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