannot spoil this. We will 
meet yet in a war to the death." And fiery Ignatief 
clinks glasses with the -Circassian lover. 

"Count," queries Schamyl, "are there any future 
operations in Armenia? " 

" Not another shot," gayly responds Ignatief. 



278 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

" The hundred guns salvo fired here to-day will be 
echoed at every post in Anatolia. The Grand Duke 
Michael also reviews his gallant army to-day. 

" We will leave heavy garrisons in Asia Minor, 
for our interests lead us toward the Persian Gulf. 
We will have sea frontage there. England can then 
keep her useless Suez Canal. 

" The millions of barrels of oil wasted now yearly 
at Baku must be spread over Asia and Russia on our 
railways when built. The great war with England 
will give us Constantinople or India. Every resource 
must be guarded for our national life struggles. 

" I am sorry, Schamyl, that Prince Tchavacha- 
vadze will lead your brigade before the Grand Duke 
Michael to-day. They will miss you. But the 
Emperor has directed you to head all the Circassian 
cavalry here in the march past. You are now the 
chief of Circassia." 

"And then, Count?" Schamyl asks with anxiety. 
The compliment escapes him. Love s blindness ! 

" I beg your pardon, Prince ! I had forgotten 
your private affairs. I have some letters and tele 
grams for you." 

He commands a secretary to bring them. 

Schamyl eyes them hungrily. 

" Read your telegrams, Prince ! " the man of 
many wiles kindly adds. 

"You can enjoy your letters on the boat, for as 
soon as the review is over, you are to leave for 
Odessa with the first despatches to the ministry of 
the foreign office. Several of the imperial household 
go on the same boat. You will have a special train 
from Odessa to Petersburg." 



TRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 279 

" And will I rejoin my command in Armenia ? " 
SchamyFs eyes are downcast. 

" Not unless we must fight John Bull at once." 

Ignatief laughs heartily, raising his glass. " Your 
duties as aide-de-camp to the Emperor, General, will 
detain you in St. Petersburg until the imperial staff 
arrive, for you must be presented on your promo 
tion" 

Prince Ahmed is neglecting his wine. A harvest 
of honors ! 

" To the health of the future Princess Schamyl ! " 
cries the old count, heartily. " We can give you a 
leave now, but when we fight England you must 
lead a Tcherkess division into Asia. The day will 
surely come." 

Ahmed understands the friendly care which hur 
ries him to the Rose who waits him by the Neva. 
Ignatief has been a lover ! A man of many arts ! 

The telegrams are reassuring Platoff, Madame 
Lazareff, and also Gronow. 

Thrusting his letters in his bosom, he departs 
with Ignatief s order to report at sundown for his 
despatches. 

" Poor fellow ! Hard hit by a pair of laughing 
eyes ! " Ignatief muses. " Remarkably fine ones, 
by the way," he mutters, as he sends his subordi 
nates flying on matters of moment. 

To the sound of thundering cannon, with waving 
banners, singing trumpets, and rattling drums, proud, 
beautiful martial music thrilling on the thin air 
the victorious host of Russia defiles before its lord ! 

Forests of bayonets, thickets of lances, lines of 
grim artillery, with the tossing crests of the rarest 



280 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

cavalry in the world, flashing by, the great panorama 
unrolls before the eyes of the aged Emperor. 

Princes, generals, grand dukes of the blood, the 
whole imperial cortege of heroes crowd around their 
master. 

Heroes of the Danube and Plevna, the war-worn 
veterans of Shipka Pass, of Loftscha, the daring 
stormers of the Grivitza redoubt, the men of 
Gorni-Dubnik, the iron-hearted soldiery who crossed 
the snowy Balkans, file by. The silent half of 
this grand army lies under the frozen clay of the 
Danube valley. 

Proudly sweeping past : sword, lance, pennon, 
and banner droop before the mighty Czar of all 
the Russias. 

The victors of Philippopolis rend the air with 
huzzas ! The sturdy regiments who broke the pride 
of Suleiman Pacha, the grim warriors who forced 
Osman Pacha the Great out of his blood-bought 
stronghold, cheer the old sovereign who battles for 
the blue and white cross. 

It is a day of wild rejoicing. The ground shakes 
under the tread of the mighty host. 

Prince and paladin sweep by ! Frantic yells 
greet great Gourko with his silver hair. Long roll 
ing cheers announce the knightly person of the 
White General, Skobeleff, the man of the charmed 
life. 

The invincible champion dashes by his Emperor, 
bowing to his charger s mane. The men yell with 
delight. He is their idol ! 

A wild, touching pageant, this, the passing 
of the patient, plodding, gray-coated Muscovites, 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 281 

whose battle song for the Czar, welcoming the red 
death of the field, is their last sigh for Holy Russia. 

Ahmed Schamyl leads the desperate column of 
the peerless Tcherkess past his Emperor. Nodding 
plume, twinkling lance, and jingling sabre excite the 
restive chargers whose dancing feet spurn the 
ground. 

Prince Schamyl, lowering his sword before his 
sovereign, knows that the white cross flashing on 
his own bosom, gained in battle s desperate whirl, 
is no whiter than his own loyal soul. He has no 
fear to meet now the kindly eye of the lord of Rus 
sia s huge domains. Honor s chaplet is on his brow. 

And so, saluting the ruler, all that is left of the 
Grand Army of the Danube passes proudly. 

Shoulder to shoulder they have fought their 
country s fight ! Thousands of gallant men s hearts 
beat sadly to think their bayonets may never glisten 
again upon the blood-stained ramparts they have 
won. Istambol lies humbled at their feet. 

Alexander, the mighty Emperor, gazes with 
dimmed eyes to see the flower of the service pass 
with depleted ranks. Thousands in the swamps of 
the Danube, tens of thousands before the dull red 
] mounds of Plevna, myriads in the wild defiles of the 
Shipka, and where the forest ravens linger over 
the graves of the forgotten brave on the Balkans, 
all these are missing from the lines. 

His peerless Household Guards, in skeleton ranks, 
remind him, as they sweep on, of the countless 
homes in Russia, where, from palace to hut, the 
shadow of death and sorrow now lingers. 

The awful heritage of the heaviest crown on 



282 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

earth weighs the Czar down. The hereditary policy 
of Peter, the sacred will of mighty Catherine, drives 
the march of his legions ever toward India, Persia, 
the Gulf, the Far East. The Emperor is biding the 
time when (threatened and powerless in India), 
with a Franco-Russian alliance menacing China, 
England will not dare to block the way to yon glit 
tering dome of St. Sophia. 

Fate ! Destiny ! Treason ! A strange and awful 
doom is leading the mighty victor homeward 
laurel crowned to die the death of a helpless vic 
tim, under the obscure plots of frantic conspirators. 

Vanitas vanitatem ! 

As the legions march away, as the gray clouds 
roll around and wrap the city of Istambol from his 
sight, Alexander the Conqueror, balked at the gates 
of the Black Sea, prays that some day the gray 
Russian horde may sweep in wild triumph over the 
walls of Constantinople. 

Striving, plotting, building fort, city, mart, and 
railway, forge and arsenal, fleet and frontier defence, 
the Russian lives but to see the day of Constanti 
nople s fall. Shedding new oceans of blood, the 
children of the Czar will take and gain Constan 
tinople, in the face of even England s mighty power. 

Far on the tossing Euxine, before the bugles 
sound the last signals of the night, Schamyl presses 
northward to lay his laurels at the feet of the proud 
and splendid woman who waits his coming in the 
old mansion of the Lazareffs on the Neva. 

As he stands on the deck, the miles of lights of 
the great camp twinkle afar off. 

He wonders at the embattled might of Russia in 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 283 

arms. Its bugles sing reveille from the Baltic to 
the blue Pacific. 

The merry circle in the cabin, with joyous fes 
tivity, celebrate the coming joys. Their past vic 
tories are lived over. They pledge the hallowed 
memory of the gallant dead. The returning officers 
are mad with triumph. Ahmed s letters give him a 
quiet hour. 

Paul PlatofT, with trembling hand, announces his 
convalescence. The story of his services and 
wounds, his hours of pain and suffering, touches 
the friend of his bosom. 

But the letter falls from his hand in blank amaze 
ment as Schamyl reads the close. 

" I will say but little, for you soon will be here. I look forward 
with joy to meeting you, for I shall soon be married to a charming 
girl an orphan. You will love her for my sake and her own. It 
is the young Princess Vera Orbelian. You alone must be my wit 
ness and my groomsman." 

Ahmed Schamyl s wondering eyes read again. 
He is stunned, and his lips for the first time in his 
life frame the loving words, " My sister / " 



CHAPTER XIII. 

BY THE NEVA. GHAZEE S REVENGE ! AT THE 
OPERA. THE LOST HANDKERCHIEF. DR. AB- 
DALLAH. 

IT has been a winter of dark sorrow in St. Peters 
burg. Except by the officials, the valetudinarians, 
and the toilers, the capital is deserted. 

The flower of Russia s youth has trodden the 



284 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

frozen plains of Armenia with Melikoff, or followed 
grim Gourko in his deadly race to Adrianople. 

And yet the streets are thronged. But the invisi 
ble thread, the nerve-life which makes the metropolis, 
is absent. War? Yes ! horrid war ! is the only topic. 

Profoundly glorious in the gazette, serious in 
bureau circles, talked of with bated breath by the 
merchant, abhorred by the toiler and artisan, the 
war broods over all ! 

There is to-day a common bond which knits 
together all Russian womanhood in one black band 
of mourning the gallant dead. 

Prince and general are missed from mess, club, 
and palace. The dark angel s wing sweeps unpity- 
ingly, touching now the mansion, now the hut. 
While all agree that certain glorious national results 
are sure to follow the wholesale blood-letting, many 
a gallant high-souled patrician woman eyes the pict 
ure of the unreturning brave in heart-broken silence. 
In the log huts, Marianka howls for Ivan, whose 
sturdy breast stopped a Turkish bullet. 

War is woman s foe, her plaything, her fascinat 
ing enemy, her scourge. It leaves her widowed, 
sorrowing, husbandless, childless, loverless ! And 
yet woman urges man on to conflict. All is vanity ! 

By all the crystallized tears of broken woman 
hearts, the proud tyrant, the juggling diplomat, 
the greedy conqueror, should pause before they 
incarnadine the peaceful fields with the loyal blood 
of a generation of brave bread-winners. 

And still there is a forced and feverish gayety 
abroad. A reckless, shifting, insincere merriment 
agitates St. Petersburg. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 285 

Women steal from ball and opera, from rout and 
dinner, to gaze, heart hushed, on the last death 
bulletins. They turn from folly with white lips 
to murmur, " Who next ? " to say " Thank 
God ! " if the whirlwind blast of battle spares the 
beloved ; or to fall, stricken and crouching before 
God s altar, if the particular Dimitri or Sacha s 
name makes the long black death-roll one unit 
greater. 

Blessed isolation of orphanhood ! It limits the 
range of family griefs in times like these. Princess 
Maritza gazes on the leaden winter skies from the 
granite casements of the Lazareff mansion, and 
fears no bolt but one. 

In " bashful, maiden art " she guards her secret. 
It is to God alone she whispers the fervent prayer 
that one gallant darling head may be spared. 

Her princely lover! Her royal born consort to 
be ! With a blush she bows her head before the 
shrine. He is even now the lord of her pure and 
stainless heart. In the high empire of her bosom 
he reigns a czar of love. 

Laughing Tia Argutin, merry Nina Lazareff rally 
the Princess of Georgia upon her pale cheeks, her 
preoccupation. 

Tiflis with its crowds of wounded, the city filled 
with the debris of a campaign, is no pleasant place 
for a family. So they linger on the Neva. 

Watchful General Lazareff knows the mysterious 
fevers, the dangerous epidemics due to the crowd 
ing of thousands of soldiers in narrow areas. 

The journey to St. Petersburg, long and tedious, 
was welcome. Each day s travel bore the family 



286 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

farther away from the war-clouds hovering around 
the Black Sea and the Caspian. 

The shadows faded imperceptibly, until at Peters 
burg the absence of the court and the great mass of 
the higher orders was the only sign of the conflict. 

Comfortably installed by the Neva, the sound 
and clash of battle now die into silence. 

Maritza remembers only with a shudder her fear 
ful dragging captivity. Those months buried from 
the world in the dark convent cells grow a memory. 
The awful scenes of the storming of Kars are forgot 
ten. The grass is green on Nadya Vronsky s grave. 

Madame Lazareff with graceful tact leads Maritza 
away from all sights which agitate. 

Maritza owns to the sweet face in her mirror, 
alone, the depth and fervor of her passion for the 
young hero who is now the chief of Circassia. 

A rosy cherub guards her pillow at night. He 
whispers finger on his smiling lip : " He loves 
you!" 

Every day, walking in the deserted gardens of 
the Winter Palace, she watches for one green leaflet, 
the forerunner of happy spring. 

Dashing along the Neva bank in her sleigh, she 
prays for the day when that icy flooring will break 
up and tumble out into the tossing Baltic. 

The great fleets of fragrant birch-wood barges 
will sweep in from mighty Ladoga soon, borne in 
on the crystal rush of the melting spring floods. 

When the snows shall vanish from the Champ de 
Mars, the embattled host of victors will there parade 
their shot-torn ranks before the mighty Czar. The 
splendid, touching pageant will fade away, until 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 287 

another bugle blast shall call the millions ruled by 
the house of Romanoff to battle for Asia and India. 
None are feared save their hereditary, red-coated 
foes, the dreaded English. 

Schamyl s letters but faintly fill the needs of Ma- 
ritza s passionate soul. 

Glaring black words cannot paint the ardent feel 
ings which shine in her eyes as she dreams of Ahmed 
riding beside her carnage at Tiflis. 

Pen cannot translate or fix the ecstasy of joy 
which thrilled her heart when Schamyl s loving 
words called her back to life on the plain of Kars. 
It was a paradise after an inferno ! 

She will not own, even to herself, the raptures of 
the thrills of love and sorrow in the fair bosom she is 
queen of, when he led her in the proud safeguard of 
his veteran riders back to Tiflis, the hero of the hour. 

When the birds return from the south, in the glit 
tering circle of the White Czar he will come. The 
bravest of the brave, loyal, true, and tender ! And 
then, and then ! She burns for the day when the 
evening shadows will show no parting for the pil 
grims of love ; the day when she can say in truth : 
" Ahmed, my own ! Mine only ! " 

It is merry enough in a restrained way. Every 
day brings news of the sweeping and final successes 
of the Russian arms. At least, all the spent blood 
and treasure have not been wasted in useless 
defeat. The blue and white cross marches on. 

There are stars and medals, titles and dignities, 
rewards and honors, to be showered by the aged 
hand of a grateful Emperor upon the living relics of 
the men who faltered not in Plevna s darkest hours. 



288 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

With chastened hearts the butterflies of fashion 
mourn those spirited women of the court who 
thronged to the poisonous Dobrudsha swamps to 
nurse the wounded. They died as nobly as the men 
in arms. 

As if the grave were never satisfied in its hunger 
for prey, disease has killed as many heroes as the bul 
lets of the rampart-sheltered Moslems. 

Scores of bright-eyed ladies, tender and true, laid 
down their lives in their self-appointed work. If 
there is a woman on earth whose spirit, fortitude, 
and tenderness will bear up against the thousand ills 
of life, it is the Russian wife, mother, and maiden. 
From high to low in rank faithful, ardent, viva 
cious, and self-sacrificing the charm of their singu 
lar beauty and devotion lingers around the homes of 
the icy north. The myrtle grows there only in these 
tender hearts, whose fires of love are perpetual. 

Fit mothers of heroes! Worthy consorts of war 
riors ! these daughters of Holy Russia ! 

Maritza finds a wistful tenderness in Madame 
Lazareff s watchful love. Every movement, each 
step of her life, is guarded. And the roses are red 
in her cheeks ; her eye beams in splendor. 

Maritza, the Rose of Tiflis, knows not of the over 
shadowing threat of the fugitive madman. 

One oasis blooms in the desert of her days. To 
whom can she pour out her heart life? To no one 
save the absent lover ! To one only Paul Platoff ! 

Yes ! Paul PlatofT is welcome daily at the Laza- 
reffs. His noble face, pale with his sufferings, lights 
up as he leads her mind to the absent Prince Schamyl. 

It is not strange his sleigh brings him every after- 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING/. 289 

noon that he is welcomed by the chatelaine of 
the house. 

His bravery, his love for Ahmed, and his distinc 
tion give him a warm welcome. Another reason binds 
them together. For Paul has his own heart secret ! 

The beautiful and lonely Princess Orbelian is also 
an orphan. She is a ward of the Emperor. Platoff 
relies upon the unpaid debt of Loftscha s awful 
laurels, to obtain the permission of the great Alex 
ander to wed his noble ward. 

Till the Emperor s return, Platoff may not an 
nounce himself as the future husband of the princess. 

Too delicate to monopolize her society for there 
everywhere is a Mrs. Grundy, even in Russia Paul 
artfully begs Madame Lazareff to aid his innocent 
strategy. He meets the queen of his awakened 
heart in the society of Princess Maritza, at her own 
home. 

It is a charming trinity two who love each 
other, one who loves another. 

Educated in seclusion, Princess Orbelian with 
eager eyes looks forward to the day when the silent 
halls of her old family shall once more ring with the 
merriment of Russian hospitality. 

With laughing eyes she promises Maritza a visit 
at the ancestral home when the sorrows depart. 

" Your home is far away at Tiflis. When you 
are married, use mine as your own ! I will make 
Paul take me to see you, to your lovely Caucasus 
your land of roses." 

Princess Orbelian longs as ardently as Maritza 
for the return of the Emperor. He brings Ahmed 
to the fair Georgian ! 



2QO PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

For the magic permission may then soon be ob 
tained for her own wedding. Two lovely suppli 
ants wait for the Czar. 

The Lazareffs, Paul, herself, and all their power 
ful circle may not be gainsaid in asking the maiden 
hand of the last of the Orbelians. 

The two girls in these hours of confidence run 
over their strange family histories. 

" I never knew my mother. She died when I was 
very young," is the whole of Princess Orbelian s 
memories. " My father was killed in the Caucasus 
wars. My lonely life has been spent in the institute, 
or with the families of my official tutors. 

" When I come into my estate my mother s relics 
will pass into my possession. Her picture tells me 
she was very beautiful. Those who knew her say 
her heart was noble and unselfish." 

St. Petersburg holds no happier hearts than the 
two lovely fiancees when the grand news of peace 
throws every door open in rejoicing. 

A hundred guns fired on every square, a general 
illumination, a grand gala performance at every 
theatre, scores of splendid fetes make the city by 
the Neva a scene of mad rejoicing. 

The Emperor is coming ! The army is coming ! 
The court is coming ! All laurel crowned ! 

Silent, upturned faces on the battle shambles of 
Turkey appeal no more to an inscrutable God. 
Pale lips murmuring, " How long, O Lord, how 
long! " are forgotten in the joy of to-day. 

Joy reigns in the palaces of the Winter King. 

Madame Lazareff finds her bevy of birds of 
paradise wildly excited. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 291 

Vera Orbelian chatters, " The Emperor is com 
ing." Maritza de Deshkalin hides a telegram whose 
every word burns in her heart. The two nymphs 
of honor are vaguely happy to see their friends 
caught in the mighty net of love, so joyous. Cupid 
in ambush may even now be training his feathered 
artillery on pretty Tia and sweet Nina. Gronow 
the gallant is watching for Nina s return. 

" Love is a queer thing it comes and it goes." 

" Incessa patuit Dea." 

Great Venus swoops down to-day, as of old pale 
Diana wooed Endymion from starry heights a 
touch, a kiss the fatal fire is in the veins ! 

Venus victrix rules the stony hearts of men, the 
wayward impulse of woman. 

The opera of to-night will be the only gala per 
formance since the declaration of war. 

Madame Lazareff is surrounded by a happy circle. 
Why not Major Paul Platoff as escort ? Why not, 
indeed? His handsome face will represent General 
Lazareff and the absent Ahmed. 

Before the evening falls old Abdallah spends an 
hour with Madame la Generate. He is happy. The 
jeweller of Goomri has settled his accounts with the 
foreign office. Secret service vouchers are not 
asked for. Abdallah makes no mistake in his reck 
oning. He would now offer to Princess Maritza 
a token of the devotion of the absent. 

Shawled and turbaned, the aged Moslem gravely 
eyes the dream of beauty which is the living 
picture, Princess Maritza. For she has drunk of 
the honey dew of paradise. Her lover is coming ! 

In their fleecy cotton-wool wrappings, Abdallah 



292 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

extends to Maritza a necklace of strands of the 
silver pearls of Ormuz, which makes the young patri 
cian clasp her white hands in womanish delight. 

"I have telegrams from the Prince Schamyl. He 
asked me to present, in his name, these pearls to 
the Lady Maritza. May Allah bless you ! I shall 
see the day-star in the great music house of the 
Franks to-night. 

" The pearls are royal and fitly bestowed." With 
bending salaams, the jeweller disappears. 

His august brow is graver than ever, for in secret 
he watches for the blow which Ghazee may deliver ! 
The traitor is as deadly as the fell cobra! 

" Praise be to Allah ! Royal Schamyl will soon 
be here, and my long vigil will be at an end." 

Abdallah seeks his coffee-house and betakes him 
self to mocha and a narghileh. He muses upon the 
store of golden imperials he hoards for himself and 
Hassan Bey the Judas of Kars ! 

When the carriages sweep up to the grand en 
trance of the opera, Abdallah, in a modest coupe, 
follows hard upon the two stately " glass fronts " 
of the Lazareff party. 

They are late, for four ladies, each late a quarter 
of an hour, retard the appearance of a party. 

Women are unexplained devourers of time ! 
Socially desirous of being late, astronomically they 
are even more so than the code of " Noblesse 
oblige " demands. 

Abdallah has arrayed himself in flowing raiment 
of price. His swelling port is the admiration of the 
few loungers in the foyer. The opera is on. 

The mimic woes of the soprano heroine are thrill- 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 293 

ing the hearts of a vast audience ; yet in the circu 
lar rows of boxes many are absent. 

Dreamy, weird music floats upon old Abdallah s 
ears as he follows the party to their two loges. 
Paul Platoff, in the dashing uniform of the horse 
artillery, is handsome enough to satisfy even the 
exacting Vera Orbelian. Madame Lazareff, a stately 
swan, glides along with her beauteous cygnets. 

" Bismillah ! But the Prankish women are fair ! " 
Abdallah murmurs, as he gazes upon the lovely 
girls. 

" Yet, beard of the Prophet, they are bold unbe 
lievers ! 

For Abdallah likes not the unveiled faces of these 
glowing graces. His private delectations of the 
harem give him monopolistic ideas as to pleasing 
one alone. 

Sultana, favorite, or meek slave, in his good old- 
fashioned conservatism he holds that these tender 
eyes should shine alone on the master. 

It is his fortune to draw the admiring comment 
of envious ladies who watch the sheen of his costly 
jewels in the great box where he sits alone. 

But his mind is far away. He has closely fol 
lowed every movement of Maritza since her arrival. 
A letter in Arabic, crumpled in his hand, recounts 
to him the mad vagaries of Ghazee. The wild 
Kurdish princess, her scoundrel father, and old Is 
mail, are holding high revel with Ghazee Schamyl 
in the distant castle where Ghazee has taken his 
Kurdish bride. 

Gallant Mehemet Pacha, marching out of Erze- 
roum with his army, forgets not to telegraph to 



294 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

Lazareff at Kars, to Ignatief on the Golden Horn, 
and to Abdallah at Petersburg, the single word, 
" Beware ! " 

For all the world knows now that the Russian 
court will at once return to the Neva. 

Mehemet s brief letter tells him that Ghazee has 
sworn upon the blood of the Prophet (the incarna 
tion of the lovely red rose of Gulistan), that Maritza 
shall never be Schamyl s bride. 

" Mashallah ! There are lands of the Franks far 
beyond the sea. Prince Ahmed might bear his bride 
there, till the wild boar be brought to bay at last. 

" He comes soon. In a Moslem harem she were 
safe. These Frankish homes are open alike to 
friend and stranger. It is a foolish custom." 

Abdallah muses, as the sweet notes of the opera 
float, in golden ripples, around the splendid hall. 

There is rustling of plumage and fluttering of 
draperies in the splendid loges. There Abdallah s 
reprehensible beauties attract the eyes of the gilded 
Russian youth by those charms he fain would veil 
from a Christian world. The Lazareff loge is a 
treasury of loveliness. 

There are several cavaliers of high renown already 
wending toward the boxes. Madame Lazareff is a 
watchful keeper of these jewels. The curtain is 
down. 

Before this swarm of butterflies can settle around 
the young divjnities, there is a tap at the box door. 

The box-keeper, with truly Russian servility, 
bows, extends a fan and handkerchief. From the 
darkened corridor a silken voice politely explains : 

" Mademoiselle has lost these little articles?" 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 295 

Before the grateful Maritza can fully express her 
thanks the polite unknown disappears with a formal 
bow. 

The entrance to the two loges is crowded with 
the elite of young Russia friends, devotees of the 
houses and fortunes of the Lazareffs, the Orbelians. 
There are others drawn by the radiant splendor 
shining in Maritza s eyes. 

The passionate music stealing into her heart of 
hearts has but one voice : " He is coming ! He 
comes ! " 

Her pretty toy, that most dangerous bit of 
woman s artillery the fan with its attached lace 
kerchief, must have fallen in the corridor. Or did 
she leave it in the carriage ? A sudden thought 
Ahmed s pearls ! Yes, they are there ! Their price 
less circles cling to her lovely neck. As she steals 
a glance at herself in the mirror of the loge, Paul 
Platoff leans toward her. An attendant who hands 
him an envelope stands in the door. 

Laughingly he whispers : 

" Princess, your despatch is at home. Mine has 
followed me here." 

His eyes challenge her merrily, as he hands her 
the little paper strip. 

" Coming. Arrive to-morrow night. 

" SCHAMYL." 

With one half-uttered joyous exclamation, the 
lovely waiting one leans back in her fauteuil. She 
presses her kerchief to her truant lips, whose half- 
spoken utterance of joy causes Madame Lazareff to 
gaze in wonder. 

An instant later she is lying prone and lifeless on 



296 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

the floor of the loge, her hand still clasping her 
handkerchief ! There is a panic ! 

Platoff is on his knees beside her. The eyes of 
Madame Lazareff are frozen in fixed terror. 

For the shimmering pearls upon Maritza s neck 
are not as white as the pale cheeks. 

Her eyelids tremble ; there is a light foam at her 
lips. 

u The heart," some one whispers in a hushed voice. 

" Is it death the sudden blow of joy ? " Platcffs 
brain boils with the surging blood. 

Her hands are turning blue. She breathes not. 
Her heart is still. 

Before the gentlemen can bear the prostrate 
girl into the corridor, Abdallah the Moslem is by 
the side of the dying, or the dead. 

His keen eye notes the handkerchief clinched in 
the blue-shaded hand. 

While several volunteers aid the distracted ladies, 
Abdallah grasps Platoff by the arm. 

His skinny fingers almost meet in Platoff s 
muscles. 

" Bear her in an inner room at once, quick ! Her 
life is of a few moments. It is" (he tears off half 
of the pretty lace from the clinched and stiffened 
hands) " it is the deadly Tchina. " 

Platoff almost screams, " Poison ! " 

The curse of Ghazee Schamyl has fallen at last 
upon the defenceless head of the lovely Rose of 
Georgia. 

Maritza lies extended on a couch in an inner 
room of the foyer. The blue shade settles deeper 
on her face, the foam thickens on her lips. Vera 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 297 

Crbclian alone is by her side, with Platoff and 
Abdallah. 

The frantic girls are wailing with Madame 
Lazareff in a corner. 

" A Prankish leech! Quick for your life ! " Ab- 
dailah sharply calls. 

As a leading court physician presses his way 
into the room, Abdallah solemnly says : 

" Now, with Allah s blessing, bleed her at once 
and strongly." In a moment the satin dress sleeve 
is ripped up the corsage cut. The polished 
argent of her stainless, lifeless bosom is bare. 

No life, not a flutter. The blood will not flow. 

Solemnly Abdallah draws forth a vial of cut and 
twisted Turkish glass. 

u I appeal to the Holy Prophet. I know the 
Tchina poison. If the blood flows her life is saved. 
Now, force gently open her mouth ! 

"There!" 

A half of the vial s contents in a crystal tumbler 
of water, in equal share, is poured down the girl s 
throat. 

In the corner the sobs of the wailing ladies alone 
are heard. Silence surrounds the lovely victim. 
The blood drops slowly a little drop at first, then 
larger drops, at last a little stream from the 
bandaged marble arm. 

The Russian physician stares at the old man : 
" By what right do you take this risk?" 

Abdallah simply says : 

" I was a leech in the Sultan s harem once. I know 
the Kurdish Tchina. No Prankish skill will aid 
only this." He shows the half-emptied bottle. - 



298 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

Platoff is kneeling by the girl and chafing her 
hands. The shade is lighter on her face. 

The Russian doctor s hand is on the silent heart. 

The trickling blood flows more easily. The blue 
shade leaves the hands perceptibly. 

" Hakim," says Abdallah, solemnly, " if her 
heart beats a few moments, the second half of this 
vial will save her life. Wait ! " 

The throng are silent now. All eyes are fixed 
on the veteran Russian surgeon. 

Before his lips can utter the word, his smile tells 
the story. 

The woman s fluttering heart beats faintly. 

" Thank God ! " cries the doctor. 

Abdallah, the good angel, gravely notes the flow 
of blood. The trembling eyelid begins to waver 
more strongly. In five minutes there is a move 
ment of the breast the current of life, faint but 
regular. She breathes once more ! 

" Now bind the arm, Hakim," gravely directs 
Abdallah. It is quickly done. 

" Aid me to give her the rest of this liquid with 
out violence. Let all be silent." 

The girl begins to moan when the second por 
tion is taken. 

A dozen trusty agents of police are flying over 
St. Petersburg in search of the stranger whose devil 
work lies before them. The opera drones along. 

Carried to a carriage, the suffering girl is swiftly 
conveyed to the darkened home of the LazarefTs. 
Quiet reigns around the opera, where the police are 
swarming! A hundred secret agents search in vain 
for the poisoner. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 299 

Surgeons and physicians, in levee, examine the 
mysterious poison s work. Among them, lifted 
eyebrows and quiet sneers tell the story of doubting 
Thomas. 

Abdallah gravely cuts a fragment of the kerchief 
he has carefully secured, and thrusts it in a candle 
flame. It lies limp and white, unburned. 

" The deadliest curse of Kurdistan the Tchina ! 
When touched by moisture it acts at once ! " 

" Abdallah, whence comes it ? " Platoff queries. 

" From the deepest devil-broth of dark Eblis ! " 
Abdallah says to all. " Leave now the maiden. She 
must rest. She must be quiet." Platoff selects the 
two or three physicians whom Abdallah indicates. 

" Let there be a double guard around this house," 
he orders of Platoff. 

"I have none of the saving potion left. Only in 
Constantinople can it be gotten. Its weight in ten 
times purest diamonds would not buy it. 

" I shall stay here. I must watch the maiden for 
several days." 

Madame Lazareff and Vera Orbelian carry out 
the wishes of Abdallah. His whispered conferences 
with Dr. Ostrokoff make the latter cry, u Wonder 
ful ! wonderful ! " 

Platoff obeys Abdallah s directions to quiet the 
house. A pile of cushions is thrown down in the 
corridor in front of Maritza s door. 

" Here I will watch," he simply says. " Have 
some assistants watch the night there," pointing to 
the lower end of the hall. " See that they sleep 
not. The curse of Ghazee Schamyl never sleeps ! " 

" I shall be here," Platoff indicates. A room facing 



300 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

the only entrance to Maritza s door awaits him. In 
her apartment two Sisters of Charity, noblest of 
God s daughters, are on duty. 

The lonely house is silent. The hour wears late. 
Abdallah stands by Maritza s bedside. Platoff s 
eager eyes are watching her ashen face. She moans. 
Her arms pain her sorely. Deeply the surgeon s 
knife has sought the well-springs of her pure blood. 

Her eyes are half open. An awful idea strikes 
PlatofL The women are strange to her. But Abdal 
lah and himself are not ! There is no flicker of recog 
nition. Her eyes have the stare of a child. Great 
God ! she is following the flashing of the foolish tin 
sel on his uniform ! 

He grasps Abdallah. He menaces him ! She 
makes no sign. 

" Tell me, tell me all ! " PlatofT hoarsely whispers. 
" Is there anything wrong ? " 

" May the angel of Allah spread his wings over the 
day-star! And the Holy Prophet make smooth the 
path of the lion of the Caucasus ! 

" He comes to-morrow night ? " 

Platoff s tears are blinding him as he bows his 
head in speechless woe. 

" She may never speak or see him any more," 
sadly murmurs Abdallah. He leads Platoff from 
the room. " Her mind is vacant. Be it yours to 
meet this noble youth, and make this burden known 
to him. The future is with Allah." 

The old Turk s uplifted ringer implores the mercy 
of God. He sadly turns away, for Platoff throws 
himself on his couch in an agony. Madness . 
Maritza demented ! An awful blow! 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 301 

And, happy-hearted, the lovelight burning in the 
fiery eyes which faced the mad midnight battle in 
the Kanly fort to save her, Ahmed Schamyl is racing 
along toward the Neva. 

" I shall see her to-morrow. I shall hear her say, 
Ahmed, my own ! mine only ! " he whispers to 
himself. 

God s infinite mercy lifts not the veil too soon 
which brings forth the manifold sorrows of the fate- 
stricken children of Eve. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

HOME AGAIN. IN THE ORBELIAN PALACE. FIND 
ING A SISTER. THE OPENING OF THE NEVA. 

PAUL PLATOFF S dreams in the LazarefT house are 
haunted by a suffering lily face. A sweet girl s 
vacant eyes roving over his person in childlike curi 
osity ! 

As he awakes to the saddest day of his life, his 
first thought is Dr. Abdallah s injunction, " You 
alone must tell Schamyl." 

He rubs his eyes. It is, alas! not a dream. 

The attendants in the halls come at his signal. 
Abdallah is in the sick-room. In a half-hour he 
noiselessly emerges. 

Platoff s eyes ask the question. 

" Better, my son ! Stronger, but the spirit is still 
absent ! " 

Led by Abdallah, he enters the princely maiden s 
room. 



3O2 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

There, pale and worn, yet breathing regularly, the 
Rose of Tiflis lies. No hopeful sign ! The fearful 
blow of the poison upon the nerve centres has par 
alyzed her mind. 

In the morning-room Madame Lazareff and the 
anxious girls wait for the report. 

Abdallah forbids any one to enter, save the phy 
sician, the nurses, and herself. Only time, and gath 
ering native nerve force, can obliterate the fearful 
shock to the mind. 

A double-fanged serpent ! If it kills not, the golden 
cord of the mind may snap forever. Only the old 
Aztec secrets of the Loco poison, guarded by fanatics 
from the Rio Grande to the dark wilds of Honduras, 
have a formula of such a dreaded poison as the Asiatic 
" Tchina." Poor widowed Empress Carlotta, after 
twenty years, bears the awful cross of a ruined intel 
lect. Her deadly foe, Juarez (poisoned in his bath), 
and other wrecked minds and lives, are ghastly 
reminders of the work of the Aztec " Loco " poi 
sons. Where the children of the Incas sometimes 
fail, the conspirators of the harem always succeed. 
To close the lips, to shatter the mind, to poison with 
a rose in one fragrant death-stroke, to reduce to 
mania or idiocy is their work. They delight to 
bring on the fatal end under sudden excitement or 
after years of lingering pain. They can snuff out 
the mental candle like lightning. These are the 
gloomy secrets of the seraglio poisoners. 

The Orient, mother of arts, languages, and king 
doms, has the fatal mist of conspiracy and concealed 
crime floating ever through its fairest bowers 

Platoff mournfully orders his sleigh. To find the 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 303 

news of the day ; to learn if the miscreant has 
been caught ; to locate the imperial train, and to 
meet Schamyl this is his sad duty ! 

Abdallah calms the heart-broken women mourn 
ers. The extremest quiet must be the price of 
recovery, even if long delayed. 

Platoff, in a boudoir, takes leave of the Princess 
Orbelian. Her noble soul goes out to the suffering 
sister of her heart. 

" Paul," she says, with a rare smile lighting up 
her tears, " my palace, my country home, is the 
place ! We will surround Maritza with tenderestlove 
and care. I will offer it to General Lazareff when 
he comes. You know I enter now into my woman 
hood." 

With a fervent kiss, Platoff dashes away to the 
heart of the city. He learns no news. 

The police have been baffled. The whole opera 
thought the lady had only fainted. There is no social 
excitement. Tragedies are frequent in Petersburg. 

The grim colonel in charge of the city police sta 
tion is mystified. "Major Platoff," he says, " this 
devil must have slipped into the bazaars ! In Ori 
ental garb it would take years to find him. I fear 
he will escape us ! " He grinds his teeth in rage. 

It is too true ! There are sixty thousand scat 
tered Orientals in St. Petersburg. 

Sorrowing, yet not surprised, Paul drives through 
the streets. Everywhere decorations and prepara 
tions for the imperial train. The Emperor may go 
to Gatschina. But the gala train of the imperial 
staff, the generals, princes, and great court officers, 
will arrive in the evening. 



304 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

After conference with the Minister of Interior, 
Paul is given a special engine to meet the train. 

The roads of Russia are closed to travel when the 
great Czar is en route. 

With an hour spent in preparation, Platoff is in 
readiness. 

Driving back to report to the circle at the Laza- 
reffs, Paul learns the state of Maritza is the same. 
Away on the rail he speeds to prepare Prince 
Ahmed for this sad home-coming. It is too cruel ! 

No vigilance of the police is spared. The Laza- 
reff house is searched in every nook. A cordon of 
the Third Section watches its every approach. 

Dr. Abdallah, calmly smoking on his divan cush 
ions at the end of the corridor, performs his daily 
ablutions. Facing the east, he prays in his sol 
emn fashion for the lovely Frankish idol of his 
friend s heart. Nothing now surprises the old Mos 
lem. His life has been spent in scenes of deadly 
conspiracy, of black intrigue and frenzied revenge. 

Two hours travel places Platoff s train on a siding 
awaiting the imperial party. The official wire has 
flashed a message to Schamyl. 

" Waiting you here special train. Important news for you." 

Far away, with shrieking whistles, the gala train 
approaches. Petersburg, wild with delight, awaits 
its absent notables. 

No heart bounds more gayly than Schamyl s; yet, 
when the despatch is handed him, he has once more 
a vision of a lovely woman, lifeless, the glistening 
pearls shining on her fair neck, and bending over her 
always that man. He cannot even now see the face. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 305 

With a roar and a shriek the great train draws 
up. One division proceeds to Gatschina. The 
other will go through to allow the citizens a sight 
of heroes laurelled in victory. 

Platoff, standing on the platform, gazes at the 
train. In an instant, Schamyl, his eyes blazing like 
fire, clasps him in his arms. 

" Maritza ! " he hoarsely says. 

" Is in St. Petersburg," Platoff answers, with 
averted face. 

" She -is ill she is dead!" Ahmed s voice rises 
almost to a shriek. 

" She is very ill, Schamyl," Paul answers. "Come 
into my train. I must talk to you, alone." 

While the imperial convoy dashes away to Gatsch 
ina, the official division moves steadily on toward 
Petersburg. Ahmed sits in the car with Platoff, his 
head in his hands. 

Strong man as he is, his frame is shaken with the 
fury of his rage. His ardent soul is torn with his 
frantic sorrow. He knows the story now ! 

To such a home-coming ! To see the exquisite 
mind overthrown, to find her lovely face only a 
waxen blank, struck in her innocence by the coward 
fiend Ghazee ! To be powerless to avert, to guard, 
to save, that one darling head ! This is the crown 
of thorns a life s misery ! 

He raises desperate eyes to his friend. Paul im 
plores him to be master of himself. It is a blot 
ting out of all the tender past a shattering of the 
golden future ! 

All the scenes of war fade away. There is but 
one picture in their minds. That suffering woman s 

20 



306 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

frozen smile may never change till another life shall 
be given her ! 

" Vengeance ! " Ahmed hisses. " To the end of 
the world ! " 

Paul lays a hand on his arm. " Leave that to 
God alone, Schamyl," he solemnly says. 

Moodily gazing from the windows, with eager 
glance Ahmed eyes the spires of Petersburg. 

Descending in the station, where thousands fran 
tically welcome the heroes of the hour, the two 
friends thread the joyous crowd. 

" Take me to her at once ! " Schamyl cries. 

On through the illuminated streets the sleigh 
dashes. 

Platoff precedes Schamyl into the Lazareff man 
sion. 

While Ahmed paces the salon like a tiger, Platoff 
returns with Abdallah. 

The ladies have not the courage to gaze yet on 
the princely lover in his despair. 

" Come," says Abdallah, simply. At the thresh 
old of the sick chamber the old man places his 
withered finger on his lip. 

Schamyl bows. 

Platoff, on tiptoe, sees the now familiar sight. 
That lovely pallid face, the wandering hands, the 
earnest, sad-eyed Sisters of Charity with tender 
woman hearts alive to human sorrows ! On his 
knees beside the woman he has sought through fire 
and flame, the victor Prince of the Caucasus! 

There is silence. Her eyes slowly meet his. They 
rove over his face, unchanged. She makes no sign. 
Ah, yes ! a pleased expression, as of a spoiled in- 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 307 

fant. One lovely arm is extended toward him. He 
leans toward her. She picks at the great white 
cross upon his breast. 

" Speak to her, Prince," Abdallah softly whispers. 

" Maritza, my darling ! My own beloved ! " His 
voice trembles. Its accent is as sad as the wind 
sweeping over the tomb of the best beloved. 

Steadily her splendid eyes are fixed upon the 
white cross of valor. She will have it that bauble 
for which his life has been risked a hundred times. 

Detaching it, he places it in her hand. 

With a satisfied smile she sinks back on her pil 
low. 

But she cannot hear the call of love from his 
heart of hearts. 

He is on his knees and sobbing madly. " Come ! " 
Abdallah touches him on the shoulder. 

Pressing loyal lips on her brow, the princely Cir 
cassian lover staggers from the room. 

In the next half-hour he knows how this sorrow 
has stricken the gentle hearts around her. 

Abdallah while Schamyl, lowly speaking, talks 
with Princess Orbelian, his eyes filled with a vague 
wonder draws Platoff from the room. 

" Watch him ! Every moment, my son ! Leave 
him not. There is a madness which kills not others, 
but the madman alone. Force him away. Make 
him talk of other things the war, his own life. But 
this this will kill him if he yields to his mood." 

The night of general rejoicing sees Schamyl a 
guest at Platoff s rooms, and watched in his slum 
bers by faithful friends. 

On the morrow Platoff resolutely occupies Scha- 



308 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

myl s attention. To drive to the Ministry of War 
and obtain a leave ; to notify General Lazareff, 
who cannot return for a month ; to inform Count 
Ignatief by telegraph ; to conduct the court physi 
cian to the bed of the invalid for a conference all 
this is useful and distracting work. 

With infinite patience Abdallah directs the treat 
ment of the invalid. The Russian physicians mar 
vel at the old Hakim. Before the evening the ver 
dict of a council is announced rest, quiet, and 
change of scene. 

Madame Lazareff accepts the offer of the Princess 
Orbelian. In a few days Maritza is in the long 
silent home of the old family. 

Schamyl, with a faithful detachment of soldiers, as 
well as police, finds his employment in insuring the 
safety of the gentle invalid. 

The Emperor s aide-de-camp, sent to examine and 
report, bears to Prince Schamyl the imperial man 
date to present himself at court, in due season, for 
special honors and rewards. 

Ahmed s mind has recovered its balance. But a 
settled gloom and sadness weighs upon his soul. 

The one bright flash of love and life in the splen 
did home of the Orbelians, near Tsarskoe-Zeloe, is 
the young heiress of the house. 

Platoff has received the imperial permission to 
marry. It will not be as Major, but as Colonel 
Platoff, whose officers of his new regiment only wait 
for happier days, to give a rousing wedding feast to 
the hero of Loftscha. 

The city on the Neva is in wild triumph. 

The trees which Maritza watched begin to put 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 309 

forth their little green shoots. Alas, her light foot 
wanders no more in the " lover s tryst " of the 
Winter Palace gardens ! Attended by a faithful 
nun, or leaning on the arm of one of her three 
graces, the Dame Blanche silently walks the 
splendid corridors of the old Orbelian home. 
She speaks not. She notices the objects around 
her mechanically. 

Ahmed s guiding arm assists her. In the frank 
abandonment of childhood, she follows. She greets 
not his coming. She heeds not his going. There 
is no smile to answer his loving gaze. 

Seated by Vera Orbelian s side, she plays with 
the objects of Vera s daily examination. The 
guardians and tutors have delivered to Princess 
Vera her mother s jewels, personal mementos and 
papers. 

Maritza grows stronger, but Abdallah s brow is 
carved with deepest wrinkles. He sees what others 
cannot see. Ahmed s heart is wearing out by 
inches. Hope not deferred, but gainsaid. No 
friendly ray on the gray horizon of these days ! 

Madame Lazareff, preparing for the general s 
return, is absent often. 

Platoff tries to rouse Schamyl. Seated in the 
library, they discuss the war. Its solid fruits are 
now assured. Paul, with comrade-like delicacy, 
keeps his own happy love in the background. 
Yet he must see that Schamyl s eyes follow Vera 
Orbelian with a yearning tenderness. It is because 
of her gentle kindness to the stricken Princess 
Maritza, who sits and plays with the old letters 
Vera is reading for the first time. 



3io PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

The treaty of peace is published. Russia s 
enormous gains astonish the people the whole 
control of Asia Minor ; the great fortresses ; 
Bessarabia regained; the loss of 1856 made good ; 
the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina ; 
Bulgaria s autonomy ; a huge war indemnity ; Rou- 
mania, Servia, and Montenegro freed ; the menac 
ing Danube fortresses evacuated ! 

"Schamyl," Platoff cries, "we have gained all, 
save only the Dardanelles and St. Sophia. 

" But it will come ! " he cries, with sparkling eyes. 

" I have done with glory and its dreams," Scha 
myl moodily cries. " I d give the whole of Armenia, 
if I had it, to hear that angel speak once more to 
me." 

He cannot be roused. He wanders away to 
lovely Vera, whose tender eyes are often dim with a 
child s tribute to a loved mother. She is reading 
her mother s heart old letters. He hears a joy 
ful cry. With sparkling eyes she hails Schamyl. 
Silent Maritza wonders at the royal jewels she 
fondly trifles with. The dark-robed Sister of Charity 
gazes on the lovely pair. For Maritza s glorious 
eyes mutely shine out in tender appeal : " Help 
me ! " 

Abdallah fears now the help is not in this world. 

" Prince Ahmed ! " Vera cries. " Come here ! I 
am a Circassian, too ! " She is holding a letter. 

His brow lights up. 

"Explain! I beg you!* 

" I have just found this sealed letter, in which my 
dear loved mother tells me I was born in the Circas 
sian mountains while the army was there." 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 311 

Maritza s wistful eyes rove over the eager faces 
of Ahmed and Vera. 

" And your exact age now ? " Schamyl eagerly 
asks. 

The wondering girl tells him. Abruptly, without 
a word, Schamyl leaves the room. 

Returning with Platoff, whose face is blank with 
amazement, Schamyl leads the wondering girl up to 
her mother s picture. It is smiling down in the 
splendid boudoir, which her daughter now makes 
radiant with her own sweet presence. 

" Vera," he softly says, " is that your mother ? " 

The lady looks up shyly. Is he wandering, too ? 
Is his mind unthroned ? 

" My darling mother," she whispers, her hands 
clasped on her breast. 

" Vera, she was my mother also," Schamyl softly 
says, with a tender smile; " and you, you dear child, 
are my own sister! " 

Her head is buried in a brother s arms. Paul 
Platoff softly walks back to Maritza, seated, toying 
with the jewels. 

Beside the mother s tomb in the old family 
chapel, brother and sister kneel together. The hal 
lowed air seems full of rushing spirit wings. 

When they unfold to Paul all the story, he knows 
that his bride and his friend are both children of the 
great Schamyl. 

The seal of years is lifted from the strange 
history. Schamyl knows now the dying Hassan 
would have named in his last gasp the gentle sister 
whose smile is shed on his darkened soul like moon 
light on the waters. 



312 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

As he seeks his couch, Vera whispers with her 
good-night : " Ahmed, my brother, God s mercy 
may save you yet ! Maritza s happiest days may 
come with the roses budding nozu ! " 

Plat off and Schamyl make a pilgrimage of two 
days to the city of Peter. 

Closeted with General Ignatief, they learn the 
whole story of Princess Orbelian. The brothers 
in arms are soon to be united by a closer tie. The 
marriage wraps Princess Maritza with a nearer 
cordon of loving friends. 

Ignatief accords the right of Colonel Platoff to 
know the birth of his wife. Master of the policy 
of the Russian government, he explains to the 
young men the long captivity of Princess Orbelian 
at Dargo, the enforced marriage of the lovely host 
age with Sultan Schamyl, the Lion of Daghes- 
tan ! 

General Orbelian s death, his long absence on 
service, the seven years disappearance of the prin 
cess, were matters incident to the romantic border 
service of Russia. 

The policy of the great Czar in advancing 
Schamyl s second son, in surrounding Vera Orbe 
lian s girlhood with tenderest attentions, was sug 
gested by the importance of the succession to the 
princely suzerainty of Circassia. 

For the first time in his life, Ahmed Schamyl 
grasps the secret of the Moslem cunning of his royal 
father. 

Breaking the oath of his first capitulation, betray 
ing his soldier s honor pledged to General Fesi, at 
Tileth in 1837, ne was later bound by personal grat- 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 313 

itude to the Czar for the return of Jamal-Eddin, 
his darling first-born. 

When the death of Jamal-Eddin in the foreign 
Turkish service plunged him in frantic sorrow, his 
final surrender to Prince Baryatinsky left him, at 
last, helpless in the power of the Czar. 

His people scattered, Circassia devastated by forty 
years of war his own career was ended. 

From the palaces of Dargo, he descended in royal 
state with two new bonds tying his faith to the 
Czar. His legitimate successor, Ghazee Schamyl, 
might die or be the victim of treachery ! 

" He was a grand old diplomatist," Ignatief en 
thusiastically cries to his young listeners. 

" Desirous of wielding the sceptre of the Cau 
casus through his sons, he remained quiet at Kaluga 
in Russia for nine years a stately captive ! 

" When he allowed Princess Orbelian and her in 
fant daughter to return to Russia in exchange for 
his first-born, he withheld the son of their marriage. 

" You know, Prince Ahmed, your education dif 
fered from Ghazee s. There were interviews, now 
covered with the mantle of eternal silence, between 
Sultan Schamyl and his lovely Russian wife during 
his years at Kaluga. 

" The fiery Moslem must have deeply loved the 
gentle woman, who drooped into the grave soon 
after his downfall, for he educated you as a Chris 
tian. 

" Some pledge of love, some last desire to do 
tardy justice to the beautiful woman whom he 
roughly wooed in her long captivity, must have soft 
ened the old rebel s heart. 



314 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

" To Ghazee alone he poured out his political 
plans of the future his Jesuitic schemes to replace 
a Schamyl on the warrior throne of Circassia ! 

" You he was content to see in the Russian service, 
knowing that from policy the government would 
advance you in your career. He felt that years 
would bring your sister and yourself together. He 
knew it was your right to be a Christian. 

" The Orbelian inheritance provided for her. 
Your own wealth was set aside by your father, with 
our government s approval." 

" Mysterious and wonderful man!" Ahmed mur 
murs. " Count, I cannot understand his last years." 

Ignatief resumes. 

" We did not ourselves until the events of the 
last war. After the death of Princess Orbelian his 
mystic moods returned. The dreamer longed for 
a death in the holy places a voyage to Mecca and 
Medina. It was part policy, part devotion. 

" He outwitted the Czar in his old age. He well 
knew as a mere rebel Ghazee could never succeed 
in regaining the Caucasus. 

"He trained Ghazee in all his own dark wiles. 
Leaving him here to penetrate our policy, he retired 
to Arabia and died there. 

" His master mind built up at Constantinople, 
with the higher Ulemas of the Moslem church, the 
plan of Ghazee s counter rebellion. He knew the 
inevitable Russo-Turkish war was near. Turkey was 
to aid in driving Russia back to the natural line of 
the Caucasus, and Ghazee was to reign alone. 

u It was for this he sent him these solemn last 
messages. He bound your servitor Hassan to 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 315 

never reveal your birth while living. Ghazee hated 
you as the son of a gentle Russian who swayed 
your royal father s mind. It was mere state policy 
with us to forbid public acknowledgments of that 
union. But Ghazee failed in exciting the wild en 
thusiasm of your father among the mountaineers. 
Cold, selfish, and brutal, he was not loved. He only 
desired to wed Princess Maritza to strengthen his 
claims. 

" Besides, my young friends, he failed to recog 
nize the Russianizing of his native provinces in 
tw-enty years. The railway and modern arms made 
the renewal of a Circassian rebellion wild folly." 

Prince Ahmed sees clearly at last. 

" A great tribute to Schamyl s prophetic mind ! 
He knew Turkey could not conquer us, but hoped 
that England would actively aid with her enormous 
fleet. He hoped they would hold the Black Sea, 
while the Turks, with the Circassian rebellion, swept 
away our power in Asia Minor." 

"And Europe?" Ahmed asks. 

" There again his genius shines. He dreamed 
that Austria would be strong enough to hold Russia 
off the Danube by mere jealousy. The rise of the 
Prussian power cleared away the strongest active 
enemy of Russia in the principalities. Austria is 
dead. 

" These future schemes were dinned into Scha 
myl s ears by the diplomatic agents of France, Eng 
land, and Austria. He was persuaded by his own 
Turkish friends. There were continued offers of 
aid to him, even to the last." 

" These agents deceived him," Ahmed murmurs. 



316 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

" Ah, my dear Prince ! " Ignatief replies with a 
smile. " Diplomacy is only refined lying ! When 
the game of war opens, the strongest takes all 
the prizes. It is a poor trade, modern diplo 
macy ! 

" Look at Russia ! We never go back ! Forced 
to be cunning, we win and hold by the strong title 
of the sword. 

" Onward to Asia ! On to the Pacific ! On to 
Constantinople ! On to the Persian Gulf! Such is 
our natural path." 

The count pauses, his roving black eyes watch 
the eager listeners. 

"And yet England is in our patJi." 

The great count smiles as he rises and directs the 
traditional wine to be served. 

" Both you gentlemen may live to ride as generals 
of division in the death struggle for India which 
will be fought with England on the lines of the 
Asiatic border. We shall flatter and hold France 
as our ally. We will give them a part of the great 
East." 

" Communications! " both the soldiers cry. 

" Gentlemen, General AnenkofT is already ordered 
to build the railway from the Caspian shore to 
Merv, Tashkend, and Samarcand. 

" Within a year the railway from Poti and Batoum 
to Kutars, Tiflis, and Baku will be in construction. 

" We may not live to see it, but in less than a 
quarter of a century the Russian military roads 
will control in one unbroken line, without change 
of car, the Indian, Chinese, and Siberian boundaries. 
We will gain territory on every border. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 317 

" The locomotive will have a clear path to the 
blue Pacific at Vladivostock. 

" Where will our English friends be then?" 

He pauses in triumph. The dictatorship drifts 
toward him now. A dangerous honor! 

With warm greetings the coming dictator dis 
misses the two soldiers. 

" I expect to hear of your marriage at a very 
early day, Colonel Platoff. Pray believe me, it 
would be the wisest step. The late Princess Orbc- 
lian arranged her papers before her death, so that 
her daughter would know, only at the right time, 
the secret of her birth. 

" Prince Schamyl, on behalf of the Emperor, I 
am authorized to say that should Colonel Platoff 
and his wife, or the Lazareffs, wish to take Princess 
Maritza abroad for travel or medical assistance, 
every official aid will be freely given. Your presen 
tation to the Emperor only aw x aits your happier 
days." 

Before the mid-April leaves are timidly unfolding 
their delicate green fronds to the warmer sunlight, 
there is a quiet wedding in the chapel of the Orbe- 
lians. Vera is given away by General Lazareffs 
honored hand to Paul Platoff in marriage. 

Madame Lazareff, a few of the knights of the 
sword, and the two lovely belles of Tiflis are the 
witnesses. 

As the white-robed priests raise the deep swelling 
tones of the Russian marriage service, while the 
boy choir alternates in music of the angels, Ahmed 
Schamyl s eyes grow misty. Supported by Abdal- 
Jah, whose loving-kindness endears him, silent Ma- 



318 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

ritza watches all. The good Sisters of Chanty 
meekly tell their beads near by. Maritza, the Rose 
of Tiflis, wonders at the mystic ceremony. She 
makes no sign. 

Clad in rich, clinging white robes, the beautiful 
girl s face is childlike. No words escape the sealed 
portals of her rosy lips, but she smiles and points 
in glee at the golden crowns held over the heads of 
bride and groom. 

Ahmed s pearls are gleaming to-day on her neck. 
On her bosom she wears the white cross of Schamyl. 
With a strange childish fancy, she will not part with 
it, but plays with it for hours. 

Quietly, royally, the wedding-breakfast ends the 
celebration. Maritza, gentle soul, follows meekly 
the happy bride. For pain and sorrow, joy and 
hope s high longings, touch not her idle mind. 

It is two weeks after the bridal, when the advice 
of the wisest, Abdallah s utter lack of hope, and 
General LazarefT s wishes, decide the loving circle 
to go abroad with the stricken one. Perhaps change 
of scene, some skilful specialist, some providential 
chance, may break the silence of this affected daugh 
ter of princes. 

General Lazareff, a lion of the triumphant court 
circles, aids with his widest experience in every 
plan. To Schamyl he brings news from Mehemet 
Pacha. Ghazee Schamyl and his Kurdish bride 
have disappeared. Tiflis is in general sorrow 
for the loved princess. The utmost skill of spy 
and agent, secret section and refugee, fail to 
connect Ghazee directly with the blow so foully 
struck. 



PRINCE SCHAMYLS WOOING. 319 

Rejected by the Turks, Ghazee has fled to Egypt, 
to Arabia, perchance to Morocco. 

Grim Lazareff recounts the positive threats of the 
Russian government to the Turkish authorities, that 
any appearance of Ghazee on the border would be 
followed by prompt and unpitying punishment. He 
is useless to the Turks now. Mustapha Bey seeks 
vengeance for Nadya Vronsky s death. 

Old Ismail Pacha knows the fate of a Russian 
renegade, traitor, and deserter. The wily Kurd 
aided the disappearance of the would-be assassin ! 

Gathered in St. Petersburg, the little circle makes 
ready for its departure. 

It is high time. The court is bidden to the gor 
geous ceremony of the opening of the Neva. 

From the huge polygon, the gloomy fortress of 
Petropaulosk, with barbaric opulence of display, the 
governor of the great fortress of the crown in state 
proceeds. He offers in a golden cup the waters of 
the Neva to the imperial lord of the frozen north. 

When the blue waters race to the sea, once more 
clangor of bell and boom of cannon peal out. The 
lord of the waters receives the announcement of the 
return of the short summer. 

General and Madame Lazareff attend this royal 
ceremony. Countless thousands line the banks to 
welcome the imperial victor. 

The splendor of Asia wraps the peculiar ceremony 
of the Russian court with mediaeval display. Priest 
and dignitary, fashion and the multitude, lend their 
aid. 

Platoff and his happiest of brides are with the 
party. The departure is only delayed for Madame 



320 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

Lazareff, who must take part in the great reunion 
of the court. 

Seated at an open window in the family mansion, 
Prince Ahmed guards, alone, his suffering loved one. 
Not a single moment has she been unwatched since 
the fatal stroke of the demon enemy. 

The breath of spring wanders through the case 
ment. There are roses by the side of the gentle 
invalid. Save for her vacant silence no one could 
tell how sadly the Rose of Tiflis is weighed down 
by the paralysis of the mysterious poison. 

In the corner, faithful and devoted, the Russian 
nun sits, praying for the afflicted. 

Proud music swells in street and square. The 
legions of the Czar are marching to the great re 
view of victory. For the Champ de Mars to-day 
will see the flower of Russia march past with the 
banners, battle consecrated, of Plevna and of Kars, 
of Shipka and of Loftscha. It is the great feast 
of victory. At high noon the boom of a single 
gun announces the departure of the official mes 
sage. 

" The Neva is open. Its waters are once more 
under guard of his Majesty s legions." 

The golden tribute cup is offered in midstream to 
the Emperor. 

Schamyl sadly gazes on the beautiful girl who 
heeds not the swelling martial music. Boom of bell 
or the joyous cries of the multitude in the streets 
stir her not. 

He cannot ride to-day before the eyes of the 
great Emperor, and the dangerous beauties of the 
northern world. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 321 

In twenty minutes a terrific salvo of all the guns 
of the fortress shakes the ground. The casements 
rattle again with a second grand peal from a hun 
dred steel throats. 

Schamyl hears a voice. He turns like a flash. 

Maritza is standing, her hands clasped. There is 
surely a strong effort of her will. Her lips are mov 
ing ! 

The nun springs toward the fair girl. When the 
last salvo shakes the room Maritza cries, " The Rus 
sians are coming! Ahmed, my own! He comes 
to save me ! " 

As she totters and sinks, the strong arms of her 
lover are round her. 

Resting in a chair, the kneeling nun is gazing in 
rapture on her brightening face. As Schamyl s 
kisses warm her waxen hands, she slowly mur 
murs : 

" They are coming to save me ! Ahmed ! Killed ? 
Oh, my God ! " 

With a shriek she falls exhausted in the chair. 

That sound brings Abdallah from his noon-day 
prayers, in a haste which proves his devotion. 

" Quick now ! " he cries. He knows the voice of 
the silent lady. 

" A flask of brandy ! " 

A restoring draught is given the unconscious 
girl. Ahmed whispers the tidings. 

Abdallah motions the nun to leave the room. 
The black robe glides to the door. 

" Watch her, Prince, ALONE, when she wakes. It 
is our last chance ! " 

He shuffles behind a curtain. 

21 



322 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

A faint fluttering of the eyelids. Schamyl s heart 
beats as if it would burst its bonds. O God ! have 
mercy ! 

The lids open slowly. He is kneeling before her. 
A flash of lovelight gleams on her sweet face. She 
softly says, clasping him in her clinging arms : 

" I knew you would come. My Ahmed, my lover ! 
Let us fly away, away from the cannon ! " 

The seal is broken. She knows him now. When 
the carnage sweeps up, late in the afternoon, with 
Madame Lazareff and the ladies, old Abdallah in 
majesty receives them. 

" Praise be to Allah ! Go not up ! The prophet 
of God has sent his blessing upon the angel of your 
house. She is saved ! " 

The excited ladies throw themselves upon the 
Moslem. Platoff s witching bride, the stately lady, 
and the nymphs cause him to think that the Prank 
ish women are marvels. He gently leads them into 
the drawing-room. 

It is his hour of supreme triumph. In a half- 
hour, with clattering escort, General Lazareff and 
Colonel Platoff ride into the courtyard. 

Platoff is astounded ! His sweet wife almost 
throws herself under the feet of the chargers. 

" Paul ! Paul ! Come ! She is saved ! " she cries. 
He leaps to the ground. 

With an agility which the young men envy, old 
General Lazareff throws himself also out of the 
saddle. Plumes, stars, and medals, jingling sabre, 
and all, he dashes into the house. Platoff is in his 
wife s arms. She is weeping and laughing. 

" Softly, great chief," entreats Abdallah. " I will 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 323 

go up and find if I may show you this child of 
Allah s grace." 

Lumbering up the stairs, blessing the prophet s 
name, Abdallah returns. 

He leads the procession and entreats silence. 

Into the room, one after another, the delighted 
throng softly pass. 

It is a dream of heavenly peace and joy ! For 
there, under the mild smile of the jewelled picture 
of the Virgin Mother, lies the Rose of Tiflis. Scha- 
myl, with the light of his new-found happiness 
transfiguring his face, holds one slender hand which 
peeps out of the coverlid. The great ruby ring 
gleams upon the snowy finger he is caressing. On 
his bosom shines once more his own white cross. 

Her lovely face beams with the radiance of the 
old days. Her arms close around Vera Platoff in 
the first kiss of a new sisterhood. 

One by one the circle greet with tenderest words 
the beauty of Tiflis returned from the dark land 
of shadows. 

Abdallah leads them from the room. But by her 
side, in rapture, the prince of the Caucasus watches 
the lovely one whose eyes are now closing in the 
slumber of happy excitement. 



The delightful days following the return of 
Princess Maritza s consciousness bring but one 
disagreement among the dwellers in the house of 

joy- 
General Lazareff ascribes the cure to the sage 

and doubly venerated Abdallah. 

The old Turk gravely relates how, at the hour of 



324 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

his noon-day prayer, the mighty hand of the prophet 
was stretched forth in aid. 

The Russian ladies, aided by the gentle Sisters, 
in grateful prayer bow before the holy picture of 
the jewelled shrine. It is a new miracle ! 

Practical Paul PlatofT, with pardonable profes 
sional pride, insists that the terrific shock of the 
salvos of the fortress artillery recalled the awful 
cannonade of Kars. It broke, with overmastering 
power of fear, memory, and love, the seal of silence. 

The gallant and stately Schamyl, whispering 
burning words of love s long silent story to *he 
now blooming beauty, is too happy and thankful 
to argue. He thinks he can hear the silver chime 
of wedding-bells. 

CHAPTER XV. 

AN EMPEROR S GIFT. THE BRIDES OF DARGO. 
TIDINGS OF GHAZEE. A LAST SHOT. UNDER 
THE WHITE TOWER. TREASURE - TROVE. - 

KISMET. 

BENEATH the fragrant spring blossoms, Ahmed 
and Maritza take up the golden threads of love s 
precious story. They walk the gardens of the Orbe- 
lian palace. 

Her recovery is absolute. Calmly Abdallah eyes 
his completed work. All the physicians demand 
that she be spared every excitement. 

Ignorant of the cause of her illness and the insidi 
ous attack on her life, Maritza de Deshkalin looks 
forward only to her coming marriage. 

The departure of the Lazareffs is delayed for the 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 325 

bridal. The wedding-bells ring out. Happy Maritza 
accedes to Prince Ahmed s wishes for an immediate 
union. 

Before the altar where Paul and Vera joined their 
hands, Schamyl takes the Rose to his bosom for aye. 
It is a dream of quiet ecstasy, the solemn pageant ! 

After the ceremony, lovely Maritza learns of the 
strange tie doubly binding to her heart the budding 
matron Vera. 

A wedding of surprises! An imperial aide pre 
sented himself as a witness for the Czar. A delega 
tion of the officers of the Circassians of the royal 
guard appeared on behalf of the army. 

Count Ignatief; in stately grandeur, gazed on the 
beautiful scene. Standing in the halls of the palace, 
gazing on his long unknown but ever-loved mother s 
face, Prince Schamyl, ready for the ceremony, 
receives as a personal gift from the Emperor the 
storied sword which his father bore in his kingly 
sway over the Caucasus. His rank as major-general 
with it ! 

A mandate to appear, in special audience, before 
the Czar, at Tsarskoe-Zeloe, accompanies this crown 
ing honor of a sovereign s grace. 

On behalf of the Empress, the courtly Ignatief 
presents to the bride a necklace of diamonds, which, 
glistening on her neck at a special presentation of 
the groom and bride, is a signal mark of the favor 
of the august Czarina. 

Ahmed Schamyl, among the roses blooming in his 
mother s fairy bowers, finds no rose as fair as the 
blushing bride whose sorrows have melted away 
under the sun of the wedding-morn. 



326 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

In the old hall, seated as master of the feast, Paul 
Platoff toasts the loveliest bride in Russia. His 
eyes fondly rest upon Vera, a matron of brief but 
wondrous experience, sitting in piquant beauty the 
lady of the castle. 

While the feast is at its height, Count Ignatief 
takes his leave. Yet he lingers for an hour of 
earnest conference with Colonel Platoff and Abdal- 
lah. A man of mysteries! The book of the past 
has yet its sealed pages. 

Golden days run away, lightly linked in rosy bands. 
There is happiness in the home of the Orbelians. 
Maritza s face glows with the olden beauty and a 
newer light. 

Abdallah with majestic mien takes an affecting 
farewell of his friends. He has a secret mission. 
The gloomy fastnesses o/ his Goomri abode will 
soon receive him. " Inshallah ! The peace of the 
prophet be upon you all ! " he utters, as he salaams. 
He is not loath to revisit his own harem. 

The return of the brides to Tiflis, and a visit to 
Dargo, is the finale of the weddings. The brother 
and sister long to see the old castle of their birth. 
It will be graced by the presence of Abdallah. He 
is charged with secret missions from the foreign 
office. A special duty is laid on him also by Count 
Ignatief. He goes rejoicing on his way. 

Platoff alone knows its import. The Prince and 
Princess Schamyl, in state, as due their rank, bow 
to the rulers of the great empire. 

Schamyl s chosen command, the cavalry of the 
frontier, awaits him. To Circassia ! Away ! 

It is his dearest wish to restore and reoccupy the 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 327 

vacant halls of Dargo, where his father s white man 
tle once glittered in pride. 

To show Paul the glories of the matchless Cau 
casus ; to wander hand in hand with Vera where 
their gentle mother lingered in her cloud-capped 
palace ; to see the star-like eyes of Maritza shining 
on him among her own roses at Tiflis, where the sil 
ver minarets of great Ararat rise far in the sapphire 
sky is the prince s fondest desire. 

Week after week of Petersburg s fetes and splen 
dors have exhausted the public capacity for frantic 
rejoicing. The court and its gilded circle begin to 
seek the bosky woods and the fragrant dells of the 
romantic country palaces. Old boyar, great noble, 
proud prince, and powerful courtier disperse to Fin 
land, the Crimea, or family mansions far away from 
the shadows of the Winter Palace. 

The Lazareffs make the " grand tour." It is a 
family party of four which, in merriest mood, leaves 
for the storied mountains of the Tcherkess. Rus 
sian prestige demands it. 

PlatofT and Ahmed recount their campaign scenes 
as the plains of the Kherson fly by. The happy 
brides are waiting to see the white peak of Elburz 
rise from the southern line of the, steppes. 

Day by day the long panorama unrolls. In the 
gorges of the royal peaks the song of the pines wel 
comes the wanderers. 

Fragrant breezes fan the brows of the merry 
beauties. 

At Vladikaukas, an -escort of honor awaits the 
Prince of the Caucasus. Schamyl s heart bounds 
with pride when he recognizes in the wild " Hourra," 



328 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

the voices of the men who followed him when he 
first smote the Kurdish raiders. 
It is his own body-guard. 

General Prince Melikoff would honor the man 
who bears the magic sabre of great Sultan Schamyl. 
The special favor of the Czar radiates around 
Ahmed s head in glory. 

Once more in her girlhood s home, at Tiflis, Ma- 
ritza wanders through the leafy shades. They are 
now blooming with rose and myrtle. The Caucasus 
is a paradise. The gardens by the Kara are a 
dream of witchery. By Ahmed s side, the Rose of 
Tiflis, a happy wife, with bated breath shows him 
where she was hurried to the river, a helpless cap 
tive. These are golden days ! 

There is no fear now ! For looking far to where 
Kars frowns upon its beetling cliffs, beyond the 
swift Kara, it is all Russia ! 
Russian land evermore ! 
Tiflis en fete is a Paris en miniature. 
Paul PlatofT, envied by the men, adored by the 
ladies, is captured by Gronow and the gallant staff. 
The review of Schamyl s brigade, in all its wild 
chivalry, on the square where he first told his love 
in spite of the gentle chaperon, brings happy tears 
to the eyes of Maritza. 

A grand ball, at which the courtly Grand Duke 
honors each bride impartially, revives memories of 
the night when Schamyl broke his word. 

For, as a penance, this evening he dances the 
mazurka with the beauty who missed that last 
grand ball. 

While the music floats out into the delicious 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 329 

night, and Princess Vera Platoff queens it with her 
sister rose in an alcoved recess Platoff gravely 
confers with Abdallah. 

" May the smile of Allah lighten the pathway of 
the just and valiant ! I have good news for you. 
I have discovered the truth ! 

" You may telegraph the wise count ! " Abdallah 
is cheerful. He resumes. 

" There are great stores of gold and jeivels left 
by the lion of Daghestan in the old palace at 
Dargo. 

" Count Ignatief is a diviner of the buried treas 
ures. A mighty chief! " 

" Explain ! " cries Platoff. His eager looks betray 
his anxiety. 

Abdallah strokes his beard. 

" Patience, my son ! When I returned I talked 
with the wily Melikoff. I urged on him that now, 
if any knew of the treasure, they would be lurking 
around the castle of Dargo." 

" Go on, go on, Abdallah ! " cries Platoff. 

"Gently, my son! We sent a strong column of 
the Prince Ahmed s troops to surround the castle. 
They had secret orders to permit no one to depart. 
The refitting of the castle gave reason to retain 
them all. Yet there is much to do in examining 

o 

the tower from the old description. It shows no 
sign of a hiding-place." 

"But do you know the right tower?" Platoff 
interjects. 

" Of a truth ! We found one or two suspicious 
dwellers in the old halls. With a little help they 
told what they knew. The treasures are there. 



330 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

Some day Lord Ghazee will come secretly to regain 
them. He alone knows the hiding-place." 

" How do you know this? " cries Platoff. 

" Of a verity, these were the last words the dogs 
urged to prevent their death ! " Abdallah rejoins. 

"Can they point them out?" Platoff is now 
wild with curiosity. 

"Alas ! great friend, they died, refusing any fur 
ther disclosures. They protested only the tower 
was known to them. Ghazee alone knows the whole 
secret." 

"They died ! " Platoff repeats, stunned. 

" It was the only way to prove their sincerity. 
They knew not. But we will discover the exact 
spot. We will remove the whole toiver" 

" And Ghazee ? " Platoff anxiously asks. 

" Far away, waiting for coming years to cover the 
memories of the past. These treasures are all 
that is left to him of his birthright." Abdallah 
slowly answers. " Ahmed is now the lord of 
Daghestan." 

" True, Abdallah ! but the spoil of the Russian 
armies is there," Platoff rejoins. 

" Very good ! Let the White Czar have his 
own. The rest goes to the dark lord of the eagle 
eye." 

In a fortnight a splendid cavalcade leaves Tiflis 
for Dargo. By a strange desire for travel, Abdallah 
is at the old palaces before the double wedding 
party. 

Seneschal and trusted friend, he meets them at 
the door. 

Only Ignatief, Platoff, and Abdallah know the 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 331 

story of the secret treasures left by great Schamyl 
before gallant Woronzoff drove him out. 

In summer-time and hey-day of youth, life before 
them, love around them, the two comrades wander 
in the splendid halls of the romantic castle. They 
are under the witching eyes of the brides of Dargo. 
Watch and ward is kept by the faithful soldiers who 
followed the " White Cross " in the dark days of 
defeat and danger. 

Bluest skies, brightest sunsets, moonlight dream 
ing on the peaceful river, and the wild song of the 
swaying pines mark these happiest days, never to 
be lost from love s golden calendar. 

Schamyl and his lovely sister, hand in hand, 
clamber over the old ramparts and stray in the 
glens. Princess Maritza, queen of the flying hours, 
calls all her truants together. 

For Platoff and Abdallah waste hours in explor 
ing every nook and cranny of the great keep. 

Under guard of their gallant horsemen, the old 
battle-fields are visited. Deep reaches of the 
romantic forest, smiling valleys where the ripening 
fruits now hang in clusters, are explored. 

Shy Circassian girls wonder at the fairness of the 
two ladies who gayly gallop through the forest 
arches with their lords. An ideal life in a match 
less land ! 

Days slip by unheeded. The foot of Time falls 
softly on the roses beneath the feet of the brides of 
Dargo. 

Platoff and Ahmed chase the forest game far 
afield. The old halls gleam at night with banquet 
mirth. 



332 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

Schamyl, gazing on his lovely wife, whose smile is 
sweeter for the sorrows once printed on her peerless 
brow, wonders if she will ever know of the dark 
vow of Ghazee dooming her innocent life. Would 
he were dead ! Then the future would be secure. 
The renegade still lives ! Though far away, still he 
lives ! 

A Circassian is always a Circassian. Ahmed 
gravely questions Abdallah. He knows naught of 
his haunts. Even Mehemet Pacha, who sends a 
royal gift of jewels, Persian shawls, and gossamer 
from rarest India s looms, writes that the deserter 
is gone forever, the wild Kurdish princess with him. 

In a few months Ahmed will meet Mehemet at 
the border. Can he ever reward him for that old 
comradeship, which saved him from gallant Tar- 
naieffs awful doom? 

To ride in grand battue the woods, to chase the 
boar and bear, to show Platoff a true Circassian 
field hunt, the mingled train of soldiers, attendants, 
and hill dwellers rides out at early morn. 

They enclose, by a sharp secret night ride, twenty 
miles around the great mountain range overlooking 
Dargo. Dozens of mountaineers, in lines, drive 
down the game at morn with fires, with sound of 
horn, with chase of hounds. 

It is the sparkling hour of early daybreak. The 
mists hang yet on the mountains, when Ahmed and 
Platoff merrily spring to the saddle. The two 
ladies, superbly mounted, are conducted, with a 
dozen retainers, by their lords to see the frightened 
game break from the covert and seek the glen 
toward the river, its only escape. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 333 

The violet s fragrance is fresh on the dew-dia 
monded grass. The birds whirr away before the 
horses feet. Far on the hills, horn and hound 
sound Diana s greeting to the rising sun. 

Platoff, a veteran sportsman, rides with the ad 
vance. Ahmed guides the ladies rosier and love 
lier than the blossoms of the perfumed forests. 
They wind down below the old castle toward the 
river. Down into the mouth of the glen the caval 
cade moves. It is here the startled game will break 
cover. 

Under the shadow of a beetling crag the advance 
halts. The lord of the chase stations his ladies 
with their attendants. As the party draws up, 
Schamyl bends over to say a whispered word to 
the woman whose sunny smile lights this new and 
happy life. A merry laugh is on her lips. 

Sharp and clear from the crag a rifle shot rings 
out ! The horse of Princess Maritza falls, rolling 
over her! There is a wild shout ! She lies motion 
less! Her face pale as ashes! Before Schamyl can 
spring from his black Kara, a second answering vol 
ley echoes near him. There is a wild yell of defi 
ance ! A dozen men aid the prince ! The loved 
one is only bruised and stunned. Her gallant steed 
lies dead, shot through the spine. 

While Schamyl makes a couch of cloaks, and 
learns from her own words Maritza is unwounded, 
Paul Platoff, standing by his side, his smoking rifle 
in his hand, says : " I fear I missed him. The 
wretch ! " 

A baying of hounds ! A chorus of yells arouses 
the prince 



334 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

Springing wildly along the face of the nearest 
crag, a man is running for his life ! He is in flowing 
Persian garb. A rifle is in his hands ! Half a dozen 
of the Tcherkess gallop around the crag to cut him 
off! 

Darting in and out among the jutting rocks, he 
glides like a hunted animal. 

In an instant twenty armed men are scaling the 
rocks to secure him ! Some lurking spy unearthed 
by the beaters ! He was stealing up from the river 
when sighted. 

Schamyl gazes at the castle not three hundred 
yards away. Its old keep hangs over the bastioned 
wall commanding the glen. 

" Platoff, direct this man s capture. I will take 
the ladies back and rejoin you," Ahmed calls. 

With the aid of the attendants the frightened 
Maritza is hurried in safety to the castle ! Who 
was the assailant ? 

Some hunted fugitive Moslem ! 

Keen-eyed Tcherkess are swarming over the 
crag. They return to report empty hands. The 
bird has flown. 

" I saw him stealing through the bushes toward 
the castle," cries Platoff, as he aids in the removal 
of Princess Maritza to the quiet of her rooms. 

Shaken and startled, bruised, but, thank God ! 
safe! 

Vera Platoff watches her friend ! Abdallah is 
again Dr. Abdallah. 

Schamyl dashes back to the guard gate, and orders 
a patrol to scour the country. Platoff returns with 
him to the hunt. The attendants slay the game 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 335 

now pouring down the glen. With grave brows, 
Schamyl and Platoff examine every inch of the 
path followed by the murderous refugee. Not a 
sign of his presence ! The copse leading to the 
castle walls, the growth of twenty years, affords a 
hiding-place. 

Schamyl sends in a platoon to search every yard 
of the shrubbery. 

While Platoff and himself, seated on a rock, dis 
cuss this mystery, a shout of joy is heard. In five 
minutes one searcher hands Ahmed a heavy rifle, 
another lays at his feet a Persian skin water-bottle. 
It is full. There is a girdle to which the water- 
bottle was attached. It was torn off in the flight. 

Ahmed examines the rifle carefully. It is the 
TurkisJi Martini-Henry. A shade settles on his 
brow. The girdle is heavy. With a stroke of his 
dagger he cuts it open. Cartridges, fresh and new, 
all of the American make! It is the Turkish army 
ammunition. 

" Platoff, this is some Turkish assassin ! " Scha 
myl slowly says. 

" I will put a chain of concealed guards around 
the castle at night, and keep a cordon around the 
vicinity. This devil never got far away. He was 
too heavily loaded. My guards will be in blindings, 
and keep quiet. We will get him when he tries 
to sneak away. He is near here yet." 

" Why so ? " Platoff questions. 

" The heavy, full water-bottle, its outside skin 
still wet, shows he came up from the river. He 
risked his life to sneak down there and fill it," 
Schamyl reflectively answers. 



336 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

" And then ? " Platoff grows pale. 

" He has some place of hiding ! Some object in 
lingering near here ! Paul, it looks bad ! I am go 
ing to take the ladies to Tiflis. This old haunt is 
accursed ! I go not till I catch this rascal ! " 

Schamyl muses. His brow is dark. The hunt is 
still ringing in the vale. The keen warriors are 
making a royal bag. It is a scene of wild excite 
ment. 

" I have it ! I will station a few men secretly. 
They can be changed after dark. I will let the 
hunt run out. We will return to the castle." 

These orders given, Paul and Schamyl enter the 
gateway, where the old white tower hangs over 
its frowning bastion wall. An attendant bears the 
rifle, water-bottle, and the cartridges. 

Platoff examines the belt. He swings it in his 
hands. It is of the finest Persian embroidery on 
leather a money or jewel belt once, now a mere 
cartridge pouch. A paper flutters from its cut 
sides. Platoff picks it up. 

Schamyl grasps it. It is a sketch plan of the 
white toiver. The cold sweat stands on Paul s 
brow. 

" Schamyl, not a word ! Come in and see Ab- 
dallah. He can tell you a strange story. Hasten ! " 

In Schamyl s hunting-room the old jeweller, Pla 
toff, and Ahmed bend over the plan. It is an exact 
sketch of the white tower. 

Schamyl s eyes glow as- the old Turk tells him of 
the fabled hidden treasure of Dargo. 

He turns reproachful eyes on Paul. 

" I kept this secret, Ahmed. We did not wish to 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 337 

excite you till we verified some part of the old 
tale. It is now time to act." 

" Yes ! " Ahmed cries. " This mysterious enemy 
is lurking to reach that treasure. His arms and all 
signs show he came from over the Araxes." 

A horrible thought flashes over Schamyl. The 
vendetta of the amulet ! No, it cannot be ! 

As Abdallah tells of the executed spies, Platoff 
cries, " I have it ! This man knows the secret of 
the entrance to the white tower ! He alone has 
the whole knowledge ! " 

And yet the plan is perfectly plain. It shows 
no secret vault. Schamyl muses. " I ll catch him 
first, and then blow down the tower ! " 

Platoff is at the window, examining the mysteri 
ous paper. It is an old and worn parchment. 

"Here!" shouts Platoff. "Here is the secret 
chamber ! " 

The two friends spring to his side. Triumphantly 
holding it up before the light, a faintly traced line 
shines through. It shows a vault under the foun 
dations of the old tower. 

It is true ! And yet no egress or ingress ! There 
is the royal secret ! 

Schamyl raises his head after pondering. " I will 
not delay a minute. Abdallah, you join the ladies 
and stay with them. Tell them we are going to fire 
some of the old cannon. 

" Paul, come with me. We will blow out the wall." 

The two officers, in half an hour, have satisfied 

themselves there is no manner of reaching the 

concealed crypt from the interior. With plan laid 

down, examining keenly the bastion wall, Platoff 

22 



338 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

says : " This is the nearest point to the chamber. 
Blow out the side wall here. The tower will yet 
stand. We can then tunnel in behind the heavy 
face wall." 

In two hours the preparations are complete. The 
huntsmen are returned. Concealed guards have 
their orders to shoot any fugitive. 

Reassuring the lovely Maritza, and privately in 
forming Vera of the intended explosion, Schamyl 
and Platoff send in a line of guards to clear the west 
angle of the old courtyard. 

All is ready. A couple of heavy powder bags 
affixed to crowbars driven in the loose crevices of 
the old bastion wall, will bring down twenty feet 
of the wall on their explosion. 

A half dozen resolute men are at hand. 

With his own hand Schamyl fires the mine. A 
flash, a rumble, a crash ! From their safety refuge 
the friends can see a yawning gap. The old wall is 
thrown out. The tower stands still, firm and strong. 

Schamyl is the first man at the breach. Lanterns 
and lights are at hand. He is ready to enter. 

" Beware ! " cries Platoff. " The air may be foul. 
Let the mass settle also." 

A lantern on a long pole is pushed in. A regular 
opening is seen a tunnel leading in under the 
tower. It is no idle tale ! 

Cautiously advancing with lights, which burn 
clearly, Schamyl gropes his way into the narrow 
tunnel leading to the crypt. 

PlatofT is behind him. Ahmed picks his way to 
ward the tower. 

Platoff calls to the others to hold back till needed. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 339 

He gazes down the long hole burrowed under the 
bastion wall. It is blocked by a man s body ! 

With a half shriek he calls Schamyl back. 

41 Ahmed, for Heaven s sake ! Here, there is a 
man buried ! " 

" Wait ! " calls Schamyl. His voice sounds 
strangely muffled. " Let me go first." 

The treasures of the chamber can be later ex 
amined. It may be only an empty cavern of bats. 
But crushed and pinned by the falling stones, twenty 
feet beyond the rent in the wall, is the body of a 
man, doubled up ! 

Platoff crawls down after Schamyl. 

" This is the spy, caught by the explosion ! " 
Ahmed excitedly says. They near him. It is the 
fugitive in the Persian robes. His breast is pinned 
by the blocks of the bastion wall sliding down. His 
head covered with fallen dust and sand. He is 
dead ! Tons of stone rest on his silent breast. 

Prince Ahmed scrapes away the sand and grime. 

PlatofFs heart stops beating, for his friend drops 
lantern and screams: 

" Ghazee, my brother ! " 

It is indeed so ! Crawling up, Platoff satisfies 
himself. The heavy, malignant face, its red beard, 
the staring eye, his well-known burly form on his 
head the peaked caftan of the Persian ! 

Schamyl quickly cries : 

" Go back ! Let no one come ! Leave me with 
the dead ! I want no one to enter here ! " 

Platoff, crawling and stooping, works back to the 
crater s opening. He stations a guard and gropes 
back to the death-chamber. 



340 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

Rejoining Ahmed, Platoff asks his wishes. 

He is yet working and digging in the debris. 
His voice is a hissing whisper. 

" Paul, there is some one else over there ! I can 
not see. I can only feel a foot. It is a boy / Dead 
also ! " 

With ten minutes labor the two friends clear 
away enough to see. They dare not loosen more. 
The bastion wall might settle. Neither body can 
be removed. * 

Platoff forces Schamyl to desist. 

" It cannot be reached, Ahmed ! I will not have 
you risk your life ! I will pull off the riding-boot. 
It is a small man or a boy." He throws the boot 
away. 

Schamyl picks it up. 

He crawls to the front. Catching Platoff in a 
vice-like grip, he shows him by the light the boot. 

" This is a Kurdish boot, Paul ! Look there, that 
is a woman s foot and ankle ! " 

Platoff shudders. 

" It is ! " he mutters. 

" The Kurdish princess ! " Schamyl replies hoarse 
ly. * This shall be their tomb, Paul ! " 

It is indeed Ghazee and his wild bride. His 
girdle is gone. He has no arms but a dagger. 
Platoff picks it up. By his side a small sack is 
lying. It is heavy. 

Crawling out with dagger and sack, Platoff joins 
Schamyl. At a sign, the artillerist assists Schamyl 
to block up the tunnel way with loose stones from 
the opening of the rift. 

Five minutes later they are in the crypt under 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 341 

the tower. It is a strongly vaulted room made 
by the recesses of the huge foundations of the 
tower. 

At a glance the friends see that the vault has 
been lately occupied. It is filled with chests, bales, 
and bundles. 

Swords and armor, old vessels, and a mass of 
Asiatic articles the booty of old victories ! The 
secret hiding-place of Sultan Schamyl the mystic! 

Prince Ahmed examines the bag which Platoff 
carries. Cutting its cords with the dag~er of the 
dead man, its contents are blazing jewels. There is 
a princely fortune in the sack. 

Schamyl quickly makes his plan. 

" We will send Abdallah here to take charge. I 
wish this secret to be kept. It is God s justice by 
His own hand on Ghazee s crimes. 

" We will remove all, in charge of Abdallah. You 
and I will see the rift in the wall filled in solid with 
stone. The ivy and creeper will cover it in a 
month." 

Before the evening shades have fallen, the vast 
treasures of the old sultan are removed to the 
castle gold and jewels, cups and masses of the 
precious metals, jewelled weapons and horse-gear 
of untold value ! The bastion wall is roughly 
closed up forever. 

The delighted brides, aided by Abdallah, are class 
ing the jewels and choosing the princeliest of the 
treasure-trove for themselves. 

They know not the secret of the tunnel, with the 
fugitive lovers lying dead under the massy blocks of 
the old bastion. 



342 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

Their excited happiness in the discovery of the 
hidden treasures chases away all other thoughts. 
Even the morning s adventure is forgotten. 

Prince Schamyl and PlatofT wander on the ram 
parts. They agree upon a course of action. It is 
easy for them to locate the near vicinity of the 
concealed tunnel mouth. 

Looking down from the base of the old tower, his 
stern, martial face now in repose, Ahmed Schamyl 
traces the fugitive in his career. 

" He alone knew how to enter the tunnel and thus 
reach the crypt. Perhaps the last death-message of 
my warrior father revealed it. The drawing may 
have been delivered to him, with the secret, by the 
Turkish authorities, after the declaration of war. 
That mystery is sealed in his cold breast. 

" Disguising himself as a Persian, and taking the 
Kurdish dare-devil girl-wife, dressed as a boy, he 
secreted himself near here. It was clearly his idea 
to remove the choicest of the treasures. Abdallah s 
slyness caught his spies. Forced to live in the crypt, 
it was while bringing water he risked his life and 
was accidentally discovered. His last shot may have 
been for me. He may have tried only to delay pur 
suit till he could hide. At night he could have stolen 
away. It was with that purpose he packed up the 
sack of jewels. The glens were known to him. The 
first horses caught, with a noose-rope bridle, would 
have carried them to friends. They would then have 
left the Araxes valley forever." 

" It is true ! " cries Platoff. " Yet our guards might 
have caught them at night." 

Schamyl says solemnly : 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 343 

" It was flight or death by thirst ! Ghazee met the 
vengeance of God ! Let him rest forever there, under 
the old tower where he played as a boy. He was a 
Circassian to the death ! The hand of the Almighty 
ends his vendetta. It releases us from the curse of 
the amulet ! " 

Down through the shrubbery the friends wander, 
through copse and thicket. 

Sagacious Platoff, with his trained eye, discovers 
a cleft in the rock. There is a moss-grown stone 
which has been moved. A dozen men with crow 
bars pry it off. A tilting rock ! Its rough hinges 
are clogged by the explosion. It was thus the wily 
old warrior Schamyl arranged his hiding-place. 

Ordering it securely walled up, as a seal to the 
tomb of the two wild spirits, Prince Schamyl leaves 
the spot, which is now hateful to him. Twice in his 
life had the great foe of Russia thus escaped death, 
by using similar retreats prepared before. Sultan 
Schamyl s mysterious exits ! 

" There must have been an interior entrance, walled 
up. after the treasures were deposited during the long 
siege. The defeated sultan knew further resistance 
was useless. Great Dargo was doomed. Perchance 
he thought he might return some day and reach the 
treasures himself." 

Thus speaks Abdallah, his hands deep in jewels. 

"True!" cries Paul Platoff. " But the Russian 
government never permitted his return after the 
surrender of Baryatinsky." 

A guarded train draws out, a week later. Ahmed 
Schamyl, gazing on the bright and splendid face of 
the lovely Rose, whose one dark enemy is at rest, 



344 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

conducts her in triumph to Tiflis. To her own home 
with the radiant Vera ! Sagacious Abdallah, with 
Platoff, under the secret orders of General Ignatief, 
delivers over to Governor-General Loris Melikoff the 
governmental share of the recovered booty. 

Colonel Platoff, recalled to the court, takes away 
from Schamyl his sweet sister, whose new-found 
love is the crowning glory of Schamyl s happy mar 
riage. 

The old palace-home is vacant now. Dargo, its 
keep occupied only as a guard-post, is deserted as a 
residence. Ahmed Schamyl likes not its memories. 
The eagle, soaring high in the sapphire sky of the 
Caucasus, looks down on the lovely glens and witch 
ing woods, where the wild winds murmur the requiem 
of the bold refugee and his wayward Kurdish 
bride. 

Where is the happiest home in Russia ? For, 
even in Russia, are homes crowned with truest 
love. 

Paul Platoff thinks it is the old Orbelian palace, 
where Princess Paul rules, under the sweet eyes of 
her mother, looking down from her picture on the 
circle, whose Russian hospitality embraces often the 
princely lovers from Tiflis. 

Prince Ahmed, watching the splendid and lov 
ing woman who bore her sorrows so long, is per 
suaded that the happiest home under the Czar s 
rule is the one where blooms Maritza, the Rose 
of Georgia. 

Gallant Mehemet Pacha, meeting his brother in 
arms, at the border, learns the fate of Ismail s 
daughter and wild Schamyl. He bows his head. 



PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 345 

looking at his beloved Ahmed, solemnly saying, 
" May your happiness ever abide ! " 

He waits the time when perhaps the cannon will 
roar once more over Asia Minor. With steadfast 
faith to do his soldier s duty, only wishing" Bonnes 
chances aux braves ! " 

Gallant Gronow, released at last from duty for 
urgent reasons, is said to be returning to Tiflis with 
the bright and laughing Nina Lazareff, who remem 
bers a certain promise made to the dashing staff 
officer. Her sister nymph, Tia Argutin, contem 
plates a similar capture of one who is dearer to her 
than all the jewels of Russia s crown. 

Abdallah, full of years and glory, enhanced in 
wealth, high in confidence, bows his head with 
fervent devotion at the noon hour, when he re 
members how the prophet aided Dr. Abdallah. 

The fatal Kismet hangs over the affairs of men 
and nations in the mighty Orient. 
^Alexander, the old Czar, is gone ! Skobeleff and 
Melikoff sleep with the unforgotten brave ! 

Still toward the Dardanelles, onward to India, 
Asia, and China, the Russian flag crawls apace! 

For under a new Emperor, with steadfast eyes 
fixed toward the future, great Ignatief, mighty 
Gourko, and far-seeing Anenkoff toil and labor at 
the secret roads of Empire. 

In the name of the Czar ! 

The wild vines have covered the broken bastions 
of Dargo. There is eternal peace in the sweep of 
the wild winds and the rush of the river past the 
crumbling battlements. A palace once ! A tomb 
now ! 



346 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 

Over its ruined archway the words of Sadi might 
tell the mournful story of to-day. 

" The spider has woven its web in the palace of 
the Caesars. 

" The owl shrieks its nightly song on the towers 
of Aphrasiab." 



Welcomed by Press and Public. 



THE LITTLE LADY OF 
LAQUNITAS. 

By RICHARD HENRY SAVAGE, 
Author of "My Official Wife," etc. 

Published simultaneously in New York, Leipzig and London. 
A STRIKING, POPULAR SUCCESS! 



American Press Comment. 



" A good story and well told. It is a book that will hold 
the reader s attention from the first chapter." 

NEW YORK RECORDER, June 5th, 1892. 

" Lively, interesting, and will hold the reader s attention 
in every line." 

BOSTON GLOBE, June 13. 

"An exceedingly interesting romance; a remarkably 
brilliant picture of a very remarkable episode in our national 
history." 

CHICAGO TIMES, June 18. 

" The Little Lady is a very winsome person." 

PHILADELPHIA BULLETIN, May 30. 

" Entertaining strong instructive." 

SAN FRANCISCO CALL, June 5. 

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NEW YORK HOME JOURNAL, June 15. 

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CLEVELAND PLAINDEALER, July 2. 

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PHILADELPHIA CALL, June 6. 

"Told in an engaging manner." 

CHICAGO MAIL, July 5. 



THE LITTLE LADY OF LAGUNITAS AMERICAN PRESS COMMENT. 

"A stirring romance." 

NEW YORK SUN, July 16. 

" A fine sense of the picturesque a brilliant panorama." 
SAN FRANCISCO WAVE, June n. 

"Vividly portrays the wild, strange scenes attending 
the acquisition of California." 

COLUMBUS, OHIO, STATE JOURNAL, June 20. 

" The reader s interest does not flag." 

TOWN TOPICS, May 19. 

"A charming story." 

THE BOSTON TRAVELLER, June 3. 

"Vivid character sketches." 

CINCINNATI COMMERCIAL GAZETTE, June 25. 

"A correct conception." 

SAN FRANCISCO REPORT, June 18. 

" A strong story. Will keep the reader wide-awake." 
NEWARK ADVERTISER, July 2. 

44 An historical romance of exceeding interest. Of the 
highest literary meiit." 

LINCOLN, NEB., STATE JOURNAL, May 3Oth, 1892. 

"The purchaser will have his money s worth." 

SPRINGFIELD REPUBLICAN, June i2th, 1892. 

" Of great interest. The bonanza era, with its reign 
of luxury and wantonness, is depicted in glowing colors 
. . . most dramatically rehearsed." 

DENVER REPUBLICAN, June 19. 

" One of the most thrilling historical romances which 
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BOSTON TIMES, June 26. 

"An exciting story." 

DENVER NEWS, June 17. 

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Foreign Words of Approval. 



"Offers much interest, well worth perusal." 

MORNING POST, London, June 28th, 1892. 

"Mr. Savage in a former novel gave evidence of an 
unusual capacity for the construction of an elaborate plot, 
but in this work he has excelled even that splendid perform 
ance, My Official Wife. " 

GLASGOW HERALD. June 23d, 1892. 

" The descriptions of the lawless life in California are 
exciting and vivid." -LONDON DAILY CHRONICLE, July 15. 

" Distinctly interesting . . . the tale becomes in 
tensely exciting." SCOTTISH LEADER, Edinburgh, July 2. 

" Plenty of excitement in this narrative." 

MANCHESTER EXAMINER, July 7. 

" Much that is original and deserving of commendation. 
The dialogue is never at any time dull." 

NORTH BRITISH DAILY MAIL, Glasgow, June 20. 

"The story is lively, beyond the common. The reader 
will hardly be able to stop." 

THE SCOTSMAN, Edinburgh, July 4. 

" Stirring incidents, set amid a surrounding of pictur 
esque uncivilized life." 

PUBLISHERS CIRCULAR, London, June 25. 

" Mr. Savage s descriptive powers are undeniable. He 
paints with a firm hand, and is picturesque." 

SATURDAY REVIEW, London, July 30. 

" For those who want a really exciting book, we recom 
mend The Little Lady. " 

MANCHESTER COURIER, July 30. 

(Many other reviews.) 



Continental English Edition by Tauchnitz of Leipzig. 

British Edition by George Routledge and Sons of London. 
French and German Translations in Press. 




Richard Henry Savage s 



ROMANTIC NOVELS : 



My Official Wife, 

The Little Lady of Lapnitas, 

Prince Stiiamyl s Wooing, 



ORIGINAL! BRILLIANT! SUCCESSFUL! 



MY OFFICIAL WIFE 

BY 

Colonel RICHARD HENRY SAVAGE, 

Author of " The Little Lady of Lagunitas," etc. 



Publishers in Europe. 

George Routledge & Sons, . London . (English Edition) 

Bernhard Tauchitz, .... Leipzig (Continental Edition) 

J. Engelhorn Stuttgart (GermanTranslation) 

Messrs. Hachette, Paris . (French Translation) 



Foreign Reviewers Remarks. 

Welcomed from Japan and India, to Berlin ! 

"There is not a dull page in this book." 

TIMES OF INDIA, Bombay, Feb. 2oth, 1892. 
"Can not fail to make a mark." 

NEWS OF THE WORLD, London, Jan. 24th, 1892. 

"Very exciting." 

SCOTTISH LEADER, Edinburgh, July gth, 1891. 

"A wonderfully clever * tour de force. " 

LONDON TIMES, Aug. loth, 1891. 

* No recent story surpasses it." 

YORKSHIRE POST, July 8th, 1891. 
"As bright as the best French comedy." 

BERLIN POST, Germany, Nov. 26th, 1891. 
"The vivacity, movement, and style deserve warm 
praise." LONDON DAILY NEWS, Dec. 25th, 1891. 

" A well conceived sensational story." 

LONDON SPECTATOR, Sept. i2th, 1891. 

" This story would dramatize well." 

BRADFORD OBSERVER, Oct. ist, 1891. 

" One of the livest and most] entertaining novels we 
have read for many a day." 

LEEDS MERCURY, Sept. gth, 1891. 
"Told with delightful spirit." 

THE SCOTSMAN, Edinburgh, July 6th, 1891. 



SOLD BY 



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MY OFFICIAL WIFE 

BY 

RICHARD HENRY SAVAGE, 

Author of " The Little Lady of Lagunitas," etc., etc. 

For Sale Everywhere ! Shortly to be Dramatized I 
The American Success of the Season! 

The Voice of the Press. 

"A vivid and stirring story." 

NEW YORK TRIBUNE, August 2, 1891. 

"Abundance of Action. Very cleverly written." 

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, June 21, 1891. 

" Something thoroughly stirring." 

OMAHA BEK, June zyth, 1891. 

"The denouement is intensely dramatic." 

BOSTON ADVERTISER, July 3d, 1891. 

"A striking story." 

PORTLAND OREGONIAN, May 3151, 1891. 

"Something extraordinary. Worth reading." 

LOUISVILLE COMMERCIAL, July 6th, 1891. 

"Full of life and go and very entertaining." 

CHICAGO TIMES, June 2oth, 1891. 

"Events and situations increasing in excitement. The reader will 
dash through with wild eagerness." 

NEW YORK HERALD, June 2ist, 1891. 

" A very exciting web of complications." 

NEW ORLEANS PICAYUNE, July i2th, 1891. 

"A story of absorbing interest." 

CLEVELAND PLAINDEALER, June i4th, 1891. 

"Occupies the close attention of the reader." 

SAN FRANCISCO CALL, June 2ist, 1891. 

"Amusing and exciting." 

TOWN TOPICS, Nov. i2th, 1891. 

" Overflowing with human interest and intensely dramatic." 

NEW YORK HOME JOURNAL, Dec. i6th, 1891. 

"Decidedly original. The making of a very effective play. In 
genious and daring in conception." 

NEW YORK WORLD, Aug. 2d, 1891. 

"The story is racy and will be a favorite at the clubs." 

SAN FRANCISCO EVENING POST, June 27th, 1891. 

"Abundance of action. Extremely interesting." 

SAN FKANCISCO NEWSDEALER, August ist, 1891. 

"The novel is of unusual interest." 

w NEW YORK JOURNAL, June 28th, 1891. 



"A story of great power and originality." 

MINNEAPOLIS COMMERCIAL BULLETIN, Oct. 24th, i 



891. 



My Official Wife, 



BY 



Col. Richard Henry Savage, 



The Little Lady of 
Lagunitas, 



pranco-(;aliforman Romance. 



BY 



Richard Henry Savage 



Prince SchamyTs 
Wooing. 



tory of tfye (Caucasus 



BY 



Richard Henry Savage. 



My Official Wife, 



DRAMATIZED BY 



Archibald Clavering Gunter 



UNDER LICENSE FROM 
THE AUTHOR. 



UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY 



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