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"How long will the run to Glasgow take,
think you, my man?" I asked of the man at
the wheel. He stared at me as if he did
not understand me, and muttered some
unintelligible words. I repeated the question.

"He does not speak English," said a voice
at my elbow, "nor can any soul on board
this vessel, except you and I, Monsieur
M├╝ller."

I turned round, and saw to my horror the
young man with the ebony cane and the
downy moustache.

"I am kidnapped!" I cried. "Let me
have a boat. Where is the captain?"

"Here is the captain," said the young man,
as a fiercely bearded man came up the
companion-ladder. "Captain Miloschvich of the
Imperial Russian ship Pyroscaphe, bound to
St. Petersburg, M. M├╝ller. As Captain
Miloschvich speaks no English you will
permit me to act as interpreter."

Although I feared from his very presence
that my case was already hopeless, I
entreated him to explain to the captain that
there was a mistake; that I was bound for
Glasgow, and that I desired to be set on
shore directly.

"Captain Miloschvich," said the young
man, when he had translated my speech, and
received the captain's answer, "begs you to
understand that there is no mistake; that you
are not bound for Glasgow, but for St. Petersburg;
and that it is quite impossible for
him to set you on shore here, seeing that he
has positive instructions to set you on shore
in Cronstadt. Furthermore, he feels it his
duty to add that should you, by any words
or actions, attempt to annoy or disturb the
crew or passengers, he will be compelled to
put you in irons, and place you in the bottom
of the hold."

The captain frequently nodded during
these remarks, as if he perfectly understood
their purport, although unable to
express them; and, to intimate his entire
coincidence, he touched his wrists and
ankles.

If I had not been a fool I should have
resigned myself to my fate. But I was so
maddened with misfortune, that I sprang on
the young man, hoping to kill him, or to be
killed myself and to be thrown into the sea.
But I was chained, beaten, and thrown into
the hold. There, among tarred ropes, the
stench of tallow-casks, and the most appalling
sea-sickness, I lay for days, fed with mouldy
biscuit and putrid water. At length we
arrived at Cronstadt.

All I can tell you, or I know of Russia is,
that somewhere in it there is a river, and on
that river a fortress, and in that fortress a
cell, and in that cell a knout. Seven years of
my existence were passed in that cell, under
the lashes of that knout, with the one horrible
question dinning in my ears, "Where is the
child?"

How I escaped to incur worse tortures it
is bootless to tell you. I have swept the
streets of Palermo as a convict, in a hideous
yellow dress. I have pined in the inquisition
at Rome. I have been caged in the madhouse
at Constantinople, with the rabble to throw
stones and mud at me through the bars. I
have been branded in the back in the bagnes
of Toulon and Rochfort; and everywhere I
have been offered liberty and gold, if I would
answer the question, "Where is the child?"
At last, having been accused of a crime I
did not commit, I was condemned to death.
Upon the scaffold they asked me "Where is
the child?" Of course there could be no answer,
and I was———

Just then, Margery, my servant, who never
will have the discrimination to deny me to
importunate visitors, knocked at the door,
and told me that I was wanted in the surgery.
I went down stairs, and found Mrs. Walkingshaw,
Johnny Walkingshaw's wife, who told
me that her "master" was "took all over
like," and quite "stroaken of a heap."
Johnny Walkingshaw is a member of the
ancient order of Sylvan Brothers; and, as I
am club doctor to the Sylvan Brothers, he
has a right to my medical attendance for the
sum of four shillings a year. Whenever he
has taken an overdose of rough cyder he is
apt to be "stroaken all of a heap" and to
send for me. I was the more annoyed at
being obliged to walk to Johnny Walkingshaw's
cottage at two in the morning, because
the wretched man had been cut short
in his story just as he was about to explain
the curious surgical problem of how he was
resuscitated. When I returned he was gone,
and I never saw him more. Whether he
was mad and had hanged himself, or whether
he was sane and had been hanged according
to law, or whether he had ever been hanged
or never been hanged, are points I have never
quite adjusted in my mind.

PICTURES IN THE FIRE.

What is it you ask me, darling?
All my stories, child, you know;
I have no strange dreams to tell you,
Pictures I have none to show.

Tell you glorious scenes of travel?
Nay, my child, that cannot be,
I have seen no foreign countries.
Marvels none on land or sea.

Yet strange sights in truth I witness,
And I gaze until I tire;
Wondrous pictures, changing ever,
As I look into the fire.

There, last night, I saw a cavern,
Black as pitch; within it lay
Coiled in many folds a dragon,
Glaring as if turn'd at bay.

And a knight in dismal armour
On a winged eagle came,
To do battle with this dragon;
His towering crest was all of flame.