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Title: Rescuing the Czar - Two authentic Diaries arranged and translated
Author: Smythe, James P.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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RESCUING THE CZAR

Two authentic Diaries arranged and translated

by

JAMES P. SMYTHE, A.M., Ph.D.



THIRD EDITION

1920



PART ONE

RESCUING THE CZAR



FOREWORD

by

W.E. Aughinbaugh, M.D., LL.B., LL.M.


Is the former Czar and his Imperial family still alive? There are
millions of people in Europe and America who are asking this question.

European governments have considered the question of sufficient
interest to justify the investigation by official bodies of the
alleged extinction of this ancient Royal Line. Millions have been
expended for that purpose. Commissions have pretended to investigate
the subject _after_ the event. Volumes have been returned of a
speculative nature to authenticate a mysterious _disappearance_ that
has never been explained.

April 5; the Universal Service carried a cable from Paris reading:
"Czar Nicholas and all members of the Imperial family of Russia are
still alive, according to M. Lassies, former member of the Chamber of
Deputies, who has just returned from a mission to Russia." This was
several weeks after the manuscript of the following account of the
_Czar's Escape_ was in my possession.[A] Yet this confirmation of the
manuscript has not sufficiently overcome the universally persistent
doubt that has grown out of many previous imposing reports.

In certain Royal quarters the anxiety to disseminate the "reports"
of their Commissions is too apparent to authorize a judicial mind to
accept their speculative guesswork as convincing evidence of a legal
_corpus delicti_ when no identified bodies have ever been produced.
This eagerness to convince the world by substituting a mere
_disappearance_, or the lack of evidence, for positive proof of the
Royal assassination raises very naturally the presumption that certain
circles are more interested in misleading than in satisfying the
public mind.

To those schooled in the methods and objects of international
propaganda during the Great War it is evident that, in a period of
revolution, when thrones and dynasties become unpopular within the
area of hostility and discontent, the adherents of Royalty may not
be unwilling to appease the demand for vengeance by some theatrical
display of meeting it with a pretense or an artifice until the
passions of the populace have subsided and sober toleration resumes
its sway over the sated revolutionary mind.

That such may be the fact will seem convincing from a careful study of
the incidents narrated in the following rudimentary story of "Rescuing
the Czar." In a technical sense it is not a story. Nevertheless, while
partaking of the nature of a simple diary, it reads like a romance of
thrilling adventure upon which a skilful novelist may easily erect a
story of permanent interest and universal appeal. But it is this very
lack of art--this indifference to accomplished technique--that makes
"Rescuing the Czar" so interesting and so convincing a rebuttal of the
Royal Executioners' Case.

There have been many periods in the progress of society when such an
original piece of work as "Rescuing the Czar" would have been welcomed
by the historian of serious events. The preservation, discovery and
the piecing together of the various scraps of first-hand information
by the actual participants in the tragic scenes narrated in these
diaries, by the compiler of this book represent a work of so
discriminating a judgment that its contribution to the historical
wealth of the period involved will assume an increasing, if not a
prophetic, value as time goes on, either to explain the mystery or
authenticate the evidence revealed. While apparently no connection
is evident between the two authors of the First and Second Parts of
"Rescuing the _Czar_," the discriminating reader will be impressed
by the independent way each of them, operating unconsciously of
the other, sustains the manifest conclusion that both are recording
international secrets that never were intended for the public eye.

Imbedded in the national consciousness of many European States the
historian finds everywhere the shadowy outlines of "nobility" and
"aristocracy" delineated on the surface of traditionary pretense and
political desire. It forms the inheritance of distributive power
in nations ascending from monarchial institutions to theoretical
republics or pseudo-democracies, and it imparts a touch of pathos to
the lingering hope of Royalty that humanity may some day welcome its
return to reverence and power. It forms the superstructure on which
the crumbling column of aristocracy sustains its capital pretensions
amid the ruins of privileged exemption from the universal law of
change. Consequently the reader will not be surprised nor much alarmed
when encountering its subterranean methods depicted in these pages.
They will merely fortify the accepted impression among students of
events that when Time binds up the wounds of Revolutionary Russia
the world will discover an Agrarian Democracy, instead of a Soviet
Communism or Romanoff Empire, emerging from the cosmos of organized
disorder in that land. This seems to be the trend of thought behind
"Rescuing the Czar." Yet it does not conceal a fundamental inclination
to sympathize with every rank that suffers in this onward sweep of
power. Royalty and Rags, throughout these pages, find many mourners
over the sacrifices each has made to reconcile the eternal conflict
between poverty and pomp. In the abysmal void between the disappearing
star and the aspiring glowworm men tramp upon, there seems to be
sufficient latitude for the play of gratitude or grief. A Napoleon
exiled by the French or a Ney shot down by Frenchmen is unthinkable
today. In like manner, when the revolutionary passions of Russia have
subsided, there may be men and women of the humblest estate who
will wonder how it happened that their Emperor, whose darkest sin,
apparently, was loyalty to Russia, could have been murdered by their
countrymen in cold blood.

It will never be believed.

In reflecting on the experiments of their Revolution, finding much
to be admired and more to be condemned, they will not accept without
resentment an accusation from posterity that they lacked both
gratitude and pity when the test of national manhood came. In
exculpation of such an imputation they will doubtless reverence the
tradition of a House that fell only with the ruins of their native
land. Viewing as they may the fragments of their once majestic Empire
annexed to alien States in compensation of successful perfidy and
neglect, they will lament the lot of Nicholas II while reflecting
on their fate. If their democracy shall survive their own
self-amputation, the lightness of their governmental burdens will
stimulate the flow of mercy through their social institutions and
direct their thoughts toward pity for the useless sacrifice.

In simple justice, therefore, "Rescuing the Czar" is offered in
extenuation of this doubtful charge against the entire Russian race.
For nothing is better calculated to sanctify a martyrdom and make a
race abhorred than a belief in its injustice. Nothing is more potent
to dissolve a race and scatter its suspected members from the altar of
their fathers than the fable of their unrepentant hostility to the cry
of Mercy from the sacrificial Ikon. Nothing so quickly exposes their
abandoned fields to the tramp of hostile feet and the subjugation
of their soil. Ambitious rivalry has no better ally than unexplained
suspicion.

If "Rescuing the Czar" does no more than set at rest the _fable_ of
the "Romanoff Execution," it will have done its work by characterizing
the source and methods and objects of its inspiration. If it raises
the presumption of generosity in quarters generally subject to
suspicion, it will be equally praiseworthy for expelling the darkness
that has always hovered around Imperial thrones. If it does nothing
but portray the dignified composure of Russian womanhood in the
presence of unspeakable affronts, it will have justified its
publication by adding to the diadem of virtue a few more jewels to
glorify the crest of motherhood. If it performs no other service than
to place upon the pale face of tragic possibility the red-pink blush
of romantic probabilities, it will have justified its presence in the
society of the learned by the sincerity of its purpose and the candor
of its appeal to the conscience of the world.

New York, 1920.


[Footnote A: February 20, 1920]



RESCUING THE CZAR



I

FROM SPLENDOR TO GLOOM


The ice was breaking up along the river Neva, in 1917. At the Winter
Palace, the ladies were rejoicing over the good news. The Czar in the
field was reorganizing his dismembered armies. America was severing
diplomatic relations with the Central Powers. The Asquith Ministry had
dissolved and Lloyd-George was hurling his dynamic personality into
organizing Victory for the Allied forces in the field. Kut-el-Amara
had fallen to the British--Bagdad had been taken--the Crescent was
fleeing before the Cross of Russia--the Grand Duke was driving the
Turk from Trebizond. Even Hindenburg was retiring along the Western
Front--France with unexampled gallantry was holding back the
Juggernaut--America was getting mad and rolling up its sleeves.

The women at the palace did not disguise their happiness over the
cheerful events that heralded the approach of Victory. The evening
star that poured down its steel-blue rays upon the crosses of St.
Isaac's presaged to their encouraged fancies the early dawn of peace.
Yet the chilly wind that whistled round their dull-red household was
laden with a frosty air that blew from official regions and "froze
the genial current of their souls." The icy glances of ambitious
princelings, reflecting back the sinister sullenness of designing
ministers, fell like a spectral gloom upon their happy hearts. A
hollow roar rolled down the Nevskii Prospekt--a guard burst into the
palace and put the women under arrest. The pent-up Revolution at last
had burst--anarchy howled around the capital--the isolated Czar was
captive, and plotting princelings joined hands with puny lawyers to
browbeat courageous women and drive the chariot of State!

The miserable fiasco of a delirious Revolution went careering through
the giddy maze of treachery and madness until a frenzied wave of
rapine and disorder swept all the noblewomen of the Imperial household
into a barricaded fortress around which lust and inebriety held
unsated and remorseless vigil for the prize. (See Part II: Tumen.)

Among these prisoners of State were five women who realized that
the Power which had organized disorder as a feature of its military
strategy had also honeycombed the Army, the Navy and the State with
its agencies of pillage and so undermined the public conscience that
their purity and virtue, more than their jewels and fortune, became an
open challenge to the vanity of mob lust.

The younger of these women in their unsullied maidenhood looked
longingly and unsuspectingly in the direction of Siberia. They were
learning by degrees that the semblance of freedom which offered a
pathway to escape was nothing but a strategem employed by pretended
friends to entrap them into more cruel and ruthless hands. On every
side loomed the evidence of their danger. The villainous stares of
foreign interlopers, the ribald jests of guards, the furtive glances
of the envious, the scowls of the emancipated underling, the profanity
of the domineering agitator who denounced respectability and clamored
for possession of the girls,--no moment of their lives was free from
ugly threats; no retreat, save the wild jungle or the mountains,
offered any liberation from the immodest glare of cruel, licentious
eyes. (See Part II: Tobolsk.)

The eldest of the girls was scarcely twenty-two. Like her mother, she
was erect and stately and somewhat saddened by the hostile experiences
through which the family had just passed. The youngest was a chummy
little creature of sixteen years who did not conceal her admiration
for her next elder sister, whose courage seemed unfailing through
all the trying hours. The next eldest sister, with her little younger
brother, was openly planning to outwit the guard and escape to
the Siberian wilds. It was doubtless her undisguised activity that
ultimately betrayed the Royal prisoners into the unhappy tangle that
beset their future lives.

From one camp to another they were carted off like cattle and never
for a moment permitted to forget that, if they ever reached a place of
safety, they would have to pay the price. Along the frozen pathway
of their weary eastern journey there did come, here and there, some
slender little byways that offered an escape. Whenever they approached
these places and estimated the perils, they found no one to confide
in--there were none that they could trust. Treason, like a contagion,
lurked in smiles as well as scowls about them, and even their
steadfast trust in the Invisible Diplomacy of European Royalty was
gradually yielding in their hearts to the dissolving acid of despair.
(See Part II: Tobolsk.)

From the conflicting rumors that reached them they fully realized that
it was the politician in all countries who ignorantly obstructed their
relief. The ferocious and misleading propaganda employed to fanaticize
the populace as an element of military strategy seemed to sweep its
own authors from their feet and drag the prisoners through many months
of torture toward a time and place set for their execution by other
politicians in the drunken stupor of their power. (See Part II:
Tobolsk.)

Under the agitated surface of this tidal wave of fanaticism that
threatened to engulf the Royal prisoners there were a few men in
Europe and America, as well as in India and Thibet, who were slowly
converging in the direction of the victims with a _phrase upon their
lips_ that none but Royalty and themselves were privileged to use. It
was that ancient secret code transmitted by tradition to the followers
of a sturdy Tyrian king. It was made use of by Lycurgus, as well as by
Solomon and Justinian; and it was again employed by the partisans of
Louis XVIII to save the House of Bourbon. It is that mystic code which
binds Royalty together and is given only to those whom Royalty may
trust. That ancient code meant freedom if it reached the prisoners
in time! It rested with these silent men to pass the scrutiny of a
million eyes to liberate the victims from the fury of the mob.

Such a rescue, as time swept by, became nothing but a slender hope
with any of the women. They began to realize that their blood
would not very greatly shock the nerves of statesmen who had become
accustomed to the daily cataract that poured down upon the soil of
Europe. They felt abandoned by the diplomats. Their only friends were
busy in the red work of war. One chance alone remained. Soldiers might
be deceived by men disguised as comrades. The Secret Service might
overlook the hysterical entertainers who fluttered under the mask of
charitable workers and skipped across forbidden lines protected by a
Cross. This was the only possibility, this the phantom hope that stood
trembling on the brink of the prisoners' abysmal fear. Thus the sight
of a Red Cross driver or an English uniform in the midst of their
disaster became a welcome incident in the lives of these affronted
women. The appearance of either seemed to carry to the prisoners
a spirit of encouragement and reflect a ray of mercy into the dark
corners of their hearts. They indulged the hope that some of
those foreign uniforms might conceal trustworthy friends. And they
recognized a basis for such a hope in the mystifying movements of one
of those uniforms that met their notice day by day. It was near them
at the palace when they were thrown upon a maddened world. They saw it
following onward as they passed through pathless wilds. They could see
it hovering near them on that last historic night. They learned about
its maneuvers in the morning as it moved among the silent rooms of the
pretty mansard cottage that had witnessed their withdrawal from
the vision of historical events,--how it had paused to scan without
emotion the small blood stain on the floor--how an agitated censor
informed the credulous that the prisoners had been murdered in cold
blood! Thus they learned that the world had heard with skepticism
that, so far as history and international politicians were affected,
their _seven lives had been, technically, blotted out_! (See Part II:
Petrograd--Tumen--Tobolsk.)

Possibly the Prisoners of Tobolsk may have been willing to suffer what
is termed a "technical death" in diplomatic circles in order to elude
the hungry bloodhounds of the Revolution. They may have welcomed
the many opportunities such an event would furnish to read their own
obituary in the letters and official documents which treated of their
tragic fate. Who knows? They certainly possessed a saving sense of
humor or they would never have left behind them at Ekaterinburg
so many little reminders of the tragic romance to which calm
investigation hereafter will give birth. For instance, there are a
couple of diaries that some men must have kept. Of their existence it
seems certain that some of the prisoners knew. Why and just how the
hitherto profound State secrets narrated in these diaries come now to
light is suggested by a simple little letter that raises the inquiry,
"Did the Imperial Russian family escape?"

The letter that started this investigation is little different from
others one receives from friends traveling in the Orient. By itself it
does not clearly identify the family it describes; but, when the
scene it pictures is coupled with the events narrated in the purloined
diaries which the hands of some invisible diplomats _have_ left
behind, the student of the Russian Revolution will marvel at the skill
with which some other Royal hands untied the knot of Fate.



II

WHAT MAY BE READ BETWEEN THE LINES


There may be those in official circles who will suggest that a case
of mistaken identity is exhibited in the following quotation from
the letter. "It is in a sort of arboreal enclosure, with all sorts of
flowers and vigorous vegetation that characterizes this region," the
letter reads. "Behind the ivy-covered wall that extends around the
gardens and shuts out all intruders, I got a glimpse of that man
through the heavy iron gate. He was smooth-shaven, slightly drooped,
sprinkled with gray and with a scar upon his forehead near the roots
of his hair--a little to one side. He was twirling a pruning knife in
his left hand and speaking in _English_ to a boy who scampered up to
him ahead of four beautiful girls and a very dignified woman moving
leisurely over the lawn in the direction of the gate.

"When the women reached the man's side they paused for a moment and
asked a few questions in _Russian_. He seemed to be listening very
attentively and answering only in monosyllables.

"Then I noticed the elder of the women unfold a well-known London
newspaper and move closer to his side. They began glancing over its
pages together and seemed to be deeply moved by an article they,
apparently, were reading as they walked slowly toward the gate.
Finally, when they were about ten feet from where I stood concealed
behind one of the massive palms, the man raised his head from the page
and, looking earnestly into the woman's eyes, exclaimed in a skeptical
tone: '_Il n'aurait jamais cru le fait si ces messieurs n'avaient
pu lui jurer L'avoir vu!... Tout ce que j'ai prédit!... Les faux
nobles,--les plagiaires_!' which means in English, "He couldn't have
believed the thing unless these gentlemen had sworn they witnessed
it!... All that I predicted!... The sham nobles!... the stealing
authors!" The comment set me thinking.

"Who _is_ he? I asked myself. Inside of five minutes I had heard him
speak in English, in Russian and in French! I am certain that he is
not a Frenchman,--although his accent would have proclaimed him a
native of the Avenue des Champs Elysées. He had a Danish countenance,
the eyes of English Royalty and the forehead of an early Christian
martyr.

"No one I have talked to on the island seems certain of his identity.
Some take the view that he is a retired millionaire, judging from the
refined simplicity of his family and the strict guard the Government
has furnished to protect his undisturbed retirement. Others hint that
he may be, possibly, some very high dignitary, judging from the
almost Royal homage that some people in the city pay to his person and
family.

"The only reliable information I got about him was that he arrived
upon the island aboard a man-o'-war accompanied by one of the richest
tea merchants in the Empire. He declines all membership in any of the
clubs, apparently satisfied to spend the time among his orchids and
the lovely white-robed debutantes I saw blooming in that fascinating
garden.

"Naturally I was very curious about the identity of this secluded
family. But the only information given out about them by the
chivalrous tea merchant or the Government officials is simply, 'Oh,
the family have friends in India and are living in retirement.'"

One would be very bold to say, after reading the foregoing, that the
personages described were the same people who had been driven out of
the Winter Palace upon the ebb-tide of their Imperial splendor a
few months before. Yet a long and somewhat intimate interest in the
underground diplomacy of the world will lead one thus engaged to piece
together stray bits of gossip that come from different sources to
check up the information that some others may possess. In this way
will the letter of an American who was held incommunicado at Geneva by
the Swiss Government in the latter part of 1919, be found exceedingly
persuasive in the process of reconstructing the tragic comedy which
struts around the vacant Russian throne. The American was en route to
Turkestan under proper credentials from the United States; yet there
were certain powerful combinations sufficiently interested in his
mission to cause his imprisonment for a time sufficiently lengthy to
enable their emissaries to precede him beyond the Caspian, where other
secret combinations were incubating that American foreign traders
would have given much to understand.

It was during this period of restraint that the American, whose name
we will call Fox, wrote to a friend in the United States: "You have
often heard me speak of my brother who was in Turkestan when the
Russian Revolution burst upon the world. He is now resting in Tasmania
after going through one of the most remarkable experiences ever given
to an ordinary _tea merchant_ intrusted with some secrets of _the
greatest land monopoly in the world_. You may call it a fairy tale;
and if you did not know me as a business man of ordinary sense, I
should hesitate to intimate that Nicholas R---- and all the family are
quite well, I thank you, not a million miles distant from my brother."

Fox had learned from his experience at Geneva that governments are
sometimes cajoled by diplomatic pressure to do undreamed-of things.
The dispatch of an expeditionary force to Siberia by the United States
without a declaration of war against the Revolutionists struck him
as an instance of this kind, and he knew his correspondent to be
sufficiently versed in the underground politics of Europe to look for
a connection between some member of that expedition and the subject
mentioned in the two foregoing letters. This connection was innocently
revealed by a newspaper report from a Western city concerning
a wounded soldier who had recently returned to an American Army
hospital. The particular name being given, it was easy enough for
Fox's correspondent to meet the soldier on some errand of mercy and to
obtain the revelations that are hereinafter made.

The soldier was a young commissioned officer who was having an
artificial jaw supplied to replace the one shot off in a Bolshevik
encounter. He had greatly recovered when the call was made and an
opening naturally presented for the soldier to recount the part he
played in the adventure of his country in the Revolutionary drama of
that hour.

"I'm as certain as I'm living," the wounded soldier said, "that a
Bolshevik is as 'nutty' as a rabbit. The fellow I had by the neck
before my lights went out was putting up a holler, in German, and
claiming to be a personal friend of some personal friend of the
missing Czar. Before he finally passed in his chips he gave me a
bundle of paper _diaries_ he had stolen down in China, and he asked me
to return them to their rightful owner so that he might die without
a sin upon his conscience. Honestly, that chap was dead in earnest
in this matter of his conscience. I took the stuff, of course; but I
never thought about them until the other day. Since then they seem to
haunt me. I wonder if you'd mind looking them over if the nurse'd get
them out?"

"With pleasure," was the reply.

The nurse brought in an old leather bag, from which the Captain
extracted two begrimed and blood-smeared rolls written in a very small
but strong and vigorous hand.

While looking over the documents in a casual way a loose leaf fell to
the floor. Upon picking it up, there was found to be written on one
side in bold underscored letters:

    "Make no belief in the evidence that was manufactured to
    satisfy some bloodthirsty men in Russia. What I have seen with
    my own eyes I know is true. For the sake of Russia I stoled
    these papers from the man come from the West who was with them
    all the way from 'Yekaterinburg to Chunking. What he write is
    true.

    "DONETSKY"

"That's his name," the Captain said, "and if you don't find that he
was as crazy as a bedbug I'll say I'm General Graves."

"This diary seems to be written in very good English."

"Yes," said the Captain, "all those fellows keep one. They're like the
Germans--give 'em a pencil and a piece of paper and they'll scribble
all day."

"Did he say who wrote this?"

"No; he cashed in, as I told you; but you'll see the name of Fox here
and there through the diary that's written in the small hand."

"_Fox_--who was 'Fox'?"

"Search me! Some Johnny, I suppose."

"May I take these with me?"

"Sure thing! I'll make you a present of 'em. All I ask is, if you find
out whether that fellow 'Fox' grabs the peacherino from the Métropole
or the one called 'Maria' you'll send me an invitation."

The bargain was struck. Then the question was asked: "Any idea who
wrote this diary--the one written in a quick running hand?'

"Sounds like some fellow with a grouch against Kerensky and Lvov. I
know enough Russian to make out that much--"

"Evidently one of the Revolutionary officials?"

"Seems so," the Captain said. "You'll notice what he has to say about
the mixup with the Russian Royal family at Tobolsk and Tumen. There's
a lot of our fellows who don't take any stock in that assassination
business at 'Katerinburg."

"I began to read: 'I had walked from Euston Station to Madame
Tussaud's, when the messenger jumped from his motorcycle and rushed up
to me--' Your diarist starts out in London, I see."

"Yes, he is some globe trotter--"

"'"Go to Birdcage and walk slowly back to Queen Victoria Memorial.
As you pass Buckingham, observe the heavily veiled lady wearing white
lace wristlets who will follow on behind. Let her overtake you. If she
utters _the correct phrase_, go with her at once to Admiralty Arch
and follow the Life Guard to the War Office. Meet number ... there;
receive a small orange-colored packet, _wear the shirt he gives you_,
and cross the Channel at once"'--I see! From Buckingham Palace to the
War Office; sounds interesting."

"It is; that fellow is all there!" complimented the Captain.

"'The meeting at the _Huis ten-Bosch_ points to Wilhelmstrasse.
Nothing can be done here. They suspect Downing Street.'--Ah, at The
Hague, and at the _ten-Bosch_ too, where the Czar and Andrew Carnegie
held their first Peace Conference in 1899; this looks significant!"

"Keep going," said the Captain; "that fellow's got 'The Man in the
Iron Mask' brushed off the map."

"Here is something singular about Berlin. Your man walks through the
lines like a wraith--"

"Not always. As you get into his stuff you'll hear things sizzle."

And thus the Imperial dead return to life through the pages of these
stolen diaries.

While the temptation is great to revise the manuscript, so as to make
it read more smoothly, it has been decided not to alter a line or
letter. Truth will be better served by publishing what is prudent,
under the complicated political circumstances of our times, _word_ for
_word_ as it was written by its daring author.



III

WHAT HAPPENED AT BERLIN


For certain persuasive reasons it is deemed prudent to omit that
part of the diary which details the writer's experiences in England,
Belgium and Holland. Those who recognize the incidents hereafter given
will appreciate this act of censorship. The discerning reader will
gain all the information necessary by following the "Invisible
Diplomat" and author from Berlin to the end of the diary.

The first entry reads:

"Today I called on Count R---- at Thiergartenstrasse 23 and handed
him the yellow packet. Then I went with him to the race track at
Hoppegarten.... On the way out R. inquired about the incident
at Buckingham and asked me if I were willing to continue the
adventure.... I assured him that nothing would please me better,
providing the _lady_ was good-looking.... He said that there were more
than ONE lady as well as a couple of men involved in the affair....
I replied that if there were enough to go around and the men
didn't become too meddlesome, their presence wouldn't spoil the
'adventure.'... He assured me that the men were 'fine fellows,' the
ladies the loveliest on earth, but the 'adventure' was one that might
mean decapitation for me if I failed in the undertaking.... I told
him that just suited me.... 'I expect to meet Colonel Z---- S---- von
T---- at the track. If he takes a liking to you he'll invite you to
Koenigergratzerstrasse for a quiet little talk,' Count R---- replied
after I had climbed up on the box with him.... We had just reached
the old saddle paddock when a man saluted us in a very _knowing_
manner.... It was Colonel Z---- S----, who put some pointed
questions to me about my recent travels and my knowledge of Oriental
languages.... Before returning to the hotel tonight the Colonel asked
me to call on him tomorrow.... I feel that his request amounts to a
positive command.... I shall call early in the morning...."

4. On the same page the following entry was made:

"There were guards everywhere when I called at K-70. Even the
doorkeeper was a non-com, who took my name, entered it in a book with
the precise time I called, took down his telephone, merely mentioned
my name, hung up the receiver, called an orderly who conducted me
through a corridor and three anterooms full of civilian clerks and
finally landed me in the private office of Colonel Z---- S----. He
wore the undress uniform of the Imperial Army, greeted me pleasantly,
offered me a cigar and tactfully asked: 'Have you _positively_ made up
your mind to continue in this service?'

"I wanted to know a little more fully what was required of me before
answering; but he did not say. He insisted, rather, on my answering
his question FIRST.... To be perfectly frank I was not anxious to
commit myself unreservedly without knowing ALL he expected of me, but
it sounded cowardly ... so with a mental _reservation_ I finally said:
'You don't look like a man who would ask another to commit suicide. Go
ahead! I've decided to take a chance.'... Colonel Z---- S---- looked
me straight in the eye and said: 'We expect you to use the same
tactics that are used against you. We can't be squeamish.... The
interests at stake are too _sacred_ to allow personal considerations
to affect your conduct.... You will be required to undertake a journey
in the capacity of a guide.... How you make it will be left entirely
to yourself ... _but we expect results_.... Every resource will be
placed at your disposal, but if YOU get into _trouble_ you'll have to
get yourself out without calling on us for help.... We _must not_ be
known in the matter. And understand this--the assignment is dangerous
from start to finish; no official help can be given you under ANY
circumstances.'... To get a line on things I asked, casually, what my
compensation would be.... He replied: 'You will be allowed a
regular retainer fee, an allowance for daily expenses and a _bonus_
sufficiently attractive to make the undertaking worth while, as _you_
should know.' I thought a little while before asking, 'When do I
start?'... 'There's another thing,' he said. 'I suppose you know we
_retain_ one-third of your fee for the benefit of your family in the
event of any trouble.'... I merely nodded and said, 'All right.'"

In a moment a clerk brought in a check for 400, which Colonel Z----
S---- gave me, saying: 'This is your first month's allowance for
expenses; your retainer will be paid quarterly.'... 'How do you KNOW I
won't swindle you?' I asked, being a perfect _stranger_ to him. 'I am
taking my ORDERS from above,' he answered.... '_Who?_' I asked. 'Young
man!' he thundered, 'learn this QUICK--don't ask questions; keep your
ears and eyes open and your mouth SHUT.... _Be here_ at 10 tomorrow.'

5. The next entry of interest read as follows:

"I met Colonel Z---- S---- at 10 today. My head was not clear. Guess I
had too much at Kempinsky's last night.... A saturnalia of spending on
the theory that the Allies will pay.... Even the ride in the Grunewald
this morning didn't clear the cobwebs away. I was constantly thinking
of that girl at the Métropole with her long eyelashes and dimpling
smile; resembles the veiled lady at Buckingham,--and I was trying to
make out why she managed to occupy a seat at the next table to mine at
the Admiral's Palace an hour or two later. She seems to know some of
the performers who mingled in the audience, especially the energetic
dark-eyed Circe with the Greek nose, and said to be some sort of
a Baroness, who so often approached my table. I wonder what the
connection is between these two.... There is _certainly_ some
sympathetic tie between those girls! This I know, for when I had
breakfast at the Cafe Bauer, U.d.L., they were BOTH there, slightly
disguised, and occupying _the same_ table!... Who is Syvorotka? Her
lover?... I wonder what the game is.... Come to think about it, the
titled performer of the Métropole looks like a twin sister of Marie
Amelia, Countess of [Cszecheny] Chechany, a perfect composite of
Juno and Venus and Hebe all rolled into one.... These enigmatical
personages crowded everything else out of my mind as I walked into
Colonel Z---- S----'s office....

"... Without any preliminaries he said, 'Come with me!'... We entered
a cab and a few minutes later I entered the Wilhelmstrasse and was in
the presence of that tall, iron-gray, wiry gentleman with eyes like a
searchlight and the manners of a Chesterfield. 'Thank you, Colonel,'
he said. The Colonel sprang to attention, bowed, saluted and backed
away. We were ALONE!... 'In ten minutes,' he said, 'you will be
conducted to another room. When you arrive advance to the middle, make
a right wheel and stand at attention facing the portière.
Maintain perfect silence, answer all question,--make NO
inquiries--understand?'... I was taken downstairs, along a wide
corridor to a solid-oak door guarded by two sentries and an attendant
in the Royal livery. The door was opened by an officer of the Erste
Garde; I entered a large room, advanced to the center and faced the
divided portières of an adjoining chamber! There sat the man whose
nod shook the earth!... Behind a heavy, old-fashioned desk, in a
dim light, apparently absorbed in writing, sat a deeply tanned,
lean-faced, blue-gray-eyed counterpart of Frederick the Great,--the
very embodiment of Majesty!... Eyes that blazed in their defiant
depths with a steady and consuming fire--the kind of eyes that seem to
defy the world.... I stood there fully five minutes before I heard the
sharp, high-pitched voice pierce through the portière saying: 'Adell,
I will see the C----'... I was conducted to within six feet of the man
at the desk and in the same shrill voice asked how familiar I was with
Russia, with Turkestan, India, and the Far East.... My answers seemed
to convince my questioner.... Handing me a note he said: 'No one
besides ourselves is to know that you are to undertake the mission
outlined in that note.' Then he sat forward abruptly, his elbows
resting on the desk, his head between his hands, his eyes fixed on
space.... I began to study the note.... I was dumfounded!... I had
thought all along that this man was the mortal enemy of the persons
this note commanded me to rescue from danger.... I could not
understand HOW there could be the slightest co-operation between this
man and the other great ones of the earth that note commanded me to
call upon for assistance in case I should need it. It was utterly
incomprehensible! Yet THERE were the directions in plain black and
white.... And I could not ask a solitary question!... In the same
shrill voice the man asked: 'Have you memorized it?' I had! It was
burned into my very soul. I could not forget a syllable of it!...
Without another word he took the note, struck a match and watched it
curl into shapeless ashes.... Then making a quick gesture he plunged
into the documents before him.... I backed away until the door closed
and shut out the sight of the lonely figure enveloped in a green
light, his face illuminated against the shadowy background of
an underground chamber of the Foreign Office.... On the way to
Friedrichstrasse depot I met that girl of the Métropole again!"



IV

WHEN ROYALTY GETS DOUBLE-CROSSED


6. The next entry was:

"On the Orient Express, or what was the O.E. before the '_Grosse
General Stab_' took over the whole job of mixing up these
schedules.... Well, well, well, the veiled lady of the Métropole and
Buckingham is in trouble in the next compartment ... at least so
she says!... She just came into my compartment and said she had been
insulted by the man who is sharing it with her.... Confound him!...
BUT ... Now I've heard of such 'plants' before.... While I'd like
to go in there and kick the brute through the partitions I believe
discretion is the better part of valor.... Let her call the guard if
the case needs attention.... The guard is a reservist and I believe
she _knows_ it.... Furthermore, I must be at Donaustrasse 24,
Budapest, tomorrow, and meet Colonel Shuvalov at the Hotel de Paris,
Belgrade, the day after.... I wonder if that petit Paris looks the
same as when I met my old friend Count Arthur Zu Weringrode and
Kazimir Galitzyn coquetting with Cecilia Coursan, Mlle. Balniaux and
the Petite Valon at the card tables after our sparkling dinners a few
years ago.... And where is that fire-eating Prince now?... He was
a great friend of Grey and Churchill at Monte Carlo.... and
notwithstanding that meeting in the Taunus they MUST BE friends
YET.... The Monte Carlo combination HOLDS good today.... The Taunus
meeting so far as Haldane and Winston Spencer were concerned was a
_frame-up_ to catch Waechter and 'His Whiskers' (both the Admiral and
the General).... That's where the Wilhelmstrasse FELL DOWN!... and
yet I am on a mission of mercy, in behalf of one of the principal
double-crossers, today!... _Must see Kovalsky at Donau 24 sure_....
Mademoiselle must take care of herself today...."

The next entry read:

"This is a great combination--Roumania is sidestepping
Wilhelmstrasse.... _Greece_ is tying up with Servia, Bulgaria is
likely to form a wedge between a complete coalition of these mutually
hating and suspicious grafters.... Montenegro is the only honest
combination in the whole bunch.... In another hour I will see Kovalsky
and _astonish_ him with the news I bring."

7. Then the following entry: "_K---- is absolutely opposed_ to taking
any part in this business.... Will not raise a hand without the
sanction of CHARLES.... Looks as though I'll have to bring pressure on
these despairing creatures.... They wanted the Balkans,--that was the
deal in the Black Forest,--and because some one doesn't hand it to
them on a silver platter they complain of der Grosse General Stab's
neglect!... At two I get my answer.... If O.K. I'll be in Odessa in 48
hours unless that veiled minx of the Métropole sticks a knife under my
fifth rib.... Her conduct is becoming _mighty suspicious_!... Watch me
give her a run for her money!"

8. Then there was this entry: "Charles refuses to see me but tells
K----_not_ to put any obstacles in my way.... this is a pretty mess!...
How in the devil am I to slip through the lines with those devilish
English and French officers scattered around everywhere?... If
Roumania had only listened to reason!... I think that Mackinzen will
be able to help me out,--I might as well ask Envir Pasha as these
dervishes of Sofia to lend a hand in this affair!... Yet I _must_,
simply _MUST_ be in Odessa in time to meet Vladimir K before the order
of execution!... Either that--or jump into the Danube!"

9. The following entry is significant: "I have been deaf, dumb and
blind for the last 24 hours! The veiled lady was responsible.... She
had me kidnapped and carried out into these infernal hills, wherever
they are.... Never saw them before.... Looks as if a cyclone hit
them.... One can pick up enough shells and scrap iron to stock
a foundry.... The trees are all shot off--nothing but stumps and
slivered trees and broken wheels and boxes littered around.... Looks
like SOME FIGHT had taken place in this _strong-smelling_ hopyard
among these hummocks.... Apparently the hogs have been rooting up the
ground all around here.... There isn't a sign of a living thing
in sight ... and not a drop of water to be had!... WHO was that
woman?... The Baroness, who?... Must find out more about Syvorotka."

10. "... Been tramping all day in the direction of the rising sun....
Mud, mud, mud everywhere.... It may have been a good thing that I
wrote my brother Fox at Mendocino about this trip before I set out....
If I am lost and this comes into a white man's hands who understands
America he will know what to do with it.... Hunger and thirst are
delirious bed-fellows.... Seems like a hundred years since I heard
that Métropole woman's voice when they were choking me in the
carriage.... She was saying, 'Search him, search him; I know he
ran away with it; it belonged to the Princess!' Then that deep heavy
voice: 'What did it look like?' Every word he uttered seemed to add
pneumatic pressure to his grip on my neck.... 'It was almost a light
purple, the size of a hickory nut, shaped like a pyramid and gives
out the reflection of a cluster of stars,' she cried like a wench....
'Worth a great deal of money,' the deep voice grunted as his hand
pressed harder against my windpipe.... 'Priceless!' she shrieked. 'It
couldn't be duplicated for 100,000 rubles; the most gorgeous sapphire
in the world!'... 'Are you sure this man has it?'... 'Certainly!'
she insisted; 'didn't I see that little wasp Kerensky give it to
his cousin, and didn't I see that cousin give it to this man in
America?'... 'Who is this man?' he asked, tightening his grip until my
tongue hung out.... 'They call him Fox on the west coast of America;
but THAT is NOT his name,' was the last I remember until I found
myself lying on the roadside among the hills back yonder.... I
certainly DO resemble my brother slightly and am hoping that if he has
a sapphire the size mentioned by that hissing vixen he will keep it
for the honor and glory of the family of Foxes.... And to think that
a few days ago I was falling in love with her at the Métropole!...
If man is a meditating atom, WOMAN must be a _premeditating
subterfuge!_... I see smoke rising over the hills away to the
east.... Yes, it's the smoke of guns.... I can hear the hoarse roar
of heavy artillery to the right and the spitting hollow barking and
coughing of lighter pieces on the left and I feel the ground quiver as
I write these lines."

11. The next entry read:

"What a somersault has taken place in the general slippery coalitions
of these capricious provinces! Every Potsdammer, a little while ago,
was counting on Roumania!... The breaking up of the confederation of
the Balkan States under Russian influence was what the Central Powers
required; while the Allies desired a broken Turkey and a strong Balkan
federation under Russian sway able to throw a million men into the
field against Turkey's northwestern frontier so as to keep Austria in
check and allow an easy glide of forces toward the Dardanelles....
Then Roumania was with the Wilhelmstrasse, and Bulgaria was an ally
of the Quay d'Orsay and the Neva, but now the Osmanlian and the Bulgar
and his cousin Fritz are in the same bed snoring at the Romans who
look greedily toward Transylvania!... From what I can see I'm sure
these Bulgars will be first to give up the ghost, although when I talk
to Kovalsky and hear the whine of these Wienfloss Kwabins I feel sure
that they will be first to snap for peace!... I am writing this in
a elaborately furnished dugout that has been abandoned by some German
officers--I KNOW this because I found several tubes of _Erbswurst_
tucked in one of the berths. With a little water I managed to make a
good meal which saved my life,--blessed be the Goths or whoever it was
who invented those compressed sausages!"

12. The next entry: "I'm becoming worried about the size of this
diary ... getting so bulky as to almost prevent concealment in case of
capture.... Yet I know a way to prevent detection ... so simple!...
Usually the most elaborate effort at concealment leads to detection
while the most obvious and simple will be entirely overlooked....
I'll try it and if it goes through I'll patent it!... SOMEONE IS
COMING--sounds like a dozen auto-trucks!... No, it's an _aeroplane_
skirmishing mighty close to my headquarters.... They've _landed_ and
are coming this way!... I'll be READY for them...."



V

WHEN TITLED WOMEN STOOP TO CONQUER


13. The next entry:

"My ammunition was no good!... But I am at a loss to understand what
they are trying to do with ME.... Certainly I don't look like a very
important personage in my present state.... Yet my captors are not
treating me very badly ... aside from being locked up in this deserted
villa with its broken chairs and vacant picture frames and general air
of hasty abandonment there's nothing to disturb the tranquillity of my
reflections except the recurring tramp of the muffled sentry below
my broken window ... this building has a sort of Byzantine cut in its
architectural design.... On the other side of the valley there's a
minaret or two visible through the smoky haze.... Off to the left I
can make out quite distinctly the outlines of a Greek Cross.... The
road leading toward that Cross looks like the work of a Muscovite
engineer,--which speaks well for it.... It's built of the same
material as the one over the mountains from Tiflis to Vladicaucaz and
Kislovodsk.... I MUST BE ON RUSSIAN SOIL!... But what is _mystifying_
to me is, _how did that veiled girl_ of the Métropole manage to know
the SENTRY who is guarding my person so methodically down below?...
She has been here twice, now, and talks to him very confidentially....
QUATSCH! if she thinks to find _any_ jewelry clinging to my person
she'll have to fry me to get it out."

14. Then this entry:

"The veiled Métropole Nemesis was to see the sentry today....
She seemed to be quite happy about something and looked up in the
direction of my window a number of times.... She was eating some of
those champagne-colored rose leaves that are crystallized by the firm
of Demitrof at Moscow and sold as confections to the ladies of the
Court!... What does it mean?... Furthermore, if that _sentry_ is not
the same man who acted as valet to Prince Galitzyn at Monte Carlo when
Delcassé, Grey and Galitzyn (otherwise "Count Techlow") were gliding
about the Grand Hôtel de Londres!

"The mystery is solved....

"That Métropole woman was the companion to Countess C---- at the
Nouvel Hôtel Louvre the day I met her at Monte Carlo!... and this man
was the _same_ fellow she was supping her café Turc and smoking her
Medijeh cigarettes with out on the Terrace Gardens of the Hôtel de
Londres the night I was waiting for an American millionaire to break
away from the Hungarian noblewoman at the table decorated with La
France roses and the same kind of roses pinned to her corsage.... The
American, if he ever sees this in print, will remember the lady with
the wonderful jewels flashing from her wrists and neck and whom the
man with the Boulanger moustache at the adjoining table was trying
hard to flirt with ... the same dark-eyed Juno that same American
met in the Salle des Étrangers at the Casino, the following day about
noon.... Well, that is the connection!... But I did not observe that
that wonderful lady wore any large SAPPHIRE that night ... nor when
she changed her quarters from the _Nouvel_ to the _London_ did she
need any such jewelry to have all the spendthrifts of Europe at her
feet.... If she was a 'Princess' then I was completely fooled....
I never saw a real Princess, except _Eulalia_, who knew how to be
democratic enough to select an American for a quiet exchange of ideas
... the rest, no matter how desperately they may want to be free from
Court _restraint_ and bodyguards, remind me of the poor little caged
girls at the Convent of the Sacred Heart at Seville!... Well, so
my captors have some connection with the Countess C----([Cszecheny]
Chechany)--with the Tolna Festetics of Hungary.... And this is
_strange_, for I had surmised that SHE, at least, would be _friendly_
to MY mission, if she knows anything at all about its origin.... _She_
should _aid_ me to reach Odessa instead of having me sandbagged and
cooped up here in this Soviet cage.... I'm certain this Métropole lady
is a TRAITOR to the Countess now, and will have me murdered if I don't
produce that sapphire of the princess."

15. This entry may serve to identify the author of the diary:

"I am certain that the former occupant of this villa was some Russian
of taste and means. Today, while leaning against a wall that was
paneled after the fashion of the walls in the Hermitage, one of the
panels gave way and I found myself toppling backward into a very large
room resembling a gallery. There were a number of wall hangings of
silk from which the pictures had been removed. The candelabra was of
malachite. There were clumps of violet jasper, porphyry, lapis-lazuli,
aventurine and syenite scattered around as though the place had been
divested of its furnishings in a hurry. I have seen the same things
in the HERMITAGE when for architectural elegance, richness of
ornamentation and lavishness of decoration it was unequaled by any art
museum in the world.... While poking around among the piles of tables
and vases that were moved over to one corner I came across a box of
paintings that must have been STOLEN from St. Petersburg.[A] ... Here
is the _Madonna del Latte_ of Corregio, or a mighty good imitation,
that everyone remembers, from the Hermitage. Here is Rembrandt's
'_Girl with the Broom_,' the _Portrait of Sobieski_, and the
'_Farmyard_' of Paul Potter. Here is the '_Expulsion of Hagar_' by
Rubens in which Sarah wears a white handkerchief and yellow veil
around her head, with one of her hands resting on her hip and the
other encased in a blue sleeve raised in a threatening gesture toward
Hagar, and here is '_Celestine and her Daughter_ _in Prison_,' that
one NEVER forgets because of the controversy between the partisans of
Murillo and Velasquez over which of these two painters did the
work. And here is Lossenke's '_Sunrise on the Black Sea_,' Ugrimov's
'_Capture of Kazan_' and '_Election of Michael Romanov_,' in which the
artist reaches the heights of Oriental splendor in color, composition
and design.... There is a FORTUNE going to the devil in this room!...
This house is L-shaped. The garden in the rear faces a pretentious
two-story dwelling surrounded by a wall, like a Governor General's
mansion in its yellow-pinkish coat. Tall poplar trees wave in front
and the classic columns running up to the entablature give the place
an official sort of front. There is a drug store on the corner across
the way doing business under the name of _Torkiani_. To the right,
at the end of the street, is a girls' college; to the left, about
800 feet away, in the center of the street, is the _Alexander Nevsky
Church_, if I'm not very much mistaken. This city must have been a
wonder before the war...." Then this entry: "Something is about
to happen!... My sentry seems very excited over the desertion 'on
Ekaterine Street' and swears quite often at the failure of some one to
appear '_along the Levashov_.'"

16. This entry may explain the difficulty:

"There is an Army Corps approaching from the southwest.... The air is
surcharged with electricity and puts one's nerves on edge.... There
is an ominous roar overhead that grows more nerve-racking every
second.... Zip, zip, zip, bl-r-r-r-r-oo-ow!... A flock of Foelkers
heading east like wild ducks toward a few faint specks zigzagging
in the firmament away to the northeast.... Now there are a number
of specks from the south speedily joining these and ALL seem to be
flitting higher and higher out of sight.... Now the Foelkers are
circling rapidly upward.... The tramp and rattle of an Army can be
heard coming up the road behind my villa.... Ah! here comes a daring
plane like a streak of lightning over the Alex Nevsky Church _directly
toward this prison_!... I'm between the Devil and the Deep Sea!...
Whoever gets me, that flyer or those noisy and unseen dogs of war back
yonder, means nothing but plain HELL to ME!..."

17. The next entry is interesting:

"Well, I'm not DEAD yet!... A trip through the clouds is NOT the most
delightful of experiences for one in summer togs.... Especially
when one is gagged and blindfolded and roped down like a rebellious
steer.... So here I am cooped up again in a log cabin in the center of
an undulating plain where there might have been unending wheat fields
once upon a time.... Not a solitary animal is in sight.... The road
out yonder looks much the worse for wear. It seems ground into a
pumice stone by the hoofs of horses and the swift movement of heavy
wheels. Every gust of wind sends a cloud of fine dust pyramiding its
way across the fields and through the crevices of this suffocating den
furnished with a few wooden chairs, a hand-carved bedstead, a small
picture of the '_Virgin of the Partridges_' and a brass crucifix above
the bed.... I greatly SUSPECT my present whereabouts.... I am as much
mystified as ever why that veiled Métropole Circe continues to dog my
FLIGHTS.... It was she who was the daring flyer and she beat the whole
army getting to my retreat in that neglected villa and spiriting me
away...."


[Footnote A: Still the German nomenclature.]



VI

THE LADY AND THE FIRING SQUAD


18. This looks exciting:

"I must jot down this experience: When I was taken from the log cabin I
was blindfolded and again strapped into a flying machine. There were
half a dozen soldiers present; and ONE was certainly an ENGLISHMAN,--I
had heard his voice before. I NEVER forget a voice. If his eyes ever
meet these lines he will remember me, I know. I can describe him from
memory. He was medium height, wore a drooping moustache slightly
sprinkled with gray and used two pairs of tortoise-shell glasses. When I
met him at The Pines in the Isle of Wight we had both been through the
Battle of the Somme and were recuperating from our siege amid the shell
holes and the mud. I CLAIMED to be an American, and he, as a _descendant
of the victor of Trafalgar_, scolded me roundly and _vicariously_ for
not forcing the United States into the war on the side of
Britain,--he'll remember _that_.... Perhaps it was because he DID
recognize me that he insisted on my being blindfolded and handled
roughly when I was led away.... The rest of the squad spoke FRENCH very
poorly.... They asked me a number of questions, to which I shook my
head; and, candidly, I could do so without doing violence to my
knowledge of idiomatic French!... I heard them say to one another, 'When
we get him to the stockade we'll see what he is made of.' 'Yes; a firing
squad'll be the best thing for ALL of them.' 'Certainly! we'll follow
Machiavelli's recommendation in _The Prince_,--EXTERMINATE the whole
race!' That's the idea! There should be no Louis XVIII bobbing up a
generation from now to overthrow the democracy.'... To be honest with my
conscience I felt creepy.... I really wanted to tell them that they had
got the WRONG FELLOW, but when I tried to speak my tongue felt so dry
and thick that I could not utter an audible word.... so I remained
involuntarily silent.... Well, on this flight I was more comfortable
than on the last; but I thought it would never end and I felt horribly
SEASICK.... Finally I was landed and hustled into a court made from the
ends of small logs pegged into the ground like an improvised
palisade,--it was in a little village....

"... There were hundreds of tatterdemalians of all nations in various
uniforms and smoking vile cigarettes, lounging carelessly around....
In a little while a dozen prisoners issued from a small guardhouse
in one corner of the enclosure and were conducted at the point of the
bayonet to the spot where I stood.... The officer of this firing squad
looked viciously at me and ordered me to '_fall in_.'... We were
then marched to the log wall about fifty paces to the left of the
guardhouse and commanded to 'about face.'... When we did so we saw
a firing squad of eighteen men in command of a Sergeant who gave
the order '_Prepare to fire!_'... At this point the officer stepped
forward and, addressing me personally, said: 'Do you know of any
reason why you should not be shot for participating in the abduction
of the Imperial family?'... This was a puzzler.... I was innocent
enough of such an accusation, BUT the officer before me looked about
as much like a Royalist as I in my present disheveled condition looked
like a member of the French Cabinet.... If I denied my guilt I felt
certain of a bullet in my heart from such an ugly, unkempt mob....
Glancing at my apparel I looked fit to be one of their number, so I
said courageously: 'I am PROUD to say that I am the _ringleader_ who
engineered the whole business!..."

If it gives you any satisfaction to see me die, don't waste your
breath asking me any further questions,--go ahead and fire!'... 'Very
well,' he snapped and made me about-face to the firing squad ... For a
few seconds he held a silent conversation with the Sergeant.... That
functionary approached with a handkerchief. 'Will you be blindfolded?'
he asked. 'Thank you, I prefer to see what's going on,' I answered....
The other prisoners followed my example.... We were ordered to step
back against the wall.... The squad raised their rifles at the command
of 'aim.'... I _now_ know that I felt positively nauseated at the
moment, but I actually SMILED.... 'Fire!'... There was a rattle of
musketry and every prisoner beside me fell forward dead.... I STOOD
THERE ALONE, uninjured and alive ... coming toward me down the path
was the daring female acrobatic aviator with her friend, the performer
of the Métropole, robed in a shimmering sport outing costume, and
smiling very sweetly to the Officer of the Guard....

"... I am certain now that this veiled lady from Buckingham is in
league with this gang of Bolsheviki,--and I am also certain that I owe
my life to the boast I made of being a murderer myself!..."

19. The following entry reads:

"A man who has escaped death is not to be trusted on a point of
discretion,--he doesn't know how to select his friends. He is like a
spirit emerging from nowhere in the eternal void and grabs at the
first apparition that promises companionship in his embarrassing and
momentary isolation.... Well, I was so glad to see that Buckingham
Clorinda that I was willing to take her into my confidence at once....
She _seemed_ so sympathetic!... 'I commend your bravery,' she said
prettily, offering me her hand.... It was small and beautifully
moulded, yet firm and steady, and sent an electric thrill through me
like a flash.... Her eyes would disarm the most suspicious diplomatic
free-lance in the world.... Struck with admiration, hypnotized by her
voice, I could only blurt, 'I thank you.'

"...'We are looking for a man of approved courage,' she continued
earnestly; 'we are more than satisfied that YOU are the man.'... Again
I muttered my thanks.... 'How long have you been a member?' she then
asked carelessly.... THIS was not so easily answered.... I thought
quickly.... 'Long enough to KNOW my lesson!' I answered oracularly....
'You still remember your instructions?'... 'What instructions?' She
answered my question by asking, 'Were they not BURNED?'... 'Who is
this encyclopædic lady?' I asked myself. 'What manner of TRAP is she
setting for me now?'... 'Why did you SANDBAG me?' was MY answer....
'You are NOT to ask questions,' she returned. 'Are you not satisfied
with results?'...

"... 'I am still alive.'... 'Well,' she smiled, 'a _live_ Bolshevik,
of OUR kind, is much better than a dead diplomat!'... I was taken into
an improvised kitchen and indulged in a splendid meal.... I took no
wine....

"... My meal being finished _she_ offered me an excellent
cigarette.... Glancing up through a ring of smoke my eyes fell upon
a rough black-and-white sketch of a tall, smooth-faced, keen-eyed
man with rather large ears, firm and thin-cut lips, high forehead and
steadfast gaze, dressed in the uniform of a General Officer, with a
single decoration on his left breast.... _she_ observed me closely as
I gazed.... I KNEW this man and was about to exclaim: '_The savior
of this country!_'... but something restrained my enthusiasm.... 'You
recognize him, I see,' she insinuated.... 'WHO is he?' I dodged....
She merely smiled.... She evidently realizes the wonderful power of
that disarming smile and the fascination of good teeth in a shapely
head.... 'You'll do!' she said with apparent reservation as she tapped
a tiny bell....

"... A short, thickset man appeared--he is not positively _ugly_, but
he has a way of staring at one that is rather ill-bred.... There is a
gold band around his left wrist and a scar upon his right cheek....
I am sure he is the SAME man I met at one of Sadakichi-Hartmann's
readings from Ibsen's _Ghosts_.... He may recall the time.... It was
in an abandoned palace on Russian Hill, somewhere in America; the lady
at his left was discussing the difficulties of getting her motor car
into Ragiz; the younger one on his right was known as Alma and gave
her address as East 61st Street, New York.... and ALL THREE were quite
convinced that the Central Powers will defeat the Allies.... He is an
international character and will remember this incident as well as the
following: '... This gentleman will join your party for Ekaterinburg
tonight, YOU understand. If there are any mistakes I shall not answer
for results!' There were NO introductions.... The man bowed and
began to back away.... 'YOU may accompany him,' she said, rising and
flitting from the room.... I believe I understand what this _party_
means!... There is to be a SHOOTING party at Ekaterinburg under the
auspices of the Bolshevists in a day or two and I may be ONE of
the '_mistakes_' for which that mystifying lady disclaims
responsibility.... My companion certainly looks like a bandit, and
manifests the strength of a wild bull.... He seems much interested in
that _patch_ on my shirt sleeve...."



VII

THE ROYAL BOLSHEVIK AND THE NURSE


20. "My Charybdis conducted me to the barracks where a lot of
undisciplined philosophers were discussing the parceling out of
land.... The ringleader was a round-headed, long-nosed and bulky
individual with a shaggy beard and dirty uniform.... I knew him in an
instant, but he did not recognize me ... he was one of Von der Goltz'
men who aided in the defense at Gallipoli.... The night before the
Allied fleet withdrew he was lying beside a short, thickset and
dark-haired Associated Press reporter with a German name and
tortoise-shell eyeglass and was telling that same reporter that unless
REINFORCEMENTS arrived AT ONCE the defenses would collapse!... The
next day he was at Headquarters informing the General in command that
BUT FOR HIM the Turkish forces would have surrendered!... He is NOW
wearing a number of decorations for his military skill and bravery....
Such are the fortunes of war!... This is the man who one minute
preaches communism and another minute gravely asserts that it will
be a good thing for the Kaiser to get killed in the war so as to
guarantee the SUCCESSION of the Empire.... Perhaps he is doing this
for my benefit.... Anyway he occupies the center of the stage at
present and GOVERNS this greedy and unruly mob by kicking discipline
into a cocked hat and allowing every unshaved Bolshevik his own
unrestricted way!... Under other circumstances I should dearly like to
meet this boasting _Furioso_ in a ten-foot ring when a little exercise
is needed to keep myself in trim.... But NOW I am accepted as a
BOLSHEVIK,--one of the elect, privileged to select my lady and rob and
pillage when I please!... _This suits me very well_ ... but on mature
_reflection_ it seems to me that a FEW in this literally UNGODLY gang
are playing a very cunning part.... If that BE so I am _not_ so sure
how far my own assumed conversion to the doctrine of rapine will
protect my skin.... So far, however, I have adopted the policy of
vindictiveness, and, when asked a question, I merely growl and swear
like a trooper.... _I am making an impression_...."

21. "On the way here the HERO of Gallipoli took quite a fancy to me,
because I could beat him swearing perhaps.... Growing confidential
over his liquor and Turkish cigarettes he asked point-blank: 'Didn't I
see you at the TWELFTH DAY CEREMONY at the Winter Palace the time the
Archbishop lost the golden cross in the river, a few years ago?'...
I thought it better to deny the acquaintance and the incident.... I
could have easily recalled the ceremony on the Neva, the decorated
pavilion on the ice in front of the palace, the procession of church
dignitaries in their stiff Byzantine robes and scintillating mitres
moving slowly across the road followed by the Grand Dukes and the
Emperor, the clear voices of the choir cutting through the frosty
air, the ladies of the Court standing near the window and crossing
themselves as the Czar stood motionless beneath the gilded and fretted
canopy,--_I could have recalled it all_ ... but I swore profanely and
declared emphatically that ALL RELIGION WAS A COBWEB AND A SNARE to
emancipated minds.... I pretended to get violently MAD about it and
told him I would strangle any man who insulted me by accusing me of
the most distant relationship with any religion excepting the religion
of FREE LOVE.... He laughed like a lion with a sliver in its paw. 'You
are _absolutely_ the best COUNTERFEIT in circulation that I know of!'
he guffawed. 'Well, I'm going to fire Syvorotka and put you in
charge of a little FIRING SQUAD when we get to our camping ground at
Ekaterinburg!' were his exact words, half whispered, half insinuated
and wholly growled across the table in the diner.... With assumed
hostility I actually barked: 'The dirtier the deviltry the more
diverting!'... He opened his eyes widely like one emerging from a
solemn drunk and WINKED knowingly as he shook my hand.... 'You know
where Kerensky got his orders to release our fellows, of course,' he
whispered. 'I guess you KNOW why he sent _some people_ to Ekaterinburg
a couple of days before the Czecho-Slovaks are scheduled to _take_
it, and I guess you know too how it happened that so many MOTOR TRUCKS
came all the way from Archangel to Ekaterinburg so as to be on
hand when a certain Indian officer shows up, the ridiculous ranter
raved.... But...."

"... If these lines should ever come to light I want to record right
now, in justice to that apparently besotted creature, that I am under
unutterable obligations to him for assigning to me the most diabolical
piece of brutality that has been conceived during this period of moral
leprosy and unrepenting malevolence.... _I shall do my work well_."

22. Then the following odds and ends appear:

"... The Métropole performer is a Baroness sure enough.... She knows
a Syvorotka but declines to give his rank or whereabouts.... She tells
me that this place was founded by Count Tatischshev in 1721 ...
when Catherine was a baby.... The Monastery of 'Our Lady of Tikhvin'
looming up before me is a very graceful compliment to the Mosque of
St. Sophia it resembles in so many ways.... fine place to radio
from to friends at Odessa ... especially if the NUN has been obeying
orders.... Lvov is out of the way, over in the city prison, _cooking_,
where he can't betray the prisoners at Ipatiev's.... When I was alone
with my Imperial prisoner I tore the patch off from my shirt
sleeve and handed it to him.... '_Sa lettre!_' he exclaimed in an
undertone.... His manner was exceedingly polite.... '_Ouvrez, lisez_,'
I advised.... '_Oui, oui, je sais! je sais!_' he said softly, '_mais
malheureusement cela est impossible!_'... 'Soak it in water', I
replied.... '_Et vous, monsieur_, _êtes-vous américain ou français_?'
he came back.... '_Je suis né a Paris, mais je suis américain_, and if
the prisoner has no objection I'd rather speak in English.'... 'That
will be delightful,' he said; 'I shall do as you say.'... He ran back
to the bathroom. In a moment he returned holding the patch up before
him.... 'Ah!' he continued aloud, 'this merely says that the Heir
Apparent will make a cruise of the world in a man-of-war; what does
that signify?'... 'If you recognize the writing,' I replied, 'you
will, doubtless, remember the methods of its author when extending an
invitation.'... 'Yes, yes, I see; how clever of you! Had you been a
subject of mine I should have made you an ambassador!'... 'That would
imply infinite wisdom on my part, _Sire!_ I bowed very humbly.... It
made a hit with my prisoner."

This entry follows:

"Alice will give up her wheel chair when the NUN gives the word ...
she is worrying about my prisoner's sister, Olga, and her two
companions, who insist on offering their services to the poor in the
Crimea ... and well she may!... '_Facing the East,'_ they are likely
to travel _south_!... I must get rid of this old valet, _Parafine
Domino_, who makes a nuisance of himself hovering around my prisoner
like a hawk.... Gallipoli says he'll get rid of Alice's physician
before the TENTS arrive,--substituting a fake doctor from the Red
Guard, who'll tell me when the prisoners are fit to travel.... As
'Captain' of this Soviet Guard I am as cold-blooded as Gallipoli
before the spies and hangers-on.... '_Captain?'_... that title seems
to stump the old Russian soldiers,--they claim that there is no such
animal.... The Sergeant has suggested that I put the prisoners under a
SMALL GUARD when we take them to the Ural District Soviet Court of
Workmen.... Nice trap to catch me.... If I agreed to this I'd be in
the same category as Denikin or Dutov or Ekhart and be shot by the
gang outside by _mistake_, so as to fulfill the prophecy of my lady of
Buckingham.... My answer was to order the guard on the balcony to keep
their guns pointed at the prisoners whenever they appear in the garden
... this will satisfy the eavesdropper in the red brick across the way
and scare the wits out of old Parafine, besides giving him something
to talk about when we get away.... To satisfy that suspicious Sergeant
that there is no Japanese money secreted by the prisoners I have
ordered my men to use their bayonets against the walls and ceilings
... even the frame of the bathroom is not to escape!... Gallipoli is
growling around that I'm doing my work too damned well to _seem
reasonable_!... The poor boob! His idea of being _reasonable_ seems to
consist in spreading rumors that the prisoners have been disposed of
in a dozen different ways.... When Maria and Tatiana mounted the truck
in the yard this confiding swaggerer started the gossip that they were
being loaded up to be taken out of town and shot.... Now I am told by
some of the excited guard that that report is TRUE because they heard
some one in the attic of the red brick yelling: '_The baggage is at
the station_!'...

"When I asked them what we wanted with 'BAGGAGE' they went away
growling that I wasn't playing fair!... To my somber-robed lady of
Buckingham, who seems to have deserted me, as well as the slender
guard at the Huis ten Bosch, as well as those at the Wilhelmstrasse
and Odessa, who are part of this 'BAGGAGE,' my guard's agitation will
assume the humorous character of unconscious prophecy.... Suspicion
is in the air!... This undisciplined gang of cutthroats under that
half-baked Sergeant are demanding HOSTAGES from _me_ for _my_ conduct
of this business ... they want 'the Grand Dutchess Olga,' her two
companions, and FIFTY other women!... AT LAST!... the _planes are
buzzing in the sky_.... The Ikon of Holy Nicholas is being
wrapped up.... The NUN has copies of the letters to Oldenburg and
Gendrikov.... It's time to say to my prisoner: _Come with ME to the
U.D.S. of W.A.R.A.D._'.... If he has the code from Odessa he will ask:
'_Are you taking me to be shot_?'... '_RUNMOBS_'.... I'll have the
guard go through his pockets to find the letters that'll turn him over
to my '_vengeance_' ... then for Ekhart's tunnel and OBLIVION!"

23. Then this entry follows. It seems to be sufficiently
circumstantial to justify its reproduction here:

"Murder, like jealousy, in this country is a disease," begins the
narrative. "My part in this international murder will paralyze the
politician and mystify the sober mind of intelligent belief....
History will not be satisfied, however, without a VICTIM, and I must
furnish a victim that will satisfy the mob outside!... The Order has
been given.... There are celebrations among the banditti.... there are
moistened eyes among many peasants; there are strong men and gallant
men among the gang out yonder whose very looks betray the HATRED they
entertain for the suspected _executioner_ of their former ruler and
his excited family.... They fear, they try to avoid me; and I can
see in their looks that, given a favorable opportunity, they _will
hang me to the highest electric wire pole_ in the city!...

"I am not so certain, though, that EVERYONE outside will accept my
theatric 'slaughter' as the Gospel truth.

"Diagonally across the way there has been a Red Cross nurse eternally
peeking through her window in this direction.... If we go out into the
courtyard she can see us plainly behind the other buildings, for there
is nothing to obstruct her vision.... and she seems mighty anxious to
keep tab on all proceedings in the yard.... I have tried to figure
out a resemblance between this nurse and the capricious Métropole
Baroness, but the nurse _seems_ much older.... Perhaps she is
disguised.... If she ever reveals her identity she will remember me as
the man who tipped _my_ cap to her after posting the two sentries
in front of the palisade between the telephone poles and the British
Consulate.... If she remembers me she will also recall the drillings
I gave my awkward squad for the few days I kept them parading after my
prisoners in the yard.... and if anything happens to me she will KNOW
that I did my job well up to the minute I write this.... In a few
hours more the future political history of the world may be changed
forever.... To blot out _seven_ lives is all.... _Dokónchet the
Romanoffs!_"

23. This entry follows:

"To satisfy the mob I had to perform a very unpleasant _duty_.... I
use the word duty advisedly, remembering the instructions I committed
to memory in the underground office of the Wilhelmstrasse .... Knowing
that I am continually WATCHED and spied upon, not only by that nurse
in the window over there, but by a number of crazed lunatics
in uniform, I was compelled to treat a very pretty Princess
_shamefully_.... News was spread yesterday that Japan had loaned
Siberia $250,000,000, and the mob was clamoring for the jewels of
the prisoners. This unoffending Princess--this girl, hardly more
than seventeen--was holding a conversation in French with her brother
Alexis, a little lad of fourteen, in the courtyard. The boy was pale
and emaciated from abuse, solitude and confinement. The Princess, a
radiant beauty under this hot July sun, was trying to cheer Alexis up.
Her gown was badly soiled and of a simple soft material that seemed
to accentuate her modest resignation and glorify her courageous
cheerfulness in gloom. Her three older sisters, in gowns that spoke
of yesterdays, were walking moodily down the path, when a crowd of
ruffians burst by the sentries, tore through the doors, and dashed
into the yard in the direction of the startled girls.... Taking in the
situation quickly, I raised my voice and began swearing like a demon,
and prancing around like a _skberny_ madman.... Then rushing up to
Tatiana I TORE FROM HER EARS the jewels that had descended from her
early ancestors and howled: 'Aha! you'll wear those cursed things,
will you, when your betters are starving in the gutters! Get back, all
of you, into your Ipatiev SEPULCHRE and get me ALL the jewelry in the
place or _I'll turn these men loose upon you_ in three quarters of an
hour!... Soldiers,--_attention!!'_ ... The mob crawled into line....
'The next time any of you men come into this yard without any orders,'
I said, I'll have you SHOT WITH THESE PEOPLE IN THE MANSION!...
Column right!... March!'... I heard them mumbling as they passed
the first sentry that the cursed interloping _tovarestch_ intended to
_keep all the loot!'_.... Following Alexis and his sisters into the
ex-Emperor's study I laid down the earrings upon the flat-topped desk
and apologized for my apparent act of cowardice and cruelty....

"There was pathos in that father's soft and courteous voice as he
looked at me and said: 'I _understand_,--yes, yes, I know. You are
right--quite right. My darlings, you must not blame this man.'"



VIII

WHEN ROYALTY FACES DEATH


24. This entry follows:

"I must jot this down now--who knows what may happen?... Reminding
the family that I had promised results in three quarters of an hour,
I instructed them in the part each one must take.... Alexis appeared
to be listlessly unconcerned and sat upon one corner of the large
flat-topped desk, swinging his feet indifferently; but when I started
for the door he sprang to attention like a well-trained soldier and
awaited the results.... Going to the door fronting in the main street,
I called the sentry and ordered him to CALL OUT THE GUARD....
Shortly _my selected_ guard appeared....

"I conducted them through the dining room and told them to help
themselves.... Then we roamed through the living rooms, the boudoirs,
straight through to the washing room and bath; then back through the
oblong archway into the little square room beyond the study, where I
halted them and said: 'Men, these women will die before they'll
tell us where the treasure is at present. The OLD MAN and WOMAN seem
utterly indifferent to their fate; we can get _nothing_ out of them.
Now, what do you say to giving them a night to think the matter over
before we _line them up_? We may get more by waiting than by closing
their mouths FOREVER....'

"'_Not another day_!' said one of the men whom I had all along
suspected of being _suspicious_ of MY conduct.... 'What say the rest
of you?' I asked.... 'Well,' droned the most courageous of them,
with a hangdog expression, 'we might give them until midnight.'...
'Very well,' I snapped viciously, I'LL PUT OFF THE EXECUTION till
that hour; then if they don't disgorge I'll kill every one of them
_myself_!'... 'Not so fast, comrade!' returned the rebellious one; as
a member of the guard I believe _I'll keep you company_.'

"... I knew better than to object.... That man is a cutthroat beyond
redemption and will hesitate at nothing to satisfy his lust....
That'll be _fine_,' I rejoined; 'YOU STAY WITH ME; the rest of the men
are dismissed!'... when the men disappeared I made a run and jump at
my diabolical 'comrade' and struck him squarely on the nose. Then I
smashed him on the mouth, and, with a down drive of my left, I bored
into the pit of his stomach and sent him sprawling on the carpet,
where he BLED as profusely as a corn-fed bull.... This blood was
exactly what I wanted, and in my anxiety to make a good job of it I
kicked him several times in the face until he lay there, motionless
and senseless, bleeding from every gash.... In the joy of giving this
remorseless bully what he needed to overcome his pride I OVERLOOKED
ENTIRELY THE PROPRIETY OF MAKING HIM BLEED IN ALL THE OTHER ROOMS....
This little oversight may cost me a well-earned reputation for
efficient management I have hitherto enjoyed among many great men
of our times, if the omission be detected by some enterprising
commission, some journalist or SERVICE man who will certainly check up
my report if I leave this place alive...."

25. This entry follows:

"It was a long wait till midnight when the mob outside expected to
be invited to a division of the spoils.... but my plans were taking
shape gradually as the moments slipped away.... In this isolated,
though nicely furnished and elegant two-story dwelling, I got closer
to the heart of my celebrated prisoner and his family than any other
man alive.... In the few hours left to us before the time set for
their 'execution'--in these evening shadows of July, 1918,--we have
been discussing the effect of THEIR SACRIFICE upon the history of the
world.... I put this down from memory:

"'It is understood already in certain chancellories,' my prisoner
significantly replied, 'how my execution will be publicly accounted
for.... Each Ministry will appoint a Commission, suggested by the
Crown, to investigate and publish its own report.... The report
published will be given out under the name of a Naval or Military
Commission to impart an official sanction to the supposed inquiry and
support the authenticity of the document agreed upon.... Naturally
these prearranged reports will vary so as to satisfy the state of
mind in each particular country.'... 'If regicides are so easily
arranged,' I observed cautiously, 'perhaps the duration of this
"Revolution" is also definitely determined?'... There'll be a period
of revolution and distress,' my prisoner remarked, 'before our
country settles down to industry and contentment. But the desire of
"self-determination" will mislead the unfortunate and cause them to
embrace a tyranny of the most cruel and selfish type. This will last
for a time until gluttony destroys itself, as all excesses do. When
the country is dismembered by the activities of rival greeds, my poor
and honest peasants will turn upon their masters and restore this
nation's power. They need but education to accomplish glorious
results. They will obtain this education while they suffer and evolve
a science of self-government while learning to govern themselves.
It may seem strange to others when I say so; but not one of my whole
family is covetous of the Imperial Crown. We prefer peace and liberty
to all the pomp and penalties of Royal isolation from the rest of men
and women in the world. Royalty means SLAVERY of the most humiliating
form. The boy or girl that is doomed to Royal birth steps into a
prison with the first breath he breathes.... Take my own case; I
longed to get out and play rough-and-tumble with the boys I saw
staring at me in the streets. But I was taught by my English tutor,
Heath, that it would be lowering my dignity to associate with those
fine young boys. My "dignity" was placed in a strait-jacket and, in a
namby-pamby way, I was taught to play ALONE. I had cousins scattered
over Europe who took their lot more happily than I; but even they
regretted the mocking barriers that laid down a barrage between us
and the more fortunate chaps outside,--outside, they enjoyed
FREEDOM,--within, we were ALL prisoners in our little cells of
etiquette and traditionary bondage. At fifteen I was dragged away
to the Military Academy at Petrograd[A] and made to listen to old
Danilovich until I actually hated the very name of war. I resolved at
that time to inaugurate some means to get rid of such senseless waste
of life if intrusted with the power. The Hague was my interpretation
of what should constitute a proper exercise of international
obligation. You realize, of course, the precarious state of Russia
in a military sense,--while force was indispensable to hold us all
together from within, it always exposed our weakness when directed
toward external issues. I could not map out my own general education,
even; forced by the traditions of my family I was placed in charge
of the Holy Synod and taught by Pobedonostzev to regard myself as
the source of SPIRITUAL POWER and instructed to regard an unorthodox
opinion as a transportation offense. Now, while I reverence profoundly
the sacred tenets of my holy religion, I regard religious freedom as
indispensable to the dignity of spiritual belief. For that reason
I made that reformation in 1905. As I grew up I rebelled against my
intolerable confinement,--I went out among the PEOPLE and TALKED
WITH THEM. They were friendly in most instances and gave me very good
advice. I did not need a bodyguard to go about. I was as safe among
the people as I would be in the Winter Palace. Often have I walked to
the hotels alone to call on some particular friend without any thought
of fear. Nor was it necessary,--I liked the people as genuinely as I
believe they respected me. I learned their hunger for land by going
around; and it was on that account that I projected and completed our
Siberian Railways so as to give our people the coveted opportunity
and an outlet to the markets of the world. Given an opportunity to
accumulate and prosper, men will hesitate about going to war unless
THEY ARE MISLED. I saw such an opportunity in international trade. I
visited the Orient, extensively investigating the commercial field
in that direction. It was a mighty task, necessitating a reference to
others who should have been as much interested in the accomplishment
as I was myself. Their mistakes have made me quite unhappy and there
has always been CONTENTION between my Ministers and myself. If Witte
had kept his hands off when Count Solsky got after the plotting school
teachers and rebellious students, the propaganda against my reign
which has honeycombed the Empire with sedition might have been
checked in time to prevent this dissolution,--for it is more than a
"revolution." It is idealism run amuck. France, England, the people of
America, have been duped by the intelligentia--the Kadets--who never
seemed to realize that in order to hold this Empire together not
only FORCE but SUPERSTITION was required,--'_si mundus vult decipi
decipiatur_,' it is the only principle that will hold unorganized
ignorance in disciplinary subjection to orderly and regulated
progress; and without this discipline the ARMY, or the power that
holds this incongruous Nation together, will dissolve, as you may now
see, while the whole Empire will fly to pieces. My strong Ministers
were too physical and myopic to look beyond their noses. They were
afraid to seem afraid of _truth_,--and they even accused me of
plotting with Kazantsev and Feodorov against the life of my Minister
of Finance,--always excuses for fomenting discontent! They never
seemed to realize that the HAPPINESS of the PEOPLE meant the SECURITY
of the CROWN. As a matter of fact the only loyal supporters I ever had
around me were my wife and family besides a few others in the service
of the State. When I announced my war aims on the Pacific for the
benefit of my people my leading Minister had the audacity to obtrude
upon my privacy at Tsarskoye Selo and demand that I withdraw the
manifesto. This piece of impudence cost me the decision in that war.
That magniloquent Minister, with his versatile Irish amanuensis, not
only turned my mother against me, but he had the temerity to demand
that I dismiss my best agent, Azeff, who alone kept me advised of the
machinations of the Social Revolutionists, who, in turn, accused me of
murdering my uncle Sergius--the greatest theologian of the age. As I
recall the time, now, I am, of course, convinced that the only _real
friend_ I had among those Social Revolutionists was BURTZEV,--but
I understood him too late!'... My prisoner spoke regretfully. His
voice was soft and courteous, breaking at times into the altisonance
of the tragic muse. He does not think that any act of his can be
wrong; the mere fact that HE ran counter to accepted standards
divests, in his mind, the act itself of turpitude. That seems to be
the way he looked upon his former Eastern encrouchments. That's the
way he justified his subterranean deals with the KAISER; and he even
goes so far as to assert that '_if the Vyborg-Björkesund treaty had
not been denounced the present war would not have happened_.' He
speaks of this a little passionately, scorning the very memory of
Count Witte for 'questioning the morality of that arrangement.'
That great Minister my prisoner refers to as '_an uncouth bully who
bellowed like a mad bull_.' In this respect it is my impression that
the ex-Empress indorses his state of mind. What he likes she will
place in the superlative; what he merely hates, _she_ elevates to
positive abhorrence. In this way she seems to flatter his decisions,
which makes him smile quite indulgently at her, and hold her
ascendency over his apparently veering mind. I can notice this in so
many little things: She oozes delicate flattery and he likes it;
she plays upon his _prejudices_, and he seems to have a lot of them
submerged beneath his inalienable urbanity and instinctive grace of
manner that even this misery and abysmal gloom have not relieved of
polish. Beneath it all I get the impression that he is very much in
love with every member of his family.... that he would like to
be _alone_ with 'Alice,' whom he addresses as 'my darling' and
experiences a shell-shock if she stubs her toe. His final words are:
'Now it is ALL OVER and I WILL WELCOME THE OBLIVION that will release
us all from the memory of our devoted bondage!'... While my prisoner
conversed Alexis assisted his stately mother and his four beautiful
sisters while putting on their superannuated wraps.... One by one they
filed out the door leading into the open yard.... My prisoner stood
up and stretched himself.... He was about to resume his seat when the
report of a revolver resounded in our ears.... The brute on the
floor, wallowing in his blood, was raised upon his elbows and firing
recklessly.... After he had fired six rounds without apparent injury
I drew my own revolver and fired deliberately INTO THE WALL.... The
fellow slunk back to silence.... My prisoner and I followed
the ladies out into the night, _forgetting_ a jewel or two in our
leisurely departure.... Out in the open WE DESCENDED into the old
abandoned tunnel that formerly led from Ipatievs to the medical office
of a foreign consulate a thousand feet away...."


[Footnote A: Nicholas used "Petrograd," not the German nomenclature.]



IX

WHAT IS LEARNED IN A SECRET TUNNEL


26. The next entry is mystifying:

"We are between the devil and the deep sea!... which gives me time to
write.... The beastly tunnel has caved in midway in our passage....
It seems, from the roar overhead, that we are somewhere beneath the
railroad tracks. Yet there must be a vent somewhere, as there seems to
be a draft of air through this passage.... The family are congregated
off to the right, in a kind of stoping where the dirt has been
removed, leaving a small room like one meets with in the Gogebic iron
mines in Wisconsin and Michigan, back in the United States....
Our little electric bull's-eyes come in handy just now.... With my
bull's-eye propped up on a sand-encrusted box I am noting down
some things that must not be forgotten.... While trying to find a
passageway out of this hole in the ground we gyrated back and forth
for the last two or three hours until the women became exhausted....
Then my 'prisoner' and I returned to the mouth of the entrance. There
we heard a horrible row between the unruly brute we left on the
floor and his wild-eyed fellow conspirators.... They accused him
of DOUBLE-CROSSING THEM and making away with the treasure that they
insisted should be _theirs_!

"... He insisted that there was NO treasure EXCEPT the JEWEL he
apparently was exhibiting.... We could hear, quite distinctly, a
sullen voice saying: 'I do not believe you; you are trying to steal
the whole of it!... We'll give you ten minutes to produce ALL you have
hid away, and if you don't do it, we'll fill your body so full of lead
that your rotten carcass won't float in the Kolunda.'... The culprit
replied: 'Let me explain. You remember that I was suspecting that
_interloper_ when I insisted on watching him; well, my suspicions were
correct,--he was a TRAITOR to our cause. He was planning to steal away
with his precious gang when I covered them with my pistol. Then when
I had the drop on them I made them open all of their trunks and boxes.
Nothing was found. I felt sure they were holding out on me, so I took
a shot at the kid. The interloper made a dive at me. I knocked him
down with that chair there.... then in my rage I emptied my pistol
into the hearts of the whole gang.... that's all there's to it.'...
'He's lying!' 'Traitor!' 'Betrayer!' 'Down with the thief!' flew
back and forth from one to another above our heads.... Then in a more
subdued voice we heard 'Hist! _Silence_! Some one is coming!' A
moment later I heard distinctly the unmistakable growl of my hero of
Gallipoli overhead demanding, 'WHAT HAVE YOU CUTTHROATS DONE WITH
OUR PRISONERS?' ... There was a _silence_ that could be felt.... None
offered an explanation that I could hear.... 'Why don't you answer?'
thundered Gallipoli.... There was an unmistakable murmur.... 'Don't
YOU try to slide out of this, you COWARD! I'll hold _every one_ of you
responsible for this! _Where's my lieutenant_?'... He _means_ ME....

"'Out in the yard,' I heard one of them reply.... 'Go and tell him
to report here AT ONCE!'... Poor devil! the humor of this whole
situation is displayed in the tragic possibilities of criminal greed
when crooks fall out!... '_Where are the others_?' my Gallipoli hero
demanded.... I heard no answer.... 'DO YOU HEAR ME?'... still no
audible answer.... '_Crack!'_.... the report of a revolver, then a
scuffling and '_stand back!_ Another move and I'll blow you ALL to
HELL,--_line up there!_.... Now I order you to explain the whereabouts
of the PRISONERS.'

"... We could hear a voice boasting: 'Did you see that BLOOD
in yonder? Well, that is our answer. We were suspicious of that
Lieutenant of yours so we took the matter into our own hands.'...
'WHO DID THE KILLING?'... 'The Sergeant.'... 'And what did he DO
with the bodies?'... 'Threw them into the well!'... 'The devil!
you'll have to fish them out again!'... Then there was a long
silence.... Finally we heard: 'Here, Sergeant!' from HE of Gallipoli;
'when will my lieutenant report?'... 'The Captain said to present
his compliments and say that he is temporarily detained.'... My
'prisoner' poked me in the ribs impulsively and smiled.... 'Where
are the BODIES?'... 'Burned!' said the Sergeant. 'WHAT?'... 'BURNED
UP?... 'Who burned them?'... 'I did, Sir.'... 'Didn't throw them
in the well?'... 'No, Sir.'... 'Well, I'll be damned!... FALL IN!
_Unless those prisoners are produced I'll court-martial every one of
you_!'

"... We could hear the measured tread of a squad overhead tramping
away until the thump, thump, thumping sank into a faint indistinct
vibration which was caught up by the beating of our hearts and
the throbbing of our fascinated and incredulous ears.... 'Well!'
ejaculated my amused '_prisoner_'; 'It'll be exceedingly interesting
to read the future accounts of my double execution. I am sure my
family will read it with greater interest than they've ever manifested
in any of London's or Gorky's fanciful novels!'... 'I assume that you
will not be surprised to learn that you have some mighty good friends
in that crowd outside,' I ventured.... 'Oh, not at all,' my prisoner
returned, 'and I venture to say that your friend from Gallipoli will
find it convenient to contribute to the general misunderstanding
and confusion by allowing the suspected executioners to air their
conflicting explanations of my disappearance.'

"'_We haven't disappeared yet, my friend!_' I grumbled, as we turned
back in the direction of our underground camp.... 'If we had some
shovels it would solve the problem; but the way we're fixed it looks
like a case of starvation or surrender for the whole of us,--we can't
stay down here indefinitely!'... 'Patience, _courage_, my friend,' my
'prisoner' replied whole-heartedly; 'this is the first time in my life
I have been absolutely alone, the first moment in our lives we have
been positively FREE!'... He took a few swift steps and swung around
gracefully, like a figure in a dance.... 'I love the mazurka!' he
exclaimed!... 'I'd like to have a real pillow fight again with the
children!... We used to have such fun!... It was about the only time
my wife would ever smile!... I used to tell her that she reminded me
of the sad goddesses that stood on the dull red cornices of my
Winter Palace looking coldly into space during any of the Court
ceremonies.... Really that was true,--a woman like my wife, in a
_manteau de cour,_ a head flaming with the rays of her kokoshnik and
supported by that long white veil, DOES resemble an icicle in the
Winter Palace!... But when we are _alone_!... the Zaritsa is
a motherly MOTHER!... You'll see.... We have always loved
simplicity.... This is our chance.... I never did like the late
suppers and high life indulged in by some of my relations.... My
greatest dissipation was at the Marinsky when we'd sup between acts
and go straight home to bed.... Grand Duke Alexis never wanted to go
to bed.... After the theatre he was always primed for another party
out at the Islands.... Our motto has always been, "Early to bed and
early to rise."... Had to.... At work early after breakfast till
eleven ... luncheon ... to work again at half past twelve until dinner
... back to work until very late at night.... NOW we are hearing of
our misguided _workmen and soldiers_ attempting to run the country on
SIX HOURS WORK A DAY!... That would be delightful if they would
only devote the remaining hours to recreation and STUDY.'... My
'prisoner' seemed positively _boyish_....

"His voice was in pleasant contrast to the shrill staccato accents I
had heard in that gloomy underground room of the Foreign Office at
Berlin.... I could see at a glance that his present attitude was not a
pose,--his simplicity, like his courage and democracy, was GENUINE....
It explains the reason for his composure at THIS VERY MINUTE when a
less courageous man would be excitedly running around in circles and
making my life miserable by bemoaning our ill luck.... To show the
_morale_ of this family of cave dwellers I'll record this incident:
'Be careful about those electric lamps,' I requested of the ladies.
'If they give out we'll be in darkness.' ... 'Then we'll use our hands
and dig ourselves out to daylight!' exclaimed Maria.... 'WHY can't
we start doing THAT NOW?' exclaimed Tatiana.... 'Come on!' chorused
Alexis and his four sisters as they fell to and are now pawing the
dirt away from the embankment that impedes our escape.... I'll have to
supervise that work a little, for if these girls continue to pile back
the dirt the way they are doing it they may stop up the passage both
ways and _bury us all alive_...."



X

ROMANCE IN SIGHT OF DEATH


28. The next page of the diary is badly blurred and torn, but the
following can be made out:

"We are all about played out.... The boy is exhausted and lying over
in a little excavation upon his sisters' wraps, his fingers bleeding
and one eye blinded with the sand.... The passageway behind us is
almost closed up.... In front of us we have hit a solid wall.... The
exhausted mother is binding her boy's hands with a portion of her
petticoat.... As she kneels there, with the faint flicker of a light
falling on her finely chiseled profile, she resembles Botticelli's
_magnificent_ Madonna in the Uffizi Gallery at Florence.... The
picture is completed by the dark background and the solicitous
attitude of the girls as they cluster around the sufferer.... With a
little imagination one can delineate the jeweled crown which the two
girlish angels are holding above her head.... Pathos, resignation and
a sort of recreating FAITH are painted against that threatening wall
and overhanging dirt.... If that should fall WE ARE ALL BOUND TO
SUFFOCATE before any help can come.... My 'prisoner' is not a bit
discouraged, however.... He is using his jackknife against the
concrete wall with great patience and whistling softly and slowly an
air from 'The Blessing of the Waters.'... WATER!... I know those
girls are CHOKING for a drink as I have been for the last ten hours
myself.... Still, not one of them has murmured at our grief and
Anastasie has become quite chummy in pretending to cheer ME up....
Aristocracy or Royalty, even, with Democracy in a tunnel, makes us ALL
of one size! Under certain conditions a man of my education and
family connections MIGHT be privileged to forget the veiled lady of
Buckingham and accept these endearing little attentions with some
guarantee of hope.... But WHAT IF WE ALL ARE BURIED HERE like the
happy families of Herculaneum and Pompeii?... Future inquisitive
scientists may find this diary with our _bones_ and classify us as
a species of an extinct Tartar tribe!... The wall my prisoner is
gouging out _seems to be getting wet_...."

29. Then there follows the entry:

"_Water has burst through the hole my prisoner has been making in that
wall_!..."

30. The next entry has been evidently water-soaked and is entirely
blotted out.

31. This entry seems sufficiently distinct to make out what the writer
has been through:

"I tried in the foregoing to jot down enough of what was happening
to enable anyone who would find our bodies to make out how we had
died.... What I forgot to record in the excitement I'll put down
now.... When the wall caved in and the water burst down upon us it
seemed that we would soon be drowned alive.... The small hole in the
wall had allowed enough water to filter through at first to slake
our thirst and make us all quite happy.... But gradually the ground
beneath us became damp and sticky and the blue mud clung to our shoes
like glue until we could hardly move.... The little air that crept
in with the water, though, was a positive blessing to us all.... We
should have stifled.... Finally the water ceased and our hearts began
to sink....

"... It was Maria who brought on the FLOOD I have learned today....
With a stone she found uncovered by the filtering from the little
opening she began pounding against the wall.... Suddenly the wall
bulged inward.... There was a swish, and a roar, and a deadening
GUSH,--and then a RUSHING FLOOD tore open the side of the wall and
burst like a torrent into our muddy, narrow cell. Higher and higher it
mounted, enveloping us to our arm pits.... My 'prisoner' moved calmly
over to the stately woman, who was holding up the boy, and patted her
gently on the head. 'It will be all right, darling,' he said.... Then
he kissed all his children and impulsively _dashed in the direction of
the cataract_.

"... Struggling hard against the flood he worked his way nearer
and nearer toward the broken curbing and finally DOVE through the
waterspout and clung grimly to the wall.... For a moment his body
seemed to tremble.... Then with a supreme effort he pulled his body
into the opening and for a moment checked the flood.... It seemed like
a gallant sacrifice.... at the same time.... the girl, Maria, waded
back toward the opening that was NOW completely SEALED BY THE STICKY
CLAY and began to tear frantically at the bank....

"Little by little she seemed to make headway.... But it appeared like
an eternity,--and I felt certain that the man in the wall using his
body as a plug must presently give up the ghost and be hurled back
into our cell.... I then noticed the water around us DROP quickly,
and, turning in the direction of Maria I saw her body being caught
up by the current and sucked painfully forward into the opening her
delicate hands had made.... It was too horrible to endure!... Now,
while there is no blood of martyrs in my veins, and while I had
PROMISED the sombre figure in Berlin TO DO A CERTAIN THING which a
martyr impulse might prevent if I tried to be a hero in this instance,
I simply could not look at that girl's struggles without going to her
rescue _no matter what it cost_...."

32. The following then appears:

"I have no recollection of what happened after I grasped Maria by
the feet.... All I remember is that I felt myself being dragged along
after her through a blinding sheet of muddy, gritty substance, head
foremost like a drowning man.... I imagined myself in mid-ocean
clinging to some broken shaft after my vessel had been torpedoed, and
I clung to those slender ankles as the only hope of life!... When I
did recover there was Maria bending over me and vigorously see-sawing
my arms back and forth in an effort to resuscitate me.... If ever
there were an excuse for the chivalry of the Middle Ages it must have
crept out of those dark moments when some puissant knight opened his
tired eyelids upon a vision such as I then beheld!... But there was
no time for Don Quixoting in that damp and muddy tunnel.... We noticed
that the waters neither rose nor fell.... So we plowed our way back to
the other members of our party as speedily as we could.... On arriving
at the wall again we found my 'prisoner' lying propped up against
a large slab of concrete and breathing heavily while he held the
Empress' hand and essayed a feeble smile...."

33. The following entry seems to dovetail in:

"The walls of this old _cistern_ promise very little assurance for
our escape.... Still the cistern has its uses in circumstances like
these.... We KNOW, at least, that some kind of human beings are not
beyond our voices if we decide to call for help.... But WHAT KIND of
help?... That is the question.... Last night, as I stood on the floor
of the cistern I heard an amusing conversation.... A voice
overhead was growling; 'I'm as certain as I'm alive that the loan
of $250,000,000 has been made by Japan to those fiends who have
escaped,--and I KNOW they have the GOLD, for why have those trucks
disappeared?... so it is worth while to keep up this revolution until
we get our hands on some of it if we have to follow them all the way
to Vladivostok.'... 'That rumor has been floating around for the past
week,' another bass voice grumbled, 'and I'm inclined to think it is
all a game of bunko to divert attention from the pile of 600,000,000
the gang have smuggled into Omsk.'... 'Nonsense,' grunted the other;
'haven't we a thousand eyes at Harbin who know about the Chinese
Eastern deal?'... 'Well, the only thing to do is to keep this hell in
a constant bubble until we get the stuff at Omsk or the coin Japan has
sent to this CREMATED FAMILY here!'...

"... 'Cremated, Ha! Ha!... why, did you notice those stoves in the
house?... They're not big enough to burn up a good-sized dog!... My
judgment tells me that that whole squad of double-crossers are in
league with that skunk of a "Captain" who pretended to be a friend of
Comrade Trotsky.'... 'Well, we made a mistake when we endorsed that
BURNING lie,--we are ALL in for it NOW, and the only way to get out
of it is to STAY IN IT and lie it out to the end--'.... 'UNLESS--'
'Unless what?'... 'Unless the Lett who pretended to do the killing
is taken out and SHOT!'... 'Oh, give him a little more rope and he'll
hang himself!'... When I related this conversation to my 'prisoner'
he was very much amused.... 'This is a real adventure!' he smiled.
'We're like Tennyson's Light Brigade, with cannons in front, and
cannons behind us and brigands on every side of us, thirsting for our
blood,--these fellows are certainly not Russians!'..."

34. Then we have this entry:

"I have noticed all day that the family is gradually succumbing to the
ravages of hunger and thirst.... If we call for help it will mean a
FIRING SQUAD for sure.... The criminal crew who have already reported
our death will HAVE to KILL us to make good their boast.... So we must
stay here and silently watch one another collapse from day to day....

"... My prisoner says he is willing to give himself up if his death
will enable the rest of us to escape.... The girls will not listen
to such a proposition,--they are all agreed that they would rather
organize themselves into a little platoon and FIGHT IT OUT if we
can ever get out of this cistern.... It indicates a mighty good
spirit,--but that gang outside would have us strung up in the
twinkling of an eye....

"... I KNOW that Marie expects ME to do something from the inquiring
way she gazes in my eyes.... She says nothing, but any man of spirit
who looks into such clear, unflinching eyes under conditions such
as these, will understand instinctively what is written in their
suggestive depths!... They literally SHAME me for the little I
can do.... Some lounge lizards may speculate on the nature of the
sentiments this grateful princess will reveal if I display sufficient
ingenuity to save us all from this slowly approaching DEATH!... How
dramatic!... How absurd!

"... I have lately laughed at those Italian poets who bewail the
isolation of their Lauras, yet, recalling my Lady Buckingham's
repeated rescues, I begin to recognize a reason for the existence of
that poetic fervor which agitates the artistic heart when either its
safety or its vanity is at stake."...

35. This entry offers a little encouragement:

"There is no such thing as physical exhaustion.... Hunger and thirst
may weight us down, but with the right kind of inspiration a man can
do miraculous things.... I began rolling up balls of mud from the
tunnel and carrying them into the cistern until my tongue hung out
of my mouth.... With those balls I started making a winding stairway
around the wall of this cistern until I had a dozen steps completed
... then the girls began making the balls and bringing them in to me
like muddy little hod-carriers.... My masonry took on proportions as
the minutes dragged by.... Finally we have a stairway four feet wide
and extending from the bottom to within four feet of the top as I
write these lines with the girls sitting a few steps below me in the
slowly hardening clay.... We can all hear plainly the tramping of feet
on the planking overhead.... It is a kind of shuffling one hears when
seated somewhere beneath the dancers in a ballroom, and it may mean
that we are headed directly toward the LION'S DEN."...

36. In this entry the Emperor speaks of Rasputin, spooks and Jews:

"It became dark and spooky when our lights gave out.... and while we
sat huddled together the subject of 'ghosts' came up.... 'Ghosts!' the
'prisoner' almost snarled; 'that reminds me of the Jewish propaganda
against my Government.... There was hardly a Yiddish banker in the
world who did not accuse ME personally of inspiring Sheglovitov to
have the Jews executed for _ritualistic murder_; and I am sure their
influence will be very strong with certain statesmen and opportunists
to have my Empire dismembered when the time comes to settle the terms
of peace, as poor Nilus predicted.... I wish I could show you a letter
I received from a Jewish banker in New York threatening to kill my
loan in America and have our existing treaties denounced unless I
complied with certain Jewish demands.... I did not think it possible
and ignored the letter, of course.... You may judge of my astonishment
when the Jew's threat was made good by the American Government
doing precisely what the threat implied.... These people have been
persistent in accusing ME of having communication with the _spirits_
and of engaging in all sorts of _magic_, like the infamous Papus;
well, if that be so let me exercise my gifts to prophesy that the
denationalized Jews will attempt to hereafter enthrone themselves as
MASTERS of the civilized world by their mastery of its amusements,
its money, its POLITICS and its industry,--and you will find them
demanding and RECEIVING special privileges in many countries where, at
present, they are suspected and abhorred.... I have not the slightest
doubt but that Kerensky will be succeeded by some Jewish politician
within a little while--and they will blacken his reputation as they
have tried to blacken mine.... the methods may be different but the
result will be none the less effectual.... Only the other day, I might
say, WHEN WE WERE LEAVING TUMEN, a rabble of Yiddish _suttlers_ began
_yelling at ME: "Rasputin! Rasputin! where is your Rasputin!"_ ...
Now Grisha Rasputin was a friend of the Metropolitan Archbishop
of Protopopov. He was seeking to redeem the reputation of a
horse-stealing father if I remember right--'He was a friend of
Stuermer, Niki, not a friend to you,' interrupted the ex-Empress...
'You are right, darling,' returned the 'prisoner,' 'quite right, I
know.'... 'What kind of a mountebank was RASPUTIN?' I asked to feel my
'prisoner' out.... 'He was a worthless _rasputnik_ at best,' the fallen
Emperor answered.... And you think the Jews are responsible for
your reported attachment to him?' I asked.... 'Undoubtedly,' he said
bitterly with a sigh of resignation.... 'When we were being taken to
the boat at Tobolsk did they not make faces at me and Alice and flout
me with their cries: "Take him to the Criminal Court and let him read
the record of his libertine, Rasputin! Let his Barnabas teach him how
to sin for the joy of gaining absolution!"... How little do those
enfranchised Jews understand the meaning of forgiveness!' lamented
the ex-Czar.... 'May I ask your actual estimate of creatures like
Rasputin?' I ventured.... 'Our Rasputin was a hardened criminal beyond
a doubt until his conversion by Father Zaborovsky, the good Rector at
the Theological Academy at Tomsk,' the ex-Czar replied.... 'He would
have made an excellent subject for investigation by Lombroso, by
Havelock Ellis or other eminent criminologists ... but I believed the
man was sincere in his repentance and accepted him as a sort of text
for other sinners to point a way toward regeneration.... The higher
Rasputin rose, the greater his fame became, the more impressive would
be his textual example to other aspiring souls,--even a criminal
should not be denied the consolation of hope where crime is the result
of ignorance or misdirected patriotism.... If I sinned in pardoning a
sinner then sin must be an unpardonable crime!... Nathan treated
David as I treated Rasputin, although both were guilty of the same
offense.... He was grossly illiterate,--the only schooling he ever got
was in the Monastery Abalaksky and what he acquired from the lips
of monks while making his rounds as a barefoot pilgrim from place
to place.... His claims of having _visions_ I ascribed to his empty
stomach, although others gave credence to the nonsense.... Alice at
first abhorred him; finally she began to regard him as a rare
specimen in self-hypnosis who was worth studying to learn how far the
fascinations of self-delusion were capable of deluding and swaying
stronger wills and more cultivated minds.... We both learned, by
observing him, that an ignorant mujik, like an egotistical Minister,
if granted the semblance of authority for any length of time, will
demoralize the finest organization in the world.... That was the
lesson both Alice and I acquired from Rasputin.... And I am accepting
Rasputin as a standard to estimate what will happen when men of
his type and origin attempt the government of the world.... Without
education, with no experience in governing even the smallest unit of
society, unfamiliar with the trend of history, ignorant of military
and commercial strategy, building their philosophy of life and their
science of administration upon some isolated text, they will overturn
the whole structure of civilization by arrogating to themselves the
supernatural privileges and persuasiveness of the Voice of God!...
The prospects are not inviting.... There are Rasputins in all
the chancellories of Europe.... You have them in North and South
America,--some educated, others like Marat and Danton, while some are
simple Cagliostros who deceive the people and themselves.... If
they were only Gideons instead of Joshuas their strategy might be
reassuring,--but they are merely Rasputins and Papuses, after all!...
Against all laws of nature they will try to triumph by commanding the
heavenly and mundane bodies to stand still until they readjust the
motions of civilized society to some dissolving and ruinous invention
of emotional insanity where everything runs wild!'"



XI

THE INVISIBLE DIPLOMAT APPEARS


37. This entry is mystifying:

"Last night I waited until there was not a sound overhead.... I knew
it would be taking chances--but I HAD TO GET WATER.... We could
no longer survive on MUD!... I began pushing against the planking
overhead to see if there was anywhere an opening, but every plank
I pressed against seemed as solid as a stone sidewalk.... Finally
I began thumping with my clenched fist ... and this brought on the
fracas.... I heard a heavy pair of feet bounding on the floor directly
above my head.... Then there was a scraping and a sound like the
tearing up of carpets.... Presently I heard an iron bolt crack back
and the floor above my head began rising slowly until I found myself
looking into the muzzle of a Mauser held in the clenched hands of a
tall square-faced man with a jaw like a prize fighter....

"... Another pair of hands reached down and caught me by the collar
and I was yanked like a squirming spaniel out of my hole into a large
oblong room that was only slightly lighted by a blue student lamp upon
a small roll-top desk.... Against the wall was a large steel engraving
of King George of England, and I could see the Union Jack displayed
upon another wall.... There were papers and documents and army tents
in piles here and there round the room.... BUT THE IMPRESSION THAT
FLASHED UPON ME was not at all reassuring for a man who had made
his way into SUCH surroundings directly from the other underground
corridor in Berlin!..."

38. Then this entry follows:

"From that very hour I AM STRONGLY FOR THE BRITISH.... I will not
attempt to describe that MEAL.... It was all a King in Exile or any
of his suite could ask for; and the silent men who prepared it will
always be remembered for their discretion and manly hospitality....
Neither of them appeared to KNOW me NOR ANY OF OUR PARTY.... But those
gallant fellows are adepts at dissimulation.... I'm certain that the
tall, slender and soldierly bearing officer will remember the day
we had our STRAWBERRIES at Carlton Terrace, and the slender, willowy
Duchess who forgot her fan until he picked it up and brought it to her
AT MY TABLE, where she paused for a moment to say to me, 'MY FATHER IS
IN LONDON AND WISHES TO SEE YOU BADLY.'... I am certain he remembers
what I told her about the Gordons and the Devons in that slaughter at
the Somme,--when so few of those brave lads returned!... If we ever
meet again I shall thank him for the robes and provisions and motor
trucks he furnished to transport us safely rolled up in army tents
for many rough miles across the country in the direction of CHANYI
LAKE...."

39. We find this entry of the diarist next:

"I have never beheld a more beautiful landscape than the scene before
me.... I am writing this on the banks of Altai Lake.... The balsam
from the cone-like firs along the gorges surcharges the air with an
intoxicating flavor and reflect their inverted gracefulness in the
calm waters of the lake.... The mountains sloping up from either side
are delineated in the mirroring surface and form an archway for the
snow-capped and broken pinnacle that towers above the others like a
sentinel brooding in his frosty and eternal isolation.... Far off in
the distance I can see the black and white walls of the KATUN GLACIER
and know that, throughout this region, gold and silver, as well as
lead and copper, most certainly abound.... In our unending tramp today
I have discovered many evidences of the presence of zinc and nickel
and other minerals lying around.... My 'prisoner' tells me that there
are mines already working in the upper part of the Talovsky River and
that the copper runs very high in the vicinity of Chudak.... Alice
wrote to Princess G---- today at T----.... I am NOT much impressed nor
FAVORABLY by the attitude of these natives in the hills.... They seem
to be a mongrel mixture of Tartar and Mongolian who are always ready,
like the huge ungainly bears we have encountered in our pilgrimage, to
grapple and devour one for the mere pleasure of seeing blood!... Maria
seems quite interested in these notes,--today she insisted on giving
me her impressions of how a NOVEL should be written.... She says that
to make a story interesting it should be all movement from the opening
line to the final wedding bells.... When I told her that I was writing
HISTORY she pouted prettily and remarked: 'I never think of history
without wondering WHO subsidized the writer of the misleading fairy
tale.'

"... This girl has lived close enough to the source of history to know
what PROPAGANDA is.... Still, I like her uncomplaining buoyancy of
spirits in the trial we are going through.... We are headed SOUTH
toward Kuria and Khotan, where arrangements have been made to receive
us by some people who know our secret and will respect the rights of
ASYLUM in a land where oblivion may mean liberty and love!..."

40. There seems to have been quite a skip in the notations of the
diary. Evidently the diarist has become MORE INTERESTED in something
else:

"The fact that we have been on FOREIGN SOIL during the last fifteen
days has considerably relaxed our nerves.... Aside from the rumor
constantly reaching us that the Mongolian mercenaries are in the
employ of the Bolsheviki and offered BIG REWARDS for our capture, we
have not been disturbed in mind or bodies.... Maria asked me today if
I were any relation to CHARLES JAMES FOX, whose oratory she claims
to greatly admire.... When I informed her that I had never met this
gentleman her eyes grew very big....

"'What ARE you?' she inquired. 'Are you an Englishman, or a
Russian,--you CAN NOT BE A GERMAN,--or ARE YOU AN AMERICAN? Oh, I just
hope you ARE an AMERICAN!... When I informed her that my ancestors
fought beside _Kosciusko_ and Pulaski and that their names might
be found on the muster rolls of the First Line Regiment of New York
Colony and State, along with the names of Goose Van Schaick and
Jeremiah Van Rensselaer, she burst her sides with laughter.... 'What a
happy family you must have been!' she rippled. 'When a Fox and a Goose
may dwell in peace and amity together there is nothing that is not
possible for their race!'

"... This quick-witted girl, certainly, BELONGS in the UNITED
STATES--the plains of Eastern Turkestan are NO place for her...."

41. There seems to be another skip in the neglected diary. Evidently
the scenery has lost all its charms.... He merely notes:

"My 'prisoner' seems VERY MUCH interested in my family connections....
He seems jolly enough about it.... BUT I can see that something is
DISTURBING him.... He is very obstinate in little things, lately....
When we get into Cashmere perhaps his mind will be diverted....
He loves the languid charm of scenic beauty nearly as much as
the flattery of his wife.... Anyway, WHAT can I do?... There is a
naturalness about this whole affair that one simply CAN'T get away
from.... Danger has a generous way of bestowing blessings on the
BOLD..."

42. Then we find the following critical entry: "I shall NEVER read
'Lalla Rookh' again!... The Vale of Cashmere may sound fine in poetry
but it FEELS TOUGH beneath one's feet whenever one dismounts.... I
might overlook the rough spots easily enough had not OLGA suddenly
interested herself in my ANCESTRY while she found employment for Maria
with her brother, who seems sadly out of breath.... My 'prisoner' has
forgotten all about me in the absorbing interest he displays in
what he declares to be EARLY MISSIONARY WORK OF JESUS in these very
interesting stretches. It has been no easy matter for me to pilot this
party outside the range of camel caravans and soldiers on their way
from the Punjab Valley toward RAWAL PINDI.... The rattle of our tongas
might be heard at any moment and then our little caravan, disguised
as Buddhists, might spend some time in the GUARDHOUSE at Murree.... We
will not regret the shade and comparative coolness of that pleasant
Summer Resort,--but none of us are longing for any more confinement....
The road from Murree down the valley was gullied by the terrific rain
we have been wading through.... I have never seen a blacker night nor
a heavier rain than we have just come through... We were constantly in
fear of the falling of those gigantic boulders that overhung our path
behind the swishing trees that clung along the precipice.... The zigzag
road that runs down this slope is like a spiral stair in crookedness
and bumps.... We could catch a glimpse now and again of a light from
the little bungalows that clung to the mountain sides.... But we dare
not arouse the dwellers for many obvious reasons.... Finally we did
encounter an abandoned inn or hut where we camped for the night....
Next morning in a fierce and searching sun we rambled into a village
set upon a wonderful defile in the heart of the mountains, where
we ate our frugal meal.... At night we reached the Jhelum coursing
gracefully over rocky beds and through picturesque gorges that rise
into the azure and serene skies of the Himalayan heavens.... It was a
delightful place to camp for the night.... At nine the next morning we
had reached the little hamlet strung along the river bank and known
as Tongua.... Here the girls made a number of purchases and we
replenished our commissary for the march before us into mystic
dominions of the LAMA...."



XII

THE FLIGHT TO TIBET


43. Then we get this entry:

"I did not count the number of Hindu castes we encountered at the
trading post of Tongua.... there were a hundred, at least, each
bearing on his forehead the mani-colored mark of his particular
caste,--while the stately Kashmirian in his snowy turban and long
white tunic seemed carved out of the frozen snows of the towering
mountain sides.... we were offered many cabriolets to assist us on
our journey, but one look at one of those backless and circular TABLES
between the wheels upon which one must sit like a Turkish mouker with
his legs crossed to keep from rolling down the precipice was enough to
convince us that the camel route was good enough for us.

"On the tramp to Horis, along the banks of the Jhelum with its wooded
mountains on the right and its rocky precipices on the left, we met a
number of pilgrims who had religious scruples against taking part
in letting blood of any kind of bird or beast or whale.... They had
evidently been to their Mecca.... Another thing we discovered that is
not generally understood among the unelect.... On the way we came upon
a Hindu squatting by the roadside with a pail of rich fresh milk....
Being thirsty I pointed at the pail and asked him for enough to give
our party a drink.... The fellow became enraged and informed me that
I had defiled his milk by pointing my finger at it.... I said I'd take
it all, which was evidently what he wished.

"After we had all drunk our fill I took the half-filled pail,
approached the grinning rascal and deliberately dashed the contents
in his face!... My 'prisoner' was horrified, but Maria enjoyed it
very much.... 'I had one experience in Japan,' my 'prisoner' confided,
'that has taught me never to oppose the local customs of a country no
matter how absurd they may seem to others.... At that time one of
my party poked fun at the peculiar art displayed in the statue of a
Buddha.... The priest became enraged and attempted to split my head
open when I was not looking.... Had it not been for my cousin I'm
sure I would not be with you today!... You will please me much if you
respect the ancient practices of these people.'...

"Then going to the dripping figure he laid a gold louis on the
fellow's upturned palm,--HE SEEMED TO KNOW WHAT WAS COMING--which was
proof to my mind that there is more in Yogi philosophy than has ever
been let out....

"... Frankly, however, I suspect that my 'prisoner's' kindness has only
whetted the appetite of that knave.... The way he looks at us would
convict him in any court of justice that he meditates our murder...."

44. Then we have this entry:

"I am not at all mistaken in my estimate of that Hindu with the pail
of defiled milk.... He is one of the renegade SPIES that hang on the
brow of civilization and infest these retreats and mountain gorges in
search of easy prey.... There are other POWERS above them that lounge
in gilded palaces and seem always interested in the charms of lovely
women who may suddenly DISAPPEAR.... I know the brood of vultures from
Stamboul to the red lights of New York and the dens of Singapore!...
The quicker we get down out of these mountains and into the populated
valley on our way to Seranagur the SAFER I will feel.... It is all
very pleasant to take a look at this silver ring that encircles the
plateau with its eternal snows, to watch the sparkling waterfalls, the
gardens and the dimpling lake with its little islands with cottages
resting on them and to imagine one's self in the fairyland we used to
read about as children,--BUT for a full-grown man, in my position
and _charged with an important mission_, I prefer to be on my way....
There are too many places where one may be accounted for as
having fallen down the mountain side in the event of some sudden
DISAPPEARANCE!"

45. By the initiated the following entry will not be misunderstood:

"It was an unlucky piece of folly that sent us in this direction
halfway round the earth to a destination we could have reached in
fifteen days.... On our way to Bombay where arrangements had been
made to slip us quietly across the Peninsula and on to our permanent
retreat, we were confronted with the information that people of my
prisoner's nationality were _leaving_ Bombay _by request_,--and hence
_our_ unheralded appearance might attract too much attention to be
entirely satisfactory to the interests I was serving ... How this
information was conveyed to us I may jot down some later day.... But
to make a note of it is sufficient for my purpose now ... There are
other wild beasts in these mountains besides panthers to account for
the death of a man WHO KNOWS TOO MUCH.

"... Were it not for a positive FEELING of dread that has followed me
since I threw milk into that Hindu's eyes, I should like to describe
the many fascinating spots encountered in the embrace of a squalid
and picturesque degeneracy.... I should linger with my brush over
the opalescent lake and the sweet, calm repose of Seranagur with its
purling river scouring the festooned landings and retiring abodes
of tranquillity and ease,--I should like to jot down the scenes of
bathers at their twilight dips when both sexes mingle as innocent as
our First Parents were of a bathing costume and as devoutly fervent in
their ablutions as the fabled Peris of this Paradise themselves. But
there is a feeling in the air that some one is pursuing us and which
cuts these memorandums short...."

46. "For purposes of self-protection I shall no longer jot down
exactly our location," the next entry reads. I note merely that we are
somewhere in Little Thibet and that I have met the MAN IN YELLOW ROBES
AND YELLOW TURBAN AT THE LOW WHITE MONASTERY as I was told to do in
the _Memorandum_ at Berlin.... And I approached him with the RIGHT
FOOT first, my hands held in the appropriate position, until he asked
me in excellent French: 'Whence come you?' Then I made the proper
sign and whispered the name of the room adjacent to another room which
satisfied the Lama that I was the bearer of a MESSAGE to the Exalted
Dalai-Lama as well as the principal Khutuktus of the EAST.... My
little audience was much mystified, BUT the MAN IN YELLOW ROBES
understood.... He began whirling a brass prayer wheel as he advanced
toward my 'prisoner' and salaamed.... Then laying his right hand on
the 'prisoner's' shoulder the Lama said: 'Your credentials, sahib, are
correct,--and it is well; as your misfortunes have been great, great
will be the blessings that will fall upon thy family and thy name.
Thy piety hath been known to all my brethren, likewise thy
toleration,--although the INFIDEL hath been a thorn pressed evilly
against thy side ... _beware of that same infidel today_! He is
plotting evil HERE against thy very life,--he envieth the lives of
thine!... A _religious war_ now breweth in this land!... SPIES haunt
thy footsteps from the rising to the setting sun.... BEWARE lest thy
fair daughters and thy wife shall disappear!... Our prayers, sahib,
shall attend thee; and our numerous eyes shall remain open to the
PERILS as thou goest EAST where arms are open to receive thee,--but
see thou, sahib, THAT THOU DOST WALK DILIGENTLY IN THE DIRECTION OF
THOSE ARMS!...

"... The Lama backed away.... Never did he cease whirling the prayer
wheel as he spoke ... this constitutes the perpetual prayer of Lamas,
the theory being that the wheel communicates the petition to the air
and, thus, mingled with the elements, it ascends naturally to the
heaven of the blessed.... We were then conducted through a long row of
very low rooms ornamented with a variety of Buddhist statues that have
never been dusted nor apparently disturbed, to an open terrace which
overlooked a dreary waste of gray rocks and broken ledges and offered
to our view the slender roadway that lay like a ribbon across the
plain until it faded into the golden glow of the Eastern horizon....
When I looked at that _single_ road, and recalled the WARNING of the
Lama so solemnly given to my 'prisoner' about the care to be given to
his daughters, I REALIZED FULLY THE MEANING OF THE PRYING EYES that
followed us everywhere after my encounter with the milk-fed MUSSULMAN
disguised as a Hindu mendicant!..."



XIII

AN ENEMY IN PURSUIT


47. Local color is given in this note:

"We have had an exciting day.... The strategy one must sometimes
employ in traveling through a hostile country is based upon the
principle of deception.... It was the work of Maria too, who had
evidently been reading up on certain occult works of the Eastern
magicians and brought them into play at a moment when we were
surrounded by a band of marauders in the company of my 'Hindu'
friend.... To explain: There is a certain kind of little animal held
sacred among these strolling outlaws.... The possession of one of
these animals is supposed to be a guarantee of future happiness as
well as a protection against all danger.... They are very hard to
entrap and the Ladakian Islamites will spend a month endeavoring to
ensnare one.... We were quite a distance from the convent at Saspoula,
where the road runs around among the rocks and turns back upon itself
like a horseshoe in the wooded hills.... At one of these bends the
pursuers had encamped ready to dash down upon us as we turned the bend
and make away with the girls in the direction of their camp in the
secluded mountain passes.... Maria had secured a number of those
little animals, and, twisting a fine hairpin around one of their hind
legs, she let one by one escape.... The animals clambered toward
the higher elevations where the banditti lay in waiting.... Their
movements being impeded by the hair pins on their legs they offered
an apparently easy PRIZE to the superstitious Islamites.... Abandoning
their present enterprise against our party they dashed after the
deceptive animals and disappeared over the hills in a mad scamper for
GOOD LUCK.... This little ruse cleared our pathway and permitted us to
reach Saspoula before the sun had set.... Here we passed a number
of shrines besides the French and Thibetan convents.... Avoiding the
convent with the tri-color floating from its mast we approached the
other.... Here again were the dusty idols, banners and flags thrown
into one corner, the floors littered with ugly masks and prayer wheels
and books and rolls upon rolls of sacred papers mutely breathing their
delegated prayers.

"... As we had been informed, the lamas here were ready to receive us,
with meal and beds prepared and our own apartments all in order.... The
Lama who greeted us was about five feet tall, low flat forehead, flat
nose, full thick lips, rather round small head and with a sweep of
black whiskers falling from his chin.... In fact, NONE of these lamas
are GRAY,--the only thing that suggests AGE is their stooped and
slender bodies and bent and bony fingers.... AND THEY ALLOW THE
PRACTICE OF POLYANDRY in their diocese!... One woman has a dozen
husbands ... and every THIRD man we meet with is a lama.

"... Still the women we see here are more attractive than those we
encountered in Cashmere.

"... Before leaving the convent we were again cautioned against
holding conversation with STRANGERS we might encounter in the numerous
caravans along the road to LEH.... We punctiliously obeyed these
instructions during the rest of our journey until we reached the
PETAK convent, which stands upon an isolated rock beside an abandoned
garrison or fort, with its two towers looking like ant hills beside
the majestic mountain that rises ten thousand feet above our resting
place.... This mountain is the sentinel that protects our entrance
into Thibet.... Six miles away is LEH, elevated eleven thousand
feet above the lowlands and around whose shadowy convents rise those
immense granite pinnacles to an elevation of eighteen thousand feet,
where their frosty crests are enshrouded in the fezzes of eternal
snows!...

"... Leh, with its circlet of stubby aspen trees, its succession of
terraces, its old fort and the palace of its forgotten Moguls, has its
arms outstretched for us.... The mystic word has been passed along our
route and BEHOLD we are encamped in a well-furnished three-story white
bungalow with odors oozing from the kitchen that promise a night of
security and content!..."

48. The next entry gives a glimpse of the country through which our
party passed:

"Traveling toward the east we have passed through a number of villages
of neat two-story houses in these narrow walled-in valleys.... The
inhabitants are, clearly, of a Mongolian race,--the homeliest I have
ever seen!... They cultivate but little patches of the land, sit
around all day and gain their hollow cheeks and shrunken chests and
wrinkled foreheads by squinting at the sun.... Even the women are tiny
things with a perpetual smile that pushes up their high cheek bones
into a horn-like prominence and apparently belies their apparent
gaiety.... The belts of these men are perfect arsenals of
curious-looking things.... With their cloth caps with ear flaps
hanging down, their knee breeches and their linen shirts hung with a
dozen prayer wheels, they characterize this country well....

"... If it were not apparently made compulsory by law these fellows
would not wash their faces once a year.... They seem never to have
changed their clothing until it is beginning to fall off their
indolent frames.... They are so lazy that their hair falls off their
heads.... And I have not yet seen a coat that does not carry the smear
of their dirty hair.... That characterizes the MEN.... The WOMEN are
altogether different.... They are perfect water rats and like to bathe
many times a day.... Their gowns are red, worn like a shirt-waist
over well-rounded shoulders, and tucked into green pantaloons at their
waist line, over which is thrown an elaborately plaited skirt that
reaches to their red embroidered shoes.... A lambskin is thrown
over the back ... the hair dressed in Italian fashion ... the veil
festooned with beads and coins and trinkets of all description ... an
oriental pelisse touched with its fringe of gold.... That's the
type of woman of these silent places we are traversing.... MARIA
HAS DISCOVERED THE ORIGIN OF THE BOLSHEVIKI TENET OF FREE LOVE AND
MARRIAGE.... Today she explained to her father that the idea was
imported into Russia from this country together with the mercenary
hordes from a region east of here.... 'These women,' she said, 'do
not understand what one means by love.... They think it is too great
a luxury to be tolerated among self-respecting people.... They believe
NO MAN is good enough to monopolize a whole woman to himself.... That
sort of MONOPOLY is contrary to the ethics of a first-class Communism
everywhere and it must not be tolerated in this blessed Bolsheviki
world!'... 'Tut-tut!' said her father. 'Please discontinue comments on
subjects that no longer interest us.'... Manifestly my 'prisoner' is
becoming bored by this unending and dreary pilgrimage along the camel
route in the direction of the rising sun.... However, his gallantry to
Alice is inexaustible, unflagging and unfailing. If she stubs her
toe he wants to kiss the bruise.... _Maria's comment has apparently
aroused the hostility of certain personages in this camp_.... If I
were not positive that the thing could not be possible I'd swear the
TALL square-shouldered lama is well known in Constantinople...."



XIV

WHERE THE PRISONERS DISAPPEARED


49. Then this entry reveals the sequence:

"We had been a number of days on the road,--our lives imperceptibly
growing into a closer and more intimate companionship as the days
ambled slowly away with the bleak snow-clad mountains that we left
behind.... Descending down the slopes into a fertile valley, the
hillsides terraced with a series of rice yards, and our paths softly
shaded with the mulberry tree.... Behind us was the white-fringed
mountain of the Lama, before us loomed the SACRED PINNACLE OF OMAY and
off to the south spread an ancient walled city with steeples pointing
heavenward surmounted by the CROSS.... Where the pagoda stood a
thousand years ago now rise the hospital and the Christian missionary
school.... Here the people walk on well-paved and broad sweeping
streets and the tourists spend their afternoons promenading along the
smooth and high and broad city wall.... As we approached this city
a stream of 'rickshas came dashing in our direction commanded by
the TALL slim 'lama' I had supposed we left behind!... The coolies
appeared to understand their parts.... Quickly making a circle around
us they pulled the women from their camels and tried to rope and bind
my 'prisoner' and myself.

"Of course we were in full view of the consular flags of a dozen
different nations; but that did not seem to bother the ringleader of
this tatterdemalion mob.... My 'prisoner' fought like a demon.... He
well remembered the lessons he received from Heath in the manly art of
self-defense.... Right and left he boxed like a well-trained
athlete delivering his dynamic punches well.... But finally the gang
overpowered him and turned their undivided attention to me.... I was
vainly attempting to reach the side of Maria and her sisters, whom
the tall bully was forcing into a waiting 'ricksha manned by two
barelegged men,--a dozen coolies pounced upon me, tore my clothing
into fragments, furrowed my face with their infernal nails and
actually attempted to bite me on the ears!..."

"I have no notion how well or hard I fought, but as I knocked one down
another took his place as I fought my way to the side of the now bound
and helpless girls.... Their hair was streaming down their backs,
their faces flushed, their eyes filled with tears ... that sight
maddened me!... I have been in many fights before, I have lain beside
the dead in Flanders and among the Balkan highlands, I have seen blood
flowing by me like a river,--and the thought of all these seemed to
electrify my soul and fill my veins with steel.... I tore madly right
and left.... I never struck such herculean blows before or since.

"I literally grabbed the tall man by the heels and whirled him round
like a flail and tore into that gang of snarling hellhounds with
cyclonic fury.... I literally mowed them down.... But finally a dull
thud sounded in my ears.... A wave of light blinded both my eyes.... I
knew nothing more until this morning when I awoke in a tent. Beside me
was a loaf of bread and a canteen of cool water.... NOT ANOTHER SIGN
OF A LIVING CREATURE IS IN SIGHT.... I am in a deep mountain gorge,
leading to the south along a narrow roadway that has apparently
witnessed the procession of unnumbered ages."

50. Then this entry:

"After tramping all day I finally emerged in the sight of a
swift-flowing river on either bank of which, in the distance, appeared
two walled-off cities of considerable size.... Foreign GUNBOATS were
lying in the harbor in holiday attire.... As I approached the city
a courier came running to meet me.... When he approached I drew back
prepared to fight....

"But his friendliness disarmed me and I allowed him to draw near....
'Li'l' ladee wantee see you quick; you cum foller me,' he said,
and turned back from where he came.... I followed him with beating
heart.... On the dock at the landing where the gunboat was steaming up
MARIA met me with moistened eyes....

"She informed me in a low voice that the officer was ready to receive
me and accept my orders.... And then she said,

"'Before you go I wish to thank you for all you have done for us....
If our paths should ever meet again I want you to know my heart will
beat more quickly when I shall see you coming up the path.'... That
said, she flung her slender arms around my neck, impulsively, and
looked calmly in my eyes.... When, involuntarily, my arms showed signs
of being prehensile, she sprang away quickly and flashed along the
gangway to disappear, like a holy vision, behind that gray storm
door!..."

51. The last entry reads:

"It has been a habit with me for many years to never be surprised....
When I appeared on deck to give the code to the commander of that
vessel this habit was unmoored.... A tall, square-jawed man approached
me with a twinkle in his clear blue eyes.... I looked at him
inquiringly and a little reminiscently until I heard him speak.... 'I
see the loaf of bread came in handy,' he said, extending me his
bony hand.... 'I thought I left you at Ekaterinburg,' I exclaimed,
recalling the moments we spent after our escape from the abandoned
tunnel.... 'Oh,' he laughed, 'YOURS was not a one-man job; there are
others in the world besides yourself intrusted with state secrets....
'But what do you know about the bread, you just spoke of it?'

"'My company was following on behind,' he answered. 'When we came
round the bend we saw you scrapping with that outlaw from Trebizond.
You did quite well; you had all but three of them laid out in manly
fashion when you got that clip on the back of the head. Then we
stepped in and conducted your party to their present quarters ...
thought it better for you to remain in the tent while the authorities
here locked up those cutthroats for your disappearance.'

"'Have you the CODE WORD?' I asked.... He whispered it in my ear....
Then I lettered the order.... Finally he asked, 'Would you not like to
meet my SISTER who has been so much _interested_ in you?'

"His sister! I had never heard of her!... 'Of course!' I answered
amiably enough for one completely stumped....

"He called a petty officer and said a few words in an undertone.... In
a minute a radiant young woman with springing steps glided gracefully
down the deck.... She was not, in her present attire, much different
from Maria ... but as she drew near I noted the difference at
a glance.... She came forward quickly and held out her hand.
'Congratulations, Mr. Fox!' she said smiling.... The Métropole!'
I gasped,--'what brings YOU here?' 'Still asking questions!' she
coquetted prettily. 'I merely called, of course, to inform you
that the sapphire is in America!'... I thought hard for more than
a minute.... Then it occurred to me that I had seen her in a dozen
disguises shadowing me from Buckingham to the room upstairs on
Downing Street,--to charm me later at The Hague--to disappear like a
will-o'-the-wisp,--then to fascinate me at the Métropole.'...

"Well, the commander of the vessel tells me that it is _fourteen
hundred miles down stream to Woosung_ and that the voyage will take
seven days from there.... With his _code_ word still ringing in
my ears to be repeated to one man at _Berlin_, to another man in
_England_, another in _Japan_, and to a dignitary in _Italy_, the
mission I have undertaken shall have been successfully discharged,
so far as _history_ and _public policy_ is concerned.... But there
is _another_ mission that I shall, some day, undertake that will be
enshrined in lovely memories and lively fancies until _that day_ shall
come."



PART TWO



RESCUING THE CZAR

INTRODUCTION


The daring reference by Fox, in the foregoing, to personages and
events, to locations and the life incident thereto, that may easily
be confuted are they false in any of their details, leads to but one
conclusion.

Yet there are other incidents that reinforce that conclusion, that are
only casually touched upon by Fox. The references to "the Performer at
the Métropole" who "is a Baroness sure enough" and to the person
named as "Syvorotka," in whom the Baroness is interested, display an
unconscious connection between the mysterious underground diplomats
and the Secret Agents who were acting independently in the _rescue_,
and supplementing the activities of Fox, will be found to be fully
authenticated in the vivid incidents recorded by the diarist of _Part
Two_.

This diarist was doubtless a Russian gentleman of the official class,
of elevated standing with the former Government, and of pronounced
aristocratic sentiments. His previous official connections seem to
have been with the High Administration, the Ministry of Finance, or
with the Council of Ministers. Like many others of his class in
the old régime, when the Revolution broke, he was forced to degrade
himself and mingle with the evil elements that were bent on loot
and rapine. By May, 1918, he appears to have been transformed into
a perfect type of "Red" that deceived and terrorized the Russian
population and gave credence to the Bolshevik assertion that "former
officialdom is now acting with the proletariat." How well the diarist
deceives the Bolsheviki and sustains this claim of Trotzky is fully
revealed in the dramatic incidents recorded: _nowhere in literature
is found a better illustration of social metempsychosis,--of the
abasement of moral and intellectual refinement to the elemental and
unconscious vulgarity and irresponsibility of predatory Communism
and mob indifference to shame_! It is the devolution of Moral
Responsibility into organized iniquity and characterizes primordial
Passion released from sentiment and law,--and _it was the necessary
camouflage of the diarist in his struggle for life and in his efforts
to promote the Czar's escape_.

In translating Part Two, or the memoranda of this Imperial rescuer,
from Russian into English, or the frequent French, to characterize the
event recorded, there were found to be many situations, phrases and
expressions that may shock the sensitive reader; in the conceptions of
the diarist, however, in his cynicism and degradation he photographs
_Red_ _Russia_ and reveals the characteristics necessary to visualize
the horror that accompanied the event. A truthful picture of
this unique segment of human history can be preserved only in a
_word-for-word_ translation of this document. Therefore, with the
exception of a few letters involving the name of A.F. Kerensky,
nothing has been withheld from the inspection of the reader to view
the conduct of nobility subjected to privations, temptation and the
fascinating power of sin.

TRANSLATOR.



I. PETROGRAD



1.


... and, post factum, everybody claims that "he (or more often she)
predicted it long ago, but they would not listen." It is a lie; we
all knew that the war has been conducted abominably, that Rasputin and
Stürmer were plotting, that the administration was greatly inclined to
graft,--all gossip of the town. But no one whom I had seen since the
execution of the monk was aware of the real fact: the revolution was
in the air. Rodzianko, to whom I spoke at the Club only a fortnight
before the abdication, said that everything would turn out all right.
In fact, the Court, and people around it,--were much better posted;
perhaps they felt something growing instinctively, as they were
too silly to crystallize their fears in some concrete conception.
Maroossia was in Tsarskoye Selo not long before the old Admiral's
death; they said that the danger was expected from the "Town and
Country Union." But all these whispers and chatterings were always
of the category of a "so-and-so, whose brother's friend knew a man
who...."

With all my running around about the town I must confess I did
not notice any movement; I always thought that the reason of the
unrest--was the shortage of food, and a little provocation, to put
Stürmer in a disagreeable position. The realization of the serious
danger approaching all of us came to me only when the police fired on
the mob on the Nevsky and the first real clash took place. I happened
to cross the Liteinyi near Basseinaya Street, when I heard for the
first time in my life the whistling of bullets and the peculiar
drumming of the machine guns. I felt weak in the knees and around the
waist and had to stand in a porte-cochère for a while. It was only for
a few moments, and I felt ashamed of this disgusting feeling of fear.
A crowd of cooks, or maids, passed near me shouting and screaming for
help; they had disgustingly lost their self-control. I reached home in
a hurry and found Maroossia pale and frightened. I had to tell her
not to show her nose in the streets. Then Mikhalovsky called me up and
asked how did I like the revolution. He did not like it: his cook had
been shot in the knee; a very moderate cook, in fact.



2.


Committees, everywhere committees! Everywhere suspicions! No
more cheerful faces! Permanent meetings of the new elements! Much
conversation! Greetings! Wishes of prosperous free life! Hopes of the
Allies that we will continue the war!

All this still characterizes our poor country.

Today--for the first time in my life (it is only the beginning!) I
saw a real communist alive. He was a man of rather short size and dark
complexion, if such could be detected under his greasy cheeks. He wore
a small beard twisted at the end in a tin hook. His ears--transparent
and pale--were unproportionately big. I stopped near the Elisseiev
store to buy score cards for this evening's bridge, when a little
group of men--civilians and soldiers--gathered near the communist.
The usual crowd of nowadays loafers,--shabby looking, discussing
something, casting around looks full of hostility, hatred and
superiority. A boy brought a chair from a cigar counter, and the
communist stepped on it, and started his talk. "Tovarishshi," he said,
"the time has come."... They all applauded, though nobody knew
what was going to be next, and the speaker could even have been a
reactionary.

"This is he," shouted a sailor to me; a big chap with hair falling off
of his cap.

"Who is _he_?" I questioned.

"You, burjooi," a soldier said to me, "no wonder you do not know him.
This is Comrade Trotzky. He comes from America. You had better move
on or I'll tell who you are,"--he continued staring at me very
resolutely, and spat on the sidewalk right near my foot.

I moved on. What people!

I crossed Nevsky and stood on the other side. From there I could not
hear Comrade Trotzky, but studied his movements and gesticulation, his
manner of scratching his nose, of quickly turning his head in a derby,
and the nervous shrugging of his shoulders. The mob applauded him
after every phrase, making his speech a series of separate sentences
and thus giving him the advantage of thinking of most radical ideas,
while awaiting for the listeners to finish the applause.

I have finally decided to give in my resignation. What is the use? No
work is being done. We only talk. The whole administration, the whole
administrative machinery, stands still, evidently retrograding every
day.

Many understand it. Rodzianko is going away south; a man whom they
think too old and too much of a reactionary. He is quite depressed,
I presume, but likes to look perfectly satisfied. When I asked him
whether the war looked to him as though it were to be continued, he
gazed at me, and not after hesitation sighed, and said:

"Yes, if the army will stand the effects of order number one."

And then, fearing the next question coming, he assumed the air of a
busy man and shook hands--"as he had to go and see his relatives."

Nearing the house I saw Kerensky in the Emperor's car, proud, and
smiling to left and right. His Excellency, the Minister of Justice!



3.


Everybody is sure and proud that he is building up the new Russia.
Lawyers and doctors, engineers and priests, all run with busy
faces,--they think a statesman of today must run,--everybody gives
orders, counter-orders, nobody carries them out, nobody listens. There
are about 200,000 Napoleons in Petrograd today; as they multiply by
section, this number will be enormous before long. The situation,
however, does not improve....

In the office there was quite a discussion of the probabilities, and
I was listening to the younger people. Criticism and "my own opinion"
are the main sicknesses. Perhaps the private initiative used to be so
hardly oppressed, that it comes out at present in excess.

Why should lawyers be convinced, that their profession gives them
the right, _primo genio_ to be statesmen? I should suggest an
archeologist, or a man in charge of a lighthouse.



4.


We all went to the "Farce," Maroossia and F., myself and Misha.
Afterwards we had supper. At the next table to us were the M's.,
Alexander Ivanitsky and the Baroness B. Since her return she certainly
looks much better. At first I did not see her, then before all she
reprimanded me in her usual kind manner. She had grown a little
thinner and has more jewelry I should say, and is as fascinating as
before. When she speaks one can see that she thinks of far distant
things.

"We all are busy these days," she said, when I asked her whether she
came here from England just for curiosity to see all of us under the
Provisional Government. "You did not change at all." Misha, who did
not know B. before, did not like her very much,--in fact, they all
think she is suspicious. Aren't these youngsters peculiar? Especially
Misha who is so grouchy lately--all seems dangerous to him. I never
think that a woman can be anything but pretty or hideous. There is no
middle, and no suspicion about them. If a woman is, what they perhaps
would call "suspicious"--then there is a man's influence behind
her--so find the man (and it is easy) and she is as plain as a card
on the table. Baroness B. is pretty. And if she likes to talk like a
Pythia,--that's her way of making people interested in her.

Maroossia complained of a headache, so we left early. Baroness is in
the Hotel d'Europe--she is so sorry that "her Astoria" became such a
hole. Well--not only her Astoria.



5.


It certainly would be a wonder to expect anything but confusion from
the men who recently became the leaders of 180 millions. The leaders
are sure they can make wonders.

Prince Lvov! This old squeaking carriage, as Polenov says, is a man
from whom I would not expect anything. It is enough to look at his
beard, with remnants of yesterday's dinner on it, at his small blue
foxy eyes always reddish and always dropping tears. Miliukov! Minister
of Foreign Affairs! All his experience consists of a continuous chain
of political breaks and a series of moderately paid, superficial
articles on Balkan questions in a provincial newspaper. And, Monsieur
Kerensky,--_la fine fleur_--the Minister of Justice, a little man with
a single kidney and a double ambition. Insects!

These people would not be able to administer a small country
community, and here they are confronted with three immense
propositions: the Great War, the building up of a new state, and the
fighting of an organized propaganda directed against the war, and
against order.

It was enough for the ladies (and for Maroossia too) to see all of
these people in power, in order to find interesting points, not only
in their political activities, that would not be so bad--but in their
private lives too. They all already know who these people are,
what they eat, when and where they were born, what their wives and
mistresses look like, etc., etc., up to the most intimate deeds and
traits of their characters. The foreign ladies also take a very keen
interest in those little tea-chats. All prefer to listen to them much
rather than to the events at the front.

Vadbolsky wrote me a letter sent through the "Help the Soldiers"
society. Of course he could not say much. They all realize that
discipline is going down with tremendous speed, at least at the
Northern front. The soldiers listen more to what the Council of
Deputies say than to anything else. This treble power--the Council,
the Government and the Army Authorities--must be united, but there is
no one to realize it; and if there were, there would be no possibility
of co-ordinating the different currents.



6.


Evening with the Ivanitskys.

After dinner we all went into the library and started as usual to
speak of our very bad affairs, the high cost of living, even here, in
a private home, reserved, not to be accused of reactionary tastes. The
ladies looked at every one who would start to talk, as if he would be
_the man_ to solve all of our complicated problems and mishaps.

Baroness B., whom I had seen very much lately, talked to me for a
while in a corner, to the ridiculous anger of Maroossia who went to
bed tonight without kissing me. She (the Baroness) said that Sophie
had already reached London after the stay in Copenhagen and Paris.
"Her mission," she said,--as usual coquettishly and childishly looking
around with a fear of being overheard,--"was a failure." In Copenhagen
"they would not even listen", to Sophie, and she was told that the
solution and the "démarches" must be made, if made, from London, as
there people have every means to arrange with Berlin. I asked the
Baroness to keep all of this news to herself, and not to drag me, or
what would be worse, Maroossia, into any conspiracy. "Be just as you
are and don't try to become more serious, it may spoil you"--. Heavens
knows what the Baroness has become since her peculiar conduct with the
Vassilchikov and her permanent whisperings to Madame Vyrubov and
the rest of the gang. But still, there was already a movement about
Tsarskoe Selo. If I were not so particular about avoiding silly
conversations, I would have asked her what she meant by communicating
Sophie's failure to me.

Finally, I am glad, I did not ask her questions. What is the use of
the Emperor's release to me? A man who did not know how to pick his
advisors, who did not know how to arrange his home affairs, his Alice
von Hessen Darmstadt, his monks and his generals, does not deserve to
be too much regretted, and certainly does not deserve too particular
interest. Baroness B's. actions are strange. Is she paid? By whom?
Cash? Promises?...

(_a page missing_)

... was stopped by me and slightly pursed her red lips, we joined
the rest, where a British Major (I never can think of his name) was
telling of his experiences in the research work for German propaganda
in Petrograd. So sorry he had to speak French with his typical
Anglo-Saxon struggles with "D" and "T," that makes French so perfectly
ununderstandable in an English mouth. It is horrid that people like
the Ivanitskys don't know English well enough, and now, when we all
have to be among our British allies, we make ourselves, and the allies
as well, simply ridiculous!

So the Major explained that their man was at several meetings of a
body, which he called "Le conseil secret du parti bolchévique" (that
must have been something very bad indeed), where a man by name Lenine
was present, also communists Bronstein, Nakhamkes, Kohan, Schwarz
and others, I forget. They all are conspiring. "Be no war with
our brethren," "Be peace on earth," "Closer together peasants and
soldiers, workingmen and poor," "To hell with the intelligentzia,"
"Long live the International," etc., etc., was all we saw on the
banners lately. The queerest thing is that the British agent at the
meeting saw amongst the anarchists several men from the police, and
a fellow by name of Petrov, the same one that had the accident on the
Moscow railway and was asked to leave the Foreign Office a couple of
years ago. Now Petrov is with the communists. Again the agent reported
the presence of the 1905 blackhundreds. They all are there, and
instead the "Boje Tsaria Khrani," they shout the International. They
all understand their people (the agent said) and they all are with
the Lenine and others, to return to the sweet past by destroying the
bitter present. Sir George, the Major continued, knew all about these
significant political blocks, and reported them to London, but the
Foreign Office and the Conseil de Guerre seem to be either ignorant (I
would not be very much surprised), or know more than the Ambassador,
so, as yet, our Cabinet has not been warned. Our Cabinet! It sounds
majestic.... Since Miliukov left, and the mercantile Monsieur
Tereshchenko took his hot seat--everything goes to the devil with our
policy abroad. It is strange, for Mr. Tereshchenko must be well posted
in foreign relations: both of his French twin mistresses gave him
every possibility of becoming "bien versé."

But--oh, shades of Count Nesselrode and Prince Gorchakov! Inspire
the newcomer, looking from the walls of the Foreign Office, at his
struggles! Your illegitimate son needs your sense and help ...



7.


Since the scandalous discovery of the plot (Mr. Kerensky took personal
care to make it scandalous)--perhaps it was not a plot, but just a
few letters of the Gr. Duchess M.P., Tsarskoye Selo has become very
difficult to reach and to visit. A few days ago Maroossia came
home from A. very late and so tired that I thought she was ill. The
communication seems completely stopped, and soldiers were looking in
the automobile every five minutes. Once she thought they would arrest
her. Sentinels not only around the Palace, but in the garden too, with
a double chain of Reds on the streets! The General told Maroossia that
some one explained to him that these difficulties and impediments were
provoked by the successes of the Germans on the Riga front, and that
they expect a serious drive on Petrograd, and twice insinuated about
her going to Yalta, or Gurzoof, or Gagry,--as things there rapidly
were becoming complicated. So said the Admiral too, in his peculiar
way: "The rats before a shipwreck usually feel the coming wreck by
instinct, and run on the decks." He said that was his impression in
Tsarskoye. Every rat is exceedingly nervous and tries to disappear
from the Palace under some pretext or other, and the Palace is
deserted.

Kerensky is coming there very often, usually with his milk-fed
A.D.C.... This man wants to be generous, he wants to be square, in
fact,--he wants to be magnificent. He calls the Emperor "Colonel
Romanov," or "Nikolai Alexandrovich." Never says, "Your Majesty." He
feels sure that he is beloved in Tsarskoye, and that they speak of
him with tears of gratitude, admiring his justice and his manners. I
hardly think Kerensky realizes that they are simply frightened, and
feel with their inborn appreciation of the man, that by playing on his
exceedingly well developed self-veneration--they might be saved.

I have been told in the Club that the Government is planning to get
rid somehow of the whole family. The foxy old Polenov explained to us
after bridge that he would not be surprised if Kerensky would say to
the Lenine crowd that the Emperor should be taken somewhere in the
country on account of the German advance, and to Buchanan ... on
account of the growing strength of Lenine. "Many more people are
interested in this affair," he said, "than even Kerensky knows. If he
knew, he would have a larger field for bargaining."

Devil knows who is who now! If police officers enlist in the
communists,--what is next? Trotzky's going to a high mass?



8.


Dined with Buchanans and the Lazarevs. Ros. was wounded. We all
enjoyed this little story:--

A German girl was asked:

"Können sie Ibsen?" To which she replied:

"Nein! Wie macht man das?"



9.


I suspected, and feared, that it could or might have happened,--and so
it was!

Yesterday Mikhalovsky asked me to come to his office. He looked queer
and worried, and when I stepped in, he closed the door and started to
reproach me with every sign of excitement, so proper to him; spitting
all over my face.

"I never expected that from you! I never expected! How is it? What is
it!?..." and so on.

I stopped him and asked him to be more explicit, as I could not grasp
all of the meaning of his eloquence. After he lit a cigarette (how
many times this little thing has been a salvation!) Mikhalovsky became
more comprehensible and told me that Misha phoned at one o'clock in
the night and asked him to come immediately to the Intelligence in his
private office. Mikhalovsky, who is now taking great care of himself,
drinks some waters, takes green pills and goes to bed at nine, became
enraged and refused, but Misha said he was an ass, and simply had to
dress and go to the headquarters. So the old thing had to dress and
appear. Misha showed him a short note from the French Agent which
read something like this:--"Baroness B. evidently communicating with
Copenhagen through Sharp and Starleit M. General Z. to be approached,
also Quart.--General R. In one instance a package carried to
Sestroretsk by a lady in a blue tailor suit with white fox fur. Trail
lady, arrest Baroness B. Watch Finland Depot, radio to Generals Z. and
R." No signature.

My astonishment was very great, and I said that "though I have known
Baroness B. quite well since I met her in Paris and Monte Carlo
and...."

(_five lines scratched out from manuscript_).... "Quit your damn jokes
for a while," he exclaimed. "Do you realize, what you are talking
about? The lady with the fox--is Maroossia!"

"Maroossia? Spying?" I said, becoming angry in my turn. "You will have
to account for it, Boris Platonovich, as even an old friend and
relative must think over those accusations."

Then Mikhalovsky explained that Misha's man followed the lady--up to
the house, and that it _was_ Maroossia. Another one "listened in," and
understood from Maroossia's and Baroness B's. conversation, that
my wife took the package to a certain Madame van der Hüchts in
Sestroretsk, on being told to do so by the Baroness, and that she did
not know what there was in it, and even did not know who Madame van
der Hüchts was.

"You see, you boneheaded fool," Mikhalovsky continued, "what was the
danger? If Misha had not succeeded in having his own man listen in,
and do it quietly, all of this detective work, your Maroossia would be
gone by this time." "But,"--he continued, "now the case is closed,
as far as your wife is concerned, and the only thing I wish to insist
upon,--is to get Maroossia out of here right now. Furthermore, you
should give her a scolding."

I said it would not be omitted.



10.


Maroossia left for her father's. We certainly had some explanation!
She cried and felt indignant, and finally understood why I was so
angry when the evening papers came out with the news of Baroness B's
arrest. Then--she understood that she never should do anything
that was asked her "without her husband's knowledge." The case, as
Mikhalovsky says, is closed.

The last two or three evenings I spent with both Mikhalovskys. They
told me strange stories. I simply cannot believe them. First--that the
German staff sent Lenine here with a special message to some people
now in power. "We know all about it," said Misha, "but the time is not
yet ripe to act." Second--that a certain person received a request not
to touch Grimm, nor any of the communists. Third--the strangest--to
get the Tsar's family out. "All of this news would have been much
fuller if only we could decipher some of this,"--and Misha took out of
his pocket and presented me with this strange slip of paper....

(_missing_)

...--all of these crossings of the lines are words, or ciphers, or
phrases, God knows what, and they _must_ mean something very important
for they were taken from members of this web, and stand in direct
connection with our present, or rather our future, attitude. But that
is about as much as we know of it.



11.


I went to Cubat's for luncheon, as the cook had to go to a
meeting,--how do you like that?--and I do not regret it, for I learned
much.

When I think of Cubat's, Contant's or the Hôtel de France's public
before the war, and compare them with the present, I find the
difference on the style of people simply enormous. They never were
here before,--these types of men with eyes looking for quick money,
for instantaneous riches, for some "_affaires du ravitaillement
militaire_." Yesterday's poor chaps, that would not know the
difference between a côtelette and a jigôt are ordering and
easily eating things that it would take me some time to think of.
Democratisation of French cooking, or vulgarisation of exclusive
tastes (?) which?

I met Frank at Cubat's.... Heaven knows how he got released from
custody. I could not help it when he approached my table and greeted
me; I asked him whether he had heard anything from Colonel Makevich.
He asked me about Maroossia, so one thing led to another, and finally
the waiter brought a chair. "Can I join you?" he asked. I growled
something like "delighted" and so he sat down. The conversation at
first was rather general, and then suddenly:

"Did you hear anything of the Baroness B's. case, and how is she now?"
he said.

This unexpected question put Frank in a new light. I had to take
several puffs of my cigarette to think over my answer. Frank gave me
time to prepare the response in giving orders to the maître d'hôtel.
Quite a bit of time elapsed after he questioned me. I hoped for an
instant that he was going to forget about it, but, alas, when he was
through with his orders (from which I understood that he either had
become rich, or expected me to pay his check) he looked at me and
repeated:

"Yes, sir, did you hear anything new of the poor Baroness?"

"Well," I replied, "the only thing that we all know: she is in jail."

"Your information," he smiled, "is quite old. They released her about
a day or two after this misunderstanding was cleared up."

"What do you mean 'misunderstanding.' You would not call such a case
so gently, I suppose?"

"Here we are!" Frank said, lowering his voice. "So you must know more
than the average person. I, personally, knew only that there was an
arrest, and a release (as I saw the Baroness) after they understood
that there was no reason for holding a perfectly loyal lady. I
think we should talk it over again, but not here. I read in the Town
Activities column that your wife went to Tula. Couldn't you join me
for dinner tonight at Contant, say at seven-thirty?"

My first impulse was to refuse him flat. Then I happened to think that
my avoiding him would perhaps somehow reflect on Maroossia for her
silly behavior with the package. Besides I was interested to know what
Frank would talk about, and to know what happened to the B. And again
it interested me to know what he was doing at present. So I hesitated.

"Please do, decide affirmatively," he begged. "I feel sure you will
not regret a good dinner."

"Very well," I said, "at seven-thirty."

After luncheon I crossed the street to see Mikhalovsky, whom I was
sure to find in the Club. He was going out with Polenov.

"Aha, dear boy!" Polenov said to me. "The wife is away, and here he
runs around like--... (his comparisons are striking, but very rough!)
Come on with me. There are no political parties or platforms at
Nadejda Stepanovna. A little lawyer, and an old soldier are equally
welcome. Nadejda Stepanovna just telephoned there are new ones."

The old fool! As if there was a single living being in the town that
would not know that all his pleasures were reduced to kissing a
new girl on the forehead and petting her behind the ears! Nadejda
Stepanovna told me how they all laughed watching Polenov through
the keyhole.... "Thanks," I said, "I am through with the Oficerskaya
Street." So he went alone, trying to look younger and straighter.

When he left I asked Makhalovsky to explain to me what happened to the
Baroness. He almost fainted.

"For heavens sake! Don't shout that damned name! There are ears
everywhere," he whispered.

He took me by the arm and dragged me all along the Morskaya, giving me
short and hard kicks as soon as I would open my mouth. And only when
we reached his room and he verified as to whether or not the door was
well shut, he said:

"Now what seems to be your question, and what in hell do you know
about her? Who told you that something happened to her?"

As this is the time when "homo homini--lupus," I said that nobody ever
told me of her, but having met Mikhalovsky at the Club I thought of
the Baroness and asked.

"Well," he said, "she was released." And Mikhalovsky became sad and
worried, looking humble and frightened.

"I am all tangled up, friend!" he said. "I think I am in mortal
danger. Last Friday Kerensky asked me to come to his office and said
she must be freed, and everything was a misunderstanding. He said he
had received proof; her arrest was a mistake. He also said that we all
must be careful about our arrests, "from the left, as well as from the
right."

"Did the British Embassy intervene?"--"Not at all (it seems though
they never had heared of it)."

--"and here," he continued, "we received a letter signed by Executive
Committee, Department of Political Research, saying that unless the
whole dossier of the Baroness B. was burned, the undersigned of the
message reserved the privilege of knowing how to deal with it. Misha
was so disgusted with the letter that he went to see Kerensky,
and explained that a body of doubtful prerogatives and no official
standing had no right to insult an official institution by threats.
Kerensky read the letter, studied the attached signatures and said
"that he would not pay any particular attention to the letter, that
there was decidedly no reason to think that the authority of the
Department was offended, or held in contempt." He took the letter from
Misha saying that "as I see it affects you too much, I will make a
private and personal investigation and let you know when I get some
results."

"Now," Mikhalovsky continued, lowering his voice, "Misha has
disappeared. He is not in the office. He has never come home since the
morning he told me all of that. When I asked his chief whether he knew
anything about Misha--I got an answer that he was looking for him
all over the city and could find neither Misha nor a dossier which
he needs more than Misha himself! I feel,--I know, Misha is dead. And
surely, all that in connection....

"Look here, Boris Platonovich," I said, "You must not feel so terribly
depressed about that story. Nothing happened to Misha ..." and I
continued in that tone of consolation, though I knew how weak the
words sounded.

Mikhalovsky shook his head. "Anyhow I won't let it pass so easily.
I'll try to know, and I'll try to clear it out...."

I left him with his head down on his hands, in an agony of sorrow for
Misha, and in an agony of fears for his own sake.

At about twenty to eight I entered the restaurant, having decided to
keep silent, to give no chance to the man to understand me not only by
questions, but even by the association of ideas: I decided to be like
stone. He was talking to a chap in the hall, a tall, pimply young man
of twenty-five, in the French style of blue khaki and with aviation
insignia on his sleeve. Frank left his friend and we both went to the
dining room.

When we were through with our soup, Frank said:

"I have touched today upon the case of the Baroness. In fact you know
the story from many sources, especially from Mikholavsky.... Please,
please!" he exclaimed, when I made a movement of protest,--"don't. So,
if you are apt in making logical decisions and conclusions, you are in
a position to understand all. Don't try to destroy anything by going
around with your personal impressions, for it really would be bad.
Just look!"

The telegram he showed me read: "Michael Mikhalovsky's body found on
the track near Vyborg station four in the morning suicide presumed."
"There is no need for explanations," he said, in putting the message
back in his pocket, "nor sorrow--all is over. But it would be an
excellent idea to appreciate this mere fact properly, don't you think
so?"

"So," continued Frank, "to come closer to our own affairs, I must say
that a young and charming lady is leaving for Stockholm on a special
mission--I know not exactly what it is--and I must give her some
information, some of which could be furnished by you. Before I ask
you for this little information, however, I must clearly apprehend
one thing: do you feel sufficiently interested in anything closely
connected with the old régime? And if so,--how deep is your interest?
You understand?"

"I understand," I said, after a second of thinking. "I also get your
threat. Now--my answer will be clearer than your insinuations, as I
fear nothing that I cannot see." (what a liar I am!)

Then I assumed my best poker face and calmly continued:

"I don't know, and do not care to know, what you are after, Frank.
Personally--I cannot find anything in the old régime that I would
regret to any important extent. On the other hand--I honestly do
not see anything attractive, or particularly elegant, about the new
régime. Practically there is no régime whatsoever in this present
concoction of kuvaka and elevated ideas. So, finally, damn it all! I
would be grateful to a friend who would advise me how to get out of
any activity, and of course, would not consider any suggestion leading
me into it. My decision is plain. I resign. Then I realize all I can
and disappear from this rich field of political life. That's all,
Frank."

He looked at me. He was very grave. And then suddenly his face changed
and he again became the chap that amused Maroossia and myself in
Marienbad a few years ago.

"So I feel, old man, exactly so," he laughed,--"aren't all of them the
rottenest types one ever saw? Trash, my dear sir, trash. And I greet
your decision."

The tension which I felt at the beginning of the dinner disappeared
completely, and we began to talk about different things, remembering
the time when we met, and recollecting our mutual impressions of
1912-1913, when things and people seemed to be so very different. I
could not help, however, asking Frank at the end of our dinner:

"Are there any especial reasons to try and be foxy with me, or any
reasons to frighten me with mysteries?"

He answered:...

(_several lines scratched out_)

..."no such things as mysteries. This is the commonest of all planets
and everything is plain and entirely within the old three dimensions.
Some very cautious persons do not see the matter clearly--or
perhaps they are too stubborn to see it right,--and it makes them
suspicious.... You'll kindly forgive me," he added, "if I'll have to
be going?"...

After his departure--it was only about 9:30, as I had nothing to do,
I went to the New Club. No Misha there. I saw Boris Vlad. drunk as a
sailor in company with three or four other rascals; I think the short
one was the man from the Red Cross. In the card room--a gloomy game of
bridge, no word said unless for a real mistake....

So I came home and looked out of the window onto the deserted and
neglected streets of my Northern Palmira....



12.


Millions of those who fell for their countries in Europe and Asia
paved the way for a general depreciation of life; human existence
has no more value. For years they were killing people on the battle
fields. It is justified.... They were killing lately, in Russia,
officers (for the reason that they were such.) It can be understood:
the crazy mob is not responsible. But what can one think of murders?
For reasons unknown to the murdered, and perhaps to the murderers.
Here are the results of three years of war, the results of three
hundred years of slavery.

Maroossia read the news of Mikhalovsky's accident in the papers in
Tula, and came yesterday.

"Nothing could stop me," she said, crying bitterly, and leaning on me
so that I would not be too angry. "Dearest, everything is so strange!
Misha's death, and Boris Platonovich's death!... Please, let us go
away somewhere, I cannot think of you, here alone...."

I told her that I had made arrangements to resign, and why it could
not be done yet. "Then," I said, "we will go to Gurzoof, where our
house is rotting without care". I succeeded in calming the poor girl,
explaining with all of the eloquence that I had, that Misha's suicide
and Mikhalovsky's accident in the lift had nothing in common, and that
both deaths were not to be put in the same angle of view.

Later she showed me a postal card from Misha, from Vyborg. He did not
sign it, but his characteristic handwriting spoke only too clearly.
"Wanted to send you some fruit," he wrote, "but here there is no
fruit, so you'll have to get some yourself from the South."

"Poor Misha, there was something strange about him before he killed
himself," she said. "I never asked him for any fruit. He was very
nervous, the poor boy, I see it! And to think that almost in his last
hour he thought of us!..."

Fruit from the south.... I see Misha's dead hand pointing to us the
way out of Petrograd. It is a warning, a cipher warning from the other
side of the grave; one more inducement to leave this filthy place.



13.


I again hear that something is growing amongst the bolsheviki. There
are indications that if everything passes well for them--Kerensky will
join the movement, passing from the left social revolutionary party to
the commune. Both parties deal with internationalism, and finally the
only difference is that the bolsheviki act more energetically.

The country will then become an ideal state: people would not know any
laws, would not pay taxes, would not marry, or sell or buy.... Fine!
About the last, however, I have my doubts. There will be always
somebody to be bought in Petrograd. It is in the climate, I guess.

The Allies! Our Allies who were ready to fight Germany to the last
Russian soldier.... Do they understand that the fraternization at the
present time is so intense, that pretty soon the boches will get the
foodstuffs from the very hands of their Russian comrades? They must
know that at present there are only few men to be hanged. The war
will be won in a month. Tomorrow their number will be so big, that not
enough hangmen could be found in the world to clean up Russia,--unless
some Powers wish to see Russia amputated. This looks probable.

Today saw the British Major. He expressed his condolence for our
grief. I received the impression (or perhaps I am getting too nervous
and suspicious?) that he knows more than I.



14.


Quite unexpectedly the Baroness B. came today to the office. At first
I did not want to see her, but then thought that it would be better
not to make these dangerous people angry, as heaven knows what they
are liable to do if irritated, and besides--she is so fascinating.
So she was shown in. She was veiled as much as only she could be,
for mystery and to conceal the slight and ingenious coat of rouge, I
guess. The usual feathers, rings and perfumes; and I had thought that
I would see an ascetic face tired out by seclusion! She said that she
had nothing serious to tell me, but had just run in to say good-bye
and calm me; she was not going to call on Maroossia: "too busy and
other reasons."

"I appreciate your other reasons," I said. "You have already shown
what a friend you are. Why did you drag Maroossia into your business?
You probably are well protected against any disagreeable event, but we
are not. So next time please, use your other reasons...."

"There was no dragging your wife into my business. The package of
laces she took to Madame van der Hüchts is not a crime. Besides
everything is over; so, as if nothing had happened."

"Yes, it probably is nothing. Misha would be of a different opinion, I
am sure."

"No, he would not."

There was a silence for a while, and then she said, sighing: (_line
illegible_...) "For instance, we wanted to give you the whole outline
inviting you to do something for your country--and you refused to
help."

"Baroness," I said, "honestly and truly I don't understand these
speculations. Just as honestly and just as truly I don't care for
them, no matter what they are for. I hate this manner of operation.
The manner! I hate plots. I hate underground work, and the only thing
I care for--is my own comfort and my own affairs."

"You don't know what you are talking about," she said, "or the
atmosphere has made you so clever, that I don't know whether you
are trying to get something out of me or not. Very well, I _am
conspiring_. I am now with these people, with whom I would not have
thought of being--only three months ago. As soon as I succeed--I shall
leave all and become free and independent...."

Then she corrected herself; "I don't mean to say, of course, I am not
independent now, but.... What time is it?"

I told her.

"Thank you. So you see.... What were we talking about?... Ah, yes,
indeed,--how silly of me! Well so I am in a big game. It may seem that
I am in the wrong. But think of the time when there will be a moment,
when just a few persons, maybe only one person, will be able to appear
again on the stage and become the nucleus of regeneration? And if I
am wrong--and such moment will never come--it is so easy to get rid of
those whom many persons are trying to preserve...."

"Yes," I said, smiling at her enthusiasm and innocent cynicism.

"Please omit your insinuations and sarcasm, you bad thing. I only see
you are not patriotic, or you have something personal against me."

"You can judge better than others on this last point. It looks to me
as though you were wrong about the rest, however....

(_a page torn out_)

"... I saw Tatiana (don't ask me questions, if you please!) and the
girl said that there are only two acceptable ways: to be released
by the will of the people, or taken against their will, a kidnapping
staged. Other methods will meet with a refusal. That is why the
Emperor refused a formal foreign intervention, for it would place them
in a position of parasites with the "ex" title. After everything is
through--all of your Kerenskys--a parasite could not be popular and
desirable.... Well, she got up,--"goodby! Kiss Maroossia for me.
And here is a friendly warning: don't talk. _It is dangerous._ Don't
trust. _It is silly_. Write to Sophie's house in Paris--it will reach
me. So sorry we cannot be together!"

She left me.



15.


Saw a real picture of the time: General S-sky in the Renault
with Joffe! Smiles and hand-shakes. Red arm-bands. The tall
Dolivo-Dobrovolsky from the Foreign Office was with this couple. In
January, when S-sky got his car he said: "I'd rather sell the car than
let a Jew ride in it," when Gunzburg asked to use the automobile.

Madame D's apartment was robbed. Nobody knows "how it happened."
The house guard keeps silent on the subject. Paul sent her a wire to
Kursk, very laconic: "home emptied everything stolen." Now he received
a reply: "Sublet unfurnished." She is a darling. Never saw such
energy. I wonder whether she is trying to get the Emperor out too?...



16.


My interview with his Excellency is worthy of description. Since my
graduation from the Lyceum up to the present time--I have seen many
men of power; when young--they usually knocked me down by their
aureole of magnificence; with age I learned how to distinguish almost
unmistakably in the splendor of that scenery an idiot from a crook.
This one--was quite peculiar.

Kerensky made me wait for about one hour during which I had enough
time to ascertain that since the new régime the rooms had not been
dusted. So what Kerensky said to some foreigner: "Regenerated Russia
will not have recourse to the shameful methods utilized by the old
régime"--were untruthful words. The dust evidently was old régime's.

At the end of the hour (it was enough for Kerensky!) I decided to go
home and mail the resignation. When I got up, however, one of his men
(the young rascal was watching me, I am sure) entered and asked me to
step in. The staging of the reception was prearranged and intended
to impress the visitor; on the desk of the Minister I saw maps and
charts, specimens of tobacco for the soldiers, designs of the new
scenery for the Mariinsky Theatre, models of American shells, foreign
newspapers, barbed wire scissors, etc., etc., just to show the
newcomer the immense range of His Excellency's occupations and duties.
When I stepped in, Kerensky looked at me, posing as being exceedingly
fatigued in caring for the benefit of others. He almost suffered! He
never looked to me so exotic as at this moment: the Palace--and, at
the same time the perspiring forehead, the dirty military outfit. The
magnificence of power,--and the yellowish collar, badly shined
boots. He was glad of the impression produced on me, as I registered
disgust,--he, with his usual knowledge of men, thought it worship.
"Look how we, new Russians, are working"--shouted his whole
appearance, "look, you pig, and compare with what you have been
doing!"

"Alexander Fedorovich," I said approaching him, "I thought I had to
bring my resignation personally. You'll find the reasons as "family
circumstances,"--and I gave him the paper.

He rose. With one hand on the buttons of his uniform and the other on
the desk, he believed himself to look like Napoleon. Like Napoleon
he looked straight into my eyes. But his weak and thin fingers were
always moving like a small octopus--Napoleon's were stronger.

"May I ask you the real cause of your resignation?" he said, vainly
forcing his high-pitched voice lower.

"If you care to know it," I said calmly,--"It is disgust."

Napoleon faded away from his face, and before me was again Monsieur
Kerensky, a little lawyer with whom I had once made a trip from Moscow
to Petrograd. A little lawyer who tried to please me and looked for my
sympathy.

"That's the appreciation of our work!... Poor Russia! She is deserted!
Here I am all alone to carry this burden"--and Kerensky showed with a
circular movement of disorder on his desk,--"But you," he continued,
after a pause,--"you! Why should _you_ be disgusted, and why should
_you_ leave us at this strenuous moment? Don't you see that the
building up of the state needs the full co-operation of every element
of Russia,--the new ones, as well as the old?"

I said that I did not think I was more of an old element than he, but
repeated my categoric decision.

As if wounded right in the heart, with a theatrical sigh, Kerensky
looked out of the window, then smiled bitterly, and took the paper
from me. "I grant you your request. I know what disgusted you,--and,
and--I understand. I hope you will not regret this step."

He sat down thus politely indicating the end of the audience. Here,
on his desk, I noticed one of the last numbers of the "L'Illustration"
with a large picture of himself on it, which he was studying while I
was waiting for his interview.

How easy I feel! Left to my own affairs, to my own business, all to my
very own self! Thank God! I never felt this way before.

And our national Tartarin of Tarrascon--at his desk in the palace,
with his people, always meeting polite and covetous eyes,--will
continue his hard work. Under every smile and every bow, he will
see--up to the grave, the veiled appreciation: "By God, what a small
thing you are." On the pages of history his name will forever remain
and look like the trace of a malicious and sick fly.



17.


How glad I am that Maroossia went away! I feel more at ease though the
housekeeping is up to me.

There was more shooting and more of revolution, than heretofore,
during all of these days,--one more evidence that the building of the
new state is in full progress. Of course,--these days brought
Kerensky as high up as he only can go. Next will be his precipitated
downfall,--much speedier than his elevation. Why do the Allies make
this mistake of letting a worm like Kerensky endanger the cause--it
is a mystery ... though "there are no mysteries in this plainest of
planets."

Nahkamkes and Trotzky--found! and in jail, for the moment
being,--perhaps like the Baroness, or even easier! But the man, the
real German hound of Petrograd, Monsieur Ulianov-Lenin,--could not be
found. _Could not be found_ is true. He has not been looked for,
as any ass knows where he is. They send him meals from Félicien, or
Ernest.

Away from here! I must be going as soon as I get the things
straightened.

Have wired to Maroossia that I am still alive, otherwise she is liable
to appear again. Elisabeth wrote a letter from Moscow and said that
"here--everybody is well and things look satisfactory. Food supplies
in abundance. All active in building up the state." Is she sick? Who
is building the state? We destroy.

They speak of putting the Emperor in jail,--the St. Peter and Paul
Fortress. On the other hand Polenov was told that Kerensky won't
tolerate any abuse to "private citizens." How about other private
citizens?



18.


So finally they all lost.

The Emperor was taken away,--and both Mikhalovskys died for nothing,
just looking for the plotters, I think, or, perhaps, they were
plotting themselves?

Mr. Kerensky did not dare to do it himself personally, as he used
to say it repeatedly in Tsarskoye. No! Lies usually led him to other
things: to give to the Family a "detachment of special destination"
under Col. Kobylinsky (a fine man,--Emperor's A.D.C. during the
Empire, and his jailer during the Republic!) and Monsieur Makarov,
under whose command they all left for Tobolsk. I had to buy a map.
Sorry to ascertain it, but I have always mixed up Tomsk, Tobolsk and
Yakutsk. Which was which was a puzzle to me. We Russians must be proud
of our perfect ignorance of Siberia.

Monsieur Makarov? Nobody knew him, but, of course, Polenov. "Oh,"
he said, when I told him the news, "Makarov. A man who looks like
Turguenev, smells of French perfumes, speaks of the arts and is a
contractor!?... Of course I know of him. He is from the "Brussov and
Makarov Contracting Company"--the rascal! Kerensky knew him long ago,
I am sure. The first thing when he got powerful he appointed Makarov
as something in the Ministry of Beaux-Arts!"

From what I learned afterwards from Admiral and B-tov, all of "the
rats of Tsarskoye" ran away. Only a few remained with the family:
Botkin,--Capt. Melnik, Countess G. and her governess, M-e Sch., and
Gillard. That's about all I guess that I know of--maybe some will join
them afterwards. I am so sorry I had to go to Tula when they took the
Family. I'd have gone to watch the departure with the Admiral.

Petrograd simply died. The city does not reflect a thing. All seem
to be satisfied with mere existence, and to have lost interest in the
rest of the world. They look animated when it comes time to converse
of food and clothes.... Funny, strange, weird city! They don't clean
the streets any more.... and everybody finds it natural. There is
nothing in the stores--and we feel perfectly at ease. The country is
being maliciously run down--and all repeat that fiction of building
up.

Perhaps the only place that has not changed since its foundation is
the Club. The same old grouches are there, on the same sized seats,
with the same expressions of old indigestion and fresh gossip. Boys
keep up! The revolution will probably bring the sacred card games onto
the streets. Your progressive institution must preserve the classic
rules for the next generations.

People now are divided into two distinct camps: those of today, and
those of yesterday. The former--cover their disgust under a smile of
opportunism; kin and kind--don't. We hate each other, and envy each
other,--as we cannot see which way things will turn.... We will be
united only if the ones of to-morrow,--the commune, the third class of
people happen to take into their hands the war machinery. Then we both
will be crushed, annihilated, forgotten. It is coming....



II. TUMEN



II. TUMEN



19


Only five months ago--I had a wife, income, good food.... Only five
months ago--I had a country.

The mean and envious beast that lived in our midst,--as it lives in
every other country,--unseen, but felt, and always ready to crush the
acquirements of existing civilization,--_the mob_ came out from the
underground world; criminal hands let _the mob_ on the streets. Weak
and shaky fingers unlocked the trap; a magnificent gesture of an
ignorant Don Quixote invited the spies, the thieves, the murderers "to
make the New Russia."

I see foreign faces around me; I hear foreign accents in every line of
each new edict; I listen to the strange names of our new governors.

The Mob is in power; and the friendly faces of our Allies became dry
and cold....

Looking backward--I try to find out whether there was a mistake of my
own, or my own crime, for which some unknown and heartless Judge is
now so severely punishing me?

       *       *       *       *       *

Here I am, a graduate of the two best institutions in Russia and
Germany, a man with five generations behind me,--all thoroughbred,
all civilized, all gentlemen. Here I am in disguise--as apparently
thousands and thousands of other Russians are, just as bearded as
they, just as dirty, just as hungry, just as alone in the world.

My name is now Alexei Petrovich Syvorotka, formerly non-commissioned
officer, 7th of Hussars, born in the province of Kursk. I dress in
an old military overcoat, have a badly broken shoulder blade (second
degree injury at Stanislau), and as my documents say--have been
evacuated to Tumen, where I am supposed to receive my soldier's
ration. Syvorotka! Would you talk to a man with such a name?

This Syvorotka, a humble creature--a shadow of yesterday--has only one
thing of which he cannot be robbed, his only consolation: the sorrow
which he wears deep under his uniform jealously concealed from the
rest of the world.



20


My baggage--the handbag--was found.

Those peculiar things can happen only in the present Russia. She is
like a good make of automobile after a wreck. Everything seems to
be crushed and broken--machinery, wheels, glass, body.... Still some
parts are strong enough to keep moving. So miraculously there moved a
part, which brought my handbag here from Moscow,--the very first ray
of sun in my existence for a long time.

I came to the depot this morning--I had been coming every day since
Schmelin gave me the baggage check--and saw a few men unloading a
baggage coach. I approached them.

"Hello," I said to a tartar whose abominable face was covered with
pock marks, (nowadays one must always address the most hostile looking
person in a crowd, never the most sympathetic, for one should not show
any weakness to the mob), "any work"?

"Hello,--yourself," the tartar answered grouchily and without
looking at me, "there is. Don't let them skin you. Ask fifty rubles,
understand?"

"Is that so?" I said, spitting through my front teeth onto a sidewalk
covered with gleaming white snow, "not me, damn them! Whose baggage?"

They did not answer--in their language it meant 'don't know, don't
care, and go to hell!'

On the coach I saw "_Moscow Special_" written with white stone and I
decided to take one more chance and ask for my handbag, presenting my
luggage check.

"It came at last," said the man in charge of the luggage depot, "thank
God I won't see your _muzzle_ any more. What's in it?"

"Since when has it been your business, your burjooi honor?" I said,
"You did not pay me for buying my belongings, so better keep your trap
shut!"

I took the dear old bag--it was Maroosia's before, and came home.
What did Mlle. Goroshkin put in the bag in Moscow? I opened the rusty
lock--and found my silver toilet kit, razors, "La Question du
Maroc," on which the shaving soap had made a big yellow spot, Laferme
cigarettes, some linen (the thing I need the most), night slippers,
manicuring box, and poor Maroossia's fan,--she wired me to take it to
Gurzoof in the last telegram I ever got from her.

The fan was fragrant with her perfume on it; so I shed a few tears. On
the inside of the bag was written "All well, write often," and on the
bottom of the bag--was this book of my notes. I had decided to sell
the silver kit and the fan and get some money as I was very short of
it. Both the fan and the silver outfit looked so inharmonious in my
little room with a small window on a triste court with a yard full of
blindingly white snow.



21


Here is what brought me here:

I could not leave Petrograd on time on account of the house. Nobody
wanted it for 800,000. I waited and waited--day after day, week after
week. Many and many were giving me advice to leave and were warning
me, but I would not listen. When the wire came that poor Maroossia
was killed,--I lost interest in life completely. So I was living in
Petrograd, until the clash for the Assembly. Then,--perhaps my nerves
needed a good shaking up,--I became active again. I went to the Volga
Kama for my money,--the were already closed and gave me 150 rubles,
and allowed me to take another 150 in a week. I went to the Volkov's.
The clerk said that I had no right to withdraw more than 150. I knew
the man from Moscow well, and he recognized me from the time that I
was coming to Bros. Djamgarov Bank. He was really kind, and said that
he could at once arrange that I should receive 80% of my money and
the contents in the safe, out of which 10% should be paid to some
mysterious commissary. "I advise you to take it. The appetites are
growing, and perhaps to-morrow it will be more,--50% or 60%." I wrote
out some kind of understanding, by which I sold my rights on the
10th of October to a certain Kagajitsky. That was all fake, as my
arrangement was made about the 23rd of November, I guess.

My ticket, for which they asked me 12,000 rubles, was obtained through
the cook's sweetheart, and I left Petrograd on the 6th for Moscow on
the usual 12:30, and arrived uneventfully at the depot in Moscow next
morning at about 10:30.

On the stairs of the Nikolaevsky depot I stopped. Where was I going?
In fact I had never thought of it. I had no place, no destination, no
desires--nothing. Perhaps only one desire, to avenge myself and all of
us.

So I hesitated, for in Moscow they had been shooting right and left
for the past week, persecuting the burjoois and officers. I had never
felt so helpless and so unnecessary to myself and to others as on this
snowy morning in Moscow. Besides, all of the way from Petrograd to
Moscow I had had a hideous headache and chills, and I was in a fog of
indifference.

"Good morning, sir," said an astonishingly polite voice behind me, "I
congratulate you upon a safe arrival."

I turned around and saw a man of rather short stature, cleanly shaven,
and politely smiling with the whole width of his mouth.

"Good morning," I said, "I cannot place you, but you seem familiar to
me, I am sure."

"That's due to my former occupation, your Excellency. I am Goroshkin,
the usher from the Ekaterinensky Theatre. So sorry to apprehend of
your sorrow, Sir, in connection with her Excellency's death."

This man, Goroshkin, was a real friend to me, although I hardly
recollected him. We never used to pay much attention to the ushers!

There was no use in trying to go to a hotel with my appearance of
a gentleman and my pockets filled with money; my fever and my
indifference were growing; I had no desire to do anything for myself.
I think that Goroshkin understood me and the state of my mind when
he said, "May I venture to offer Your Excellency my humble house, and
perhaps call a doctor?"

This is as much as I remember of the next fortnight. I had a terrible
attack of typhus,--and when communists were killing the boys from the
military school, bombarding the Hotel National, destroying the Kremlin
and pillaging private homes, I was quietly lying in a little house
somewhere behind Sukharev Tower under the care of a doctor and
Goroshkin's fat sister, whose conspicuous parts of the corsage were
soiled from cooking, and whose face was always red and radiant. My
return to life, and with it my return to the desire for activity and
eating, was commemorated by the appearance at my bed of nobody else
but Marchenko.

One bright morning, when my room seemed to be full of sunshine and
hope,--a man in the uniform of a communist soldier with a red rag on
his coat sleeve, walked into the room bringing in a breath of fresh
and frosty air and a whole arsenal of munitions. I did not recognize
him at first, a little pointed beard and heavy boots had transformed
him into a regular "tovarishch."

"Hello," he said, "glad to know you're alive."

"Yes," I answered, "I am about the only one whom they have not
happened to exterminate, but it is coming"!

Marchenko smiled. "You should not stay here for very long," he said,
"It is getting dangerous and raids are being planned to finish with
the burjoois who are hiding in the outskirts of Moscow."

"Don't think," he went on, "that I am honestly with the communists. My
task is the same and if we failed to do something before,--now we know
we will be successful. Kerensky is out of the life, living evidently
under the friendly protection of Lenine; I think Lenine was the only
man that he did not attempt to double cross."

"Now," he continued, "let us speak of you. I think that you must
understand that the little services that were asked of you some months
ago would have prevented many, many disagreeable events. Behind you,
you can see only sad memories and mourning,--before you, the very dark
existence of a man in hiding. If you will join us, I could guarantee
you a more or less protected life,--of course you will have to care
for your own self, too."

"Please your Excellency," said the voice of Goroshkin behind me,
"don't refuse this time. If your esteemed father could have known the
circumstances, he would have consented, and he was a strict man. I
recollect that His Excellency would not deign to wait a second for his
overcoat."

"Very well, I accept," I said to Marchenko, "but I must say to you
that it is not for the protection you promise me. I do not care much
for my life, but I would like to preserve it. Not to die right now,
but hold it until the moment when I could avenge myself. And that's my
personal aim. As for your plan--it suits me--for it is a measure not
of Russia's good--but a weapon against our present enemy--the Red
Flag. And, I may add that in me you will find a disciplined man."

Goroshkin disappeared and came back with a bottle of Abrau-Durçot,
with which we celebrated my consent.

Indeed I had nothing further to think about. My task was to go to
Tumen in disguise, meet some people there, and through Goroshkin
communicate with Marchenko.

My instructions included....

(_a few pages torn out_)



22


Goroshkin brought me a passport of Mr. Syvorotka, with my description
and my particular marks (broken shoulder), documents and uniform, and
gave me a few names in Tumen which I had to remember and to whom on
behalf of Mr. Andrei Andreivich Vysotsky I should address myself.

"Your Excellency understands that nobody assumes any responsibility
for your safety. You just must be in touch with the people," he said,
"and be ready for what you were told to do, as we must have a man
in Tumen. If I may suggest, you should not speak or act like a
gentleman."

I decided to joke a bit with Goroshkin: "Go to hell, you old fool," I
said, "you damned plotter," and then I kicked a chair.

To my great astonishment not a muscle twitched in Goroshkin's face.

"Not bad, not bad," he said calmly, "but even your slang is a
gentleman's. Your Excellency should imagine having been born a swine.
That's the point. I should recommend more of silence, and if you
happen to speak,--a brief articulation, roughly conceived and
expressed. Don't bother at all with the person you are addressing."

The old man amused me very much that evening. I let him sit down
and he told me episodes of his life for about a couple of hours. For
thirty years he had been present at every performance in his theatre
and he knew the world better than I did, only by watching the artists.

January the tenth in the early morning at about six o'clock the fat
Mlle. Goroshkin entered my room clad only in a nightgown. That was the
only time I saw her pale and sordid, but she was just as uninteresting
as ever. "Quick! Get up," she said, "they are searching. Brother has
already left, and he said you must dress and get your documents and
run out. Go to Tumen, I'll send your effects there."

"They" was enough for me. I was all ready in two minutes, put all
of my money and jewelry in my hip pockets, assumed the aspect of a
wounded soldier and walked out. I barely reached Miasnitskaya Street
before an armored car full of working men and soldiers passed by at
about fifty miles an hour. Half a dozen bad faces looked at me. I
decided to continue calmly on my way, but I heard the car coming back
very soon sounding its siren. It stopped near me. "Come in, cavalry
man, there is a seat for one. They found somebody in Yousupov's
house."

I stopped and scratched my neck. "It cannot be done, I am going to the
hospital. If I am late, I won't have the bandage changed today. Could
you take me to the hospital on the Devitche Pole?"

"Are you crazy?" said the man at the wheel, looking at me with fury.
"Comrades, do you think I am going to drive so far for his rotten
wound?" and without asking for his friends' consent, he turned the
machine and continued on his way towards Yousupov's.

This was my first interview with Russia's rulers.



23


I was stopped four or five times on my way to Deviche Pole. I took
this route just to show those that might have watched me that I really
was going to the hospital. Then I thought I could take a street car
to a station and go somewhere south, to Tula, for instance, then wait
there for a while and afterwards reach Moscow again (they cannot keep
on shooting and shooting always, I reasoned) and thence to Tumen. So
I continued along Miasnitskaya. Near the Post Office some people
approached me. "Where to?" they asked, and a woman caught me by the
arm. I made a suffering face. "For Christ's sake," I exclaimed, "don't
touch me. I am wounded!" They let me go and stopped a long, young
fellow in student's uniform. I saw them drag the chap away regardless
of his protests. "Comrades! It is a mistake! I am a member of a local
committee...." he attempted to protest,--but the woman said he looked
like a suspicious plotter and they all disappeared in a side street.
Near Milutinsky a man in the cap of a chauffer stopped me again and
asked me to follow him. "Where?" I asked, but he did not reply and
invited me to follow with a slight and nothing-good-promising-smile.
"Follow!" he said.

Near a small church, there was a hardware store which we entered.
About ten people were sitting on the counter. Among them were three
street girls, if I might judge by their appearance and manners.
Without saying a word, they all came near me, two men got me by the
shoulders, two others by the legs, and in one second, my pockets were
emptied, my diamonds went to the girls and a formidable blow on the
spine with the butt of a rifle threw me out onto the street. "If you
report," I heard a voice,--"You won't be able to count your bones."

That was really too much! All they forgot to take was a handkerchief,
in which I had put some money. With that I had to reach Tumen and live
there!

Then I turned left and went by small streets toward the depot from
which I thought trains were running to Tumen. Where this Tumen was
I really did not _realize_. It should be somewhere east of the Ural
mountains, and all I recollected was that Cheliabinsk was the place to
buy a ticket. Near a large school, I think it was an Armenian school
or something, I stopped to rest and see how much money I had in the
handkerchief,--but as soon as I took the handkerchief out, a man of no
profession came to me and asked me to help him. While, like an idiot,
I tried to figure how much I could give him,--he helped himself,
grabbed my all and ran. All I could do was to send him a few greetings
in my best Russian, recollecting the sins of his Mother. That relieved
me, of course, but only as a palliative. I sat down near a door to
think over my situation. Again a motor passed and again someone asked
me who I was. I showed this time such a realistic indifference and
such a display of pure disgust with life, that the man at the wheel
inquired what was the matter. "Nothing, you beasts," I replied, "but
that some of your own scoundrels robbed me right now." "Get after
him," I continued, "perhaps you can rob him in your turn." I
thought they would shoot me; nothing of the kind--they became almost
sympathetic, and only asked how the man looked and which way he had
gone. "Hardware store," I said, "around the corner."



24


It was Saturday night when finally our train reached Tumen: a _voyage_
of eleven days by rail, by snow sledge, by foot, and again by rail,
was at an end. God! What a sojourn, what people, what disorder! People
full of onions, parasites, wounds, dirt, misery and fear! But still,
in all of their misery, amiable and sympathetic, at first always
desirous of helping the other fellow. Saturday night, and the church
bells were ringing sadly, desperately, as if they knew nobody would
come and pray. To whom? God had proved to be so far away from these
people....

(_pages missing_)

... The city,--and I shall continue to call it a city,--was dark and
dreary, and so cold that I resolved to spend the night at the depot
where it was warm at least. I bought some hot tea and a large loaf
of bread at the buffet, and, as a sick and poor soldier who knows his
place, I sat in a corner.

There were some people in the station--mostly peasants, one could
easily recognize such in them; quietly talking and drinking tea with
dignity and care and biting their sugar with the force of explosions.
They never put their sugar into the tea-tumblers. Later a man with a
disagreeable face entered the room and looked around. This was not
a peasant, I said to myself,--he would not take off his hat. The
newcomer was evidently looking for me, as when he noticed me, he first
bought some tea and a sandwich, and then, as if there were no other
place in the room, picked out a seat near me. "An enemy," I thought to
myself and buried my face in my supper.

The man wanted to talk, but evidently felt embarrassed.

"Cold outside, isn't it?" he asked.

A foreign intonation. No accent, however. A Pole or a Russian-German.

"Hm, hm, very!"

"Yes, severe climate, dog's cold. Going to stay in Tumen, or plan to
go further?" he asked after a pause.

"Going to stay, or going further,--what do you ask for? But if
it interests you--going to stay for a while. If I croak here, or
somewhere else--you aren't going to attend my funeral. So what's the
big idea?"

"Oh, nothing, nothing! You see I am a stranger here and lately
live practically at the depot. Am looking for a man by the name of
Vysotsky, so I ask almost everybody for the man."

"Vysotsky?" I asked, assuming an air of astonishment, "Vysotsky?"
(Marchenko and his crowd flashed through my mind, especially in
connection with my mission)--"no, I don't think that I know anyone by
that name."

"Here, here," the man laughed, shoving me with his shoulder, "lay it
out, old man, you _must_ know him"

"No, Comrade" I responded. "You probably take me for some one else,
indeed. I am Syvorotka of the 7th Hussars. We had a man by name
Vysotsky, a sub-lieutenant, but I don't think it's the one you are
looking for: the Vysotsky I knew has been taken prisoner, at Lvov,
or at the Sziget Pass ... yes, at Sziget Pass, of course. Vysotsky,
Vysotsky, what was the Christian name, perhaps that would help me
out?"

"You white-collared trash!" my man suddenly became angry, "you can't
fool me about his first name. Don't be too slick. I'll tell you" (he
started to whisper very low and knocked on the table with his finger)
"they will jail you right now, if you don't tell me why in the devil's
name you came here. Aren't you going to tell me? No? Very well, I'll
fix you for life, you damned Russian swine! Hope you'll choke on your
tea!"

That's how he ended his friendly wishes, and left me in a fury.

But when someone threatens and is in a fury there is no immediate
danger, I know. It is true in every case of life. So I was quiet for
the night. I put my overcoat under my head and slept all night.

Next morning I began to work ... (_several pages missing_.)



25


(_First letter to M. Goroshkin_)

"Madame L. obtained from the Princess G-n some particulars. So
in addition to the reports forwarded to you through Hatzkelman, I
herewith send you more:

The Tsar's family arrived in Tobolsk from Tumen on the S/S "Russ"
September 3rd, together with SS/SS "Kitai" and "Petrograd." On the
last two were the accompanying persons and the "Detachment of Special
Destination," with Col. Kobylinsky in command, and Mr. Makarov
supervising the voyage.... For three days the "Russ" was lying near
the pier, for the Governor's Mansion was not yet ready for occupancy.
So nobody was allowed to go ashore. During these days crowds of
people were assembled near the piers, and though in the mob there
were certain evil agitators, the people in general were sympathetic,
understanding the exile as a "dreadful plot of Ministers against the
Emperor." The Heir was the center of the attention of the Tobolians,
and his personality was not at all blasphemed.

The Emperor and the Empress, with the children, were finally put in
the Mansion,--by the way its name is now "The Home of Liberty,"
which is on the main street of Tobolsk,--the Great Piatnitzkaya, also
renamed now into Liberty Street.

The Governor's Mansion is a three-story stone house, white, with a big
entrance hall from Tuliatskaya Street, there is not any entrance from
Liberty Street. There is a small square place before the entrance.
Here they built up a fence, not very high. They fixed the fence so
that no one can go over it, as the boards are trimmed sharp and have
nails. All the windows look onto Liberty Street. On the opposite side
of Liberty Street are private houses. Right across the street is the
house of Kornilov Brothers, also a stone building; three stories, and
in this house are those who went with the family in exile.

There are sentinels around. On Tuliatskaya Street near the fence--at
its ends and in the middle,--three soldiers, on Liberty Street--four
soldiers; two soldiers near the entrance hall.

Though the entrance is fenced, one can see the street from the house,
also from the street one can see what is going on on the stairway.

In the Kornilov House (both Kornilovs are away) are living: Dr. Botkin
with his son Gleb and Miss Botkin; Dr. Derevenko--a man with the same
name as the tutor of Alexis; Monsieur Gillard, a Swiss instructor of
the Hier; Captain Melnik (I heard that he is going to marry M-elle
Botkin); Lady-in-waiting Countess G.; M-me Schneider and several
others; I shall give you their names in my next letter.

The Emperor and the Empress used to have certain liberties, they could
even go to church. But then no one was admitted there, unless they
could get in under the pretext of being singers in the choir. Many
were going,--used to go to the Anunciation Church. They would put
soldiers all of the way from the Mansion to the Church. Reports are
coming that these church parades are stopped and a chapel is being
built in the Mansion.

Shortly after their arrival, Mr. Kerensky sent two boxes of wine
to the Tsar; the soldiers broke the boxes. They do not want any
"luxuries" for the exiles. The Empress has no coffee--it is a luxury.
But otherwise the attitude is not too bad. M. wrote that under the
charming manners of the Tsar and especially the Heir, before the
Soviet rule came, the soldiers very often changed their manners, their
revolutionary hearts were melting--and then Col. Kobylinsky used
to send those "soft rags" back to Petrograd, for they might be
counter-revolutionary.

Kobylinsky himself was trying to maintain good relations with the
soldiers, with Kerensky (who promised him promotion) and with the
family through Kornilov's House, for the Emperor, like everybody else
in Tobolsk, despises him. The Emperor has never said anything to or
about Kobylinsky directly, however. Once only, when Kobylinsky was
changing sentinels he bumped into the Emperor, and the latter said'
"Still a Colonel?" That was really a sarcastic remark! Of course, now
with the Bolshevik! everything has changed and the Family's position
is very bad.

I am well, send me some very thick socks if you happen to have an
opportunity. Greetings. Attached--a map of Tobolsk.

Yours,

Al. Syv."

(_several pages missing_)



26


When I returned from the Princess, tired and worried about the absence
of news from Moscow and about the whole "organization" so badly and
unsystematically managed, I found a dark figure sitting on my bed. A
woman was attempting to light a candle. But even before I understood
who was on my bed, the odor of a woman, fine perfume, burned hair and
soap--struck me very strongly. I had quite forgotten during all
this time of hardships this side and these agreeable ingredients of
civilized life. I took my pistol, closed the door, and always sharply
following the movements of the dark figure, approached her, pointing
the Browning. She put her hands up.

When I finally saw the woman,--I almost fainted: it was the Baroness
B., friend or enemy, but she.

She did not recognize me at first. Then:

"For God's sake!" she muttered, as if to herself, and swallowing the
words, "you are Syvorotka? My God, what a horror!... How are you?"

"Madame," I said, kissing her hand,--"it certainly is a surprise,--I
hope for both of us! How can I explain your presence here? Who and
what brought you here?"

"It does not matter--they went away," she answered. She was looking at
me with wide-open eyes, in which I noticed the sincerest amazement, if
not stupefaction. "Syvorotka, you! How perfectly crazy you look with
this beard! If you only knew!" and silvery laughter unexpectedly
sounded in my poor quarters--in this place of mourning and sorrow--for
the first time since I have come here.

"Oh, you _must_ shave it!"

"Let my beard alone, pray," I said. "It really is not the time for any
personal remarks. Besides--look at yourself; there is more paint on
your cheeks than flesh. And this wig! To tell the truth I like your
own hair far better. Your wig is outrageous. You look like a bad
girl."

"Exactly. That's what I am now. Lucie de Clive, Monsieur, a vaudeville
actress. That's me."

"A nice party, isn't it?" she said. "Syvorotka and Lucie?" "But--tell
me before everything else, can I stay here?"

"Stay here? Pardon me, Baroness...."

"Call me Lucie, please...."

"Pardon me, Lucie, but really I don't quite comprehend. In these
times, of course, everything has changed; but still I wish I could
understand it correctly...."

"Oh, yes, you will not be bad to a poor girl, Alex, will you? I simply
have to stay here--I have no other place to go."

To show her resoluteness, she took off her shabby overcoat and started
to arrange her belongings, an impossible suitcase and something heavy
rolled in a yellow and red blanket, looking to me from time to time
with curiosity and doubt.

"Lucie de Clive! A woman certainly could not think of anything less
snobbish even in these circumstances. You look like a real Russian
Katka-Chort in this outfit."

"That's what is required. How did you happen to pick out _your name_?"

We both laughed. Indeed, if our meeting were compared to all the
luxury and brilliance of the Cote d'Azur, or Petrograd--it was
laughable. "Have _we_ anything to eat?" she asked.

"I came home for my supper," I said. "I have some trash in the
pantry."

While I was preparing in the so-called kitchen something nice out of
a piece of frozen pilmeni--hashed meat and an old can of sardines (my
pride) she began to arrange the room. She acted as if she were trying
to justify her presence, it was clear. But with all the pleasure of
seeing someone around my house, I simply could not think what had
happened to her. Baroness B.--a lady who would not hesitate in olden
times to play a thousand pounds on a horse or order ten dresses at
Pâquin's,--here, asking my hospitality! If she were a Russian--I could
understand it,--wives of Privy Counsellors and Ambassadors are selling
cheese in Petrograd now. But she--a Foreign Lady?... It was clear, she
was in some intrigue as usual, and it had led her too far.

Possibly she is after me.... And besides--her very presence would
affect my work, and endanger myself. "I must give her something to
eat, and then get out of here. The L. would keep me for a while,
and then I shall go away. Let her stay in this house with all of her
strange intrigues, for I cannot throw her out."

Thus trying to understand, I finished my cooking and asked her to the
_salle-à-manger_--the same little kitchen.

But no matter how proud I felt of my housekeeping, the Baroness found
fault with everything. "Don't _we_ have a table cloth? Or napkins?
What are these daggers for?"

"Good God, Syvorotka," she said, "_we_ cannot live in such a miserable
way. I'll have to change it. There are no reasons why _we_ should
revert to cannibalism!"

Talking in that manner, jumping from one subject to another and always
very nervously, she arranged the table more or less decently, and even
put the salt in the lid of a little powder box. "Now," she said, "I
want you to wash your hands, and comb your hair, and brush your khaki,
and ..." until I got almost civilized.

When we were through with the meal and a half of bottle of beer (they
call "beer" this indecent looking beverage in Tumen) I asked her what
brought her to Tumen?

She told me some story--of which I believed only the fact that she
was here, in my house, and that a great embarrassment had fallen on my
shoulders.

"I'm glad," I said, "you _did not_ change at all, Lucie. It is just
as true--all this story of yours, as the one you told me in Petrograd.
But I have no use for reforming you. Now--take me as an example of
sincerity: in me, my dear lady, you see now, nothing but a poor man
in hiding. All for me is in the past.... And you,--I see it--are still
plotting, nothing could persuade me that you and I are here by mere
coincidence. You come to me--have time to curl your hair--and you even
don't tell me whether your intrigue could reveal my existence to
those that persecute me. You wouldn't hesitate to pass over my dead
body--for the sake of your affairs.... Again,--please do not feel
offended,--there is another side. I am a working man. Tomorrow I
must be at my job early in the morning. The night is growing old. So,
regardless of other things,--what would you advise me to do now?"

"I have nothing to say," she answered sadly and in a low voice, "You
are the Lord here."

"What do you advise me to do?" I repeated growing angry.

"I'll do anything you say," she answered blushing and lowering her
head, "I am ready."

"Lucie," I said, "It is not a question _of that_. You see I cannot put
you out on the streets. A good master would not do it to his dog. But,
on the other hand they have not yet built the Ritz here."

"I am not asking you to go from your house, Alex. I had for a
moment,--when I saw who Syvorotka was--a little ray of sunshine. I see
I am mistaken. Could you take me to the depot, then?"

"I shall do nothing of the kind," I answered. "Nobody warned me you
might come here. I was not ready. So--please stay here for to-night.
I have a place where I can find an abode, and tomorrow we can decide
what to do. There is some frozen milk in the pantry and if I don't
return--right where you are sitting in the mattress there is some
money. Good night, Lucie."

"Alex, are you really going?" she asked taking me by the arm, "Are you
_really_ going out just not to be with me? Is it a pose? Or are you
serious? Please don't do it...."

"Good night," I said and went out.



27


A night in a small city of Siberia! One can see only because the snow
is white. No moon, no electricity.... Where is my new Peugeot now? Who
is driving it now? Where is Anton? Whose chauffer is he now, and is
he still a chauffer, or has the wheel of fortune turned and made him
Commissary of Arts, or Commissary of Public Health? Or, true to his
master, was he hanged defending my automobile? Kismet!...

There were only two blocks to the L.--but the snow was so deep and it
was so windy and cold, it seemed to me a good mile, till I reached the
house.

It was dark as usual. As usual it seemed dead. But, when I was quite
close to it, I heard some movement inside and I detected something in
the yard. This something materialized very soon into a couple of evil
faces and rifles with fixed bayonets. Inside of the house there were
muffled voices. Near the rear gate (I could see it due to the sloping
of the lot) three horses and a snow sledge were standing. A few
voices were raised in dispute in the barn, swearing a blue streak.
"Arrest"--it was clear. When I was trying to think of something to
help,--and what could I think of?--the double pane of the bedroom
window was suddenly broken by something heavy thrown from the inside
and a desperate piercing voice of Pasha--I immediately knew it was the
poor girl--shouted with all of the strength of her lungs: "Help, help!
In Christ's name, help...." The cry was broken off in the middle,
muffled by the palm of a hand, and became a mutter of despair and
horror: "M-p-p, maa...." Somebody stuffed a white pillow in the hole.
Again all became quiet.

Then the front door suddenly opened and a man jumped out into
the street; another,--a short fellow clad in a wild Siberian
overcoat,--appeared on the stairs, aimed a Mauser and fired at the
man's back. I scarcely had time to sit down behind the fence.

Ff ... ap ... Ff ... ap ...--sounded two dry, sharp shots. The first
man took two more steps--and rolled in the snow, feebly groaning from
pain. A black trickle of blood swiftly ran along the snow near my
knees. The Siberian overcoat looked at his victim and with "you,
damned carrion," slammed the door. Again all was dark and silent.

The man was indeed dead when I reached him. He had a package of
something wrapped in paper--so I took it,--I thought it might be
something belonging to Ls.

All that was pretty bad, and I did not know how to get away,--my
position being really a poor one in a strategic sense of the word.
I had to escape without attracting too much attention. When I was
thinking over how to do it--a voice called:

"Bist du dort, Swartz?"

"Ja wohl!" I answered as nonchalantly as I could, having covered my
mouth with my glove, "soll' ich noch warten?"

"We'll be through in a minute. Wait a while!"

I did not wait. Through wind and snow, crawling like an Indian, I
passed the dangerous spot near the gate where I could be seen, then
hurried home, almost crying for the poor Ls., and Pasha--such a sweet
girl, probably at that moment being nationalized--condemning all and
everything and especially the impossibility of helping my unfortunate
friends. All was frozen inside of me, due to the cold and this fear of
a helpless creature.

When I was about a score of yards from the house--shooting started
behind me--just as idiotic as in Petrograd or Moscow: in every
direction, bullets cracking the windows, the street lamps, the
passers-by,--on this occasion myself,--I got a bad one in the sleeve,
right near the elbow.

I did not have to knock at the door as I feared running home: the door
flew open, and Lucie dragged me in, closing the door behind me on the
lever.

"Oh, I am so glad you came! Silly man! Are you wounded? No? I heard it
all--I was so afraid that they had shot you! I am so glad, Alex dear!
Do stay here, I won't be in your way, honest. Please do stay!..."

(_pages missing_)



28


(_Second letter to M. Goroshkin_)

"I must bring to your attention the fact that a certain lady, whom I
knew in Petrograd in other days, came here quite unexpectedly, under
the name of Lucie de Clive. She was in the plot in June, and at that
time was very strongly protected by A.F. K-y, who released her from
jail. She is an Englishwoman, but knows Russia well, as in fact,
she knows all European countries. She came here the day the L's were
killed and Pasha taken away. She made me understand that she is in a
new plot to save the Emperor's family. Her task will be to stay here
for a while "and make some preparations" and then go farther on.

I must tell you that her arrival here is of great inconvenience to
me: in a city like Tumen it became known to the G-ns, and, though
the Princess thinks I am nothing much and _her_ morals are not for my
class of people, she is a little hypocrite and pulls a long face at
me.

I tried my best to avoid having this lady in my house; but the
president of the local soviet, who has a great respect for me as
Marchenko's protégé, allowed me a short stay for the lady; I explained
to him that she is my old affinity--"a civil wife." Therefore, he
found it a sufficient reason, but did not like it much, and I am
afraid his trust in me may diminish.

Now things have turned out in such a manner that I cannot possibly
throw the lady out of my home: but what I want you to do is to notify
me at once whether you know something about this arrival and whether
Lucie is working for the same purposes. I don't trust her much; she
feels it, and plays a strange game with me, the part of an enamored
woman. This does not interfere with her writing (and receiving) some
correspondence. She takes the letters out when I am busy, so I cannot
trail her. I'd rather go away from here, leaving her; I would not care
much to be obliged to watch her. There are certain ethics which would
prevent me from liking to trail this particular lady.

I was greatly surprised when I heard that Mr. Kerensky was living in
the Rossia Insurance Company Apartments, Pushkarskaya 59, Flat 10. If
so, why this game of the Smolny crowd? Why not take him? The man of
whom I wrote you in my last letter states that K-y is now planning to
go to Stockholm and that a passport will be given to him by the Smolny
Institute. Please communicate that to Marchenko. Schmelin says it is
not his business. The ring was taken from K-y. Nothing new in Tobolsk.
The Empress has been sick for the last ten days.

Yours,

Alex. Syv."



29


(_Third letter to M. Goroshkin_)

"As I told you in one of my letters, the actions of some people in
Tobolsk are more or less significant.

Father A. Vassiliev has become welcome to the Emperor and has all of
his confidence. We tried to warn him of this pope, but I don't think
it worked, for they know that Vassiliev received some very important
documents from the Emperor, and also his revolver and sword for
safekeeping.

At present there is an organization in Tobolsk helping the family with
money and food; the Ordovsky-Tanaevskys, the Prince Khovansky's family
and the Budischevs. The latter house is on Rojestvensky Street about
four blocks from the Mansion. Bishop Hermogen comes often, as well as
Bishop Irinarch and some others. None are really good. The Empress
is sick--the same old nervousness. The Heir is all right, barring a
little accident--he fell down stairs and got a bad bump on his head.
They say that the Bishop received a letter from the Dowager Empress
which was brought by a German war prisoner. Others think that this
letter was an act "de provocation" and has been fabricated by the
Bolsheviki to circulate a bad story about the Bishop.

They speak a great deal about taking the Emperor from here to European
Russia and the whole family is scared.

The situation is very precarious: there is a decided tendency on
the side of the Bolsheviki to take the family away--some say,
to Ekaterinburg, others to Berezov; deputies from Petrograd and
Ekaterinburg, arrived in Tobolsk asking the local soviet to give up
the family. The members of the "Detachment of Special Destination"
do not allow that, saying that the Family will be given only to
the Constituent Assembly and the population is on the side of this
detachment. There may be an outbreak. In certain houses there are
firearms. The situation would be better if the soldiers from the
detachment had been paid; but since last September they have not been,
so discontent is growing. Colonel Kobylinsky's behavior seems to be
strange.

The Ufa movement is gaining in strength.

Yours,

Al. Syv."



30


(_Fourth letter to M. Goroshkin_)

"In case you would like to eliminate the work of my companion,--let me
know, and it could be very easily done: she could be taken out of the
house and put on the train going in any direction. Schmelin would help
in this case. Then I would go away, for instance to Ekaterinburg
or Omsk. I shall wait for your letter in regard to this, and in the
meantime I'll remain just as I am now. Please do not let me stay in
my actual position. I simply refuse to be aiming at her back with a
concealed dagger. Even as it is, my life is untenable--the way I live,
and the people I have to meet, make it perfectly horrid...."

(_end of letter missing_)



31


I never knew that a wireless apparatus for a range of more than one
hundred miles could be such a small thing. Really this war has brought
about some wonders, and it is clear to me this particular station,
that was delivered yesterday, is a military outfit. I remember little
about wireless telegraphy; only few explanations given to me by
Capt. Volkhovsky, and after the very solemn inauguration of the
"Spark-Radio" we had a gala-performance. It is but a superficial study
indeed.

I cannot understand this strange silence of Goroshkin. Is he dead? If
he is dead--what happened to Marchenko? Are they both dead? Now since
the Ls are gone and Pasha has become some Bolshevik's property (poor
little thing!) I have no idea what to do. Shall I consider myself in
the game, or did the whole organization end; shall I continue on my
own behalf? I have been thinking, and thinking about it, and have
decided that I must continue my informative functions, and must wait
as I have been told. They said I shall be on my post--and I must
remain. The absence of letters does not mean much: they can be in a
terrible situation in Moscow now--we know nothing. If my letters have
not reached Goroshkin--they have reached somebody else; in the latter
case I would have been hanged long ago, or shot, or something similar,
if the letters did not reach friends.

Lucie? Well if she is not the crookedest woman! I do not think I could
get rid of her now even if I would. Schmelin knows of my going out
of town, it is clear. Of course he closes his eyes,--but I never can
doubt that he will be the first to "put me on a clear water" as soon
as he apprehends that the other commissaries know of my wanderings and
trading with the Letts, and of what is now under our bed.

Something new: Lucie received a rubber bath, so I have to warm up the
water and then wait....

(_end of page missing_)

... She would come back, as soon as I shall be ready putting the wires
instead of the ropes in the yard for drying the linen. I was glad to
know it. Certainly. Personally I am very glad to see her around: she
is a nice little woman when she does not plot. It is agreeable to
have tea at five and then everything looks so clean and neat since
she came. Good God, should she be simply a nice little Lucie! How
agreeable everything could become--as if there were no Revolution, no
Bolsheviki, no Emperor.... But no; Fate has to put a drop of tar in
a barrel of honey. However, perhaps I would have hated to see a cook
around here: as soon as a woman gets too domestic--she infallibly
becomes unattractive. As for Lucie--enclosed in a cage as we are--I
never saw her unwashed, uncombed, frivolous or unladylike. So let her
be a plotter. I must be grateful as we never quarrel.... She sends me
away when....

(_end of page missing_)



32


(_Fifth letter to M. Goroshkin_)

"... a man by name Alexander Petrovich Mamaev from Novo-Nikolaevsk.
He has a plan of his own, which he wants to accomplish. He has some
people working for him, nothing serious, if I may judge. Mamaev's plan
is being worked out this way: his people will buy out the sentinels
and take the Emperor and the Heir (perhaps the Princesses, but, as he
says "the old woman will never be considered") and rush both eastward
by the old highway. On the stations Mamaev's people are now hiring
horses and coachmen. They have collected money amongst the merchants.
They plan to take the Emperor as far as Blagoveshchensk-on-Amur.
Thence to San-Haliang, on the Chinese side of the river. From
San-Haliang somewhere out of the country,--I never heard where to. The
organization works successfully in the region of Tomsk, where all is
ready for immediate action.

There is much imagination in Mamaev's plan, and though I know his
preparations are watched in Ekaterinburg, they do not meet with
approval at all. Captain Kaidalov of the Crimea Horse Regt. is now the
soul of Ekaterinburg and he does not approve. He is a fine fellow, I
know, and very courageous: he went to the local soviet, became their
confident and _persona grata_ and I think is virtually the only one
who really understands the problems and realizes their difficulty and
their danger. Please let me know whether I should inquire any longer
about all of this!

Yours,

Alex. Syv."



33


Sunday she came back from the trip. I felt quite lonesome all of this
week. Two men were with her: one--a Russian, the silent type, with a
big hat, who was taking care of the horse: the other, a tall, broad
faced Anglo-Saxon fellow, whose bronzed face would be appropriate
in the tropics but not on the white steppes of Siberia. A little
longhaired pony brought the trio in a fancy sledge early in the
morning. The Englishman (his name is Stanley) started to work with
the radio, silent, serious, smoking a short black pipe. He took me for
Lucie's servant. If I had had any doubt of his nationality, I never
could have mistaken his tobacco: Navy Cut,--_the one make_ I can't
tolerate. He filled our small house with blue clouds of stink. When
they all came I ran to the sledge, but from a distance Lucie signaled
to me with her eyes that no tender expressions were needed. She sent
me out for food, then to a drug store, then to the post-office, etc.,
etc. I obeyed.

So around noon I went to see the Princess. They all make me sick,
especially since the L. tragedy. "If God does not help--we cannot." A
certain Mme. K-v is now hanging around her. A suffragette--that's what
she is. She said "some women are now here--we know nothing about ..."
alluding of course to me. I hardly could wait until evening.

It was evening when S. finished connecting the kitchen station with
the city current. When I came home he and the Russian were trying to
harness the pony. The poor little horse was choking from the smoke of
his pipe and trying to bite the torturer.

"Say, Lucie," the Englishman said to her, as shivering in my overcoat,
she came out to say good-bye to him, "the benzine is in the barn,
over there under the hay. Tell your man to be careful and not to smoke
around here."

"If it did not explode after your pipe, sir," I replied in my best
Shakespearian, "my cigarette won't do any harm. So don't be alarmed."

It took him about half a minute to digest the fact that I could
understand his cockney. Lucie became almost hysterical with laughter
and ran into the house.

Then he made a serious face and sprang into the sledge and the Russian
flicked the horse with the whip. Near the corner, I saw him say
something to the Russian and they turned back.

"Say," the Englishman asked, "are you English? Or Canadian, I fancy?"

"Never mind me, Major or Captain, or whoever you are. I'm just I.
Don't fancy, and proceed. I'm busy."

I closed the gate and heard another formidable crack of the whip on
the pony's fat flanks.

Hundreds of bells started ringing again, and then died away in the
distance, drowned out by a locomotive whistle....

And here I was in my room again. In the corner stood Lucie, lovely
creature with all her funny actions and thoughts, Heaven knows by what
and whom inspired.

"Look what I brought, Alex! Here are canned goods, and chocolate and
coffee, and ham, and ..." and she threw package after package on the
bed. On one of them I read "Army and Navy Calcutta," but said nothing
and looked away. I'm getting sly. She noticed it too, the little
devil! She sent me out to see whether or not the gate was closed, and
when I came back the label was scratched out.



34


(_Sixth letter to M. Goroshkin_)

"There are, virtually, three--or perhaps more--organizations, members
of which have decided to save the Emperor from imprisonment. They
all realize the danger of letting things go on by themselves, or of
relying upon German promises.

The latter are well known here and in Tobolsk from Bolshevik sources.
When during the Brest-Litovsk _pourparlers_ the Russian Delegates were
waiting for the Germans, the latter entered the room of conference,
and found it filthy with smoke; the Bolsheviki were extremely
hilarious, and laughed and joked among themselves. To show his
independence Monsieur Trotsky was sitting on the table; others were
without collars and in the most unrespectable state of humor. When
the German delegation entered they did not move; the leader of the
Germans, an old general, stopped for a moment, looked at them in
disgust, and then suddenly shouted: "Stand! Attention! Get up, you,
Kameraden!"

Electrified--they all got up, Trotsky first, although with the remark
"For why"? The General continued:

"By order of His Majesty the King and Emperor, I declare that there
is at Tobolsk in your hands the relative of my August Master,--Her
Imperial Majesty the Empress of Russia with her consort and children.
Until this is arranged--we shall not proceed with this conference of
ours. We demand your guarantees that 1st--you vouch for their perfect
safety; 2d--you immediately will take steps to deliver the prisoners
abroad. Now, at rest! Sit down!"

I was told that the delegates from the soviets had the authority to
vouch for them in this regard, for they say unofficially that the
matter had been previously taken up by Russian and German diplomacy.
So a telegram was sent by Joffe to Lenine, who answered, "measures
taken." Then the Brest-Litovsk sale commenced.

This evidently was not fulfilled, although I have heard that there is
certain movement on the part of Germans, especially amongst the
war prisoners. I consider it impracticable. At present the military
situation is as follows: the Czechs are nearing the Samara-Zlatoust
line; in Siberia--there is a very big movement of Czech war prisoners
and Russians--to assist the Czechs in their task of reaching the
Pacific. Battles are raging on the Volga front. It is evident that the
salvation of the Family cannot come from Germany, for there would not
be any place and way to take the Emperor out of Tobolsk, but by way of
the Trans-Siberian,--a long journey with no possibilities of getting
out of this country. The local Bolsheviki are beyond the control
of the centers. They want to "govern" themselves--evidently with no
orders and particularly confidential (I think this one would be such)
would not be executed.

The Ekaterinburg organization is weak as I already wrote you. First
because the organization is in Ekaterinburg and the Emperor in
Tobolsk.

Who are these people? They want first of all, and altogether,
restitution for the sake of getting good positions for valuable
services rendered the Family. They all see that the restitution is
problematic,--so their desire is not strong. They act weakly, they
think lazily, they move with an agony of indifference. All that they
have done is certainly known to Kobylinsky and--to the Commissaries.
And if they are not yet all arrested--it is because the sovietists
want to know their actions. If the damned lack of organization, that
we all are suffering from, can be noticed in our present life--it is
ideally clearly seen in the Ekaterinburg circles. The Princess G. and
others are of the same sort; dully thinking, believing in and hoping
for marvels and miracles, trying to look busy and tired. They gossip
about each other, they are ready to sink each other in a spoonful of
water. Now what is their plan? They haven't any,--at least, nothing
definite. They all say vaguely "we are going to buy out Col.
Kobylinsky and the sentinels and the Bolsheviki." All right. Supposing
there were someone among them who would go and try this buying
proposition? Supposing they were to buy Kobylinsky, and the sentinels
and the Bolsheviki. What will they do with the Emperor? Against them
there would be the whole world. There is no way for the Ekaterinburg
people to get him out, just as there is no way for the Germans. All is
closed for them, except a crazy scheme of taking the Family into the
interior, which I do not consider feasible. It is impossible. I was
told to watch all that I could in connection with the move in Tumen;
I was instructed to watch the Ekaterinburg organization and the
Princess. I hope I am not considered a member of this organization as
it is a failure, and I hate to participate in deadborn adventures.

Again there is the work that Lucie is doing. I do not know for whom
she works, though I can see she is not working by herself. I can see
that there is 1st, a certain participation of people with means--she
has money and certain buying capacities, a sign of great importance
at present: 2d, there is evidently a planned and systematic scheme
of work in all the actions around me; 3d, there is an unseen hand
directing the whole enterprise, decisive and strong.

What is this plan? I can as now see only one thing: provisions are
made, both in food and munitions, and shipped through my home east.
There is an intense wireless communication--I cannot know what it is
about. A man in smoked glasses comes every evening and sits--near the
apparatus. Sometimes he only listens in; sometimes he gets his "tune"
and talks. In the latter case, Lucie goes down town and leaves me at
home. I think she mails the communications or maybe someone waits for
her in the post office, or, what is possible....

(_few lines scratched out_)

... Her Russian is not at all good, she hardly speaks it in fact, but
she gets along as Lucie de Clive, a French demoiselle. With her,
as far as I can see are the following elements: 1st, the British
officer,--Stanley, or whatever his name really is; 2d, the silent
Russian, with wiry Siberian hat and extremely profane language (I
think he swears when praying): 3d, two Letts as she calls them, though
there is just as much Lettish in them as in you, or me,--they both
speak Russian like Russians; 4th, myself. About the last point I can
tell, that lately I am in the traffic business. Lucie asks me very
often to take loads to the outskirts of Tumen, near the Freight Depot,
which we receive with the Siberian pony, and I take it in my sledge
behind the Depot, where I deliver the goods--only in the evenings--to
the Letts. Sometimes we speak, but never much.

Usually, "Very cold," or "How snowy," or "Have you a cigarette?" After
delivering the goods--altogether I have done it about five times, I
return home. The Letts wait to move until I go away; I did not succeed
in trailing them--and honestly would not want to very much. I have my
private reasons for not getting into Lucie's way. Besides, why should
I? I am sure that we all are working for the same purpose, but perhaps
from different standpoints. On the other hand, it astonishes me
exceedingly, that Lucie....

(_two lines scratched out_)

and he arranged for my protection and undisturbed life here,--so
seemingly everything is in perfect accordance. You never answer my
letters, but couldn't you manage to acknowledge them? Please do it.

Yours,

Alex. Syv."



35


"I have been here so long!... Isn't it funny, Alex, how the time has
passed?"

The night was a windy one as though Winter knew it was its last chance
to freeze people to death before Spring would come; the long night
seemed slow in coming. All day we had worked very hard in the barn
preparing a big load which Lucie had asked me to take to the
Letts. After dinner, we had kippered herring and some meat stew à
l'Irlandaise, we were sitting near the open oven. "Lent bells! I
wonder who is praying?..."

"Yes, six weeks, dear. Six weeks of perfect sincerity and mutual
trust,--it is not a little thing."

She accepted my remark without turning her face from the fire near
which we were sitting. "Six weeks," she said again.

"Do you remember the man who was playing near me in Monte Carlo the
day we met?"

"There were too many of them. Which one do you mean?"

"The tall man, Mr. Osborne--never mind trying, it does not matter, I
just happened to think of him."

"Anything identical with our six weeks of life?" I asked, and
immediately regretted my bad temper--I am getting impossible.

"Very much," she said sadly. "Very much; only under other
circumstances, other climates, other people. Not so inconsiderate."

When I looked at her my heart filled with pity. Who _is_ this woman?
I don't know her. Perhaps she has something in her heart--the very
existence of which I had oftentimes doubted. Perhaps, in her life of
adventures, she has had more hardships, more of tragedy than I,--with
all of my selfish sufferings of a man who used to be rich and
prominent, and is now humble and poor? Perhaps she has more of
self-control not to show it,--nevertheless the amount of her
bitterness of life must be the same, if not deeper, than mine?

We have been here for six weeks.... I have no place to go. So I am
here. But she? I am sure she could be somewhere else, in better
surroundings, amongst people better than I am. And during these six
weeks--we were not friends. We were only plotters, joined under one
roof, and secretly hostile to each other--"I am ashamed," I said to
her, "honestly I am. You must think that I have never cared to know
what is in your mind. We have always been distant and mysterious,
always absorbed in our own affairs. Why should I trouble you with my
questions? Especially, if I knew beforehand that you wouldn't answer.
Yes, we have been together six weeks--more than that--we live under
the same roof, eat the same food, have our life as close as two human
beings can,--and yet--here we are,--apart from each other. You are a
woman, it's up to you to break this distance and build a bridge over
it."

"Well," she said, putting her small hand on mine, "you approach
the question evidently from another angle. I am not speaking of our
business, which may, and which may not, be the same. Why am I so sad
and so blue? It is that I feel I am all alone here. I can tell you and
I think that you have already understood it, that I came to Tumen
with orders to see a certain Syvorotka. I had to be with him, use his
house, use his protection, use his connections. I did not know who
this Syvorotka was.

A cave man? An ex-soldier? A sick man? A fat butcher? A sentimental,
but dirty druggist? Of all the men in the world,--and while coming
here I imagined all possible types,--that I should have met you, Alex!
You have always meant so much to me. I have always liked you. When I
saw you last in Petrograd I tried to get you into my affairs. Why? I
don't know. You have no ambitions, you have no character,--nothing.
And still, I tried to get you, only to be with you. You refused--for
you never cared: perhaps once in Marseilles, when you wanted to
kiss me (you see I did not forget)--and even at that time you were
drunk.... And here in Tumen--you were the man, with whom as they told
me, I had to go as far as was necessary to get his good services...."

"Strange life, this one of mine," she ended her remark and again
turned to look into the flames.

"Lucie, you never told me you cared, I thought you were for your own
affairs much more than for anything else; now I see it in a different
light."

"You do? It _is late_. I am going. I am leaving you--this time for
good. A week--or so, and I am far away from here, from you--with all
of your good and bad qualities. The time in which we live--does not
allow any speculations. One must get what he sees."

What do you mean by 'going away'?"

"Just what I say. I received orders to move to another place. No,
I cannot tell you. That's all. You, and this little house, and some
hopes I had here,--all, all, must be forgotten. Other people, and
other scenery. A radical change again. Heavens knows how soon I can
forget this little white cold town...."

"Yes," she continued, looking at me, "yes, this cold town, with you;
and you--with your double-crossings, with your reports on me, with
your bad behavior, with your treason. Alex--love is a strange thing.
I don't mind it at all! You never knew it. You never loved your poor
Maroossia: she was your comfort--that's all. You never thought of
Lucie de Clive as such: for you--she was a little girl that possibly
might have been in your way, but you let her stay because she
comforted you. Now--she is going, and very likely you won't see her
any more. In your life--she was a page of a book; now you've read
it!..."

She was crying, really crying! Such an actress!



36


I came home at seven from the village--nobody in there! Nobody to
give me my tea. All looks empty, abandoned. On the bed pinned to the
pillow,--a note: "Good-by." My companion left me--today. And I had so
much to say to her....

She did not forget to look in my bag before leaving, as I see. I
thought so.

My diary _has been censored:_ many pages are missing and some rough
hand-made corrections in the text have been made leaving greasy spots
on the paper. Some of my documents are stolen. I don't see the letter
from Marchenko to Schmelin, the chart with Mamaev's stations, and a
few others. Fortunately, Kerensky's letter to Grimm was not taken, as
I had put it under the floor of the barn with my money and watch.

She must have had the help of the man with the specs--she would not
be able to understand my scratching. They must have been busy all day!
But what really gets me wild--almost all of my letters to Goroshkin
are here! How did she get them? I understand why Goroshkin's letters
missed me--she got them!... Now I understand what she meant by saying
that I was trying to double cross her! In fact Lucie is right,--and
that's why it's maddening. I wonder what Goroshkin and Marchenko think
of me? To whom I must seem a swine! And what a bad way of her's, to
leave my letters--a present for me!

She did what she wanted, this creature of intrigues and no
personality: with "lips of fire and heart of stone." She got in me a
good guardian of her barn, a good transport agent for her Britishers
and Letts, she tangled me up in such a way that I could not report on
her, she enjoyed the privileges of local Soviet's protection through
me,--in short all she wanted.... And here I am alone from now
on,--Good-by"--that's all. She left me this little note--and a bitter
feeling that formerly I was not alone,--and now I am. For
these sensations of lonesomeness a man should never start
companionships,--whether with a woman, or a dog, or even a goldfish.
The one who is alone--is alone. The one that becomes alone--feels
doubly rotten....

"Quidquid ages--prudenter agas, et respice finem"--and I was
a fool,--here I am alone like Shelly's moon, and
"pardessus-le-marché"--robbed! Am I not an old ass?

She will laugh with her silvery laughter in somebody else's house, she
will mend somebody else's socks, and sit on somebody else's lap. The
"other chap from Monte Carlo," will be asked whether he remembers
_me_. And the other chap will probably answer her, as I did. How
tactless!

My God! Long and uninteresting life looks to me! Does it only look, or
did it become?... I must sleep all of this off!



37


My sole connection with the rest of the world is my work in
the Princess' garden. A dull, tiresome, uninteresting work, in
fact--labor. As a diversion--the corpulent cook. My God! If she would
only wash oftener!...

When I come home--I look out of the small window; the landscape is
magnificent: about twenty yards of virgin soil with Spring grass on it
and the barn on the horizon. Behind--the fence, over which I see the
tops of the heads of passers-by.

"Suave mari magno turbantibus aequora ventis spectare laborem...." I
forget how it runs further! My latin gets weak. I wish I had Virgil,
or even "Commentarii de Bello Gallico." I'd be arrested and tried if I
asked for them in a book store....

If only I could obtain some money, and buy a decent suit and get
away,--to Vladivostok, and then through America to France. It seems as
though France is all. It is life. It is salvation from my miseries.

In the evenings I try to arrange in shape my documents and writings
after the looting. For the documents I could be well paid, here,--but
I do not want that. Let the Russia of to-morrow see what has been done
by our present leaders, and by those who gave us to the scaffold....
M. Kerensky's letter to Grimm--alone would make me happy if some day
its contents are known....

Where is Lucie now? How empty my house is!

The Princess came out to me in the garden and asked me whether I could
go to Tobolsk and deliver a letter to Mr. Botkin there.

"Of course, I can, your Ladyship, if I have enough money."

"I don't mean that," she answered coldly, looking with disgust at the
manure I was mixing, "don't worry, we will pay you. I mean whether you
could arrange with your Bolsheviki for a permit."

"Why not?" I answered, "they do not want _me_. I am not a _rich man_,
nor a _Nobleman_...." (I simply love to annoy her).

"That will do, Alexei," she said, casting at me a nasty look, "You may
come for the letter at dinner time. Tell the cook that you want to see
me."

She does not think that I am a man. She hates me. Under my beard and
shabby flannel shirt she sees neither my face nor my person. She has
no shame before me: were I in my uniform of a gentleman-in-waiting,
cleanly shaven and speaking her language, and not in the one I
acquired lately, she would have buttoned her shoes, gartered her
stockings, and would not have shown the bad quality of her corset
cover under her wide-opened _robe-de-chambre_. If she only knew how
her hired help understood her.

At four I was in the kitchen. Here--another interesting phase of life!
The woman from Moscow who claims to be a cook, does not think I am
from her midst, but feels with her organic cleverness that I am an
imposter.

"You,--gentry! You liar! Hate your face! Hope the devil will get you
soon!" she says,--but she isn't a bad woman, she means well, only she
is not as clean as her profession demands. Altogether the kitchen is a
mournful place.

"What is your business?" she asked, "You want to see the Princess?
Don't lie to me!"

"My business is none of your business," said I, "Forget it! Better
tell me if I can have some beer? Go on, cookie, lay it out. Don't be
so stingy!"

The stubborn woman would not give it to me, until I took her gently
around the waist and pinched her arm with all of my force,--that's
the way to get cook's sympathies; it's astonishing how it works! I got
some beer.

Then I was invited in: "Come in, you scabby devil."

"You will have to take this," said the Princess, giving me a letter
so that she wouldn't touch my hand, "and be sure they don't catch you
with the letter. Be careful, don't drink, Alexei. It's bad to drink;
when you come back we'll give you 500 rubles."

"_Je né le tolère pas_," she said to the Prince, "_il a l'air si
commun! Il nous vendrait tous, s'il etait assez intelligent_!"

The Prince did not answer (I guess he knows more than her Highness)
and looked aside, grumbling something just to calm his better half.

I stared at her, just to scare this bad female, from under my
eyebrows.

"_Vous voyez_," the Princess almost cried, "_Vous voyez! Mon Dieu!
Quel type horrible! J'ai peur de lui! C'est un dégénéré! il nous
trahira_!" She complimented me in this manner for a while, and then
started to give me some silly instructions,--how to get there, etc.

Finally, I left the house, went to Schmelin and got his permission in
a minute, and tonight--I am leaving.

My house and all in it will be taken good care of,--Schmelin promised
to look after it.

Good-by, my humble hut! Good-by Tumen!



III. TOBOLSK



III. TOBOLSK



39


The Irtysh opened its dark blue streams for navigation not so long
ago. From my place on the deck I see spots of old yellowish snow on
the hills; near the banks--the fresh, innocent grass is already daring
to appear on the surface. Peasants are doing something on the vast
plains. The very, very old story of the mythical Lei! White and chaste
birches, triste and flirtatious women amongst the trees, are trimming
their Spring fashion dresses.

However this coming back to life, of the hills, and plains, and trees,
this warmth in the air--does not affect the passengers. Who in the
devil will nowadays snivel about Spring and myths? All sentiment died
in Russia; everything, at least, looks dead,--but the co-operative
Societies: they plan a large business, meaning "trusts" when they
advertise for "co-operation."

With the exception of the representatives of the "Creamery Union" (who
were fat and noisy),--the rest of our fellow-travelers were gloomy and
sordid; I rarely could detect a smile, and if there was a hilarious
expression, it was at somebody's expense, always malicious and
malignant. A boy cut his little finger and squealed for "mama" like a
young pig--people smiled. An old woman passed on the deck and fell so
badly that tears came into her colorless eyes--smiles became bright
and gay; somebody even whistled. A stowaway was caught in the baggage
room--a pale faced young chap with a forlorn expression--the crew
committee started to "investigate" (just undressed him on the
deck)--and people became joyful and gigglish....

Is it my people? Are _those_ bad creatures--our men who fought in the
snows of Hungary armed with fists and patriotism,--for the munitions
were yet the subject of speculations; did these men cross the scorched
plains of Persia, sent there clad in uniforms prepared for Archangel?
_Did they_ make efforts to save small mutilated nations? Is the
history of Russia--these pages of blood and sacrifices--_made by
them_? Did Russia take _from them_ Pushkin, Chaikovsky, Mechnikov,
Tolstoi and the brilliant web of savants, musicians, soldiers,
explorers and poets?...

I am from this same bulk that centuries ago came from Asia and settled
here. They--and I are the same. But I can't understand them! In
France, in England, in Germany, I could understand the crowd better.
But these men and women are so far from my conception.... And they all
pay me back with the same coin: they not only misunderstand me and my
kin,--but they mistrust me. I can deceive a bolshevik commissary, or
the Princess G.; these--with their psychology never would let me come
closer. I am an intruder to their caste.

Before--in Petrograd--we all have had this very same fear of our
select caste for a newcomer, just as these have. In our midst the man
who tried to break in would be caught right away. Now I understand
this little, mean, reptile impulse of catering to the one whom you
seek, this feeling that the parvenu must have felt, this sensation of
the necessity of flattering, for which one blushes in the nights,
for which one can't sleep and turns endlessly in warm cushions. The
parvenu! Pushkin said:

  ... and an exchange of silent glance
  Forever took away his chance....

It was enough for us to look at each other--and the parvenu would not
come near us any more. Here--instead of the poetical form of Pushkin I
must recollect the words of the Tumen cook:

"You liar! Hate your face of a gentry!"

Isn't it a correct translation from my Russian into theirs?

Well,--I'd rather stop my scratchings: Tobolsk.



40


"Do not write too much," said a walking corpse clad in rags, seating
himself near me on a soft pack of his baggage. "It is better to forget
all about it. Why do you do it? What _is_ the use?" His suffering face
was not at all familiar to me,--so, when he asked me, "Haven't we
met before?"--I said No. He looked to me like one of those Siberian
peasants. Then, under the coat of dirt, under his rags and an old
Orenburg shawl, I really saw something familiar.

"Perhaps we met," I said. "Petrograd?"

"Yes, indeed," he bowed his old head and sighed. "I used to go very
often to the French Theatre. You remember 'L'Aiglon?' Can I chat with
you a bit? This silence is simply killing me. Four months of silence!
Don't you think, mister writer, of what a sweet, what a wonderful
word 'revenge' is? If you write--do write about it! Revenge for having
cleaned the streets, for having been thrown out of every Embassy,
every Legation, every Consulate--whose three sons are sleeping there,
on the Prussian Frontier--forever?--when I begged them to help me
and let me go to Paris only to die near my wife? Revenge! Just to see
England--torn to pieces, France--robbed, Japan--licking our feet,--to
see them separately doing what we suffer combinedly. They all betrayed
us, they sold us, they mock at us! We are paying for our readiness to
save Serbia. We are dying for it--and I do not regret it. I know that
from our dead body, from our bier--poisonous flowers are growing;
their fragrancy will send pestilence and destruction to our lucky
Allies, and ruin them, and ruin them.... If I only could help it....
If only I could live long enough to witness it."

The man looked crazy to me. He evidently is one of those whose minds
gave way. His eyes were sparkling flames--while his greenish face with
a sluttish beard remained immovable and serious. From away--we both
were talking of our village affairs.

He continued:

"Don't you think I am talking for myself. It is for Russia. I am
finished anyhow. Go ahead! Betray me too. Tell them I am Counsellor
of State, and a landlord, and marshal of nobility. I do not care! I
am finished.... Yet in my better days I had cancer. It was almost a
pleasure then. Don't smile, it's true. Now--I need oysters, and fruit,
and fine Port wine, and medicine,--and I have bread, which I cannot
digest, and they kick me out of every hospital.... I'm sure the cancer
is nearing my heart. If I die,--I won't see my remuneration: the
downfall of our traitors. Friend,--what can I do to hasten it? How can
I avenge Russia?..."

"It is a hard question to answer. I think you exaggerate a little.
I am myself after a settlement, but I do not go so far. My goal is
smaller. I would like to find a man in Petrograd, so that I could make
the rest of the world understand what he really is. He is a criminal
cretin. Yes, _it is_ this man, exactly. But not at this time. Look
around: The Spring is here. Don't you think the air is pacifying? The
air calls to a perfect selfishness. So, if I had seen the man right
here, I would have shot him of course, but I hate to think of getting
into trouble now."

"Air! Spring! Are you in love, young man?"

Then he grew sad and silent for a while. "No, I can't see any pleasure
in Spring." He became sunk in his thoughts, and looked away.

I love Winter just because it dies every year, and gives place to a
new life! And again the thin birches become green and chastely white.
And I know _my birch_ is somewhere--looking for me.

Tobolsk! Pretty town--I must admit. The high bank with green slopes
is covered with churches, white buildings and gleaming gold crosses.
Something tranquil about Tobolsk! Blue, red and green roofs look shy
from their cozy nests of trees. It must be very exciting to live here
when all is normal. Good God! I see from the deck the fine foggish
veil of dust and gossips hanging over the town. They must still play
"préférence" here, or "vint." In these little "centers" bridge must be
unknown.

I took a room in a hotel and went to the Kornilov house. It was
about four. I heard the noise of forks and knives, dinner time is so
impossibly early in these longitudes. A man answered my ring and said
I should wait outside and never ring the front door bell. He explained
where the kitchen entrance was. The man, even in explaining these
disagreeable things, was polite: by profession, for I immediately
saw he was a former Chamber-lackey, though he had a moustache and was
looking meager. "Wait on the street, service-man," he said, "I cannot
let you in." Very well,--I know these "waits" and "call later ons."
They don't hurt me.

I crossed the street and went down the slope. There is a post
office on the corner,--and a soldier near it,--a regular Lett: white
eyebrows, red face and the meanest steel blue microscopic eyes deeply
placed under a low forehead. He looked at me and impendingly changed
the rifle from one shoulder to the other. I turned upwards and
continued all along this "great Liberty Street." I did not want to
pass near the Mansion. I turned on the Tuliatskaya, passed two blocks
and explored where the Budishchevs were. Again a Lett, again no
eyebrows over the same piggish eyes. And again a Lett. Gracious! One
more in here--and the whole Letvia must be in Tobolsk!

When I knew the city well enough I turned back to Kornilov's.

The same chamber-lackey opened the rear door almost killing me with
the smell of cabbage.

"Dr. Botkin is not in," he said, when I explained what I wanted,
"Sit down, service-man. Take it"--he gave me a cigarette with a gold
crescent on it--the kind they served at the Palace. I looked at
the crescent and then at the man. In one glance he got I was not
"service-man," but he did not show his discovery,--only got up and
continued talking.

"The doctor is very busy right now. He was asked across the street
twice today. Have you come from Russia? Demobilized?"

"Yes, quite demobilized," I answered. "I must see Mr. Botkin right
now, so won't you please tell him about me as soon as he returns.
Don't worry about the kitchen--I cannot stay here: I'd rather sit
outside."

He showed me through the dining room into the front hall. From there
I could see the Mansion quite well. A little square in front of it was
fenced in, but not very high. On the front stairs I noticed two women
and a boy, in whom, notwithstanding his torn-out shoes and unhappy
looks, I recognized the unfortunate Heir to the Russian Throne.
Someone called him in--and he went slowly into the house. Two Reds
passed near the women smoking pipes and dragging the rifles by their
bayonettes. They both looked piercingly at the women and exchanged a
few words with each other. The women slowly moved toward the house.
Their life must be a real torture within this fence!

A man of medium height passed from the Mansion and crossed the street.
He entered the Kornilov House, and after short conversation with the
chamber-lackey,--

"Did you wish to speak to me?" he asked,--I am Dr. Botkin."

"Yes, sir."

"Now,--what is it?"

"I come from Tumen, Dr. Botkin. I have brought you a letter from your
friends."

A grimace passed over his face, and he stared at me with suspicion.
"Tumen? Who are you?"

"I hardly think my name would tell you anything, doctor. Here is the
letter." He stopped my movement:

"Please, please, not here. Let's go in. Don't be so sure of this
place."

We entered the dining room, and he took the letter and opened the
envelope. After reading--there were no more than two pages--he said:

"No answer. Do you know the contents?"

"I don't. But I can guess."

"Oh! Is that so?"

All of this commenced to irritate me. I shrugged my shoulders.

"Very well, very well," the doctor said, "we must not be offended. You
know what times we live in. Won't you sit down, please?"

The doctor was very nervous: rubbed his hands, looked around and
showed other signs of impatience. Finally he expressed what was in his
mind.

"Can't the Princess understand how risky these writings are for us?"

"Just as risky as for the authors and bearers," I replied feeling
sorry for the lady who meant well. "If there is no answer I don't
think I'll return to Tumen. I have nothing to do there. I see all
these affairs are managed in the same way, as we managed them in our
country. I am through. I thought we had changed. I'll attend to other
things."

"Please," he said looking at me with amazement, "don't misunderstand
me. You see,"--he tried to invent something, or say something,--"all
is very dangerous...."

We were interrupted by a movement on the street. A crowd of soldiers
(for I cannot call it a company, or a detachment,--just a crowd of
man-haters clad in uniform) passed, and made a demonstration against
the Mansion. A few stones and pieces of wood flew onto the Mansion's
roof, where they landed and rolled down with a rattling noise, scaring
the inhabitants. A frightened face looked out of the window--and hid
immediately.

"The Hooligans!" said Botkin. "Every God's day the same, every God's
day!"

With laughter and whistles the crowd went down the Great Liberty
Street. All started suddenly and just as quickly ended; the street
became calm again.

Botkin turned to me and continued:

"Perhaps I was too hasty about this 'no answer.' I should've said it
otherwise. I think it is of _no use_ to attempt to do anything, that's
the idea. If any plan will be successful,--it will not be this," he
showed the letter, "though it is appreciated, trust me when I say it!
We are confronted with other interests, we happen to be in somebody's
game." He wanted to add something,--but stopped. "Perhaps our misery
was seen abroad through this dead screen of general selfishness!
Believe me, sir, any attempt is hopeless. Our effort only spoils, or
might spoil, more cleverly prearranged plans. Now--if you wish me to
be frank, I personally don't believe in what I say to you. I think the
song is sung...."

"Very well, if I happen to communicate, I'll say so."

An old lady passed the room and searchingly gazed at me. Then a man,
tall and thin came in, got a drink of water and left. We both kept
silent. An atmosphere of distrust reigned for a while. I got up.

"Wait a while," Botkin said, "I still would like to know whom I have
the pleasure of speaking to?"

"Syvorotka is my name. I'll stay here in the hotel for a while."

He looked at me without any confidence.

"As you please," he said, "I cannot force you to take the mask off.
Good-by."

We shook hands,--and I left the Kornilov's House.

Here I am in the Hotel. Dirty hole--that's it. No linen. A mattress
covered with spots. Rotten humor.

Botkin fears that the efforts might compromise those who are
around the Mansion. He fears even those who are in exile. He fears
everything. But--not for himself. I think he is an honest man.

There is nothing to do here--with these scared people. Suspicious,
having lost faith in each other, and jealous! I must try to approach
them against their will,--perhaps I can do something better than in
Tumen.

It is evident that the tragedy develops here. I would not be surprised
to know that Lucie is somewhere around.



41


With my pass from the Tumen soviet and a very sure feeling of a
perfect disguise, I came yesterday to the local scoundrels,--the "high
commission of investigations" as they call this filthy, impossible
place where they meet. It used to be the Ecclesiastical School in
other days. I had quite a time penetrating these regions guarded by
the Reds. The man to whom I was recommended was an elderly kind-faced
fellow. All he was saying to me was virtually addressed to the crowd
of Reds in the room; as for the room, I think it used to be in former
times the professors' room.

"Yes, yes,--your credentials are perfect. Comrade Schmelin,--of
course I know him! You have no such troubles in Tumen as we have here.
But--all must be done. And for the sake of the Revolution and the
Proletariat--we are here, and will do our duty."

To show how much power he had, he gave some orders to the Reds. They
would come near him to take these orders, stand still as they were
standing only a few months ago before an officer, and then turn in the
brusque manner of soldiers.

The kind faced man--with his sly Jewish features and bulgy big eyes,
did not ask me who I was, how I was, and why I wanted the position
of an "advising commissary" with the detachment. He looked at me,
and smiled,--read the letter I presented,--and, seeing on my face
an admiration for his splendor, accepted me. My God, how alike these
people-in-power are! I remember, in my early days, the Count Witte,
a man with heavy, depressing looks. He liked this move of a
man-of-power. I recollect Mr. Kokovtzev who liked so much to see
admiration on his visitor's face.... I see this little insignificant
and blunt Kerensky, that fished for worship.... And here,--this
"tovarishch" Nachman--sitting in his chair and ruling--had the same
identical signs of self-respect, self-adoration, and independence.
And--with all of them--I would, without any effort, just by
instinct, get on their feeble side, change the whole expression of my
face,--even think like them, and love them,--and win. The instinct of
accommodation is a great thing,--and, it seems to me I possess it in
sufficient volume.

So--accepted in the ranks of those that go wherever they wish, that
do whatever their left foot feels like doing, those that continue to
remodel the country, those that are so free in every action--I sat
near the powerful man,--Comrade Nachman--as equal to equal.

But--what I really could not conceive,--was the range of his duties;
he was judge, and governor, and military commander, and lawyer, and
coroner, and administrator of the city, and the notary public--all
that used to be connected with business--was his concern.... They
could not do it in the olden days; they had to have a specially
trained man for every branch before,--and now!

"How perfectly you perform all of these different duties," I said.



42


I am a jailer; I guess the first in our family.

Together with Comrade Adolf Pashinsky,--a Pole from the dreadnaught
"Andrey Pervozvanny,"--I am walking on the Great Liberty Street,
and inside of the fence, watching the prisoners in the Mansion, and
watching to see that _supreme justice_--the will of the people--be
done.

My companion--is a muscular man of thirty, without front teeth; his
thin lips are always curved in a bad smile; his brain is such that
he cannot think and speak of anything that would not be vulgar and
vicious.

The very first night we came to change sentinels--I felt embarrassed,
as I do not know the ritual; but--there is nothing military about
these things nowadays, all is abolished. The soldiers come to
change sentinels, talk freely, laugh loudly. Instead of military
traditions--like parole, pass-words, exchange of salutes, etc.,
etc.,--they ask:

"Ah, howdy! What are "they" (meaning the prisoners) doing? Anything to
look at? All right--now you go, we'll stay."

They have, however, a tradition. When the changed jailors are
assembled near the entrance,--they start to knock on the rain pipes of
the Mansion with their rifles, to throw sand and small stones into
the windows of the Heir and the Princesses. When they think enough
frightening has been done, they start to sing something hideous and
pornographic.

  "She went to the ma-a-rket,
  Bought a bell as a locket...."

begins a thin trembling voice very calmly and even bashfully, as if
nothing bad will come out of this quiet song. And then, suddenly, a
chorus of twelve big fat swine would belch the notorious refrain:

  "Ah, you brunette of mine,
  O-oh, curly girl of mine...."

and so forth, with the licentious words of this song accompanying
it with whistles and jazzing with bayonettes, field-pans and general
noise.

I tried to analyze all of this. Why? Why is there such a hatred for
these,--this poor man, these five women and a boy? Such unnecessary
torture of people of the past,--nothing but a man who awaits the end
of his tragedy, nothing but a frail boy, nothing but five trembling
ladies. And the picture of the old woman that broke her hip on the
deck--and provoked laughter, comes to me.

The second day of my occupation,--it was about eleven when the
sentinels were changed and the night was warm and bluish, the
demonstration, perhaps in my honor, was exceptionally noisy and
obscene.

"How do you like it?" asked Pashinsky gloriously, looking at me and
showing, instead of teeth, a burned-out cemetery in his mouth. "Don't
they get enough? They just went to bed--and here is the music."

"Fine!" I answered. "Why don't we shoot? It makes more noise and
frightens much more."

"We used to do so," he said with regret, "but all these burjoois, and
the popes, and the whole carrion of Tobolsk did not like it. So we
have decided for the moment not to. Nobody can forbid singing. We are
free. The air belongs to the Soviet Government."

Then he continued:

"You should have seen those little ones"--he winked his eyes--"they
got scared to death the first time we sang the "Parson's Daughter"
right near their windows! And I'll tell you...." he whispered
something in my ear.

I decided to start with him when it comes to rid the world of some of
these Reds.

"Good!" I said with extreme pleasure and tapping him on the shoulder,
"Where are their rooms?"

"Right where the white curtain hangs ... you see ... one ... two ...
three ... fourth window on the second floor. They all are there in one
room, they are never alone lately. They used to be on the first floor.
That--was a holiday for us boys. Everything seen,--and we would...."

The smile on his face stretched from ear to ear.

"But," he continued,--"again the popes intervened. I hope they'll
croak soon. And Kobylinsky consented. He is with us, of course,--but
we _must_ get rid of him."

"Well, you boys have good times here," (I said dreamily) "I am glad I
came. It's great! All these people had enough of our blood. Now--the
people rule themselves! Great life!"

"You bet! Stay with us longer and you'll see better things...."



43


Next day,--it was about four,--Pashinsky, who sticks near me thinking
I am his best friend and admirer, punched me with his elbow and said:

"Look, look. Who is coming."

The Emperor, stooping and walking with tottering steps, was passing
from the garden into the house. Dr. Botkin was with him. The Emperor's
hands were clasped behind him, his eyes were staring downwards. An
old, soiled soldier's blouse of khaki flannel was hanging on his
spare, bowed, bony body. He was walking slowly, evidently trying to
appear indifferent and calm.

I had not seen him for a year and a half or even more. There was more
gray in his whiskers,--and to me, at this moment he never seemed to so
strikingly resemble his more fortunate English cousin.

They passed very near us. Pashinsky loudly yawned and stretched
right in the Emperor's face, who looked at him blankly; but under a
dignified and elaborate calm--I detected a spark of wounded majesty.
Then he looked at me,--evidently seeing in me nothing but a new
jailer,--sighed, and turned his suffering face away. Dr. Botkin looked
at me, too; he recognized me with a start.

"Ever see the bloodsucker before? Did you see how I treat him?"

"Never saw him. Where in the hell could I?... As for you--you
certainly are some boy!"

I was so near to the Emperor that for a moment I feared he could
recognize me. But he did not, for he glanced twice at me and--passed
by. When they were on the stairs, Botkin said something to him, and
the Emperor turned around, his eyes resting for a moment on my figure.
I brought up my hand,--so, that for the Emperor--it was a salute; for
Pashinsky--a mosquito which I killed on my forehead. Both Emperor and
Botkin immediately turned away and entered the Mansion.

"You watch him closer, Syva," Pashinsky said, "I think we'll take him
away for good pretty soon."

Today,--during my watch hours I had time to make observations,
especially, when the evening came and the night began.

In the house silent figures were walking; these delicate shadows of
yesterday; later--Princess Tatiana sat near the window with a book.

... (_line illegible_).... has not changed much. From time to time
she would stop turning the pages,--and look--without expression,
without moving--down at Pashinsky and me, and at the quiet city, at
clear skies, at the distant golden crosses shining under the moon.

There was something natural,--and yet not ordinary, in this dark
figure behind the curtain.

Did she think of our black ingratitude, she who did so much for the
wounded soldiers and for the families of those killed? Did she think
of the capricious Fate, which played with her young life so nastily?
Did she pray--crushed, humble, and lost? Did she cry for the past, or
dream of the future?... Or, perhaps, in her mind was the present,--and
behind those noble eyebrows, were thoughts and plans to fight
still.... Perhaps there was hope?

This dark figure and the other frightened silhouettes of the
endangered ladies in the Mansion, surrounded by their jailers, keep me
turning from side to side each night.

I see crooked smiles full of rotting teeth; I see perspiring low
foreheads and piercing oily eyes; and I know that New Russia has no
compassion.



44


Nachman invited me to a dinner. Later Dutzman came and brought a
smirking girl with him. Nothing very interesting. A girl. She sang
gypsy songs accompanied by a guitar. Good voice--and bad manners. We
had champagne, caviar and cigars,--_real Uppman_.

"Eh," he said, "After all--this life _is_ good! Much better even than
when I was secretary of the 'Courier of Moscow.' Of course, it is
transitory.... Won't you take some more, please?... and we all will be
out. Perhaps those of us who will not, by that time, hang, will have
already some money put aside. Not I--I am a spender. I can't keep this
money."

He was happy and therefore talkative and sincere.

He continued.... "You ask how we get this money? Easily, comrad, very
easily, indeed. Besides what we receive from Petrograd, we have other
incomes. For instance, here, take this case of the Emperor. Why do you
think we intend to send him to Ekaterinburg? Why should we send him
towards the approaching Czechs?"

"Everything has been taken by them; they threaten to crush us if the
Allies will assist them, even in the slightest way. Still we send. It
is a question of two hundred thousand rubles,--but nobody knows that
I, Nachman, a scabby Jew, got about fifty thousand out of them. Now
another thing: who got the pay for the heavy trucks, and for the
benzine, and for the tents, and for the ... oh, many other things!...
who got it? This very Nachman, yes, comrad ... have some more, please,
it's good!..."



45


"Quod forti placuit legis habet valorem."

Sailor Khokhriakov--the special envoy of the Sovnarkom--and his band.
Here is the real danger, but only in case Colonel Kobylinsky and his
Detachment of Special Destination would consent to join the Soviets.
They all hesitate, not the Colonel, however.

The meeting of the Peoples' Commissaries from Petrograd (Khokhriakov)
and Kaganitsky (from Ural, I guess) is certainly worthy of
description. I went there, leaving for that reason my Mansion
duties--(simply by saying to Pashinsky "tell them I am not coming
to the Mansion as I have to attend the meeting"); nowadays military
service is really a pleasure.

We all were sitting in the recreation room, about sixty or seventy
of us in all. Khokhriakov presided. His neck is like a bull's, but
rougher--and red. He started the meeting by a thunderous "Shut up,
you over there!" and "Somebody open the window; who in hell is smoking
such ... tobacco (I omit the adjective, though correct and strikingly
expressive, but profane)?"

The noise stopped under this voice, the windows were thrown open, and
our Peoples' Commissary began:

"Comrades,--before us are three questions; 1st--whether to release the
prisoners and give them to the Tobolsk people under the auspices of
Comrade Kobylinsky and his men, or 2d--whether to try the prisoners
right here by the people's tribunal, or 3d--to comply with some other
requests--which I have the authority to propose--to send the prisoners
to a Ural city. Let us proceed with the first question. I put this
proposition to the ballot in this way: the Tobolians, and amongst them
the popes, the monarchists, all of the counter-revolutionary trash do
not want the Peoples' rule. So they say that the Nikolai family must
be given to the Constituent Assembly. Now, what in the hell of hells,
do they mean by this? What _is_ a Constituant Assembly? Isn't it
a crowd of the same enemies of the people? Isn't this 'Parliament'
against our will? Shall we, proletarians, consider the question of a
Constituent Assembly? Would it not be an act of counter-revolution?
Come out here, right before me, the one that will dare to propose such
a thing," and the ten pound wooly fist of the sailor was lifted and
held for moments in the filthy air of the recreation room.

This rhetorical question, in fact, was not necessary, as we all,
hearing the word "Proletariat" in the middle of Khokhriakov's speech
had already started to make a noise and to applaud, the cheers densely
hung in the room,--and even before he said, "I knew you are
good proletarians and would drown this proposition, God damn
you,--carried,"--the fate of this weak and impossible thing at that
time, the hope for a Constituent Assembly,--was told. In no way would
it do.

"Now comrades,"--Khokhriakov continued after a short confidential chat
with the curly, blond, small-faced and long-eared Kaganitsky,--"comes
the next proposition. I warn you, however; no matter how tempting this
proposition is, do not make any harsh decision. We know your zeal in
Petrograd--that's why we all would want you to say your word, but ...
if I see that someone is too zealous, I'd rather keep silent if I were
he. Can we try these bloodsuckers here?"

An impossible noise began after his words.

"Try?"--"Why? Kill them all, that's all." "Kill the Czar,"--"Kill the
brat." "Let them go." "To hell with all of them." "Let's try them, of
course." "Give the women to the people." "Put their guts out," etc.,
etc....

"Shut up you all," shouted Khokhriakov, "let me count the votes. I see
you cannot decide, though you _all_ don't want the trial _here!_ Is
that so? All right, as you wish, the will of people must prevail.
What? Who said it is _not_ so? Come out you counter-revolutionary,
you monarchist, you royal carrion,--come out and say it to _my face_,
don't hide, you...." Nobody came out. This categorical imperative
could surpass the Kant's.... Kaganitzky's face, smiling, and with
moving flappy ears, was in accord with this understanding, and when
Khokhriakov barked his--"Carried," he bowed his head.

The audience was then silenced.

"Now, comrades, comes the next proposition,--to send the prisoners
away,--to the Ural city, probably Ekaterinburg. Comrade Kaganitzky is
here. He says, they will be treated _very well_ (Laughter) and they
_will not be in danger_ of the Czecks, and popes, and monarchists. The
comrades of the detachment and Comrade Kobylinsky--agreed. How do you
like _this_? Say, _who_ is against it? Come out!"

Free people in a free country--consented. After which consent a
commission under the chairmanship of Kaganitzky was appointed to
elaborate particulars. The Detachment of Special Destination was thus
dissolved and Comrade Kobylinsky was allowed to proceed to Petrograd.

With a headache from the noise and smoke I left the court-room and
went out in the City Square to breathe a little fresh air. Children
were playing with sand and toys. Children of the New Russia! Russia
of free speech, free thoughts, free ways! God, what will grow out of
_you_?... I wanted to pet one of them, a little thing with gray eyes,
but frightened to death of a "Red"--the child yelled and ran; from a
distance it shook at me a little trembling fist. So--it is not so bad.

While in the garden--the court room probably was emptied, as few
shots were fired behind me,--on the hill, and shortly after, a
gala-demonstration started--with a rattling of stones on the roof
of the Mansion, whistles, songs and a general delirium of the
uncontrolled and wicked _mob_ ...

Feeling the bridles of the High Commissaries, unable to do something
to them, understanding the guidance under a sauce of self government,
the _mob_ was avenging itself on the inhabitants of the Mansion.



46


I wonder where Lucie is now?

Something heavy and depressing is in my mind this last time; some
fog in my thoughts; I think I am losing my standing of a gentleman,
dealing with all of these people. My language has become vulgar; my
manners, also. I begin....

(_few lines scratched out_)



47


... This morning Pashinsky repeated that the Em. will be taken to
Ekaterinburg with the Empress and the Heir. The daughters will stay
here for a while. "Believe me, we'll have a good time," he said,
offensively breathing in my face.

I stood near the gates of the fence when Dr. Botkin passed. Nobody was
near me, Pashinsky having gone for a drink of water into the quarters.
I said without turning my head:

"Decision taken to send only the Em. and Empress and the Heir.
Daughters will stay here." Dr. Botkin did not stop. Then, as guard, I
did not let him in, and as if I were examining him (that was my
right) I said, "Please warn the ladies, and tell the Emperor that the
Commissary did not act badly; I guess there is no danger in his going
away. I fear for the ladies only."

"You don't mean it! They double-crossed us! They assured us all would
go. The scoundrels! Now please let me go,--and thank you, you strange
man."

I let him go.

Pashinsky appeared and looked at me. "Are you getting tired of this
muzzle, too? Isn't he a ...?"

"Yes," I said, "I must watch him closer now. I think we had better
watch him. You stay on the other side, and I'll be here near the
windows.

"All right," he said. "Then we can meet here. I'm going to walk
from the garden to the fence, and you stay right here. What is your
suspicion?"

"Nothing in particular," I answered.... "Just the ordinary one; I
don't like him. That's all."

So we walked the way he proposed. Every time he would be near the
garden, he would cough in such a noisy and sardonic way that the
Heir, who was sitting with Derevenko on the bench would turn his long,
pensive face, and his old sailor guardian would look with hatred on
the rascal.

When Pashinsky was away, the window behind me opened very cautiously
and a lady's voice said to me, "Don't turn. Is it true they are to
take Father away? Now, I know you are a gentleman. What would you
advise us to do? I think we are all lost."

Pashinsky started to come back; then a Lett passed, so the voice
stopped. Pashinsky came near me and said, "The Heir never cries when I
tease him. Believe me, he is a hard kid. What do you think if I scare
him more?"

"Yes," I said, "a stubborn child." "I must try again," and he walked
away.

The window again gave way. "Please," the same voice said, "can't
you give any advice to us? We are so frightened! Father is praying;
Mother's very ill; we are all alone."

"I'll write you," I said, (without moving my lips), "what I think and
bring it back."

"Thank you."

I went to Pashinsky, whose teasing was becoming hideous and rough.
He said to the Heir that they had decided to shoot the whole family.
Tears were on the child's face but he kept on bravely; he could not go
away--Pashinsky was at the gate.

I wished: "Just a day or two,--and I will be able to do something. Oh,
God! Send something to stop it right now."

I guess that my prayer was heard.

The tutor's face,--one of those broad Russian faces,--gradually grew
purple and then grey. Slowly, and hypnotising Pashinsky, he approached
the scamp, took him by the collar and pulled him towards the fence.
Then, losing his breath, Derevenko said, "Leave the boy alone,
you scoundrel! You,--you call yourself a Russian sailor? You? Have
this...." and the slap on Pashinsky's face sounded to me like Chopin's
First Nocturne. What divine music!

I expected a clash. But no! The rifle fell out of Pashinsky's hands
and, silent and tamed, with half-closed eyes, he was waiting for
another smash. Then Derevenko saw me and thought I was going to shoot
him, but I made no such move. I slipped away and went innocently
towards the big gate. So, when Pashinsky came to me--he was sure I
had seen nothing, and when I asked how the teasing was going on, he
answered:

"Oh, I let this trash go. It annoys me."

The left side of his face was inflamed and tears were frozen on his
eyes. It was a good one, by God!

After this incident I turned to the quarters "for a drink of water"
and wrote a little note that "nothing bad could happen to the
Princesses when they were alone" and that, "I shall exert all in my
power to prevent any disagreeable happenings." I wrote that I knew
some people were working to save them. My letter, I thought, would
brace them up and would give them an idea that there was, amongst
these beasts--one, that would not be an enemy. In case of a struggle
this idea would keep them from losing hope and their power of
resistance. Then I added that I could be found in the hotel, and that
Dr. Botkin knew me.

Contemplating my scratchings, I went over to the window; somebody was
patiently waiting and looking around, for the voice said:

"I am so glad Derevenko slapped this awful man."

"I am too, your Highness. Now--there is a letter. I'll put it on the
bayonette and stay still; you take it."

Pashinsky passed near me talking with another Red. He felt badly I am
sure,--he did not look at me.

I rolled the piece of paper, stuck it on the edge of the sharp
bayonette and putting the rifle on my shoulder, directed it towards
the window. I felt when it was taken. Then I joined my fellow jailers.



48


Today I saw a man who resembled strikingly the Tumen Russian of the
profane language. And it reminded me very much of the Ls., of the
English officer, of the fellow with dark eyeglasses--and of Lucie. I
felt abandoned again. So I went to the Church, but then turned back:
I cannot go in, for it might spoil my reputation of a Red. However, I
stood for a bit near the doors and listened to the singers, and then
decided to go to the Catholic church, for only Russian Reds must not
pray; Polish Reds happen to have this privilege.

There is no difference in fact. I wanted to be closer to something
elevated.

The lights were so quiet and peaceful looking in the dark church
through high-colored windows. There were not many people in their
church, so I could concentrate. But instead of a Christian quiet, I
got something else. I guess the idea came to me when I thought that
Pashinsky was a Pole.

I began to think that I could not do very much here,--but still
something. They will try to annoy the Princesses, and I must protect
them. Thus--my staying here will be justified. If Pashinsky or the
Letts should do something that would be bad, I'll kill them,--or some
of them. When I thought of it, I looked at the Holy Faces; the sun
came out of the white clouds, the rays fell on the walls,--and
the Faces smiled at me. "Yes," I thought, "if my decision is not
agreeable,--the sun will hide behind the clouds again. I'll wait for
five minutes"--the sun did not hide,--so--this was accepted. Then I
tried to figure how to do it, and found a way. I'll get Pashinsky at
the first attempt.

My God, what nonsense I think of!...



49


Schtolz. Jackson. Vieren. The man with the wounded leg. Kitser.
Dutzman. Khokhriakov. Fost. Pashinsky. Kart. Fedor. Laksman. Vassiliev
(son). Kobylinsky. Perkel. Niestadt. Cymes. Leibner. Vert. Wang-Lee.
Frenkel. The fat Kister. Vygardt....

(_a few lines scratched out_)



50


The "Kitai" was at the pier when we--the detachment of twelve,
guarding a silent man and a hysterical woman--came there under the
cover of night; it was raining, though the air was warm. The Irtysh
stood fragrant with this odor of a big, noble river. The waters--in
which sank Yermak under his heavy corselet--the same waters were
carrying toward the unknown--the Imperial Family.

Though their departure was supposed to be made in secrecy, there was
a crowd of people on the pier--we tried to chase them away, but they
stood there. An ascetic figure was standing on the next pier, lit only
by a few lanterns. This black figure lifted a cross and blessed the
Emperor, who tenderly released his hand from the spasmatic grip of his
terrified wife and made the sign of the cross.

"Quit that, Reverend scoundrel," I heard Khokhriakov's voice. "Who
asked _you_ to come?"

The priest answered:

"Thou knowest not what thou art committing."

"Ah, shut up! To hell with your citations, you old idiot!

"Take him down over there. Isn't there anyone to choke him?"
continued Khokhriakov bending over the hand-rails. "This ass is
propagating,--don't you see, comrades?"

No one, however, moved. This crowd around the Bishop all answered.
Their answer,--a blunt roaring,--sounded like distant thunder and
there was such a frightening unity in this dull noise,--that I had the
shivers.

"You cowards!" bellowed the sailor, "I'll have to come back and finish
with the pope myself! It will not be the first one, anyhow. It's too
late now! Be damned you all! Go ahead!" The gangplanks dropped.

The steamer started to move.

The priest stood still blessing her passengers,--the Emperor, the
Empress, the bolsheviki,--the crew,--all, all of them. And, wet under
the rain, this figure vested in black, with a shiny cross lifted high
in the air, will for a long time remain in my memory.

The Mansion was black; not a light in the windows. The four girls,
left alone in this nest of rattlesnakes,--were probably sitting in
some far distant corner,--crying, trembling, praying,--and waiting for
the worst, which they feared was coming.



51


To kill a man? Nothing more agreeable if it is the right one,--I
should say! And in such country where the trial is impossible. I did
not know I ever could,--but...

Pashinsky started soon after the Emperor was taken. He and Fost asked
me for a conference behind the quarters, when we were waiting to
change the watchmen. Both had a confidential expression on their
faces.

"You see here, Syva,--what is planned. You and Fost stay under the
windows, and go around, just as you please. I'll go upstairs, and
listen. If there is no one around I'll call you up. I know that they
are all alone."

I consented, and when they left I wrote a note: "_Si, se soir, quelcun
tâche de forcer l'entrée de votre chambre, je vous implore de rester
calme et sûre que je suis avec Vous et Vos soeurs à vous protéger. Ne
craignez rien, né criez pas_!" I wrote it in French in order to assure
them of the faith in me--and prove my identity--and signed my real
name.

It looked funny to me; I think now I am Syvorotka,--honestly
Syvorotka, formerly of the 7th of Hussars!

I went out and looked around. The Pole and the Lett were talking
and gazing from time to time at the upper windows. Then the Pole
approached: "How much would you take from me not to go up at all, and
let me do it alone?" and then, becoming sweet and fawning--.

"You see, Syva," he said, "Fost consented. Why shouldn't you? I'll
give you just as much."

"Did you consent, Fost?" I asked.

"Yes," said the Lett, digging in his short nose, "I did. I have
grown-up daughters at home. I cannot. Besides he gives me money, so
why shouldn't I? I will stay in the corridor and won't let anybody
come in, on this side of the House. I know nothing of your business.
Go on, have your pleasure."

"No, Pashinsky," I said, "that will not do. I must be with you. I have
to protect you besides, you idiot; Fost can only see what is in the
house, but supposing someone comes from down here? You think they will
forget such an outrage to the Soviets? I will be with you somewhere
behind, and when you call me I will come out. Hope you won't forget
me."

Pashinsky thought over my proposition for a second,--thinking was
a strenuous effort for him. His obscene face wore a suffering and
preoccupied expression; then he said:

"I think you are right. We'll let Fost stay and watch the inner doors,
and you and I will be alone in this side of the house. Then the men on
the streets can't catch us, and we will be protected from the inside
too...."

Then he had some idea. A bad one, I am sure!

"All right, that's a good way, anyhow. Now I am going to take a
bath,--I need it. If somebody asks for me, say so."

The Lett and I remained. I stood for half an hour near my
window,--then it opened. I fixed the note on the bayonette and it went
to its destination.

After, a voice said:

"Mister * * *, we are afraid! What can we do? Do you think that you
can protect us? Please tell the truth, don't try to console us."

"I am sure, your Highness," I said, "please don't worry."

The voice continued: "They took out the keys from the doors. We
cannot even lock ourselves in, or hide. Can't you tell this to the
Budishchev's--perhaps they can do something?"

"You shouldn't try to hide, and there is no use to tell it to anybody,
believe me. Be in the room on the second floor and wait there. I will
be on the watch as I said."

--"You know better perhaps,--we believe you."

With a "Thank you so much" and "We are so frightened!" repeated with
despair and horror, the window closed.

I had to invent something, and invent quickly, for I had no plan as
yet.

The Browning was with me but I reserved it for the last chance, and I
decided to keep it loaded to finish some of the Reds--and myself--if
it should come to an open fight. With such thoughts I was desperately
rambling within the fence.

My vague plan was to come right after Pashinsky and knock him on
the head with something heavy,--then I rejected this project: the
scoundrel could yell and I would be discovered. I came to the quarters
and looked around. It was the office of Tanaevsky before occupied by
us. In the classic disorder, with an inch of cigarette butts and dust
on the floor, among the remnants of the Governor's House stored here,
I saw a gold metallic rope cord which in better times had been used to
support the heavy drapery of the reception room. The idea of a silent
strangulation came into my head with the picture of Jacolliot's Thugs.
I cut the tassel away and put it under somebody's pillow, and hid the
rope in my bosom.

At seven Pashinsky finally came back, surprisingly clean, shaven, and
smelling of some cheap and penetrating perfume. He was slightly drunk.
When clean,--he looked to me a thousand times worse.

Neither Pashinsky, nor I, could wait until the night came. He was
continually repeating what I should do, and continually asking me
whether I thought everything was safe. Finally night arrived. At nine
the lights in the Mansion were put out--all but in one window. I knew
how hearts were beating there: mine was echoing.

--"I am going, Syva," Pashinsky whispered. "I can't wait any
longer--all is burning inside of me."

He put his rifle behind the rain-pipe, straightened his belt, and
started towards the entrance door.

The door of the Mansion squeaked and swallowed him, and before I heard
him walking up the stairs I followed him.

All was dark inside, only a feeble light from the court penetrated
through the windows. We passed the corridor, then a large room, then
a small room. Here Pashinsky stopped--and I heard his heavy breathing.
Then he threw open the door.

I saw mattresses on the floor and in a far corner pale, trembling
figures, glued together by fear.

Pashinsky hesitated for a moment--to pick out the one he wanted--and
then with an outcry, suddenly rushed to this mass of helpless
panic-stricken bodies, and a struggle between a delirious man, feebled
by desire, and these ladies, began.

I jumped on him from behind; preoccupied, he did not feel when I put
the rope around his neck so that the collar wouldn't be in my way,
tightened my weapon in a deadlock and dragged him away--almost before
his carnal touch contaminated the Princesses--into the next room, and
shut the doors.

He was making some efforts to free himself, hitting my knees with his
heels, and growling from rage; then he bit me in the hand. But in a
minute I was already firmly sitting on his back, with my knees on his
awkwardly turned arms, twisting the rope with all of the strength I
had.

"Please, don't kill him," I heard a sobbing whispering voice say, and
other voices, too, repeated the "don't kill."

This Kerensky idea made me quite angry and I said as calmly as I could
under the circumstances:

"With all of my reverence for your order, your Highnesses, I refuse to
obey. Please shut the doors and don't wake up the others,--I have my
own accounts to settle." And when the doors closed, I kept tightening
and tightening the rope until his head turned and his tongue,--rough
and dry,--came way out and was touching my hands, and his face became
hot and wet. He made a few convulsive movements--and became still.

When his head fell with a dull sound on the floor, I took him out
under cover of the night, and threw his body into the well. I walked
out onto Tuliatskaya Street and chatted for a while with Leibner and
Vert.

I was changed and nobody asked me where my friend Pashinsky was.



52


Comrade Fost was shot yesterday at nine in the morning for murder. It
was a glorious inspiration to put the tassel under _his_ pillow. In
the afternoon we buried Pashinsky. I gave my share for a wreath with
red ribbons and the inscription "To him who fell for Proletariat--Long
live the International," and was present at the funeral. Dutzman made
a speech; a very pathetic one.

In the evening the sentinels were doubled. There are lights in every
room now. There was a light in every corridor. The ladies--are,--for
the moment being, out of immediate danger. The Soviet decided
to transport all to Ekaterinburg,--as soon as a steamer will be
available.

Today Nachman called on me. He took me to the Square and when we were
sitting on a bench, he said, that "It was well done" ("that's all
right, sir, perfectly all right"), but if he were in my place he would
go away. "It's easy," he continued,--"supposing I give you a good
letter of recommendation to my people in Ekaterinburg? The interesting
part of all of this,--believe me, has started only. Don't fear
me,--this scabby Jew, this very Nachman,--will not betray."

I thought it over and said:

"I would do so, if I only could leave some trace here. A friend may
ask for me here, and I would be sore if she could not find me,--if she
only cares."

"Oh, she will," he laughed, "she will. Of course, I am not posted in
your personal affairs, but--a lady always _can find_ one, _if_ she
cares. Ha-ha-ha! Youth is always youth! But you better go without
leaving traces...."

I continued:

"Nachman, there is another thing. Here is an old man,--a friend of
mine,--he is very sick. His days are numbered, and I feel very sorry
for him. If I go away all will be lost for this old chap; he has
nobody in this world. Could you use your power and place him in a
hospital? I will give you money, of course,--I have some."

Nachman sighed: "This is so out of time! Nowadays love and charity are
much more dangerous than murders and thefts."

Then after a pause, he continued;

"Very well, friend, I will take care of your man. Hand me the money."

Then he gave me a letter to his friends in Ekaterinburg (it was ready
in his pocket) and we parted.

I am free, happy, independent, with a good standing amongst the
present Russians. And if only _she_ could be near me ... but there is
no perfect happiness on this strangest of planets of ours.



53


(_pages missing_)

... heavy trucks, and other military paraphernalia. Some of the men on
them surely are not Russians, Letts, or Germans, or ...

(_nine lines scratched out_)

... I don't know whether it was Nachman's talk or the truth.

Anyhow I am going away,--again alone,--alone forever. Damn life!
I cannot look backwards--I feel sorry for my past; the present--is
sufficiently bad not to speak of it; the future--is just as dark--as
this night. Not a star, not a single star.

The old man was taken to the People's Hospital this afternoon. He
thanked me.



54


... starting rumors of the killing of the whole Family, and always
emphasizing that this tragedy--was the supreme penalty brought to the
altar by the Emperor.

Nachman, and others, who--it seems to me, know what they are talking
about, foresee many chances; the best of them, is of course the fact,
that some ...

(_few lines scratched out_)

... are in this enterprise, and therefore it might be crowned with
success. I really do not know what to think. Only one point is clear:
I cannot believe that our sufferings, the sufferings of the _whole
country_, are unknown beyond our frontiers. They must be known; the
tears shed cannot during so long a time fall on stones,--even stones
get wet. If they are not known,--these sufferings,--if our hands
stretched for help are not seen, if we are condemned just for the only
fact that we are Russians,--and if ...

(_a page missing_)



55


... knocked at the door. I hardly had time to say "enter," when
something enveloped in a thick brown overcoat rolled in, jumped at
me and in a second covered all of my face with hot kisses. I answered
them very attentively.

Then I noticed that the amiable creature was Lucie.

"No, you don't hate me! No, you don't hate me! I know it! I knew
it!..."

"Lucie," I said, "before we proceed, please let me put some of these
papers in my pockets."

"Alex! Don't remind me of that! How _did_ you dare to write such
stories about me? You can't blame me, can you?"

"Perhaps I don't--for some pages you destroyed. How about the chart,
and about the?..."

She covered my mouth with her hands. "If we recollect everything it
will be endless. And besides I don't think I took anything from you.
Let's forget! I'll forgive you, if you promise me not to write nasty
stories about your Lucie."

I promised, and consented, of course. How can I do otherwise? No use!

I put her near me, poured her some tea and offered her the cookies.

For a time we looked at each other. She certainly looked like a
peasant girl!

"How do you like this costume?" she said. "Next bal masqué I certainly
will wear this kind, you may be sure. Of course all of this, and that
must be chiffon, and silk, and...." A woman cannot get on without
these chats. On the other hand--woman speaks to the man about it with
a concealed contempt: what does _a man_ understand? She does not get
angry when she sees that the man does not listen; he only _looks_.

"Now,"--she said, gazing around with a dear grimace,--"again in your
element, in dirt? What shall I do with you, Alex? I can't stand it!"

"Dirt is my protection, dear. Why did you leave? Don't run away any
more."

"We will see about it. But first--what are you doing here? Are you
following me? Don't you think I saw you here? Why do you risk your
life? How did you think of leaving Tumen? How is your cook?"

"Do _your_ questions give _me_ the same right of investigation? I'll
answer you, anyhow. I've decided to lay down my cards, Lucie. I
came here on business. I broke all ties. Nobody wants me. I am
investigating at my own expense, at my own risk, out of curiosity
only. But I am free. Don't you need me? Don't you need a friend? Can't
we live without deceiving each other, without robbing,--eh? I came
here, Lucie,--and behind all of my intentions was one thing only: I
hoped to find you, and tell you how much I love you. I knew you had to
be near the center, and the center is, at least now--here. Don't lie
to me, bad girl, I know what I am talking about. Now--when I think we
again will part--I have chills; especially when I think of your manner
of going away: pinning a "good-by" to the cushion. Please, let us be
together!"

"You should not tempt me, Alex. I feel just as you do, only--I don't
think I can even dream of our being together--right now, I mean. What
will be after--we'll see."

"Cannot you arrange something for me so that I could be with you in
your business? Did not you ask me before to do so? Now--I come to
you."

"It's true, I did. Things have changed. Can you believe me when I
swear I am telling the truth? Yes? You'll try? Well, I wanted you in
Petrograd--you fascinated me; that was all,--and if then, after being
with us, you had come to know too much and something had happened to
you, I would, of course, have been sorry,--but,--how shall I say it?
Not too much. In Tumen,--you know I came to Syvorotka with certain
purposes: you described them well in your diary, so well that I had to
put my censorship on them,--I did not suspect Syvorotka was--you...."

I made an impatient movement. "Again your fairy tale?"

"Alex!" she exclaimed, "I conjure you to believe me! Can't you see?
Get me to tell you the truth when I am so happy as now! I could not
lie to you! So that's how I came to Tumen. You were there, and you
know what happened. Now--don't laugh at me,--I understand that you
risked too much,--and I ran away, because I saw--I loved you. I'd die
if I knew something had happened to you on account of me. I told them
that you had gone to Kazan, or Nijni, that you had turned into a real
bolshevik. They think you are out. For them--you are lost. And they
must not see you here."

"Who are 'they'? And how about _you_ knowing too much?" I inquired.
"Your mysteries don't sound grave anyhow."

"Alex,--I'll be angry! Again you ask silly things."

So I kissed her and asked how Stanley was and the Russian and the
Letts, and the pony.

"Poor little thing! It died. We tried to reach Tobolsk with it."

"Your Stanley poisoned it with his chimney," I said.

"Don't hold anything against him, Alex. He is a good fellow. And don't
be jealous, you bad, dirty, lovable crank. He still thinks you are a
Canadian."

"He never thinks. He fancies."

She laughed. "Yes, you _are_ jealous. It is silly of you, but
agreeable. I did not know you could be."

"Now, let's be serious. You can't stay here. I must insist on your
going away,--dear, for your own sake,--for our sake! I promise it
won't be for a long time,--perhaps it will only seem so, if you love
me! Don't say no. Can't you picture how happy we can be afterwards?
How somewhere away from here we could marry, and.... You must go away.
Why not go to England, or Japan, or Sweden? Just a trip?"

"How funny you talk!" I said. "Listen to my reasons. One: I must stay
near you. Two: I must see the end of this tragedy. Three: I must
close _my_ bit of an account with some people. Four: All I have is not
enough to pay for this room,--so no trips for me. Five: ..."

"Stop! Stop!" she exclaimed, and crawling into my lap, continued:

"My poor boy! That--is killing! I know why you are so poor! You spent
every penny on others! You had some earnings! And to think of all you
were bringing to me in Tumen ... then you did not care even, but just
to be hospitable to an intruder.... And other things.... How can I
repay you!..."

"There are no reasons for crying on this account. Forget it please.
Don't put me in the light of a benefactor,--I hate it."

"No, no! I feel so guilty now. I'll give you money."

"Don't offend me. All I want is not to be an idiot in the future and
not to lose you. So I have said it,--and it is said. When it comes
to stubbornness--I hardly think anybody could beat me. So just
understand: _I am going to stay_ where you are, and if you try this
time to get away, I'll have to take measures. I'll kidnap you.
I'll put you in a place where no 'Navy-Cut' is smoked. Now--it _is_
serious. Understand?"

We talked, and argued, and even quarrelled, and again made peace,
until she declared herself beaten. Maybe she was angry; perhaps
scared; but surely greatly flattered. A woman is a woman--always
flattered when she sees persistence. She consented to take me into her
game. I had to swear, and cross my heart, and give endless words of
honor,--all that for a position of a traffic man, like the one in
Tumen. I had to swear that no cooks, or maids, or ladies (especially
ladies!) would distract me from the thought of her. Very selfish, but
understandable. It was late, when she left me.

"Alex," she said on the threshold,--"Please don't talk. Do not write,
please! You'll have time to finish your diary, and write even a series
of books on the subject afterwards. Maybe I'll help you even. Close
your diary. Give it to me, I'll hide it!..."

"Is _that_ so?" I said,--"there is nothing now that would be of
interest _to you_."

"Everything interests me, dear. Aren't you mean to your Lucie?... Very
well, hide it yourself, burn it, if you can't hide it. Can't you keep
in your mind your impressions? Do you promise? Consider me too!"

"I promise. I'll do it. I must only write all about this evening.
Every word. This evening I almost trust you. It is of historical value
therefore."

She gave her consent.

When the door closed after her, and my lips were still burning,
hideous phantoms of doubt poured into the room; they tortured me, and
sneered at me, and kept me awake....

And with the pale rose of the first sunrays the phantoms of doubt left
me exhausted, miserable and helpless like a wet cat.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Translator's note._

With paragraph 55 ends the diary of Syvorotka.

Among his documents, however, has been found the following letter,
not in his characteristic handwriting, but in that of someone else,
bearing directly upon the incidents narrated by the diarist. Written
in ungrammatical Russian, bearing many orthographic mistakes, this
document seems to be a fragment of a report, by some unidentified
co-operating agent, to his unrevealed superior.

It is deemed necessary, therefore, for purposes of clearness, to
append this document, as I find it among the literary remains of Al.
Syvorotka:



56


... "four or five days after your departure, I gave the story to P.D.;
he took it to the E * * * *; the latter made but a few corrections in
it, and P.D. copied it,--as you ordered: with different ink, and on
different paper. The fourteenth passed quietly. The new man who
took command of the guards and his assistant, assembled the men and
organized a meeting; Syvorotka was present. Some of the people spoke
of the "hidden treasury"; some spoke of the People's Tribunal; some
insisted upon a wholesale killing,--for the loyals and the Czechs are
rapidly approaching, and from everywhere come rumors about uprisings.
Finally it was decided to try the Family immediately.

The next day we were busy with the trucks; towards evening all of
them were in shape including the Number 74-M in which you ordered the
change of magneto, and ready to move. So you see--_we have done what
you ordered_, and if all happened so that we could not foresee, it was
not my fault, nor Syvorotka's, nor Phillip's.

All the day of the 16th the investigation continued, and the
Commissaries asked for the E * * * * twice; once four men went to
Ipatiev's; their conduct was outrageous. At eight in the evening I was
on my post in the red house, the wires were working fine and Philip
answered. Nachman's place answered too.

At nine I signalled to the Ipatiev's, and Princess waved "all well,"
but could not continue for a Red came to the window and shut it with
a bayonet. It had already begun to get very dark, so I phoned again to
Philip and Syvorotka and asked them whether they had orders to start.
I was told that they had not heard anything from the house. I decided
to wait a little longer and then to 'phone to Tikhvinsky to inquire
whether or not the Nun was on her place, so I could go and investigate
why S-y did not start. At ten I called up, but the 'phone was dead.
While I was waiting for some movement about the house, Philip himself
came and said that S-y had ordered him to remove the trucks away out
of the city. Philip refused to do so, and tried to reach me by 'phone
but it was out of order, so he left Syvorotka in charge and came to
ask me personally. While we were trying to digest what all of this
meant and what should be done, a movement began in the house; lights
flickered in the windows and shortly afterwards, we distinctly heard
the report of a revolver. As this looked bad we both left and ran
across the place, but the Reds would not let anybody in. Already there
were about fifteen men trying to break down the fence. The inside
guards resisted and some shots were exchanged. The assailants were
Reds, asking for "a treasury," and some of them were asking for the
Family as it was rumored that they had already been killed.

Seeing that nothing could be done from this side I went to the rear
and squeezed in, for Ch. was there and he let me do so; but he said
that he had heard shots inside and that he thought all was finished,
and said also that Leinst and three others went to search in
Syvorotka's home--they evidently don't know that all was taken out
yesterday. In the house I found complete commotion. The family had
disappeared, and no one knew where or how. Pytkan was shot in the
stomach and in the throat and I saw him lying on the floor in the
room. Khokhriakov and his men were shaking the rest of his life out
of him, asking where the E. and the jewelry were, but all that Pytkan
could say was "they were taken away." No one could make out what
really had happened and who had shot him; some said that they went
away in trucks, yet, in the evening, some that a detachment sent by
the Soviet took them secretly out, some said aeroplanes. All were
wrong, for Philip had just come back and the trucks were in place,
no one came into the Ipatiev's house as I was on guard, and there
had been no aeroplanes since six o'clock. Pytkan was almost dead when
Khokhriakov finally got from him that the family had been shot and
taken away--and then he began to expire. Later the German appeared
and chased us all away,--he sent for his assistant, but they could not
find him.

The family disappeared,--it is true; there was no trace of them.
I continued to look everywhere up to the time that the Soviet
representatives arrived, having been ordered to arrest all people
who were with the family, and commenced searching for the bodies.
The whole place was surrounded by Reds, and all were ordered out, but
nothing was there. Then a resolution was made that the prisoners had
been taken away and shot, and they sent a wire to Moscow. I only know
that inside the house they killed two people and nobody else, anyhow.
Pytkan and Kramer were dead; Kramer probably had been shot from a
distance--the bullet was in his head. There were no more than two men
killed, I know it; so you may feel sure, when you hear that all were
killed in the house that it is a lie. Somebody must have been burning
things in the stove long before--maybe in the daytime or the early
evening; the stove was almost cold,--the Reds got something out of it,
I did not see what it was. When I understood that the whole family had
been taken away, dead or alive, or had somehow disappeared, and that
there was nothing for us to do, I took Philip and we rushed back to
Syvorotka. The trucks and the chauffeurs were all gone. In the
garage we found Syvorotka tied with a rope and shot in the spine, and
bleeding from scratches and other wounds. From the appearance of the
garage we understood that there had been a struggle, but he could not
speak comprehensively; all we got from him were moanings, separate
phrases and words like "treason," "run away," "leave me die here,"
etc., etc.,--he was decidedly raving and very weak. We helped him as
best we could and came back to the city at about five in the morning
and Philip went to Nachman's. They both reported that shortly after
two o'clock, three of the trucks passed on the highway to Sysertsky
Works. Some people were in them, and the Nachmans thought it was our
affair, for the rumors had already reached them that the family had
disappeared or had been executed. This Sysertsky direction is more or
less correct for I know from Syvorotka that supplies were lately being
sent continuously with him to Tubiuk. This way also went Syvorotka's
woman.

S-y and all the rest left,--some people say in the evening, some early
in the morning of the 17th.

Maybe something could be told by Syvorotka if he ever survives his
wounds, and if the Reds do not find him and finish him before they
leave, for he is under suspicion. He still is unconscious, and has
fever. All Philip and I know is that either all our organization
has failed to succeed, or we were all betrayed and sold, or that you
intentionally detracted our attention from the truth.

This letter will be given to you by Mrs. Nachman who is going
tonight to Ufa. As soon as the Reds leave Ekaterinburg we will both
follow,--we are hiding now,--and will report on the facts that we
witnessed and the rumors we heard."

END





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