When Marishka reached the top of the
stairs, entered the Harim, gazing terrified into the
darkness from which she had emerged, she pushed aside
the Kis-Kelim and listening fearfully for sounds of
footsteps below, then closed the door, turned the
key, and put her back against it, viewing with a new
vision the interior which a while ago had seemed so
friendly. Without Yeva who had given its disorder
a personality, the room seemed alien, hostile and
madly chaotic. For the first time since the reassurances
of Captain Goritz in the green limousine as to her
safety, she had a definite sense of personal danger.
She was not timorous by nature, and the hope of success
in her mission of atonement had given her the courage
for the venture. She realized now that the will
which had kept her buoyant through two arduous days
and nights had suddenly forsaken her and left her
supine, without hope or initiative. The actions
of the man at the doorway below had frightened her.
He had been so uncompromising in his ugliness.
The shock of her awakening had been rudely unexpected,
and had bewildered her with its brutal significance.
She was a prisoner in this Turkish house, in an obscure
quarter of a half Oriental town, and night was imminent,
a night which seemed to possess untold possibilities
for evil. What was to happen? Why had not
Captain Goritz returned? Enemy though she now
knew him to be, even Goritz was a refuge in this perilous
situation. And yet it seemed certain that the
man at the foot of the stairs was acting under his
orders or under the orders of another who was accountable
Weakness overpowered her and she threw
herself on the pile of cushions in the window and
buried her face in her hands, as if by blinding herself
to the imminent facts of her surroundings she could
free her spirit of the terrors which were overtaking
it. As in her dream, her faculties were elusive,
thoughts and half-thoughts conflicting and interchangeable.
The rush and the roar of the hurrying motor car, the
kaleidoscope of the maddened crowd, the shots, the
sunlight and then the spangled darkness with the sound
of voices. She started upright in her cushions,
her face pallid and drawn, her thoughts now focusing
with sudden definiteness. The voices! They
were no dream no more a dream than the
other horrors that encompassed her. She tried
to remember what they had said. “Ten thousand
kroner the goose that lays the golden
egg ” What did the phrases
mean? Another “To be kept in
seclusion, of course, but you will accede to all her
wishes.” The meaning of the voices became
clearer, at every moment. “Should she care
to write, you will send a message!” Marishka
put her hand to her lips as though to stifle a cry,
and then sank back with a gasp of comprehension.
Goritz! He had expected her to send a message,
and had prepared for its delivery. But why?
How could he have known!... Slowly the meaning
of it all came to her. His certainty and insistence
as to Hugh Renwick’s pursuit the
belief that Renwick would go at once to the Hotel Europa!
The power of suggestion! And she had followed
it blindly unawares, leading Hugh Renwick
into this deadly trap which Goritz had laid. She
read the plan now in all its insidious perfection.
There was something malign hypnotic in
an influence which could so easily compel compliance.
And Hugh? She had written him to come here to
the door in the court below, where men would be waiting perhaps
to take his life. It was too horrible!
Nature mercifully intervened.
The strain of long days and nights of anguish had
reached the limit of her endurance, and her nerves,
too, long under tension, suddenly rebelled. She
sank helplessly upon the floor, sobs racking her body
from head to foot. She did not know how long
she lay there, but when she raised her head it was
already growing dark in the room, like the shadows
that were stealing about her heart. Whichever
way she turned, groping mentally for a thought which
would lead her toward a light, disorder reigned, danger
threatened. If there was a man at the foot of
the stairs to prevent her escape, there would be others
beneath the windows and at the door into the garden.
Yeva! She clung to the hope of
Yeva’s sincerity the last thing left
to her. It was difficult for her to believe that
this child with the body of a woman could be guilty
of complicity in any plot. She might have obeyed
instructions to be the bearer of any note that Marishka
might write indeed her childish prattle
as to the wishes of her lord and master verified the
voices of Marishka’s dream, and suggested that
Marishka should be permitted to do as she chose so
that Yeva had offered, without fear of consequences,
to deliver Marishka’s note at the hotel.
She had even consented to leave the lower door open
that Marishka might escape and follow her. No
woman of the world could have acted a part as Yeva
had played it. If the girl had known of the guardian
of the lower door, her skill in dissimulation was
consummate so much out of keeping with
the simplicity of her mind as to be entirely incredible.
Yeva was innocent, a mere tool in the hands of Captain
Goritz, who disposed all the pawns in his command
to play his game. Yeva had been permitted to
depart without hindrance. Would Marishka’s
note reach its destination? Or would it be intercepted
and its message read by Captain Goritz? His cunning
had amazed her but it frightened her now. A ruse
so carefully planned could have for its object nothing
less than the obliteration of Hugh Renwick, as a prisoner
or something worse perhaps Death!
She shuddered. She, Marishka, would unwittingly
have caused it! She had asked him to come at
midnight and knock upon the door in the court below
and she knew enough of Hugh to be sure that if he received
the message, no matter how great the danger to himself,
he would come. The note! If she could recall
it! She would suffer whatever Goritz had in store
for her, if Hugh could only be spared. She had
already done him hurt enough without the
chance of this last most dreadful sacrifice in her
behalf in vain. He would come to her
and she must wait without the power to
warn him, and perhaps see him killed before her very
Her thoughts made her desperate and
the idea of another attempt to escape came into her
head. If she could only reach the street, she
could run and it would be a better race
with her pursuer than she had given Hugh in the rose
gardens of the Archduke! She made the attempt,
quietly opening the door by which she had entered
the room and passing on tip-toe down the corridor
to the door with the dutap. She drew aside
the curtain which covered it and noiselessly turned
the knob. As she peered out she found herself
staring straight into the eyes of Zubeydeh. The
woman’s look was cold but full of understanding.
“Does the Fraeulein wish anything?”
she asked without the slightest change of expression.
Her voice was colorless, like the speech which might
be expected from a graven image.
“I I was hungry,”
stammered Marishka helplessly. “I I
am sorry to bother you.”
“If you will return to the room
within, I will bring food at once,” she said
stolidly. And so Marishka, once more balked in
her enterprise, went back to the Harim. Strong
as she was, armed anew with the sudden strength of
desperation, she knew that even if she could use her
strength she was no match for this massive creature
who, in the selamlik nearby, perhaps had men
within call. She went to the windows and peered
out into the street. There was no one in sight,
except a tall man in black who carried an umbrella.
She watched him a moment through the carved screen,
but he went up the street and disappeared around a
corner. The garden seemed to be deserted.
Would the gate to the street be locked? She made
an effort to move the lattice of meshrebiya,
but it was nailed fast to the main wood work of the
house. Her case was hopeless. There was
nothing to do but wait upon the clemency the
mercy of Captain Goritz. A new idea of her captor
was being born in her, of a creature who differed
from the courteous German official of Vienna and Agram.
His eyes haunted her, the dark eyes set just a little
obliquely in his head, a racial peculiarity which
she had not been able to identify. She knew now.
They were Oriental, like Zubeydeh’s, like those
of the man at the door below, alien, hostile and cruel.
And yet it was curious how the smile in them had disarmed
her and she remembered, with a futile glow of returning
hope, that she had not feared him, that she had even
had the temerity to defy him. But her courage
had ebbed she could not have defied him
now and in the darkness while she waited for Yeva
she feared him feared him.
It seemed strange that Yeva had not
returned. She had been gone an hour or more and
the Hotel Europa could not be a great distance away.
As the moments passed she gave up the other hope of
persuading the girl, when she returned, to go back
at once to the hotel and reclaim the note, before
Hugh could get it. Could anything have happened
to her? Marishka wanted her the sound
of a voice, the touch of a feminine hand, her airs
and graces the foibles of a child perhaps,
but intensely virile in their childishness and intensely
human. It seemed that even Yeva was to be denied
For when Zubeydeh brought lights and
food the woman made no comment upon the absence of
the girl a confirmation of Marishka’s
suspicions that Zubeydeh was aware of the conspiracy
and what was to come of it. But as Marishka made
a pretense of eating what the woman had brought, she
summoned courage to inquire.
“Yeva went out into the city
by the passage to the street. She has not yet
“I do not know,” she said in her heavy
The woman lied. Marishka knew it by the shifting
glance of her eye.
“Will you kindly inform His
Excellency I need mention no names that
I should be very glad if he would meet me at his convenience ”
“Excellency is not here,” said the woman.
“Well, when he comes, I should
be grateful if you will deliver my message.”
“I will tell him.”
Nothing more. Her manner was
not discourteous, but her voice was forbidding.
She had been given instructions to keep silence.
And just before leaving the room, a further confirmation
of Marishka’s conviction that Yeva was at that
very moment in another part of the house, Zubeydeh
gathered up the two pieces of drapery which Marishka
had given the girl, and carried them out of the room.
The hours lengthened while Marishka
sat trying to gather the remnants of her courage to
face Captain Goritz when he should come to her.
The Turkish lamp which hung from the ceiling burned
dimly, casting grotesque shadows about the room, flickering
in patches of tawdry light upon the gilt of the embroidered
hangings, and touching the blades of the ancient weapons
which decorated the wall about the couch, scimitars,
swords, daggers and spears! Marishka got up and
examined them more closely, curiously, as though she
had not seen them before. She shuddered a little
as she plucked from its sheath a small dagger with
a bronzed handle, and found that its blade was very
sharp and bright. She reached up to put it back,
but as she did so there was a sound from the room
beyond the passage, and a knock upon the door.
So she slipped the weapon into the waistband of her
skirt, beneath her blouse, and went to her seat among
the pillows. In a moment the knock was repeated,
and in reply to her call, the door opened and she
heard footsteps along the corridor.
The man who entered was tall and slender,
with a hooked nose, heavy brows, and a beard streaked
with white. He wore the turban and bright green
belt which denoted the Moslem, and the fingers with
which he touched brow, lips, and heart in salutation
were covered with rings.
“Salaem ’alaikum,” he muttered,
Marishka knew no reply to this and
made none, waiting in some trepidation for him to
proceed. He was a villainous looking creature,
but comported himself with an air of some dignity.
In a moment he spoke again in excellent German.
“I hope that Excellency has
been able to make herself quite comfortable in my
As he spoke, Marishka remembered that
this was one of the voices of her dreams, the gruff
voice which talked with Goritz.
Something was required of her in reply,
and so, with an effort,
“Yeva has been very kind, Effendi,” she
“Yes. Allah has been good to me. Yeva
has a heart of gold.”
“You are the Beg of Rataj?” Marishka asked.
He salaamed again.
“Will you tell me, then, what has become of
Herr Hauptmann Goritz?”
The man’s face wore a sudden crafty look of
he asked coolly. “There is no one of that
name in my acquaintance.”
Marishka accepted the rebuke and ventured
timidly, “I mean, the the Excellency who
brought me here ”
“Ah! Lieutenant von Arnstorf!
He has gone, I think, upon a journey,” said
Marishka was silent a moment, thinking.
“That is strange. It is very necessary
that I should see him.”
The man smiled up at the lamp above
his head, revealing a void where teeth should have
“I need not say that he has
directed that everything possible shall be done for
your comfort and it is my pleasure to obey
Excellency’s orders, in so far as my poor house
can afford. And even were these not Excellency’s
instructions,” he added with a grin, “it
is an honor for the house of Rataj to have beneath
its roof one so noble and so beautiful.”
A wave of nerves swept over Marishka
for the admiration in his glance was unmistakable,
but she knew that any possible chance of safety for
Hugh for herself lay in the favor
of this man. And so with a shudder of repugnance
which she concealed with difficulty, she motioned to
him to be seated. His small eyes appraised her
eagerly for a moment, and then he sank upon a cushion
near her, and without asking permission, took out
“I I shall not forget
your kindness, Effendi,” said Marishka, struggling
for her composure. “Already Yeva and I are
“Ah, that is fortunate, for
it was upon the question of the future of Yeva that
I have come to talk with you.”
“In what may I serve you, Effendi?”
He sighed deeply.
“Times change, Excellency.
In the days gone by, the Begs of Rataj were reckoned
among the rulers of Bosnia, high in the counsels of
the Janissaries, feudal lords of great domains.
But I, alas! the last of the Begs of Rataj, whose
father even held the sway of a king, have been deprived
of my tithes, and reduced to the low condition of a
merchant in rugs, a dealer in antiquities, dependent
upon the good will of tourists from the West, reduced
perhaps one day to sit in a stall in the Carsija.
It is not so much that I am no longer rich, but it
is my pride, the pride of race which suffers under
Whither was the man leading?
Much as she distrusted him, her curiosity was aroused,
and she listened, watching him intently.
“You will perhaps understand,”
he continued gravely, “that all this is very
hard upon Yeva, the star of my heart, with whom Allah
has blessed me. The West has flowed in upon the
East at Bosna-Seraj, and engulfed it. We are
no more a simple Moslem city with the tastes of our
fathers; and our women are no more satisfied to remain
as they were, childish, ignorant, and unlettered.
The spell of the Occident is upon the land. Vienna,
Berlin, Paris, have come to Bosna-Seraj. Our women
sigh for the things which are beyond the mountains.
The peace of the home is invaded and our women are
unhappy, because their lords and masters have no money
to procure for them the things that they wish.”
Money! Thank God! This man could be bought!
“And Yeva?” Marishka asked,
trembling in fear for the new hope that had risen.
“It is the same with her as
with the others, Excellency,” he shrugged despairingly.
“She is but a child. I have been foolishly
liberal with her as liberal as my poor
means allowed, and she has come to know the value
of money the dross for which men perjure
their souls, and die if need be. Yeva, alas!
wishes jewels, the pretty clothing of the women of
fashion. And I, as I have related, being a mere
dealer in rugs, Excellency, have not been able to
give them to her. It has made unhappiness come
into my household; it has made me, the Beg of Rataj,
hereditary ruler of thousands, ashamed to raise my
head or my voice in her presence I, Excellency,
her lord and master!”
He wagged his head to and fro with
an air which might have been comical, had not Marishka’s
need been so desperate. But she read him easily,
a vile, blackmailing rogue who held no allegiance
higher than what he got from it a man who,
for all his fine flow of talk, could be dangerous as
well as unscrupulous. But Marishka met him fairly.
“I have taken a fancy to Yeva,
Effendi,” she said quietly. “She will
tell you perhaps that I have already given her several
trifles which she fancied. Perhaps I can do something
to solve your problems. In my own country I am
considered wealthy and I can be generous with those
who treat me with kindness.”
“Ah!” The Effendi’s
eyes sparkled hungrily. The Austrian countess
was no fool. She had already begun to understand
“To treat Her Excellency with
kindness! And could I do anything else? My
house, poor as it is ”
“Effendi,” Marishka cut
in boldly, “let us waste no words. I am
a prisoner in your house, at the instance of Captain of
Herr Lieutenant von Arnstorf ”
“A prisoner? Has not the Excellency ?”
“One moment. I am not aware
how much you know of the political situation which
has brought me to Bosna-Seraj, but I do know that I
am confined here against my will a prisoner
in a house within the realms of my own country.
Of course you know that I have sought to escape, that
I have written to a friend who will do what he can
to liberate me.”
“Excellency, I beg of you ”
“Please let me finish.
For political reasons, the fact of my presence here
and my mission should be kept a secret. My friends,
therefore, would not wish to call upon General Potiorek,
the governor, for soldiers or police, if my liberty
can be secured quietly without commotion.
I am willing to meet you upon any reasonable grounds.”
Marishka paused, for the man had risen
and was pacing the floor slowly.
“Ah, Excellency, I, too, will
waste no further speech, for I see that you are a
woman of the world, and I, Beg of Rataj, am only a
seller of rugs. But I am placed in a difficult
position. It has pained me deeply to see you
constrained to stay in my poor house against your will.
And yet, what would you? His Excellency has done
me many favors, and gratitude is one of the strongest
traits in a nature which suffers much misuse.
I do not know anything of politics, or of the controversy
between you, and I have simply obeyed the dictates
of my heart in giving his Excellency some proof some
return of his kindnesses to me. But since I have
seen you, heard your voice, felt the distinction of
your presence in my poor house, I am torn between
my emotions of gratitude and of pity.”
“How much do you want?” said Marishka
“Excellency, the brutality of the words!”
“I mean them. How much?”
The man’s keen eyes appraised
her quickly and then looked away, but he sank upon
his cushion again, wagging his head and breathing a
deep sigh to measure his humiliation.
“I am but a poor man, Excellency,” he
Upon Marishka’s wrist was a
bracelet set with diamonds. She slipped it off
quickly and handed it to him.
“You are a poor man,” she said. “I
give you this for Yeva.”
“Ah, yes. For Yeva.”
But his eyes were regarding the bracelet, which he
was weighing in his hand.
“And if you do what I wish,
I shall give you fifteen thousand kroner more.”
“Fifteen thou !”
he whispered. “Excellency, a fortune ”
“If you do what I wish ”
“Anything Excellency has but to speak.”
Marishka deliberated a moment and
then, “You will first remove the guard at the
foot of the private stairway to this ”
“Excellency, the hour is late.
If you can be comfortable in my house until the morning,
all shall be arranged. For tonight I have planned ”
“No. It must be as I wish.
You will also take a message addressed to Mr. Hugh
Renwick at the Hotel Europa, and find him ”
“And he will give me money?”
the man broke in quickly, his bony fingers clutching
like talons at the bracelet. “He will give
me fifteen thousand kroner?”
Marishka hesitated. The price
she had mentioned was cheap for her liberty for
freedom from the fear that had all day obsessed her,
but it was a large sum, and one which it might be
impossible to procure at this time of night.
“He will give you such assurances
as you may require. At least he will give you
something. I shall write that I need this sum
of money, and he will surely do what he can.”
he mused. “Something is, of course, better
than nothing at all. But how can I be certain
that I shall see him?”
“Ah, but you must, Effendi.
It is necessary for you, to find him and
“But if he should refuse?”
“He will not. Do you consent?”
He salaamed deeply.
“Excellency’s wish is my law.”
So Marishka sat before the tabourette and wrote:
I have promised the bearer of this
note fifteen thousand kroner, as the condition
of my liberation. Give him what you can, and
arrange for the payment of the balance tomorrow.
This is the cry of desperation. Do not come
here or attempt to see me. It is dangerous.
I will come to you.
She sealed the note and handed it
to him. He turned it over and over in his fingers,
his gaze aslant.
“But suppose,” he repeated
slowly, “that I should not be able to find him.”
“You must,” she said with
desperate hardihood. “If the note should
not reach him, the conditions of our agreement change.
And be sure of this, Effendi if harm comes
to Hugh Renwick, payment will be exacted from you
to the tenth part of a hair. His safety and my
“I do not comprehend,”
said the man, his brows raised in a well-simulated
surprise. “What have I to do with the safety
of this Excellency? He can be in no danger, here
in Bosna-Seraj. We are a peaceable people ”
“Still ” she said distinctly,
“you will remember.”
He shrugged and took a pace away from her, still fingering
“I do not comprehend,”
he repeated. “But I will do as you request.
I shall go at once,” and he moved toward the
door, then paused. “As to the guard at
the door below, that will not be necessary, since you
will await me in the mabein.” He
went quickly down the corridor, opened the door of
the dutap, and called Zubeydeh, who entered
at once. “The Countess will wait in the
outer room. When I return I shall conduct her
to the Hotel Europa, where she will spend the night.
You will wait upon her in the meanwhile, as becomes
a distinguished guest of the house of Rataj.”
Then followed a phrase or two of Turkish, and the
woman bowed stolidly.
“It shall be as you wish, Effendi.”
And he passed the woman with another phrase, and was
Zubeydeh and Marishka stood facing
each other, the elder woman in sullen antipathy, illy
concealed by the habitual mask of imperturbability.
Marishka had disliked her from the first, actuated
by that rare instinct which only women can employ,
and now there seemed something ominous in her stolid
ugliness. Marishka had not fully understood the
instructions of the Beg, and not until Zubeydeh picked
up her suitcase and carried it down the corridor,
did she realize that she was merely carrying out the
orders of her master. But Marishka did not move.
Before her eyes danced the words of her earlier note
to Hugh, which asked him to come to her by the private
passage to the court below. If the Effendi did
not succeed in finding him, he would come; and she
would not be there to meet him. Instead of following
Zubeydeh, who had returned and stood staring at her,
her feet refused to obey.
“But I should prefer to remain here ”
she said firmly.
A vestige of a smile slight,
but none the less disagreeable came into
the woman’s yellow face.
“The Harim,” she said
dryly, “is intended for the daughters of the
faithful. You cannot stay tonight.”
And as Marishka still stood irresolutely,
she caught her by the arm with a grip which was none
too gentle, and pushed her down the corridor and out
into the mabein.
Marishka sat upon the couch in the
room into which she had first been conducted, her
head near the latticed window, through which the pale
green moonlight vied with the glow from the lantern
over her head. Though it could not yet be time
for him to return, she listened intently for the sound
of the footsteps of the Beg. Had she succeeded?
In spite of the danger which threatened Hugh Renwick,
and the ominous absence of Captain Goritz, she felt
that there was a chance that all might still be well.
Where was Captain Goritz? The tale that he had
gone upon a journey was an invention, of course.
He was here in Sarajevo if not in the house where
she was held a prisoner, at least somewhere near, where
he could be sure of the culmination of the plot to
remove Hugh Renwick, without himself being involved
in any unpleasant issues. From the appearance
of the Beg of Rataj and of the man she had met at
the foot of the stairs, she knew that any dreadful
deed was possible in the darkness of the secluded
streets outside the house, in the garden below, or
in the house itself. But she did not despair.
It was easier to win money by keeping within the law
than by breaking it. The Beg was a rogue, but
money was his fetish, and Marishka’s bribe was
As the moments lengthened and the
man did not return, hope ebbed, and she grew anxious.
The small metal clock on the table in the corner indicated
the hour. It was half-past eleven. In half
an hour, if the Beg had not delivered her note, Hugh
Renwick would come to find her, unless! She breathed
a silent prayer unless he had not yet reached
Sarajevo! For hours she had prayed that he had
followed her, for that was the proof of his devotion
that her heart required of him; but now she prayed
just as fervently that he had not come. The notion
of another attempt to escape occurred to her, but
when she got up and peered down into the darkness
of the stairway which led below, her courage failed
her, and she remembered the man at the foot of the
other stair. Zubeydeh, too, was near, and while
she was planning, the woman passed into the Harim
and closed the door behind her.
She peered out of the window into
the garden, searching its shadows for signs of a guard,
but all was quiet, except for the sound of whispering
voices, which might have come from the street or from
the house adjoining. In the dim light she watched
the hour hand of the clock as it slowly moved around
the dial. Ten, fifteen minutes passed, and still
she heard no sound of footsteps. What if Hugh
came while the Beg was absent searching for him?
She knew that there must be other men besides the
villain she had met at the foot of the stairs.
What orders had the Beg given his men? And what
orders had he countermanded? The silence was
closing in upon her like a fog. She could not
bear it. What if Hugh were already at the foot
of the stairs, waiting to knock upon the door of the
Harim as she had directed? The suspense was killing
her. She rose quietly and tried the door of the
dutap into the corridor which led to the Harim.
It was locked.
She staggered and clung to the wall
to keep from falling. She saw it all now.
Goritz had intercepted the note she had sent by Yeva.
They were in there Zubeydeh, the
Beg and his men, and perhaps Goritz, too, waiting waiting
for the two knocks at the steps below. And then
the door would be opened, and Hugh
The bell of the cathedral tolled,
and fearfully she counted its strokes. It was