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badaud-glanced carelessly at the Fremden-Liste posted up here and there, and, finally, lit a cigar and strolled into the gardens of the Kurhaus, smoking tranquilly. A very close watcher, though, of Monsieur Glitstein, might have fancied that between that amiable personage and one or two other loungers he met on his way, there existed a slight affinity. An affinity, not indeed openly manifested on either side, but betrayed, to the close observer aforesaid at least, by an interchange of almost imperceptible signs. And so he might have perhaps concluded that, mere idler as he seemed, Monsieur Glitstein had his work to do in Lindenbad, and was doing it.
The Vorazof had her work to do, too. After that unsuccessful visit to Herr Dornberg, Madame la Comtesse did not know what to think of her position. Was she betrayed or not? Utterly unscrupulous herself, she trusted no one; and it seemed possible-nay, probable. How else to account for her liege lord's looks and words just now, unless by the supposition that something -a whisper, the least hint would be sufficient-had reached his ears about the little game she was playing, not alone on the green cloth, but with Vladimir Laginski besides? If this were so, the more imperative the necessity to lull his suspicions by the production of the necklace. Yes, she
must have it by to-morrow at latest. But how? She had barely half the sum necessary to redeem it in her possession; and she dared not at present further diminish the contents of her jewel-case. Bah! she thought, why should she? The cards might befriend her, and make all right yet.
And so, you see, it comes to pass that we find her at the Trente-etQuarante table to-night. The cards have befriended her pretty well, until that last coup. She lost heavily there, and she is not playing this round. She is wrong. Had she doubled her stake on the noire, as she felt inclined to do in her recklessness, she would have regained all she has lost to-day, for
for a brief space the red gets the worst of it. Still she holds back, with a timidity utterly foreign to her usual style of play. So much more than mere notes or rouleaux depends on the turn of a card now, that she feels nervous. Monsieur Glitstein standing opposite, behind the croupier, watches her curiously. He has found time, it seems, to put in appearance at the tables, and wins or looses a napoleon or two occasionally like any other bystander. But his eyes never wander far from the Vorazof, and he smiles softly to himself as he sees her suddenly push a little ball of notes on to noire. The presiding croupier unrolls the ball and verifies the amount.
Il y en a quatorze mille, Madame,' whispers the official across the table-Le maximum des enjeux est de douze mille-veuillez donc retirer deux mille francs.'
She shakes her head impatiently. She wishes to end this suspense at once, and has staked her all. If she loses, what are two thousand francs? If she wins, she has won enough for her purpose.
'Mais non!' she answers, half angrily, je joue le tout on rien !'
There is a second's consultation of the placid visage of the Watcher of the Game enthroned beside the Vorazof: and then,
'C'est bien Madame! pronounces the croupier, Comme vous voudrez. Tout va à la masse!'
The cards are dealt, Madame's eyes following them keenly, and Monsieur Glitstein's too. He has a crumpled piece of paper in his hand, and twists it carelessly between his fingers. His vulpine physiognomy becomes more vulpine than ever as he cranes over the table to watch the fate of the Vorazof's last stake. Will the quick fingers never finish the deal? A dozen cards have been told off for the noire ere the low monotonous voice-so clear and telling in that eager hush proclaims Trentetrois! The Vorazof breathes more freely. She is almost sure to win now-it is almost certain there will be a higher total for the red. Monsieur Glitstein seems more interested
than ever. He smiled a strange smile when he heard that Trentetrois pronounced. "Trente-trois!' he muttered, twisting that scrap of paper still in his uneasy fingers
C'est drôle, tout de même ça !' The cards are being played for the red now. The backers of that hitherto lucky colour begin to think the run in their favour is ended, and watch the result with forebodings of evil. They haven't long to wait. The croupier turns the first card. Dix!' and then, in quick succession, Vingt-vingtneuf-et trois! Trente-deux, Messieurs! Rouge gagne et couleur !' The Varazof has lost her fourteen thousand francs by just one point!
Monsieur Glitstein, watching her as, a trifle paler, but otherwise with her face in perfect command, the Comtesse rises from the table Monsieur Glitstein is so far forgetful of decency as actually to chuckle. Allons!' he mutters, apparently to the piece of twisted paper he is rubbing his hairless upper lip gently with. Allons!-elle est bien à moi maintenant! ou peut frapper les trois coups et commencer la petite comédie!' As the Varazof made her way on to the terrace, Monsieur Glitstein summoned one of the watchful lackeys of the Etablissement to his side by a motion of the head.
'Remettez cela à Madame,' he said, giving him a crumpled and twisted scrap of paper, and indicating the Vorazof with a glance'Elle vient de le laisser tomber !'
Monsieur Glitstein, the light falling full on his fox's face, stood and saw his request duly executed. Saw the Vorazof open the paper mechanically, and glance carelessly at its contents. Then saw her turn deadly pale and look uneasily about her, till her eyes, as he had meant they should do, rested upon him. Whereupon Monsieur Glitstein saluted Madame politely, and turning on his heel, disappeared in the crowd. The Comtesse leaned, halffainting, against the frame of the open window. Yet there was nothing very appalling, in the wording at all events, of the communication which eccentric Monsieur Glitstein
had chosen this way of making to her. Look over her shoulder and read for yourself. Merely this.
'Au numéro trente-trois. On vous attendra ce soir à onze heures à l'extrémité de l'Allée Verte, dans le Pavillon de Flore.
'Le Numéro Treize.'
LE PAVILLON DE FLORE.' The Allée Verte at Lindenbad, as I daresay you know, runs parallel with the Terrace of the Kurhaus on the other side of the gardens. It is the usual evening promenade of sojourners in The Happy Valley,' who congregate round the Pavillon de Flore, at its upper end, while the Director's band discourses eloquent music from a neighbouring kiosque. The Pavillon de Flore is a rose-trellised structure, amply provided with luxurious rustic chairs and lounges, whereon recline, during the noon-tide heat, after their second visit to the popular Weissenbrunnen, or in the cool of the summer evening, after duly swallowing their last tumbler of chalybeate, the invalids or hypochondriacs who come to Lindenbad to make their cure.' It is the prettiest out-door resort in the whole Bad-this bijou Pavillon. The roses climb and cluster round its walls, and hide the frame-work of its three windows, and drop their odorous leaves at every breeze upon the mosaic of its polished floor. It is the hobby of the head gardener of the Etablissement, and is cared for accordingly. And some of us, who have passed golden hours, I wot, with Amaryllis, in its grateful half-light, on summer nights gone by, when, safe for us, it was deserted, feel a debt of gratitude to that worthy man for his labour and his care.
It is nearly eleven by the clock, on the evening when this story opens. The Allée Verte has been utterly deserted this last hour. Across the gardens you see the lights in the Salle de Jeux, and upon the Terrace, where the smokers are lingering over their coffee-cups or dominoes-that feeble pastime is
indulged in even here in the midst of the gros jeu-by its votaries as unintermittingly as in the boulevart cafés at home-you hear the faint sound of voices-perhaps catch the dying fall of one'of Strauss' valses in the ball-room; but, by the Pavillon de Flore, where you and I are standing just now, and through the whole length of the broad Allée, all is quiet. Over the blue hills behind us the moon is rising swiftly into the cloudless sky. Her sheen lights up the valley, and the river, and the dark woods on the other side-lights up the smooth, trim-gravelled walk in front of us, through the close-woven branches that meet above, with patches of golden light-cleaves a bright path for itself as it pours through the open window of the Pavillon, across the tesselated floor to the rosegrown doorway. All is still and tranquil. And yet neither of us have heard the footsteps of the man who emerges from the shadow close beside us, and who, after one quick glance round him, glides as quickly into the shelter of the Pavillon. We, who have eaten of fern-seed, you know, and are invisible, need not fear to disturb him. Let us enter, too, and stand beside him. Our acquaintance of just nowMonsieur Glitstein. Cool, calm, and fox-like; in a long, dark cloak and a slouch hat, though, as if he were dressed for the First Conspirator' in a transpontine melodrama. He drops noiselessly into a chair, well in the shadow, and finishes the cigar he is smoking, tranquilly. He appears, you see, to have no doubt whatever that the Vorazof will keep the appointment he has fixed for her-fixed, certainly, as one having authority to command Madame la Comtesse's attendance. And he has authority, indeed, over her-authority she dare not question, still less defy. He is her master; and the moment she had read what was scrawled upon that twisted scrap of paper which we have seen the Kurhaus valet give her in the Salle de Jeux, she knew it perfectly well.
'Certainly she will come,' soliloquizes Monsieur Glitstein between
the puffs of his cigar, and in the French tongue, which, in spite of his German appellation, seems his natural, or favourite, vehicle of speech. Certainly, she will come. She knows better, diablesse as she is, than to disobey one of us! And then to arrange our little affair. She has him-pieds et poings liés— that little comtesse car elle est comtesse !'-he observed, in a sneering parenthesis. 'He would not take himself out of harm's way, even if he got the alarm, without seeing his chère amie once morepoor devil! And he shall see her once more, at the ball to-morrow night. The coup must be made then. And the papers? Ah! sacrédié!-are they hard to come by -those infernal papers! Not a trace in his despatch box, in his baggage, in his room-no, not after triple search! And their information, là-bas, they say, is positive. He has that in his possession which will send him and a dozen more of ces farceurs-là to Siberia for lifelists, documents, letters. Ou diable les a-t-il fourrés? Has them about him, perhaps? Bon! But twice already have my fellows, lightfingered as they are, failed to find them. And to arrest my man without the papers, and so leave myself without a clue to find them, would spoil the whole affair. Besides, my instructions are plain. They, làbas, say to me, "You will arrest the suspect Laginski, when, at the same time, you can lay your hands on certain papers now in his possession
and only then." Bon! But how to know, for certain, that they are in his possession? that is, how to know if he carries them about him, as he must do? Aha! I have my little plan. My fellows were too clumsy. Besides, it is impossible to search a man, without his knowledge, as thoroughly as one could a room or a despatch-box! Yes! for a man, impossible! But, for a woman, the woman one loves to distraction, and would never dream of suspecting? C'est plus facileça! And that woman-I have found her! Better still, she is one of us! Le Numéro Trente-Trois will obey implicitly the orders of le Numéro
Treize-she must! Though it would be droll if she even hesitated when she sees these!' And Monsieur Glitstein opens a shagreen case he takes from under his cloak, and, stretching his hand forth into the moonlight, pleases his eye with the flash and glimmer of a superb opal necklace.
A heavy price to pay!' he murmurs, closing the case with a covetous sigh. But they, là-bas, know best, I suppose. The coup must not fail, and, above all, there must be no disturbance. She might risk a little for him, perhaps, if she were free; but, while I hold these, and ce cher Vorazof looks threatening and suspicious, she will not dare. No. She is mine; and, through her, I reach him!'
A step as light as his own outside the Pavillon, but not so light as to deceive his practised ear-the frôle ment of a woman's dress-a 'shadow cloaked from head to foot' crossing the bright pathway of the. moonlight-and the Vorazof enters on the scene. Monsieur Glitstein throws away the fag-end of his cigar and rises to receive her. The pallor which overspread her face when she read his billet-doux, just now, rests on it still, save where, on either cheek, burns a crimson spot, sure sign, to those who know the Comtesse best, that she is waxing 'dangerous.' Her breath comes in quick, short gasps, as though the speed at which she had come had distressed her. The large blue eyes, naïfs and infantine no longer now, seem to have contracted, and sparkle with a strange and sombre fire. Over her dinner-dress-she has been dining at the Russian Ambassador's, and was singing a ringing chansonette to an applauding circle of admirers twenty minutes ago-she has flung a long, loose domino, and, underneath it, her hands are clasped tightly on her bosom. She falls into the chair Monsieur Glitstein politely hands her, and the silence is broken only by her hurried breathing like that of some hunted animal.
Till Monsieur Glitstein remarks, with his unpleasant smile, 'C'est bien, Madame! On n'est plus
exact!' And just then, indeed, the horloge of the Kurhaus struck eleven.
'When you are sufficiently recovered,' pursued Monsieur Glitstein, still in his favourite French, 'we will, if you please, proceed to business.'
She broke in here. Who are you? What do you want? Why have you brought me here?'
'Because,' he replied, still smiling evily, as though her fury was something he thoroughly appreciated and enjoyed, 'because I, Numéro Treize, have need of you, Numéro TrenteTrois. That is the answer to all these questions. I have need of you. I summon you. And you have come. Again, Madame, it is very well!'
She ground her little teeth in dumb rage, and pressed her hands tighter on her bosom. He went on.
You do not question my authority, your presence here proves that. So much the better. Time is short for what we have to do. And, pardon me if I seem to threaten, disobedience would have been attended with unpleasant results to yourself!'
She rose suddenly and faced him in the moonlight. The dangerous gleam in her eyes struck Monsieur Glitstein forcibly; but he laughed his cold, low laugh when she said'Misérable! Tu oses me parler de la sorte?'
'Parbleu!' he answered. 'I, Stanilas Glitstein, sous-chef in the Secret Bureau, to you, Comtesse Irma de Vorazof-employée, shall I say?-of the same? Yes, I do dare Why not?'
She fell back into her chair, cowed, as though he had struck her. He went on in a sharp, changed tone.
'Enough of folly like this. You are here to listen and obey. You will listen, and, when you have listened, if you are wise, you will obey. In the first place, they are not satisfied with you, là-bas. Your reports have been irregular, unsatisfactory of late, and, what is worse, incorrect. The chief has already half decided on suppressing your salary as a secret agent, and appointing another in your room. You have, however, a chance of reinstating