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About Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922 | View Entire Issue (Nov. 28, 1896)
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12 THE OM.A1IA DAILY HET3 ; SATUHDAV , oSTOVEM HI3R 28 , 1SIX5.
J.A MYSTERY OF THE BALKANS.
iiy 1'F.ur v AN DIM :
( Copyright , 'Wl l > y Perry Andreac. )
I think I may safely nwiort that thcr
nn : wjt mnro than a do/en people IMn
\\ho aie nwnrf of the prominent part take
by Sir John Templeton In thwarting one o
Hio boldest strokes of modern Russian ill
plomnry In ensU'rn Curopo , anil thorob
averting ono of tbo mont serious poll ( lea
complications that have threatened Kurop
ulthln I ho lifetime of tbu present genera
There was , moreover , a mystery attachci
to this singular event which enhanced th
general excitement It cauced and which
until this day. has never boon publicly
cleared up. i
Thn king of IlalkanU. as well as hli
brother and helr-prrsumptlve , hacl alway
been noted for his strong untl-HiibsInn
pulley. Indce < l , to forestall the possibility
of nrtnil coercive measures on lliiwla'a
part. hl majesty hltnelf had opened up
negotiations with the other -great powern
ihu aim of which was the conclusion of n
convention that would once for nil preclude
lUlkanla from entering Into any binding
rontract with a foreign power under what
sni'vor pretext , save with their sanction am
consent first obtained.
Hut for the fart that while these negntl
atlons went pending his majesty tin
fortunately fell 111 of typhoid fever , there
run be little doubt that they would have
been brought to a satisfactory conclusion
in epite of the strenuous opposition of the
llalKunhm prime minister. Count Sasti-o
witch , whone leaning toward Kussla was
notorious , and who was moreover known to
have exerted all his great Influence over the
Itlng In order to Indued him to listen favor
ably to the ltUPHl.ui proposals.
What had caused his majesty's suddci
change of front wax a complete riddle. Hut
he had barely recovered from Ills Illness
during which his brother. I'rlncc Grcgoi
Alexander , had been appointed regent , when
to everybody's consternation , he icfuscd nb-
Mdutcly to ratify the convention of tht
prcnt powers. He had reronsldered the mat
ter , he dielared , nnd woulil abide by his
prlmo nilnlfter'H j > ollcy and accede to tilt
proposals of Kussin.
It unsnt til ! critical juncture that Prince
fJregor Alexander , whose faith In Sir John
Templeton'a judgment , like that of every
one who knew him , was very guat , took the
desperito coutuu of summoning the olil
diplomatist from Vienna.
"U'o are at our wits' end , " he wrote to
him. "mid I know no one better < i\iallllei
to help us than you. There are powers nl
work here whlrh bailie us , one and all , am
this devil Sastrowltch Is at the bottom o
the business. I have always known him to
lie nn unscrupulous schemer , but In this
Instance his position deems unassailable , for
be undoubtedly possesses the king's fill
support , though I am convinced that the
ascendency he has gained over my brother's
mind has not been obtained by natural or
legitimate means. "
Tbo result of this letter , which was ac-
rompanlcd by a few lines from Sir Richard
Alison , the Drltlsh plenipotentiary , cordially
endorsing the prince's words , and Inviting
Sir John to take u | his quarters at the em-
, bafsy during his visit , was the arrival of
the old diplomatist three days later at
Metropolis , the llalkanian capital.
"t'nfortuimtely , " wild Sir Richard Anson.
as ho drove with Sir John Templcloii to tin
palace of the prince regent , "I'rlncc Gregor
Alexander , though gifted with an Intellect
of a stamp superior to that of his brother ,
la on tlio other hand no less lacking than
he In those qualities of firmness and decision
to thu absence of which In his majesty tht
rise to power ami Inlluetico of auch a man
ns this Sastrowltch Is due. It Is Important
that you should bear this In mind , Sir John
The conditions of political life In the east
nro totally different from the conditions pre
vailing In our western world. Here. Intrigue
flourishes as an art , and governs all things ,
social as well ns political , and a greater
adept In the art than this fellow Sastro
wltch II would be dllllcult to conceive. "
Had Sir Richard Anson been observant ,
lie might have noticed a smile of amuse
ment pnss over the wrinkled countenance of
the old diplomatist while he listened to this
well meant advice. Hut Sir John made no
reply. Ho merely bowed with great gravity ,
and a few minutes later the carriage drove
through the grand archway of the prince
Tcgeiit's palace and drew up .In front of thr
.cntrancp , The sentinels on duty presented
arms as the plenipotentiary , followed by Sir
John Templeton , alighted and passed Into
the building. Ten minutes afterward thej
\\ero closeted In conference with his royal
highness. Prince Oregor Alexander.
They found the prlnco with an nfllclal-
looklii ) ; document in his bond , In n state of
"I fear you have arrived Just In time
to assist at my obsemilco. " ho said , handing
the document to Sir John , after briefly
acknowledging the prompt response he had
given to his Invitation. "Tills destroys our
lest hope. "
Sir John glanced at the document , and
then at the prince- .
"Your royal highness deprived of the
command of the army ? " he said. "When
was this cabinet order Issued ? "
"At midnight yesterday , " the prince
answered"You will obaervo that General
Uostroff , the most scrvllo supporter of
Kiisnl.i In the whole army , has been np-
pointo.1 my successor. I am disgraced. Ah !
"NO ONU HUT YOtmSKIiF , Sill , '
Jils majesty would never of ills own free
will put ouch an affront upon hU brother.
lieIs posses. by the evil Influence of thai
demon , Sastroutch. And ho refuses even to
kco or hear me. "
"Yet the king was well enough yester
day to give his usual public audience , " Sir
"True , " said the ) prince. Anil I have
reason to know that Sustrowlch and the
Husslan ambassador were with the king
tit the very moment that I. his brother , wai :
refused admittance to < he royal audience
chamber. Your Journey , I fear , has been
Useless , Sir John. I BCO no means now of
Intmluclng jpu Into his majesty's prcnence ;
and without an Interview "
"lQt that not dlKtrebS you , sir , " said Sir
John. "I no longer require ) your hlghnrss'a
goad oillcea In Introducing mo to his
"You no longer require them ? " the
prlnco said. "Hut now "
"I have already econ the king , " Sir John
Sir Illeh-jrd Anson looked up In sur
prise , .
"You have seen the > king ? " he trald. I
do not understand you. It U but two hours
ulnco you anlvesl In the metropolis. "
"It la two hours since I arrived In
Metropolis for thu second time , Sir Richard ,
yes , " the wily old diplomatist uiuwcrcd , his
keen gray eyra twinkling with pleasure at
the evident perplexity of hla host , whoso
recent' instructive little lecture on the art
of Intrigue he had evidently not forgotten.
"I apprehended that you would do me the
bouor of receiving me In person at the
station , aud havluu reason to know that
lila hlghnrFx' gracious Invitation had passed
through other hands hi fore It reached mine ,
I drcmcd It expcdlniit to reach here four-
ami-twenty nouns earlier than announced.
In tln > Interval I have been enabled , among
other thing ! ! , both to sic and speak with
his majesty. "
Sir Richard Anson looked somewhat
"Then you were present at yesterday's
public audience ? " asked the prince.
" 1 was present , and had the honor , among
many others , of presenting a petition to his
majesty , " replied Sir John. "I there saw
and heard enough to convince me that the
life of his majesty , the king. Is In Imminent
danger , and that nothing but the promptest
action ean uveit the catastrophe that threat
ens him. "
"The king's life threatened ? " the prlnco
murmured. "Hut by whom ? Hy Sastro-
witch ? Nay my friend , " he went on with a
smile , "for once your wisdom haw deserted
you. My brother's death , which heaven
avert , would place me on the throne of
llalkonla. Ask yourself If the exchange
would answer his villainous purpose. "
"Notwithstanding , " Sir John said , "my
Judgment Is Indeed much at fault If the life
of the king of Halkanla Is not In danger , and
from thN very Sastrowltch , who appears to
govern his will. "
"Hut the- result ? " the pi lure asked , "still
Incredulous. "What com o do you propose
to adopt ? "
"With your highness' permission we will j
discuss that question later. For the present
I gather that your highness has. at least , no ,
doubt whatever of the dishonest designs
of the prlmo minister ? And It has , no ,
doubt , occurred to your highness that he
may he In the paid service of Russia ? "
"It has. "
"Anil assuming that proofs of this fact
can be adduced , which I conceive to bo n
very simple matter , Is It your highness'
opinion that such proofs would alter hit )
majesty's views as to the prudence of the-
beside the prince. "It will nave much uao-
Icra explanation and law of valuable time.
They are coplia of telegraphic cipher
dispatches that IKIVO betn exchanged be
tween the llurslan government ami the
llalkanian prime minister since I had the
honor of an Interview with your hlghnerM
two days apo. Their contents , I take It , In
criminate Count Sastrowltch sulllclcntly to
"Great poner.s ! " the prince cried , turning
pale as death , as ho alighted upon the mes
sage referring to hl Intended arrest. "How
have you obtained thu e copies ? "
"Hy a very simple device , sir , " Sir John
replied , "which Is no doubt frequently em
ployed by Count Sastrowltch himself , and la
known to electricians as tapping the tele
graph wires. In short , 'these last two days
I have received all messages that have
pawed between Hussla nnd Ilalkanl.a by
means of a recorder Interpolated at n con
venient sjrat for that purjiose. Throe dis
patches , os your lilghnt-r-a will observe ,
prove conclusively that Sastrowlteh Is In
complicity with Russia , -and that ho pos
sesses guarantees of liberal payment for the
services he has treacherously agreed to
render the IlURslan government. What
more , khcn. ian bo needed to open the
king's eyes nnd reuse him to action ? "
The prlnco paced the room In great agi
"Hut whom , " ho said at last , "can I
trust to place these documents In his maj
esty's hands ? "
"Whom ? " Sir John said In surprise. "As
suredly no one but yourself , sir. Your high
ness must present yourself at the palace
this evening , and demand admittance to
the king , when he confers with Ills minister
and the Russian plenipotentiary. "
"Hut Is U likely that his majesty will
consent to receive mo ? "
"It will be Imperative that your highness
phould proceed to the palace accompanlca
by a sulllclent retinue to obtain access to
the conference , If need bo , by force , " Sir
John said calmly. "I would counsel you ,
sir , to select for this purpose men of such
rank and dignity as will render them un
impeachable witnesses of that which may
pass during the Interview. "
"And what. " said the prince somewhat
coldly , "supposing I could entertain such a
daring plan , would be gained by It ? "
"First and foremost , the liberty , If not
the life , of bin majesty , the king of Hal
kanla , " Sir John replied , fixing his steel grey-
eyes steadily upon -the prince. "Secondly ,
the seizure of that arch villain , the prime
WHEN' FOE MEETS KOE.
lollcy he has so unaccountably embraced ? "
"Can anyone doubt It ? Hut how will you
obtain such proofs as you apeak of ? "
"Hy the same means by which Count
Sastrottl'ch obtained his knowlcilKC of my
> rcsenco In the llalkanian capital , " Sir John
answered. "The dllllculty. 1 think , how
ever , will He. not so much In obtaining
irnnfs of the prlmo minister's duplicity , ns
n bringing them to the knowledge of his
mnjcsty the klnq. "
"Give mo the proofs , " the prlnco ex
claimed resolutely , "and , If need be , I will
force my way Into his majesty'n presence ,
aword In hand , bo the consequences what
hey may. "
"I will take the liberty of reminding your
ilghness of this promise when the occasion
arises , us It dnubtlc.ss will , " John said.
'Kor the present all I would ask is that
two expert telegraph clerks , whoso loyalty
and trustworthiness are beyond doubt , be
ilaccd at my disposal , with Instructions to
: arry out such orders as I shall give them ,
illndly and without iiuestlon. "
"The director ot the posts and telegraphs
s ono of my staunch friends , " thu prlnco
said. "You shall have what you require ,
lut tell me , when do you expect to be
n possession of these proofs ? Time la
ircclous. Tlio king may bo Induced at any
nomcnt to give his signature to the Russian
renty , and cnce signed , no power can re-
eke It. "
"It will bo your highness' fault , " Sir
ohn said. "If the king signs the treaty bo-
ort > ho has seen proofs of his minister's
roachery. That his majesty will not sign
t after ho has been them , for this , I think
can vouch. "
"Well , bo It BO , " the prince said. "I have
exhausted nil other means of averting this
hreatenlng calamity. I leave myself in
our hands. Sir John. "
It was two days after this conversation
vhcn Sir Itlchard Ana on , the Drltlnh
dcnlpctentiary. received the following note
roni the prlnco regent :
"Wo are too late. At C o'clock this even-
ng the king will receive the Uus-slan nm-
> assador In secret audience and tilgn the
rttcles of the treaty. Inform Sir John.
Gregor Alexander. "
On reading < thls communication Sir Rlch-
i\l Anson sprang from his chair , rang hit )
lell and ordered his secretary to Inform
Ir John Templeton that ho desired to speak
1th him on n matter of the utmost
rgcncy. Two minutes later Sir John eu-
croil the study.
"I fear this Is a checkmate , " his cxcel-
cncy said , placing 'tho prlnce'-j nolo In Sir
ohn'fl hands. "What la to bo done ? "
The old diplomat glanced through the
oto , nnd retained It In hla liamlii.
"Tho prince , I bee , has faithful bervltors , "
it bald. "I nni In possession of similar
ews , nnd from a more authentic source. "
"Indeed ? " said Sir Ulcharxl. a little not
ed at the old gentleman's coolnecs. "IVr-
pd Count Satitrowlch himself has been
good enough to communicate his Intentions
o you. "
"Exactly , " Sir John replied , with a smllo
f perfect goo < l humor. "Your excellency , 1
ercelve. has the Inborn gift of ponetratloi.
hlch U the distinguishing characteristic of
Ho true > diplomat. "
Sir Klchard stared at him In astoniah-
"I have , however , further and more serious
own for his highness , the prlnco. " Sir
ohn continued. "Immediately after the
oncluiilon of tlio audience of bU excellency ,
: io Russian ambassador , a cabinet order for
lie arrest of his hlgnrss , the prlnco regent ,
vlll be signed and delivered for Instant
xecutlon Into the hands of General Hostrofi' ,
ho new conimander-ln-chlef of the army.
"The devil ! " ald Sir Richard. "Hut you
ri > joking , surely. I shall next hear that
hU pleco of newa baa been .conveyed to you
> y the Ituiiflan ambassador. "
llefonMa companion ociild answer thu
or woa thrown open and the prince regent
ilnmclf was announced.
Ills highness entered with the nlr of a
ian ulio had given himself up to dcxpalr.
"You have heard the news ? " he askc < l.
Sir John nlgnltled a silent arcent.
"And there U nothing to bo done notli-
ng ! " the prlnco exclaimed , throwing him-
elf Into n chair with a gceturo of drapcra-
on. "This acciliveil treaty will becomu a
callty , and Halkanla's freedom Is gone. "
"On the contrary , ( hero Is everything to
o done , sir. " Sir John said , "or Halkanla
III lose not only Its liberty , but Its king , "
"It's king ? " the prlnco cried , springing
| i with an air of Impatience. "Do you a'.lll
dhcro to this etrnngc- notion that the klng'a
fu 1s In peril ? On my soul , I wUh 1 felt
a sure of my own safety an I feel uuro of
ils majesty's. "
"Trui' , " Sir John Bald , "When your
Ighness' arrest baa been accomplished It
my ba too late to avert Its probable con-
enucnccti. It Is but ono utvp from the
rl&ou to tlu < scaffold. "
"My arn tj" the prlnco stammered ,
ulllng back In dismay , "Io you inwn "
"If your lilfihncMi will glance/ through
leBo papers , " Sir John broke In , placing
mall bundle of documents on , tbo table
minister. Count Sastrowltch. Thirdly , and
lastly , If your highness so wills , the saving
of your native country from a calamity
greater than even you at this moment dream
The prince , Impressed In splto of himself
by the solemnity of the old diplomatist
manner , walked to the window In evident
"You tempt mo sorely , " he said. In n
volco trembling with excitement. "Hut nil
this means violence to the king's person.
It may cost me my head. "
"And mo. mine , " replied Sir John quietly.
"Yet I am prepared to risk It. "
"If you could catlsfy mo that his majesty's
llfi > Is really in danger , " the prlnco began ,
wavering. "Hut I see no evidence "
"I will prove It. "
"When ? "
"When I stand with your hlghnefs face
to fnco with thld man Sastrowltch. "
"To the king's satisfaction ? "
"To the king's satisfaction. "
"Well , bo It risked then , " the prince eald
with a sigh. "Indeed , I fear I have no
other coutse. Yet , save for the knowledge
of what you have already accomplished , l
would sooner cut off my right hand than to
do wh.it I have undertaken to do. "
It had hardly struck the quarter after G
o'clock when the prince regent , accompanied
by Sir Hlchard Anson , and followed In
another carriage by the master of his house-
held , a scion of one of thu oldest Halkanlan
families , and two other nobles of high
military rank , drove up to the grand
entrance of the king's palace.
On alighting the party were joined by
Sir John Templeton and proceeded unques
tioned through the lines of obsequious
Incqiiojs to the king's private audlcncu
chamber on the ground floor.
They wcro met ns they entered the ante
room by the olllcer on duty , who Informed
the prlnco with a military salute that his
majesty was engaged on Important affairs
of state , and had given orders that ho was
not to bo disturbed.
"Tho king's orders , my friend , " the prince
said haughtily , "were obviously not Intended
to apply to his own brother. You will there
fore bo good enough to Inform his majesty
that I am here , and request an Immediate
hearing on a matter of the utmost urgency. "
Ho took a step towards the door leading
to the audience chamber. Hut the olllcer ,
a sturdy scldler , who had now recovered
from his surprise and consternation , Inter
posed himself determinedly between the
prlnco and the door.
"Your highness , " he Bald bluntly , drawing
his sword , "I am hereto do my duty. The
king's commands shall bo obeyed , even If
I have to use "
Hut before ho could complete the sentence
Ills sword was wrested frcm liU hand and he
was hurled asldo with considerable violence
by ono of the ofllcers of the prince's suite.
The next moment the prince himself had
flung open the door nnd entered the audlcnco
chamber. The others folloucd In silent
Their entry had an extraordinary effect.
The room was cccuplcd by thrco persons ,
onu ot whom was reclining In n spacious
easy-chair drawn up at the nido of the writ
ing table , and the other two wcro standing
engaged In an animated discussion on the
opposite sldo of the table. Ono of these
two , a soinetthat ' gaunt figure , with jet
black eyra and hair , and n Minister , over-
changing expression of countenance , was
Count Sastroulteb , tbo Halkanlan prlmo
minister , the other wes ambassador at the
court of Halkanla. I'rlnco Soratoff.
Thu prime minister's face , when the prlnco
regent nnd his companions appeared upon
the threshold , assumed an expression In
\\hlch fury and consternation wcro equally
blended. It was evident that the suddenness
of this Intrusion had taken him completely
aback , and for tbo moment deprived him of
utterance. The Russian plenipotentiary ,
I'rlnco Soratoff. appeared scarcely to realize
what was passing , and glanced alternately
at the minister and at the group of nuw-
coineiri , with an air of utter bewilderment.
As for his majesty of Halkanla , the pale and
somewhat bent figure reclining In the arm
chair. It would be dinicult to nay what the
emotions were In his countenance. Pre
dominant , hcucver. among others was an air
of total belpetsnc 3 , expressed meat speak-
Ingly In an appealing glance which he cast
upon Count Sastrowltch , ns If to Invoke the
aid of hU strong will.
All tin-so particulars the prlnco regent
took In at a glance , ns ho advanced
resolutely Into the middlu of thu room.
"My brother. " he begun , In a firm but
rcgpi-ctful voice , "If I have been compelled
to Intrude thus unceremoniously upon ycur
privacy , the fault Is not mine , and , more
over , the circumstances which bring mo
hero will , I feel assured , exonerate mo from
any blntnv In your majesty's eyes. To bo
brief , " he went on In a sterner tone , and
pointing to Count Sastrowltch , "I stand
here us the accuser of yonder Insolent
schemer. Thin man , In whom your majesty
las BO blindly confided , ban bartered his
country's InttTitjla and bis sovereign's for
a num. of cold. 1 have It oil unimpeachable
evidence. These papers , which I beseech
ycur majesty "
Hut he got no further. With n quick
movement Count Sastrowltch , stepping for
ward , wrenched the bundle of papers the
prince held out towards the king from his
hands , and , facing htm with a. fierce ,
vindictive look , exclaimed :
"Do you think his majesty has time to
amuse himself by examining these Im
pudent forgeries ? This device to foil me
and thwart the work of sober statcsman-
nblp li well conceived Indeed , but Its cun
ning la too palpable. .Moreover , " ho con
tinued , and lime a note ot malicious
triumph noundcd In his voice , "the artifice
comes too late , I'rlnco Gregor Alexnnder.
The treaty Is already signed. Delicti ! the
counterpart in the hands of his excellency ,
the ambassador of Russia. "
The prince , rnd these with him. fell back
In 4lsmny , while I'rlnco Soratoff , the Russian
plenipotentiary , hold up the fateful docu
ment for hla highness' Inspection with a bow
and n oanlonlc smile.
"We are too late , then , " the prince mur
mured at last In a pained voice. "The
villainy has succeeded. "
"Unless your hlgluuca , " Sastrowltch snld ,
Jeerlngly , "to crown the audacity of your
newly assumed role , chooses to lay violent
hands upon tbo sacred person of Htisaln'H
envoy , and remedy by force what your wit
has failed to prevent. "
"Enough. " the king murmured , rising
feebly In his chair nnd casting another hnlf-
appcatlng glance nt the minister , ns If ho
sought Inspiration nnd encouragement from
him. "I have heard too much. Your high
ness shall answer for this Insolent contempt
of my royal authority. Am 1 to bo the mere
pin ) thing of these who oppose mo ? Hegone ,
sir ; leave my presence ! Count Sastrowlteh ,
you know my will. Rid mo of these In-
Ho sank back again Into his chair , pale
nnd trembling , more like a man In dire ex
tremity who has braced himself for n
moment to utter words of defiance Inspired
by another's mind than a monarch Issuing
liLs own commands.
Sir John Templeton had never taken his
eyes off him since he entered. nd 'hla ' steady ,
unremitting gaze had n peculiar effect upon
Its object. The king did not return It , nor
even apparently show any consciousness that
It was tllrectcd upon lilm. Hut ever ami
anon a shiver , as of some Inner apprehen
sion , would pass over him , nnd lie would
move uneasily In his chair nnd glance In his
helplrea. dependent way across at Count
The latter , Interpreting the movement In
his own fashion , strode with a gleam of
fierce determination In his eyes toward the
door leading to the ante-room by which the
prlnco and his attendants 1iad entered.
"If the hlng'a orders fall upon heedless
oars , " he snld as he parsed the prince , "there
arc these here who will see them executed.
After all , If the die falls sooner than In
tended , It U your highness' fault , not mine. "
A malicious smile hung upon his lips ns
he uttered tluso words. Hut his Inten
tions , whatever they were , wcro not destined
to bo fulfilled. Hcfore be reached the door
he was Intercepted by one of the officers of
the prince's suite , who. with hla hand upon
his sword hilt , ready to draw , opposed hla
"No ojio leaves this room unless his high
ness permits It , " he sold determinedly
Count Sastrowltch fell back amazed.
"What ! " he exclaimed. "Has It come
to this ? Violence to the king's majesty ?
This is treason open rebellion. "
"Stay , " the prlnco Interposed , addressing
Ms zealous comiiar.lnu.
Ho bowed low to tlio king , nnd turned to
these who accompanied him.
"Follow me , gentlemen , " ho said. "You
have heard his [ majesty's commands. It Is
for us to obey them. Nay. 1 have said it ,
Sir John , " ho atldod , with n little Hush of
impatience , seeing that the old diplomat
alone made no islgns of moving from the
spot. "You see that further persistence is
useless. Your assurance has for once de
ceived you. No mortal man has the power
to undo what Is done. "
While he spoku a look of Intensely anx
ious expression settled upon the face ot
Count Snstrowltch , and his eyes hung almost
hungrily upon Sir John's answer.
It came slowly nnd deliberately.
"Your highness will remember the con
dition under which I came-here , " Sir John
said , without altering his position or re
moving his eyes from the one object on
which they had so long been riveted. "I
pledged my word that I would withdraw
from the king's presence at the king's orders
alone. Let his majesty with his own lips
command mo to retire , and I will go ; not
"Presumptuous man , " the prlmo minister
exclaimed hoarsely. "The king's com
mands have been conveyed through my
mouth. What more Is needed "
Ills sentence was suddenly cut short.
With a startling abruptness Sir John
Templeton , now for tbo first time , turned
his head toward the speaker , anil flashed
upon him a gaze so keen and penetrating
that the count broke off his speech with an
inarticulate stammer , as If ho bad been
struck by a blow.
The effect was extraordinary , ar.d thrilled
every ono present with a vague sense of
some coming event.
For the space of several seconds the two
men stood thus facing ono another. Then ,
turning once more toward tbo spot from
which ho had just removed his eyes , Sir
John raised his right arm slowly and pointed
to the figure In the easy chair.
"You lie. Count Sastrowltch , " he said ,
speaking In tbo same quiet , deliberate man
ner ns before. "For you know that yonder
wretched man Is not tbo king of Ualkanla. "
To convey nn adequate conception of the
tremendoua Impression produced by these
words 1 a task beyond the capacity of my
humble pen. Their effect , indeed , was In
describable. The prime minister , with eyes
tl la tended and bloodless checks , staggered
back , clutching convulsively at the arms of
the chair that stood beside him , while his
lips opened and closed mechanically , as If
he were struggling for speech and could
bring forth no sound.
A moment of total silence followed. The
two ambassadors gazed , dumb and openmouthed -
mouthed , now at Sir John , and now at Count
Sastrowltch , whilst the others stood rooted
to the spot otruck mute , ns It neemcd ,
with astonishment at a revelation , the full
meaning of which their mlnda wcro quite
unprepared to grasp. The prince was the
first to break tbo alienee. Utlerlng an ex
clamation , half of horror , half of bewilder
ment , he took a step forward , then stopped
again , and remained In an attitude of eager
expectation , looking toward Sir John Tem
pleton , as If for Homo further solution of
the extraordinary mystery his words had un
Amid this strange scene the miserable
object of It all , still recumbent In the royal
armchair , but completely collapsed now and
huddled together In an almost shapeless
mass , stared with dull eyes vacantly into
tbu space before him , quivering and quaking
like a creature ktrlclicn with a sudden palsy.
Slowly lr John let his extended right arm
sink to his side. Then , turning once more
to the prlnco regent , he l > owed low , nnd
said In his simple , courtly tones
"I am at your majesty's commands. "
The words released the spell that rested
upon the assembly. Uttering n yell of
mingled fury end despair. Count Sastro-
wltch now sprang forward with a sudden
bound. Hut whether his purpose was to
fall upon Sir John Templeton. or to wreak
his mad passlou upon the prince , whom ho
hated , will never be known ; for before ho
could execute It he was seized by the two
rfllcers of the lattcr's retinue and held In
their Iron grip , powerless to act or move.
Palo and nglUiteJ , I'rlnco Gregor Alexan
der strode quickly to the door , turned the
key In HID lock , and , approaching the
prime minister , who stood with white lips
and staring eyes , between his two stalwart
guardians , regarded him long and Intently.
"Mistrablu man. " ho isald , at last , "I rc-
qulro no confirmation from your lips Hut ,
by the heavens above us , unless you make
full confession of your unexampled vll-
lalr.y I will have you torn to pieces limb
by limb , without ruth or mercy. You have
heard me. Now speak. What have you
done with my brother ? "
licfaro .Sastrowlteh could answer Sir John
Interposed , respectfully.
"Perhaps , sire , " ho said , "slnco It lias
fallen to my lot to disclose thin lamentable
history eo far , you will permit mo to ex
plain what remains to be explained. Count
Sastrowltch can correct mo where I may be
at fault , and supply. If he so will , such de
tails as I In my Ignorance may omit. That
your majesty ban beer , king of Halkanla for
four weeks was apparent to mo from the
moment I set my eyes upon this sorry coun
terfeit of royal majesty , As your majesty
U doubtless aware , four Inmates of thu late
king's household succumbed to tlui epidemic
malady which broke out within the palace
walla two months ago. Ot tbet e , ono up-
> " ' ' ' ' * ' ' ' " ' " '
* * r' * * * * < * < * * * >
VitnMMtetl Comet J rrrj' Week ,
The Companion of the Whole Family.
Celebrating in 1897 its seventy-first birthday ,
The Companion offers its readers many excep
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vv lion. WILLIAM L. WILSON , Postmaster-General , Col. GEO. E. WARING , Jr. , N. Y. City St. Cleaning Dcpt.
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sv Writers. Distinguished Contributors.
vSI IAN MACLAREN. CHARLES DUDLEY WARNER. MARQUIS OF LORNE. MADAME LILLIAN NORDICA.
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parcntly died with n suddenness unusual. If
not unprecedented , li. the , case of this par
ticular disease , a fact which passed at the
time without attracting attention , for the
supposed victim was n person of lit
tle consequence , no other Indeed , than
the body-servant of the deceased monarch. "
"Merciful powers ! " the prince broke In ,
gazing of a sudden Intently at the wretched
man In the chair. "Valetzkl ! I see It nil.
It Is Valetzkl himself , tbo Into king's valet. "
"Precisely , " Sir John resumed. "It was
his majesty , the king , who died of typhoid
fever , not his servant. The man's natural
resemblance to his royal master , which
vanity had led him to cultivate by artificial
means , no doubt first suggested to Count
Sastrowltch the possibility of the fraud which
has now been so opportunely exposed. How
It was effected , probably no one Is better
qualified to explain than Doctor LobellotT.
his late majesty's body-physician , who certi
fied the supposed fact of Valetzkl's death
nnd arranged for the Interment of the
king's remains In place ot those of his bcrv-
aut."Ah ! " the prince exclaimed , covering his
face and shuddering. "My brother burled
In a valet'a grave. The villains , the vil
lains ! "
Aa the whole details of the dastardly plot
broke In upon his Intelligence he seemed
for the first time to realize the ! ot > s of the
brother he had loved and revered so deeply ,
and he gave way to a burst of grief which
was affecting to behold.
" " Prince-Soratoff the
"Your Mnjcsty , said ,
Russian plenipotentiary , stepping forward ,
after a pause , with an air ot deep concern ,
"will scarcely need any assurance that the
august government I have the honor to
represent never entertained the faintest sus
picion of this vile plot. This worthless
parchment" Hinging , the treaty upon the
table with a gesture of disgust "proves con
clusively that my ( sovereign has been no less
the dupe of yonder craven Bchemcr than
your majesty yourself. "
"It Is well , " the prlnco said , regaining
his self-control once more , and-speaking In
a cold and disdainful tone. ' ! have , as you
say , no need of your excellency's assurance.
Nay , no more. I have heart ! sulllclent. As
for you , gentlemen , " ho continued , address
ing those around him generally , "you will ,
I beg , observe tbo Htrlctcet sllunco on what
you have witnessed hero this evening. The
punishment of those concerned In thlo au
dacious crime I reserve Tor my future
While the officers of his suite , with the
two wretched conspirators In their midst ,
passed siowly from the room , the prince
turned Impulsively to Sir John Templeton ,
who , with the two ambassadors , was pre
paring to follow them.
"Ah , Sir John , " ho exclaimed , "you have
Grant , " the great
scries uf articles by
Gen. Horace Porter.
i I Number
I I CENTURY
I < is ready.
1I 1I I 1
1i 1I I I Campaigning with
i Washington , in Dr.
cl of the Revolution.
done well , marvelously well. I understand
now why you have acted tbnu. uud not
otherwise. There were weightier things to
consider hero thun the tender feelings of n
brother ; else I might perhaps have just
cause of complaint that you did not employ
gentler means than those of removing the
veil from my eyra. Hut rest assured of
my gratitude. I shall not forget what you
have done for my country , us well as for
him who now rules It. "
I to waved his hand In token of farewell ,
and Sir John Templeton bowed In silence
and withdrew ,
* * *
It ulll be remembered that the middon
accession of I'rlnco Gregor Alexander to the
throne of Halknnla at one of the most critical
moments of European history , salving al
most providentially , n men thought , a po
litical complication , the consequences of
which were incalculable , took all the uorld
Of the fate of Count Sastrowltch , Dr.
Lobelleff and Valetzkl , the present writer
can say nothing. There are certain thin pa
they manage very , very quietly In Dalkanla.
IIY YHIIO\V .lArivlVI'S.
A Hold - MintIOH | TlirniiKli 'I'III-1r Vcn-
IIIIIOIIMlla < -U.
Dan Do Qulllo. n well known Itocky
Meain'aln writer , tells the following : "Some
times accidents of ono kind and another
have resulted In the loss of good mining
properties. I once lost n very rich vein of
gold-bearing quartz because of encountering
a nest of yellow jackets. It was In Nevada
county. California , In 1859. In company with
Colonel CdwnrdH , a merchant of the town of
Omega , I was hunting and prospecting In
the vlciylty of Diamond creek , then a now
and rich placer mining camp. I carried a
shotgun and Colonel ICdwards a prospecting
pick. The country was covered with n
heavy forest of pine , spruce nnd fir , and as
wo strolloJ along wo came to a big pine
tree that grew out of or upon a largo ledge
of favorable-looking quartz.
"I took the pick from the old colonel and ,
handing-him my gun , set to work upon the
quart/ . I had just broken off a lump
weighing about a pound from the quartz
cropplngs. when from under the roots of
t'io ' pine came a perfect swarm of yellow
Jiu-kUj. Thrusting the lump of quartz into
my coat pocket , I took to my heels. The
colonel , who was pretty well advanced In
years , had placed bin spectacles on Ills
nose preparatory to exami.-.K : ! the namplo
of rock I was breaking off , gazed after mo
In astonlsl.ircnt when ho paw mo pocket
the quartz and run away. Concluding J
was up to semi ! Joke , the old gentleman
advanced to the quartz vein and stooped
lown to inspect It at the point where. I had
broken into It.
"Suddenly ho gave a wild whoop , and
taking off his hat began to swing It and
dance about amid a perfect swarru of the
yellow jackets. His bald head offered a
shining mark that seemed to attract scores
of the Insects. For a brief period the old
gentleman fought his venomous little ene
mies , then ho beat u retreat. Slinging his
hat In one direction and my gun In an
other , he threw himself upon the ground ,
and rlaulng about III led the air with plno
leave.soli , sticks and all else that came to
hand , rolling to and fro nnd howling like a
uliuk > Digger wake. Cutting a fir hough , I
ran to his assistance and whipped bath him
and the jackets until ho begged me to let
up. I then helped him to Ills feet , and to
gether wo made tracks to the- nearest thicket.
"Presently I ventured forth and recoveid
thu hat and thu gun. About tlila time wo
started a tlock of grouoo and after them vi-
went. The blrdH led on until wo were nearly
a inllo away from the quartz vein when
they scattered and no let them go , Mean
while I had not looked at my pleco of quartz
cropping. To my great agtonlahment , when
J took It from my pocket and examined It
I fonncJ It all allvo and sparkling with frco
gold. The gold was coarse , too In largo
spangles. It w&s a wonderful tlr.d. and I
wan for going back at once and burn out the
yellow jackets , prospect further and makp a
location , but the old colonel mild hn was
too tired , and as wo were a inllo on our
way toward homo wo would go on and comeback
back tbo next Sunday to locate the quartz
veinVo went homo and the next Sunday
found us again on Diamond creek. Wo
searched the country high and low. but
could not hit upon the vein.Vo never a\v
It again , though wo Hpimt many dayn In
bunting for It , "
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FRANK R. STOCKTON
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