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dressed, and ordered his horses to be have you cherished an affection for harnessed. Joyous and free from care, Marja Perekatoff a long time, or has he paced up and down his room, hum. your passion kindled suddenly ?" ming a tune, nay, even danced a few “It is not my intention, Captain steps several times, took up a book of Lutschkoff, to discuss my relations ballads, rolled it and tied a blue ribbon towards Marja . Serjeyna with you,” around it.
Kister answered coldly. The door opened and Lutschkoff en- "Ah! As you please. Then you wili tered, dressed in his great-coat, without probably kindly allow me to believe epaulets, and with his cap on his head. that you have taken me for a fool.”
Kister stopped in the middle of the Lutschkoff uttered these words very room in astonishment, without fasten- slowly and hesitatingly. ing the ends of the ribbon in a bow. “You cannot suppose that of me,
"Do you mean to marry Marja Pere. Captain Lutschkoff; you know me too katoff ?” asked Lutschkoff quietly. well.” Kister's wrath flamed out.
“I know you? Who does really know “My respected sir,” he began, “when you? A strange person-mysterious as well-bred people enter strangers' rooms, the forest; according to his outer man, they take off their caps and say good- our comrade—that is all. I know that morning."
you read German verses with much "Pardon me,” replied the bully, re- feeling, nay even with tears in your moving his cap. "Good-morning.” eyes; I know that you have hung va
“Good-morning, Captain Lutschkoff. rious charts on the walls of your room; You ask if I intend to marry Marja I know that you
bestow special Perekatoff ? Haven't you read my solicitude on the care of your precious letter?"
person; I know
that-but nothing “Yes. So you are going to be married. more." I congratulate you.”
Kister flushed scarlet with anger. “I accept your congratulations and “May I enquire the purpose of your thank you. But I must go now.”
visit?" he said at last. “You have not “I should like to have an explanation recognized me for three weeks, and now with you, Fedor Fedorovitsch."
you come with the apparent intention “I have no objection—with pleasure," of making game of me. I am no boy, replied Kister. “To be frank, I ex. my dear sir, I allow no one pected such explanation. Youi “Pardon me,” Lutschkoff interrupted, treatment of me has been so strange, “who will venture to make sport of you! and it seems to me so unmerited, that I On the contrary, I came with a very could not suppose But won't you sit humble request-the request that you down? Will you take a pipe ?"
will kindly explain your conduct. Allow Lutschkoff seated himself. His mɔve. me to ask: Did you not force the acments betrayed a strange lassitude. quaintance of the Perekatoff family He stroked his moustache and raised his upon me? Did you not assure your deeyebrows.
voted servant that he would 'expand “Tell me, Fedor Fedorovitsch,” he anew' in heart and soul? And lastly, began at last, "why did you humbug me did you not throw me into the society of so long?”
the virtuous Marja Serjevna? So why “What do you mean?"
should I not suppose that I have to “Why did you always play the part thank you for that last pleasant interof an innocent, stainless fellow when change of feelings, about which you you are just as bad as the rest of us have probably already been informed in sinners?”
fitting words. The betrothed bride al. “I don't understand you. Have I ways confesses everything to her future offended you in any way?"
husband, especially 'her innocent pranks. “You don't understand? Very well. So why shouldn't I believe that this tre. I'll try to speak more plainly. Tell me, mendous hoax was played upon me at
your instigation? You took so cocdial and calumnies I hear nothing but the an interest in my 'regeneration.'
cry of offended self-esteem, and I can luster was pacing up and down his feel no compassion for you. You have
been rightly served." "Listen, Lutschkoff,” he said, "if you “By heaven, how well the fellow really mean what you say–which, to understands talking!” muttered Lutschspeak openly, I don't believe I mist koff. “My self-esteem,” he continued; tell you that you ought to be ashamed "very true, that has been most keenly, to attribute my steps and conduct to deeply wounded. But who is free from such. insulting moores. I don't intend self-love? You, perhaps? Yes, I am to justify myself-I only uppeal to your selfish, but I won't allow any one to pity conscience and your memory."
me." "Very fine; then I will remind myself "You won't allow ?" replied Kister that you were constantly whispering proudly. “What words are those, Capwith Marja Serjevna. But let me ask tain Lutschkoff ? Consider every tie one more question: Were you not at the between us is sundered. I therefore Perekatoff's directly after the well-beg you to treat me with the courtesy known conversation between us? that is the due of every respectable After the evening when, like a thorough man." simpleton, I told you, my best friend, “Sundered! Every tie sundered!” of the promised meeting?"
Lutschkoff continued. "Very well! Then “What, do you suppose me capa- learn that I neither recognized nor ble"
called on you out of compassion; since "I suspect others of nothing of which you pity me, you will probably permit I am not capable myself," interrupted me to compassionate you. I did not Lutschkoff in an icy tone; "but I have wish to place you in a false position, the weakness of believing that other but to rouse your conscience. You men are no better than I.”
alluded to our former relations—as if, "There you are wrong," replied Kister after your marriage you might still emphatically; "other men are better have remained my friend! But enough than you.”
of this! You were my friend only to be “I have the honor to congratulate able to use me as a shield for your you," rejoined Lutschkoff calmly, precious person." "but
Lutschkoff's unprincipled suspicion “But," Kister angrily interrupted, enraged Kister. "remember in what terms you told me “Let us end this disagreeable converof that meeting of — Still, I see that sation!” he cried. “To be frank, I don't these explanations are useless. Believe understand why you have come to me." what you will of me and act as you “You really can't understand that?" please.”
replied Lutschkoff, with feigned sun “Ah, I like that," observed Lutschkoff. prise. "That's a plain statement."
"No." “Act as you please," repeated Kister. “No-0-0 ?"
"I understand your situation, Fedor “I repeat: no." Fedorovitsch," Lutschkoff went on with “That's superb! That's really superb! feigned sympathy, "It is unpleasant, Who would have thought it of so clever very unpleasant. Weare playing a part, a fellow.” playing it capitally, and nobody sus- “Will you tell me what you want?" pects us of being an actor, all at "I have come to you," Lutschkoff con
tinued, as he slowly rose from his chair, "If I could believe," Kister inter- "I have come to you to challenge you rupted, speaking through his set teeth, to a duel. Do you understand me now? “that it was only wounded love which I wish to fight with you. Aha! you dictated your words, I might pity and thought you could get rid of me without forgive you. But in your reproaches ceremony. Didn't you know with
whom you were dealing?
business affairs, and after dinner drove imagine I would allow you
directly to her house. During the “Very well,” Kister interrupted in a whole evening Kister was unusually cold, sharp tone. “I accept your chal- gay, perhaps a little too full of mirth. lenge. Send your second to me.”
Marja played on the piano a great “Yes, yes,” replied Lutschkoff, who, deal. She noticed nothing unusual and like a cat, was loth to give up his flirted with him in the most charming victim so quickly; "I confess it will way. At first her cheerfulness hurt afford me great satisfaction to aim my him, then he regarded it as an omen of pistol to-morrow at your blond, ideal good fortune, rejoiced in it and become head."
perfectly calm. “You seem to wish to continue your She had become more warmly atinsults after your challenge," Kister tached to Fedor every day; the wish for answered contemptuously. "Be kind happiness was stronger in her nature enough to go. It is distasteful to me to than the capacity for passion. Besides, hold any further conversation with Lutschkoff bad cured her of all exag. you.”
gerated feelings-she had renounced “Ah! yes, delicatesse. I don't under- them forever. Nenila loved Kister like stand French, but I picked up that word a son, and Perekatoff, as usual, folfrom Marja Serjevna,” muttered lowed his wife's example. Lutschkott, putting on his cap. “Fare- “Good-bye till we meet again!" said well till our next pleasant meeting, Marja to Kister, as she took leave of Fedor Fedorovitsch."
him in the ante-room and noticed with He bowed and left the room.
a quiet smile the long, tender kiss he Kister paced to and fro several times. pressed upon her hands. His face burned and his chest heaved “Till we meet again!” he answered passionately. He had no fear of what confidently; “till we meet again." was impending and his anger had al- ' But when he had gone half a verst a ready passed away; but the thought great anxiety seized upon him; he rose that he had once called such a man his in his carriage and gazed back at the friend was unspeakably bitter. He al- mansion. His eyes sought the lighted most rejoiced over the duel. In this window-but the whole house was dark way he would instantly rid himself of as a tomb. the past. “Yes," he thought, “I shall
CHAPTER X. fairly conquer my happiness.” Marja's picture seemed to smile upon him and The next morning at eleven o'clock promise him victory. "No, I shall not Kister's second, an experienced old fall, I shall not fall,” he repeated, with major, entered his room. The brave a quiet smile.
veteran twirled and chewed his grey On the table lay the letter to his moustache, predicting all manner of ill. mother. His heart suddenly shrank. luck to Lutschkoff. He determined, under the circum- The horses were harnessed to the car. stances, not to send it yet. He felt as if riage. Kister gave the major two his vital energy was doubled, which is letters-one was addressed to his always the case when a man is in the mother, the other to Marja. presence of danger. He quietly consid- “What's this for?” ered all the possibilities of the duel and “We can never knowmade himself familiar with the thought
“Nonsense! We'll shoot him down that misfortune might be in store for like an old partridge!" him and Marja, that they might be “No matter!" separated-yet looked hopefully for- The major angrily thrust both letters ward to the future. He resolved not to into the side-pocket of his overcoat. kill Lutschkoff. An irresistible yearn- -“Now, forward.” jog drew him towards Marja. He se- They drove off. Lutschkoff, with his cured a second, hurriedly arranged his second, the perfumed adjutant, bis former friend, was waiting for them on without an element of stately picturLoe edge of a little wood, two versts esqueness. First comes an usher, then from Kirolowo. The weather was the sergeant-at-arms with the mace beautiful. The birds were twittering upon his shoulder, followed by a couple peacefully, and a peasant near by was of doorkeepers dressed like the usher, ploughing long furrows in the soil. in low-cut waistcoats, short jackets,
While the seconds were measuring knee-breeches and silk stockings; then the distance, marking the barriers, ex- the Speaker in his huge court wig and amining and loading the pistols, the his long gown, which is held up by a adversaries did not exchange a single train-bearer, followed by the chaplain glance. Kister, with a calm face, paced in a Geneva gown, and, lastly, two more to and fro, lashing the air with a broken doorkeepers attired, like all the figures bough. Lutschkoff stood motionless in the procession, in sober suits of with folded arms and sullen brow. solemn black. As the procession slowly The decisive moment had come.
treads its way across the bright tessel. “To your places, gentlemen.”
ated pavement of the Lobby, while the Kister walked swiftly toward the members stand by with heads reverbarrier; but ere ne had taken five steps ently uncovered, its sombre hue is Lutscbkoff fired. Kister staggered, emphasized by the ornate frame in took one step forward, tottered; his which it is set—the richly moulded grey head dropped on his breast, his knees walls, the wonderful oak carving, the gave way, and he fell heavily on the stained-glass windows, the fretted rool grass.
with its multi-colored grooves, and its The major rushed up to him.
dependent electric light chandeliers in "Is it possible!" whispered the dying heavy brass-all of which help to make man.
this famous vestibule of the House one Lutschkoff approached his victim. of the most beautiful architectural feaHis thin, sinister face wore an expres- tures of the Palace of Westminster. sion of rude, grim sympathy. He looked The procession disappears through the at the adjutant and the major, bowed open portals of the House; the members his head like a criminal, silently in the Lobby crowd in after it. The mounted his horse and rode at a walk doors are then locked, and the voice straight to the colonel's quarters. of the principal doorkeeper crying And Marja? She is still alive. "Speaker at prayers" is heard resound
ing through the Lobby.
Only the occupants of the Ladies' Gallery have the privilege of seeing
members at prayers. All other "stranFrom Temple Bar. gers” are rigidly excluded from the THE COMMONS AT WORK.
chamber. The ladies are probably per “Hats off ! Way for the Speaker!" mitted to look on at the ceremony, beWith these words of command the open- cause cooped up as they are, most un. ing of every sitting of the House of gallantly, behind a thick, heavy brass Commons is heralded. They strike the network known as “the grille," their notes of the supremacy of the Speaker, presence can hardly be regarded as an and the reverence paid to his exalted intrusion that is felt at this solemn part position, which are so noticeable during of the proceedings. a sitting of the House of Commons. When the doors are closed behind the The command is uttered in the Lobby, procession, the Speaker walks up the or ante-chamber of the House, by the floor of the House, bowing low to the inspector of the police on duty in and empty chair which he is about to occupy, about the Palace of Westminster, just and accompanied only by the sergeantas the Speaker emerges from the cor- at-arms and the chaplain. The train. ridor leading from his residence. bearer and the doorkeepers stop at the
This appearance of the Speaker is not Bar. The Speaker does not take the
chair at once, but stands at the head of notices of motions handed in by memthe table with the chaplain by his side. bers, and taking minutes of the proThen in the silent Chamber three briei ceedings for the journals of the House. prayers are impressively recited by the The table is indeed a “substantial piece chaplain, while the responses are given of furniture," as Mr. Disraeli described in a solemn voice by the Speaker. One it on a famous occasion when he exprayer is for the queen, another for the pressed his delight that it lay between royal family, and the third is that the him and Mr. Gladstone, who had just deliberations of the Commons may be made a fierce declamatory attack upon conducted "without prejudice, favor, oi him. It contains volumes of the Stand. partial affection.” The members stand ing Orders and Sessional Orders, and in their places on the benches, fronting other works of reference in regard to each other, with the floor between, the procedure of the House, and also until, after the prayers, the collect, pens, ink, and stationery for the use of “Prevent us, O Lord,” is recited, when members. they all turn round and face the wall. At the end of the table, on either side, Service over, the Speaker enters the are two brass-bound oaken boxes. chair, and the chaplain retreats back. These are the famous “despatch-boxes." wards, bowing to the Speaker, at every on which ministers and ex-ministers lay few steps of his retrograde movement, their notes when addressing the House, and not unfrequently colliding with and, following the great example of Mr. members who throng the floor, until he Gladstone, thump to give emphasis to reaches the refuge of the Bar, when, an argument. Both boxes contain making his final bow to the chair, he marks and indentations which have disappears through the
open been caused by the big signet-ring swing-doors of the Chamber. At the which Mr. Gladstone wore on one of the same moment a subdued noise of rush- fingers of his right hand, when at times ing feet is heard in the galleries. in power on the Treasury ich, and at “Strangers” are now being admitted to times in Opposition on the Front Bench the House. The representatives of the at the other side of the table, he press enter over the Speaker's chair, brought his clenched fist, while speakand the general public come in at the ing, with tremendous force on the one other end over the portal of the box or the other. Chamber.
But of all the objects in the House The visitor looks around and sees which awaken historic memories, the many objects and personages which mace,- perhaps, is the most potent. It the newspapers have made familiar to lies a prominent object, when
the him by name, and he falls at once under Speaker is in the chair, on raised supthe influence of the stirring memories ports at the end of the table. It is of and great associations of the place. He wrought brass; its large globular head regards with awe the high canopied is surmounted by a cross and ball; its chair, surmounted by the arms of the staff has several artistic embellish. kingdom, at the head of the Chamber, ments, and the whole is so well bur. and looks with becoming reverence on nished that it glistens like gold. Mr. Speaker in his big grey wig and From the carved oak-panelled walls black gown. Beneath the Speaker, at of the Chamber on either side of the the head of the table, sit the clerk of the table, slope down five rows of benches, House and the two assistant clerks in upholstered in dark green short wigs and gowns, like barristers leather. Those on the Speaker's right in the courts of law-they always re- are the government benches, the ceive new wigs when a new Speaker benches of the "ins," or the party in comes into office – busy discharging office; those on the Speaker's left are the their multifarious duties, such as sub- benches of the “outs,” or the party in editing the “Orders of the Day," ques. the cold shades of Opposition. Bc. tions to ministers, amendments to bills, tween the two sides is a broad floor
LIVING AGE. VOL. XII. 617