Paul Dukes.

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when luckily for him the right man was collared. Then
they let him out and I shipped him over the frontier.
They'll forget all about him. In the daytime this is
one of the safest places in town."

The flat was almost devoid of furniture. A bare
table stood in one room and a desk in another. An
old couch and a few chairs made up the outfit. The
windows were so dirty that they were quite opaque and
admitted very little light from the narrow street.
Although it was nearly midday an oil lamp burned on
the table of the room we sat in. Electric light was
becoming rarer and rarer and only burned for a few
hours every evening.

Marsh sat and talked of his adventures and the
work he had been doing for the allied colonies. His
country farm had been seized and pillaged, his city
business was ruined, he had long been under suspicion,


and yet he refused to leave. But the arrest of his
wife bore constantly on his mind. From time to time
his boisterous flow of talk would suddenly cease. He
would pass his hand over his brow, a far-away troubled
look coming into his eyes.

"If only it were an ordinary prison," he would say,

"if only they were human beings. But these !

By the way, will you come with me to see the Police-
man? I am going to meet him in half an hour."
The "Policeman" was the nickname by which we
referred to the Tsarist official of whom Marsh had
spoken in the morning. I reflected for a moment.
Perhaps the Policeman might be useful to me later. I

Telling Maria to look out for us both about that
time next morning, we left the flat by the back en-
trance as we had entered it. Again Marsh walked
ahead, and I followed his slouching figure at a dis-
tance as he wound in and out of side streets. The
dwelling we were going to, he told me, was that of
an ex-journalist, who was now engaged as a scribe in
the Department of Public Works, and it was at the
journalist's that he had arranged to meet the Po-

The journalist lived all alone in a flat in the Liteiny
Prospect. I watched Marsh disappear into the en-
trance and waited a moment to convince myself he
was not being tracked. From the opposite sidewalk
I saw him look back through the glass door, signalling
that all was well within, so giving him time to mount
the stairs I followed.

He rang the bell at a door covered with oilcloth
and felt. After a moment's silence there was a shuffling


of slippers, an inner door opened, and a voice said,
"Who's there?"

"He expects me to say who's here, the silly fool,"
growled Marsh under his breath, adding just loud
enough to be heard through the door, "I."

"Who? 'I'?" persisted the voice.

"I, Peter Sergeievitch " (aloud), "blithering idiot"
(undertone), said Marsh.

There was much undoing of bars and bolts, and
finally, the door opening slightly on the chain, a pair
of nervous, twinkling eyes peered through the chink.

"Ah!" said the nervous face, breaking into a smile,
"Ivan Petrovitch!" The door closed again and the
chain was removed. Then it reopened and we passed

"Why the devil couldn't you open at once?" grum-
bled Marsh. "You knew I was coming. 'Who's
there', indeed! Do you want me to bawl 'Marsh'
at the top of my voice outside your door?" At this
the nervous man looked terrified. "Well, then why
don't you open? 'Ivan Petrovitch' or 'Peter Ser-
geievitch' — can't any one be Ivan Petrovitch? Isn't
that just why I am 'Ivan Petrovitch'?"

"Yes, yes," answered the nervous man, "but nowa-
days one never knows who may be at the door."

"Well, then, open and look, or next time I will
shout 'Marsh.' ' : The nervous man looked more terri-
fied than ever. "Well, well," laughed Marsh, "I am
only joking. This is my friend — er "

"Michael Mihailovitch," I put in.

"Very glad to see you, Michael Minailovitch," said
the nervous man, looking anything but glad.

The journalist was a man of thirty -five years of age,


though his thin and pale features, dishevelled hair,
and ragged beard, gave him the appearance of being
nearly fifty. He was attired in an old greenish over-
coat with the collar turned up, and dragged his feet
about in a pair of worn-out carpet slippers. The
flat was on the shady side of the street, the sun never
peered into its gloomy precincts, it was dark and musty,
and icy cold.

"Well, how go things, Dmitri Konstantinovitch?"
asked Marsh.

"Poorly, poorly, Ivan Petrovitch," said the jour-
nalist, coughing. "This is the third day I have not
been to work. You will excuse my proceeding with
business, I'm having lunch. Come into the kitchen,
it is the least cold of all rooms."

The journalist, preparing his noonday meal, was
engaged in boiling a few potatoes over a stick fire in
a tiny portable oven. "Two days' rations," he re-
marked, ironically, holding up a salt herring. "How
do they expect us to live, indeed? And half a pound
of bread into the bargain. That's how they feed the
bourgeois in return for sweating for them. And
if you don't sweat for them, then you get nothing.
'He who toileth not, neither let him eat,' as they say.
But it's only 'toil' if it is to their advantage. If you
toil to your own advantage, then it is called 'specu-
lation,' and you get shot. Ugh! A pretty state our
Russia has come to, indeed! Do we not rightly say
we are a herd of sheep?"

Continuing in this strain the journalist scraped his
smelly herring and began eating it with his potatoes
ravenously and yet gingerly, knowing that the quicker
he finished the scanty repast the sooner he would


realize there was nothing more. Picking the skeleton
clean, he sucked the tail and dug his fork into the
head for the last scraps of meat.

"Plus 1,000 roubles a month," he went on. "Here
I eat two days' rations at a single meal, and what can
I buy with 1,000 roubles? A few pounds of potatoes,
a pound or two of bread and butter? Then there's
nothing left for fuel, when wood that used to cost
5 roubles a sazhen now costs 500!"

From his overcoat pocket Marsh produced half a
pound of bread. "Here, Dmitri Konstantinovitch,"
he said, thrusting it toward him, "your health!"

The journalist's face became transfigured. Its hag-
gard look vanished. He glanced up, his mouth fixed
in a half-laugh of delight and incredulity, his sunken
eyes sparkling with childlike pleasure and gratitude.

"For me?" he exclaimed, scarcely believing his
eyes. 'But what about yourself? Surely you do
not get sufficient, especially since "

"Don't worry about me," said Marsh, with his
good-natured smile. "You know Maria? She is
a wonder! She gets everything. From my farm
she managed to save several sacks of potatoes and
quite a lot of bread, and hide it all here in town. But
listen, Dmitri Konstantinovitch, I'm expecting a
visitor here soon, the same man as the day before
yesterday. I will take him into the other room,
so that he need not see you."

The journalist, I could see, was overcome with
fear at being obliged to receive Marsh's unwelcome
visitor, but he said nothing. He wrapped the bread
carefully up in paper and put it away in a cupboard.
A moment later there were three sharp rings at the


bell. Marsh hurried to the door, admitted his visitor,
and led him into the journalist's cabinet.

"You may as well come in, too," he said to me,
looking into the kitchen.

"Michael Ivanitch," I whispered, pointing at my-
self, as we passed in. Marsh introduced me. "My
friend, Michael Ivanitch Schmit," he said.

My first impulse when I saw the individual Marsh
nicknamed "the Policeman" was to laugh, for any one
less like a policeman than the little man who rose
and bowed I have seldom seen. I will not describe
him too precisely, but he was short, red-faced, and
insignificant-looking. In spite of this, however, his
manner showed that he had a very high opinion of
his own importance. He shook hands and reseated
himself with comical dignity.

"Go on, Alexei Fomitch," said Marsh. "I want
my friend to know how matters stand. He may be
able to help."

"Madame Marsh, as I was saying," proceeded
the Policeman, "is incarcerated in chamber No. 4
with 38 other women of various station, including
titled personages, servant girls, and prostitutes. The
chamber is not a large one and I fear the conditions
are far from pleasant. My informants tell me she
is cross-examined several hours every day with the
object of eliciting the hiding-place of Monsieur Marsh,
which they believe she knows. Unfortunately her case
is complicated by the confused replies she has given,
for after several hours' interrogation it often becomes
difficult to retain clarity of mind. Confused or in-
coherent replies, even though accidental, lead to further
and still more exacting interpellation."


Marsh followed every word with a concern that was
not lost upon the Policeman. "But can we not get
round the interrogators?" he asked, "they all have
their price, damn it."

"Yes, that is often so," continued the Policeman in
a tone of feigned consolation. "The investigator can
frequently be induced to turn the evidence in favour
of the accused. But in this case it is unfortunately
useless to offer the usual bribe, for even if Madame
Marsh's innocence is proven to the hilt, she will still
be detained as a hostage until the discovery of Mon-
sieur Marsh."

Marsh's face twinged. "I feared so," he said in a
dull voice. "What are the chances of flight?"

"I was coming to that," said the Policeman, suavely.
"I am already making inquiries on the subject. But
it will take some days to arrange. The assistance
of more than one person will have to be enlisted. And
I fear — I hesitate," he added in unctuous tones of
regret, "I hesitate to refer to such a matter — but I
am afraid this method may be a little more — er —
costly. Pardon me for "

"Money?" cried Marsh. "Damn it all, man,
don't you realize it is my wife? How much do you

"Oh, Monsieur Marsh," expostulated the Policeman,
raising his palm, "you are well aware that I take
nothing for myself. I do this out of friendship to
you — and our gallant allies. But there is a prison
janitor, I must give him 5,000, two warders 10,000,
a go-between 2,000, odd expenses "

"Stop!" put in Marsh, abruptly, "tell me how much
it will cost."


The Policeman's face assumed a pained expression.
"It may cost," he said, "twenty-five, possibly thirty
thousand roubles."

"Thirty thousand. You shall have it. I gave you
ten thousand, here are another ten thousand; you
shall have the third ten thousand the day my wife
leaves prison."

The Policeman took the notes, and with a look of
offended dignity, as though the handling of money
were altogether beneath him, hid them in an inner

"When will you be able to report again?" asked

"I expect the day after to-morrow. If you like to
come to my house it is quite safe."

"Very well, we will meet there. And now, if you
are not in a hurry, I'll see if I can raise some tea. It's
damned cold in this room."

When Marsh had gone into the kitchen the little
Policeman ventured to open conversation.

"Such times, such times," he sighed. "Who would
have thought it possible? You live in Petrograd,
Michael Ivanitch?"


"You are in service, perhaps?"


There was a pause.

"Yours must have been an interesting occupation,"
I remarked, "in days gone by."
lou mean:

"You were connected with the police, were you not?"

I saw at once I had made a faux pas. The little
man turned very red. " I beg your pardon," I hastened


to add, "I understood you were an official of the

This apparently was still worse. The little Po-
liceman sat up very straight, flushing deeply and
looking rather like a turkey-cock.

"No, sir," he said in what were intended to be icy
tones, "you have been grossly misinformed. I have
never been connected either with the police or the
ohrana. Under the Tsar, sir, I moved in Court circles.
I had the ear of his late Imperial Majesty, and the
Imperial Palace was open to me at any time."

At this point, fortunately for me, Marsh returned
with three glasses of tea, apologizing for not providing
sugar, and the conversation turned to the inevitable
subject of famine. At length the Policeman rose to


"By the way, Alexei Fomitch," said Marsh, "can

you find me a lodging for to-night?"

"A lodging for to-night? I shall be honoured, Mon-
sieur Marsh, if you will accept such hospitality as
I myself can offer. I have an extra bed, though my
fare I am afraid will not be luxurious. Still, such as
it is "

"Thank you. I will come as near nine o'clock as

"Give three short rings, and I will open the door
myself," said the Policeman.

When he had gone I told Marsh of our conversation
and asked what the little man meant by "moving in
Court circles." Marsh was greatly amused.

"Oh, he was a private detective or something," he
said. "Conceited as hell about it. 'Ear of the Tsar,'
indeed! What he's after is money. He'll pocket


most of the 30,000. But he's afraid of us, too. He's
cocksure the Allies are coming into Petrograd, so
if you have anything to do with him tell him you're
an Englishman and he'll grovel. By the way, we had
better let Dmitri Konstantinovitch into the secret,
too, because you will find this flat very useful. The
journalist is a damned old coward, but buy him
some grub or, still better, pay for his fuel and he will
let you use the flat as much as you like."

So the nervous ex-journalist was initiated into the
great secret, and when Marsh said, "You don't mind
if he comes in occasionally to sleep on the sofa,
do you?" Dmitri Konstantinovitch nearly died
with fear. His thin lips vibrated, and clearer than
any words his twitching smile and tear-filled eyes
implored, "Oh, for God's sake, leave me alone!" —
until I said boldly, "But I don't like sleeping in the
cold, Dmitri Konstantinovitch. Perhaps you could
get some wood in for me. Here is the price of a sazhen
of logs; we will share the wood, of course." Then
his care-worn, troubled face again became suddenly
transfigured as it had when Marsh gave him bread.
"Ah, splendid, splendid," he cried in delight, his fears
completely obliterated by the anticipation of coming
warmth. "I will get the wood in this very afternoon,
and you shall have sheets and blankets and I will
make you comfortable." So it was arranged that
unless Melnikoff found me a more suitable place I
should return to the journalist's that night.

It was now time for me to be thinking of keeping
my appointment with Melnikoff at the communal
eating-house. So I left Marsh arranging to meet him
at the empty flat "No. 5" next morning. Musing on


the events of the day I made my way down the stair-
case and came out again into the Liteiny Prospect.
It seemed ages since, but two days ago, I walked along
this same street on the day of my arrival in Petrograd,
after running across the frontier. What would Mel-
nikoff now have to tell me, I wondered?

As I rounded the corner of the Nevsky Prospect I
noticed a concourse of people outside the communal
eating-house toward which I was directing my steps. I
followed the people, who were moving hurriedly across
the street to the other side. At the entrance to the
eating-house stood two sailors on guard with fixed
bayonets, while people were being filed out of the
building singly, led by militiamen. In the dark lobby
within one could dimly discern individuals being
searched. Their documents were being examined and,
standing in their shirt sleeves, their clothing was
being subjected to strict investigation.

I waited to see if Melnikoff would emerge from the
building. After a moment I felt a tap on my arm and
looking round I was confronted by Zorinsky, the officer
who had accosted me in the cafe of Vera Alexandrovna
on the day of my arrival. Zorinsky signalled to me
to move aside with him.

"Were you to meet Melnikoff here?" he asked.
"It is lucky for you you did not enter the restaurant.
The place is being raided. I was about to go in myself,
but came a little late, thank God. Melnikoff was one
of the first to be arrested and has already been taken

"What is the cause of the raid?" I asked, dismayed
by this news.

"Who knows?" replied Zorinsky. "These things


are done spasmodically. Melnikoff has been tracked
for some days, I believe, and it may have been on his
account. Anyway, it is serious, for he is well known."

People were beginning to move away and the search
was clearly nearing its end.

"What are you going to do?" said my companion.

"I do not know," I replied, not wishing to confide
any of my movements to Zorinsky.

"We must begin to think of some way of getting
him out," he said. "Melnikoff was a great friend of
mine, but you are, I expect, as interested in his release
as I am."

"Is there any chance?" I exclaimed. "Of course
I am interested."

"Then I suggest you come home with me and we
we will talk it over. I live quite near."

Anxious to learn of any possibility of saving Mel-
nikoff, I consented. We passed into Troitzkaya Street
and entered a large house on the right.

"How do you wish me to call you?" asked Zorinsky
as we mounted the staircase. I was struck by the
considerateness of his question and replied, "Pavel

The flat in which Zorinsky lived was large and
luxuriously furnished, and showed no signs of molesta-
tion. "You live comfortably," I remarked, sinking
into a deep leather arm-chair. "Yes, we do pretty
well," he replied. "My wife, you see, is an actress.
She receives as many provisions as she wants and our
flat is immune from requisition of furniture or the
obtrusion of workmen. We will go round some
evening, if you like, and see her dance. As for me,
my wife has registered me as a sub-manager of the

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(Above) Typical view of a Russian village (province
of Smolensk)

(Below) The author and peasant children of the province

of Tula

Vhove) Night photograph of the Fortress of Peter and Paul
in the river Neva. Petrograd

(Below) A review by Trotzky of Red troops in the Red
Square al Moscow. On the right is the Kremlin, Lenin's


theatre so that I receive additional rations also. These
things, you know, are not difficult to arrange! Thus
I am really a gentleman at large, and living like many
others at the expense of a generous proletarian regime.
My hobby," he added, idly, "is contre-espionage."

"What?" I cried, the exclamation escaping me

" ' Contre-es n pionage" he repeated, smiling. When he
smiled one end of his crooked mouth remained station-
ary, while the other seemed to jut right up into his
cheek. "Why should you be surprised? Tout le
monde est contre-revolutionnaire: it is merely a question
of whether one is actively or passively so." He took
from a drawer a typewritten sheet of paper and
handed it to me. "Does that by any chance interest

I glanced at the paper. The writing was full of
uncorrected orthographical errors, showing it had
been typed by an unpractised hand in extreme haste.
Scanning the first few lines I at once became completely
absorbed in the document. It was a report, dated
two days previously, of confidential negotiations
between the Bolshevist Government and the leaders
of non-Bolshevist parties with regard to the possible
formation of a coalition Government. Nothing came
of the negotiations, but the information was of great
importance as showing the nervousness of the Bolshevist
leaders at that time and the clearly defined attitude
of the Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevist parties
toward the military counter-revolution.

"Is it authentic?" I inquired, dubiously.

"That report," replied Zorinsky, "is at this moment
being considered by the central committee of the


Menshevist party in this city. It was drawn up bj r
a member of the Menshevist delegation and despatched
secretly to Petrograd, for the Bolsheviks do not permit
their opponents to communicate freely with each
other. I saw the original and obtained a copy two
hours before it reached the Menshevist committee."

The suspicion of forgery immediately arose, but I
could see no reason for concocting the document on
the off-chance of somebody's being taken in by it.
I handed it back.

"You may as well keep it," said Zorinsky. "I
should have given it to Melnikoff and he would doubt-
less have given it to you. I am expecting a further
report shortly. Yes," he added, nonchalantly, tap-
ping the arm of the desk-chair in which he sat, "it is
an amusing game — confre-espionage. I used to provide
your Captain Crombie with quite a lot of information.
But I'm not surprised you have not heard of me for I
always preferred to keep in the background."

He produced a large box of cigarettes and, ringing a
bell, ordered tea.

"I don't know what you Allies propose doing with
regard to Russia," he observed, offering me a light. "It
seems to me you might as well leave us alone as bungle
about in the way you are doing. Meanwhile, all sorts
of people are conducting, or think they are conducting,
espionage underground in Russia, or planning to over-
throw the Reds. Are you interested?"


"Well, have you heard of General F.?" Zorinsky
launched into an exposition of the internal counter-
revolutionary movement, of which he appeared to
know extensive details. There existed, he said, bel-


ligerent "groups," planning to seize army stores, blow
up bridges, or raid treasuries. "They will never do
anything," he said, derisively, "because they all or-
ganize like idiots. The best are the S. R.'s (Socialist-
Revolutionaries) : they are fanatics, like the Bolsheviks.
None of the others could tell you what they want."

The maid, neatly attired in a clean white apron,
brought in tea, served with biscuits, sugar, and lemon.
Zorinsky talked on, displaying a remarkable knowledge
of everybody's movements and actions.

"Crombie was a fine fellow," he said, referring to the
British. "Pity he got killed. Things went to pieces.
The fellows who stayed after him had a hard time.
The French and Americans have all gone now except
(he mentioned a Frenchman living on the Vasili Island)
but he doesn't do much. Marsh had hard luck, didn't

"Marsh?" I put in. "So you know him, too?"

" Of him," corrected Zorinsky. All at once he seemed
to become interested and leaned over the arm of his
chair toward me. "By the way," he said, in a curious
tone, "you don't happen to know where Marsh is,
do you?"

For a moment I hesitated. Perhaps this man, who
seemed to know so much, might be able to help Marsh.
But I checked myself. Intuitively I felt it wiser to say

"I have no idea," I said, decisively.

"Then how do you know about him?"

"I heard in Finland of his arrest."

Zorinsky leaned back again in his chair and his
eyes wandered out of the window.

"I should have thought," I observed, after a pause,


"that knowing all you do, you would have followed his

"Aha," he exclaimed, and in the shadow his smile
looked like a black streak obliterating one half of his
face, "but there is one place I avoid, and that is
No. 2 Gordhovaya! When any one gets arrested I
leave him alone. I am wiser than to attempt to probe
the mysteries of that institution."

Zorinsky's words reminded me abruptly of Melni-

"But you spoke of the possibility of saving Melni-
koff," I said. "Is he not in the hands of No. 2
Gor6hovaya? , ' >

He turned round and looked me full in the face.
" Yes," he said, seriously, " with Melnikoff it is different.
We must act at once and leave no stone unturned. I
know a man who will be able to investigate and I'll
get him on the job to-night. Will you not stay to
dinner? My wife will be delighted to meet you, and
she understands discretion."

Seeing no special reason to refuse, I accepted the
invitation. Zorinsky went to the telephone and I
heard him ask someone to call about nine o'clock
"on an urgent matter."

His wife, Elena Ivanovna, a jolly little creature, but
very much of a spoilt child, appeared at dinner dressed

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