Samuel G. (Samuel Griswold) Goodrich.

Persevere and prosper; or, The Siberian sable-hunter online

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sister Kathinka gave me the roll of furs you
had sent her, and requested me to seek out



SABLE-HUNTER. 161

the princess Lodoiska, and see that they were
safely placed in her hands.

"All this I promised faithfully to do, and
departed. When I reached this city, I sought
out the princess, and gave her the parcel.
There was something in it from that hermit
whom we saw in the cave of Siberia, and who,
it seems, was the famous exile, Count Zinski.
The princess almost went mad about it ; she
told me to go straight back to Siberia, and
find the hermit and bring him here, and she
would give me a thousand dollars ! I should
have taken her offer, but that I saw the count
in Yakutsk, just after you left the place, in
the disguise of a fur merchant, and I doubted
if I should be able to find him."

'' But my father my sister? 5 '

" When I left Tobolsk your father was very
poorly, and Kathinka used to shed a great
many tears about it. At last Col.Krusenstern,
who had seemed all the while to be very kind,
told your father that he had got the consent
of the emperor, that he and Kathinka should
leave Siberia, and return to Poland. The
old gentleman had no suspicion of any trick:



162 THE SIBERIAN

this intelligence put new life into him, and
he set off with Kathinka for St. Petersburg.
They had money enough, for the colonel
provided everything.

"Well, when they got to St. Petersburg
Krusenstern was there. He immediately
caused information to be lodged at one of the
police offices, that your father had fled from
Tobolsk and was in the city."

"The villain the villain!" said Alexis
springing on his feet.

" Be quiet be quiet," said Linsk ; " you
must command yourself. Your father was
arrested and hurried to prison, with poor
Kathinka. There was no one to appear in
their behalf, for Krusenstern kept the matter
very quiet. At last I heard what was going
on. With the greatest difficulty I gained
admittance to the prison. I had heard about
angels, master Alexis, but I never saw one
till then. Your sister was pale as death, but
there was a sweet sunshine upon her face,
that seemed to cast a gleam of light through
the dungeon. She was sitting by your father,
and telling him some pleasant tale, for I saw



SABLE-HUNTKR. 163

the old man smile though the place was
very dim"

Alexis wrung his hands and groaned in an
agony of impatience. Linsk proceeded :

"Well they were delighted to see me;
and your sister, taking me apart, told me to




go to the princess Lodoiska, and take her a
ring that she took off her finger, and tell her
that Pultova of Warsaw and his daughter
were in prison, and begged her immediate aid.
I went to find the princess immediately, but
she was gone to Poland. In the meantime your
father was tried and condemned. In this
state of things, Krusenstern, who was in love



164 THE SIBERIAN

with your sister, told her that if his love could
be returned, he would save her father. She
spurned him as if he had been a serpent, and
this turned his heart to gall. Now he seems
anxious that your father should die, and
the fatal day is fixed for a week from to-
morrow/'

Alexis seemed for a few moments in a state
of mind which threatened to upset his reason:
but soon recovering himself, his step became
firm, and his countenance decided. " Take
me," said he, ee to the prison, Linsk : I want
to see my father and sister without delay "
They went to the place, but found that they
could not be admitted. What could now be
done? ei I will go to the emperor," said
Alexis " I will appeal to him/'

At this moment the message committed to
him by Count Zinski, came into his mind.
He forthwith made the most rapid prepara-
tions in his power, for proceeding to the
palace. This, however, was a work of several
hours. At last, he set out. Dismounting
from the carriage at the gate of the palace, he
entered, and as he was crossing the court, a
coach with a lady was passing by. At thifi



SABLE-HUNTER. 165

moment, the horses took fright at some ob-
ject, and rearing fearfully for a moment, set
forward at a full run. They swept quite
round the circular court with desperate fury,
and were now approaching Alexis.

Springing suddenly upon them, he fortu-
nately seized the bridle of one of the horses,
and by his vigorous arm, arrested the pro-
gress of the furious animals. While he held
them, the driver descended from his box,
opened the door of the coach, and the lady,
almost fainting from fright, sprang forth
upon the ground. Alexis approached the
trembling lady, and was about to offer to
conduct her across the court to the palace,
when some of the servants, who had witnessed
the scene we have described, came up, and
gave their assistance. As the lady was moving
away, she spoke to Alexis, and asked his
name. " Alexis Pultova," said he.

"Pultova? Pultova?" said the lady,
" Alexis Pultova, of Warsaw ?"

" Once of Warsaw, madam, but now of
Tobolsk."

It is unnecessary to give the details of the
interview. The lady was the princess



166 THE SIBERIAN

Lodoiska, who had just returned from Poland.
The story of Count Zinski was soon told, as
well as that of the father and sister of Alexis.
The princess seemed at first overwhelmed
with the double calamity, the news of which
fell like shocks of thunder upon her ear.
She saw at once the danger to which Zinski,
whom she still loved with devoted attach-
ment, had exposed himself by his rash re-
turn: and she also felt the extreme difficulty
of disappointing the artful and villanous
scheme of the wicked Krusenstern, in respect
to Pultova and his daughter.

She begged Alexis to delay his interview
with the emperor a single day, and promised
her utmost efforts in behalf of all those in
whom Alexis felt so deeply interested. When
he was gone, she went to Nicholas, and told
him the story of the count, as she had heard
it from Alexis. She then told frankly her
feelings, and stated the circumstances of their
former acquaintance, which have already
been detailed to the reader. She then threw
herself upon her knees, and begged for the
life and liberty of her lover.

We need not say that it was a touching



SABLE-HUNTER. 167

plea but the emperor seemed unmoved, and
positively refused to grant the request. He
insisted that the count's crime was one of the
highest nature, and it was indispensable that
he should receive a signal punishment. "His
fate is sealed," said Nicholas, firmly, " and it
shall be executed to-morrow. I hope, fair
lady, if you do not approve my mercy, you
will at least acknowledge my justice."




Bafiled and broken-hearted, the princess
left the stern monarch, and sought her room.
On the morrow, Zinski was taken to the
castle of St. Petersburg, and preparations for
his execution seemed to be immediately set
on foot. In vain was the petition of Lodoiska :
in vain the representations and the prayers of
the captain of the Czarina. When Alexis



168 THE SIBERIAN

came, and delivered the message of Zinski,
Nicholas showed that he felt a touch of
emotion ; but it appeared to pass immediately
away.

About four o'clock in the afternoon of the
day fixed for the count's execution, there was
a heavy sound of musketry in the court of
the castle : then a dead silence, and finally a
gate was opened, and a coach, with its cur-
tains closely drawn, issued forth, wending its
way to the palace of the emperor. A man
of a noble form, and still youthful aspect,
issued from the coach, and was conducted to
the audience room of the czar.

There stood Nicholas a man of great
height, and vast breadth of shoulder, as if he
had been made for the very model and per-
sonification of strength : at the same time, his
countenance, lighted up by a full blue eye,
expressed, amid a lofty and somewhat stern
aspect, an emotion of gentleness. By his
side was the princess Lodoiska.

The stranger entered the hall, and pro-
ceeding towards the emperor, was about to
kneel. "Nay, Count Zinski," said the
emperor, " we will not have that ceremony to-



SABLE-HUNTER. 169

day. You have been shot, and that is enough,
I owe you my life, Count, and I am glad of
being able to testify my gratitude. I sen-
tenced you to Siberia, expecting that you
would petition for reprieve ; but you were too
proud. I have long mourned over your stub-
bornness. Your return has given me plea-
sure, though I could have wished that it had




been in some other way. I could not over-
look your crime, so I ordered you to be shot
but with blank-cartridges. And now,
count, what can I do for you ?"
" One thing, sire, and but one."
"What is it? you shall have your wish/ 1
"The restoration of Pultova and his
family/'



170 THE SIBERIAN SABLE-HUNTER.

" It cannot be it cannot be ! The rebel
has just returned from Tobolsk,like yourself."

"Then, sire, let him be like me for-
given."

u You are ready with your wit, count but
you shall have your way. I will give imme-
diate orders for the liberation of Pultova ; and
he, as well as yourself, shall be restored to
your estates at Warsaw."




BIL1IHG, PEIKTEB AND 8TKRKOTYP1B,
OUILDFOBD, 8URKKT.



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Online LibrarySamuel G. (Samuel Griswold) GoodrichPersevere and prosper; or, The Siberian sable-hunter → online text (page 7 of 7)