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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA.
Accessions No. *>Q_ I o 3
PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING
A STORY OF THE CAUCASUS
RICHARD HENRY SAVAGE
"MY OFFICIAL WIFE"
"THE LITTLE LADY OF LAGUNITAS "
THE TRADE SUPPLIED BY
THE AMERICAN NEWS COMPANY
o 1 6 3
COPYRIGHT, 1892, BY
RICHARD HENRY SAVAGE.
(All rights reserved.)
Press of J. J. Little & Co.
Astor Place, New York
PRINCE CHARMING AND THE ROSE OF TIFLIS.
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
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
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
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.
PRINCE CHARMING AND THE ROSE
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
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
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
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
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
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
" We will be brothers, Ahmed ! even if we meet
on the field, sword in hand ! "
Thus old friends meet as new foes under warring
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
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
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
" 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
" Why ? " demands Schamyl, fiercely, half starting
"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
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
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-
" 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."
" 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.
" Useless ! He is a gloomy old man, half pagan,
" 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
" 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
" 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,
" 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
" 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
" 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-
" 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
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
" 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
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
BROTHERS NO MORE. AT THE TURKISH AMBASSA
DOR S BALL. A ROYAL DESERTER. DIPLO
"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
" Where is this talk? " demands Ghazee, fiercely.
" In the salons, the clubs, the casernes," hisses
Ahmed, facing his brother, like a duellist, a la
" 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
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 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
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.
" 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-
PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 29
He is a shawled, turbaned Persian merchant.
" Is the stain on my hair dark enough? " Ghazee
" 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 ? "
" Well, Iskander will furnish you any amount at
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
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
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
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
A tiny note tells her, "All is well. The boat has
passed Cronstadt. Expect me this evening at
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
" 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
Paul Platoff lingered not when morning roused
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
" 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
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.
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
" 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
" 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
" 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
" 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
" 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
" 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
" Schamyl, you must notice no one. There will
36 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING.
be no slurs upon you but you cannot defend the
" 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
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
" 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
Ahmed is exalted to a nervous tension of mad-
PRINCE SCIIAMYL S WOOING. 37
ness. His mood is as high as the frowning Cauca
" 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-
" 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,
"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
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
" 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
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
" 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
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
" 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
" 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."
IN THE CAVALRY SCHOOL. CALLED BY GORTSCHA-
KOFF. DIMITRl S DOOM. IN THE GOLDEN
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
" 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
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
" 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
Will she be followed, dogged, watched ? Do the
Russians hope to locate Ghazee through her pres
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
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
" 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
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
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,
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
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
After the coffee and cigars, Schamyl, seated with
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
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
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
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
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
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
Ahmed s bow acknowledges his understanding of
" 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
" 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
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
"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
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
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
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
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
Ahmed gives a few orders to his bewildered man
of affairs. Thank heaven, Paul can close up the
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
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
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
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
" Prince of the Caucasus, stand always for the
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
THE WHITE COUNTESS S BOUDOIR. WITH GENERAL
IGNATIEF IN CONSTANTINOPLE. WHERE IS
YOUR BROTHER? ON THE BRIDGE OF KARA-
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
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
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
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
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
In chattering fear, he cannot leave to Nadya
Vronsky the power to sell Ghazee s secret
Dimitri the all observing-has sold the confi
dence of the White Countess to Mustapha. A
The ambassador smiles as he thinks she dwells in
his palace at Istambol, yet knows not of Ghaze.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
" 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
" 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
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
" 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 ?
"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."
" 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."
" 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
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
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
Serene, blonde in beauty, with the exquisite
manners of " a duchess," Madame la Comtesse
Ignatief places the young man instantly at his
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
76 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING.
When his roving, bold black eyes have finished a
survey of the youthful warrior, Madame Ignatief
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
"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
His brief report is soon over. " Finit opus /"
" 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
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~&
" 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
" 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
" 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
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
Another gun ! It is the stern voice of England.
" What is that, General ? " the Circassian queries
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
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
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
Tarnaieff closes the door sharply. In a few min
utes the two friends are at the landing. The panting
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
" 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
" 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
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
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
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
" 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
" 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
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
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
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
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
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
"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
" 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.
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
Beside Schamyl lies his father s amulet, and
below decks his old henchman groans under Ghazee s
THE DESERTER. CROSS AGAINST
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
With haggard eyes the woman watches him as
they hurry through the silent corridors to her
" 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
Shaken and unnerved the White Countess throws
herself on a divan as the servant closes her room
" 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
" 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
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
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
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,
" 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
" 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
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
" 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
" 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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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-
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
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
" 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
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
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
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
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
" 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
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
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.
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
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
" 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
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
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
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
" 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
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
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
" 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
" 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
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
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
,At each point he is to report in telegraphic
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
" 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
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
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
" 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!
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
Those hideous visions of the night fade away.
Morning already ! His orderly is knocking.
"Highness! This is immediate!" The soldier
He tears open Melikoff s hasty scrawl.
" Report at orderly hour. Haste !
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
" 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
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
" 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
And Maritza is queen of hearts now !
He dares not visit her again so soon. Les con
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
As the lover ponders, Hassan gravely enters. All
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
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
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
" I saw the lovely daughter of the morning,
Highness!" Hassan announces, handing a billet to
PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 121
The note is brief, but precious.
" We ride at four this afternoon, in the square. Au revoir.
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
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
" 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
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
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
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
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
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-
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
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
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
" Preobajensky," " Cuirassier," nay, even the
white " Garde a Cheval," must yield in personal de
votion to these fierce children of the mountains and
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
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
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
At noon Ahmed halts his squadron beside a
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
" 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
" Hassan, do you remember the Russian Princess
The veteran drops his dishes, open-eyed. He
mutters wildly, and proceeds to recover his scattered
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
" The Princess Orbelian ! " He questions his serv
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
130 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING.
years), whose ears never lovingly heard him say
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
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
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
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
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
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
" 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.
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
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
" 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
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 !
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.
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
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
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
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 !
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
PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING. 137
They keep always within sight of the Cossack
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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
" 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
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
Yes ! by the token of his blood-stained blade and
signal victory, the young eagle has fleshed his talons
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,
" 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
" 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
" 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
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
His second in command reports the return mes
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
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
He may not confer alone, even with a friendly
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
" 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
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
" 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
" Suleiman," Schamyl says, " if I can serve you in
any proper way, write me to the Etat-Major at
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Mukhtar Pacha is no black fiend, but a high-
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.
ABDALLAH S RUSE. SCHAMYL S SPY IN KARS.
Two days later the battalion sweeps proudly into
Kizilkule. Schamyl has now fathomed the mys
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
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
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
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
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
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
" 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
" 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
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
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-
"Well done, my faithful Tcherkess ! General Tergukassoff com
mends you. I renew my regards.
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
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
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
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
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
Hassan, the swordsman, sits beyond the curtain.
1 66 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING.
He has greeted as an old friend the great mer
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
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
" 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
" 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,
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
" 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-
" 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
" But can she not be got out before ? " Schamyl
" 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
The jewel merchant is right. While Schamyl
thinks the scheme over, Hassan and Abdallah talk
" 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
"Trust the bearer in all. He will tell what to do. Your lover
" 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
" 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
" 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
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
" 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
" I swear on the tomb of Mohammed," utters the
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
" 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
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.
Platoff writes from the frozen mud of the Do-
"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
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
" 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
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
A heavy curtain swings before each door ; with
1 84 PRINCE .SCHAMYL S WOOING.
a skinny hand, Hassan pushes aside the last one of
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
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
" 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
His jaunty uniform blazes with embroidery ;
his red fez surmounts a face of inscrutable re
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
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
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
She is aroused. Her blue eyes blaze.
Hassan calmly continues. He assumes her per
fect acquiescence. For the citadel commander is
" 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
" 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
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
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
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
A few words in French adjure her to implicitly
obey the old priest. She knows now Abdullah s
" 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
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
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
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
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
Hassan cheers her daily with his presence. He
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
WINNING THE ROSE.
THE CANNONS SPEAK. HASSAN BEY S MESSAGE.
MOUSSA S BATTLE IN THE NIGHT. FACE TO
FACE. TURNS OF THE TIDE. THE MEDJIDIEH
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
" 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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-
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
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-
lars spread panic to the walls of Kars in their re
Prince Ahmed sends Tarnaieff to the command
ing general with his trophy traitor Ghazee s
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
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
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.
226 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING.
" Do you know who commands the Azizi fort ? "
" 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
He hands Schamyl a letter. " If I fall, please
send that safely. That is all. I am a friendless
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
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
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
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
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 !
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
In twenty minutes a dozen of the pursuers dash
upon two wagons, urged along by their frantic
" 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
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
" 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
" 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
As he clatters up the street on his bounding
" Kara " his spirits are clouded by one haunting
The half-told secret ! His Mother, Princess
Orbelian ! Oh ! that Hassan had lived another
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
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
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
" 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
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
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
" 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
tl The streets were filled with excited people when
the roar of the cannons told us your columns were
" Our servants and even the priests barricaded the
doors, all but one portal. The Moslems were
running from house to house sacking the Christians
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
" 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
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
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
And, as his lips press hers, the bright star of
258 PRINCE SCHAMYL S WOOING.
love rises far in the eastern skies beyond the crested
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 !
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
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
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
Shipka Pass and Philippopolis add to the glories of
the winter harvest of victories. Gourko is over the
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
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
" 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.
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
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."
" 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
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
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
" 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
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
" 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
Fast as they fly from his fingers the cipher clerks
are transforming them. In an adjoining room the
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
It is all darkness in the little cabin when Ahmed
awakes. Friendly hands are on him ; he is struggling
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
" 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
" 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
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
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
" 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
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
Proudly sweeping past : sword, lance, pennon,
and banner droop before the mighty Czar of all
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
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
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
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 / "
BY THE NEVA. GHAZEE S REVENGE ! AT THE
OPERA. THE LOST HANDKERCHIEF. DR. AB-
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
" 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
" Yet, beard of the Prophet, they are bold unbe
For Abdallah likes not the unveiled faces of these
glowing graces. His private delectations of the
harem give him monopolistic ideas as to pleasing
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
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
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
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.
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
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
" 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
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
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 !
A half of the vial s contents in a crystal tumbler
of water, in equal share, is poured down the girl s
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 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
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
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
God s infinite mercy lifts not the veil too soon
which brings forth the manifold sorrows of the fate-
stricken children of Eve.
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
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
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
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
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
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
" 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
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
Platoff precedes Schamyl into the Lazareff man
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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-
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
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
" 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."
" 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
" 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
" 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
" 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
" 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
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
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
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
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
" 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
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
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
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
" 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.
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
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
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
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
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
AN EMPEROR S GIFT. THE BRIDES OF DARGO.
TIDINGS OF GHAZEE. A LAST SHOT. UNDER
THE WHITE TOWER. TREASURE - TROVE. -
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-
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
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
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
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
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
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
" Count Ignatief is a diviner of the buried treas
ures. A mighty chief! "
" Explain ! " cries Platoff. His eager looks betray
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
the tower from the old description. It shows no
sign of a hiding-place."
"But do you know the right tower?" Platoff
" 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
"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
" 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
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
Seneschal and trusted friend, he meets them at
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
Platoff and Ahmed chase the forest game far
afield. The old halls gleam at night with banquet
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
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
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
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
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
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 !
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
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
" 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
" 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
" 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
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
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
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 ! "
" 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
At a glance the friends see that the vault has
been lately occupied. It is filled with chests, bales,
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
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
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
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
Where is the happiest home in Russia ? For,
even in Russia, are homes crowned with truest
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
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
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 owl shrieks its nightly song on the towers
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Richard Henry Savage s
ROMANTIC NOVELS :
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Prince Stiiamyl s Wooing,
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My Official Wife,
Col. Richard Henry Savage,
The Little Lady of
Richard Henry Savage
tory of tfye (Caucasus
Richard Henry Savage.
My Official Wife,
Archibald Clavering Gunter
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