Part 2 out of 6
"Heart of my heart," he murmured in a broken voice, straining his
daughter to his breast. "God, if God there be, and all the saints,
if saints there be, have you in their keeping. Kalman, my son,"
throwing one arm about him, "Farewell! farewell!" He was fast losing
control of himself. The stormy Slavic passions were threatening to
burst all restraint. "I give you to each other. But you will remember
that it was not for my sake, but for Russia's sake, I leave you.
My heart, my heart belongs to you, but my heart's heart is not for me,
nor for you, but for Russia, for your mother's land and ours."
By this time tears were streaming down his cheek. Sobs shook his
powerful frame. Irma was clinging to him in an abandonment of weeping.
Kalman stood holding tight to his father, rigid, tearless, white.
At length the father tore away their hands and once more crying
"Farewell!" made toward the door.
At this the boy broke forth in a loud cry, "Father! My father!
Take me with you! I would not fear! I would not fear to die. Take
me to Russia!" The boy ran after his father and clutched him hard.
"Ah, my lad, you are your mother's son and mine. Some day you may
go back. Who knows? But--no, no. Canada is your country. Go back."
The lad still clutched him. "Boy," said his father, steadying his
voice with great effort and speaking quietly, "with us, in our
country, we learn first, obedience."
The lad dropped his hold.
"Good!" said the father. "You are my own son. You will yet be a man.
And now farewell."
He kissed them again. The boy broke into passionate sobbing.
Paulina came forward and, kneeling at the father's feet, put
her face to the floor.
"I will care for the son of my lord," she murmured.
But with never a look at her, the father strode to the door and
passed out into the night.
"Be the howly prophet!" cried Tim, wiping his eyes, "it's harrd,
it's harrd! An' it's the heart av a paythriot the lad carries
inside av him! An' may Hivin be about him!"
THE GRIP OF BRITISH LAW
It was night in Winnipeg, a night of such radiant moonlight as is
seen only in northern climates and in winter time. During the early
evening a light snow had fallen, not driving fiercely after the
Manitoba manner, but gently, and so lay like a fleecy, shimmering
mantle over all things.
Under this fleecy mantle, shimmering with myriad gems, lay Winnipeg
asleep. Up from five thousand chimneys rose straight into the still
frosty air five thousand columns of smoke, in token that, though
frost was king outside, the good folk of Winnipeg lay snug and warm
in their virtuous beds. Everywhere the white streets lay in silence
except for the passing of a belated cab with creaking runners and
jingling bells, and of a sleighing party returning from Silver Heights,
their four-horse team smoking, their sleigh bells ringing out, carrying
with them hoarse laughter and hoarser songs, for the frosty air works
mischief with the vocal chords, and leaving behind them silence again.
All through Fort Rouge, lying among its snow-laden trees, across the
frost-bound Assiniboine, all through the Hudson's Bay Reserve, there
was no sign of life, for it was long past midnight. Even Main Street,
that most splendid of all Canadian thoroughfares, lay white and spotless
and, for the most part, in silence. Here and there men in furs or in
frieze coats with collars turned up high, their eyes peering through
frost-rimmed eyelashes and over frost-rimmed coat collars, paced
comfortably along if in furs, or walked hurriedly if only in frieze,
whither their business or their pleasure led.
Near the northern limits of the city the signs of life were more in
evidence. At the Canadian Pacific Railway station an engine, hoary
with frozen steam, puffed contentedly as if conscious of sufficient
strength for the duty that lay before it, waiting to hook on to
Number Two, nine hours late, and whirl it eastward in full contempt
of frost and snow bank and blizzard.
Inside the station a railway porter or two drowsed on the benches.
Behind the wicket where the telegraph instruments kept up an incessant
clicking, the agent and his assistant sat alert, coming forward now
and then to answer, with the unwearying courtesy which is part of
their equipment and of their training, the oft repeated question
from impatient and sleepy travellers, "How is she now?" "An hour,"
"half an hour," finally "fifteen minutes," then "any time now."
At which cheering report the uninitiated brightened up and passed
out to listen for the rumble of the approaching train. The more
experienced, however, settled down for another half hour's sleep.
It was a wearisome business, and to none more wearisome than to
Interpreter Elex Murchuk, part of whose duty it is to be in
attendance on the arrival of all incoming trains in case that some
pilgrim from Central and Southern Europe might be in need of
direction. For Murchuk, a little borderland Russian, boasts the
gift of tongues to an extraordinary degree. Russian, in which he
was born, and French, and German, and Italian, of course, he knows,
but Polish, Ruthenian, and all varieties of Ukranian speech are
alike known to him.
"I spik all European language good, jus' same Angleesh,"
was his testimony in regard to himself.
As the whistle of the approaching train was heard, Sergeant
Cameron strolled into the station house, carrying his six feet
two and his two hundred pounds of bone and muscle with the light
and easy movements of the winner of many a Caledonian Society medal.
Cameron, at one time a full private in the 78th Highlanders, is now
Sergeant in the Winnipeg City Police, and not ashamed of his job.
Big, calm, good-tempered, devoted to his duty, keen for the honour
of the force as he had been for the honour of his regiment in other
days, Sergeant Cameron was known to all good citizens as an officer
to be trusted and to all others as a man to be feared.
Just at present he was finishing up his round of inspection.
After the train had pulled in he would go on duty as patrolman,
in the place of Officer Donnelly, who was down with pneumonia.
The Winnipeg Police Force was woefully inadequate in point of
strength, there being no spare men for emergencies, and hence
Sergeant Cameron found it necessary to do double duty that night,
and he was prepared to do it without grumbling, too. Long watches
and weary marches were nothing new to him, and furthermore, to-night
there was especial reason why he was not unwilling to take a walk
through the north end. Headquarters had been kept fully informed of
the progress of a wedding feast of more than ordinary hilarity in
the foreign colony. This was the second night, and on second nights
the general joyousness of the festivities was more than likely to
become unduly exuberant. Indeed, the reports of the early evening
had been somewhat disquieting, and hence, Sergeant Cameron was
rather pleased than not that Officer Donnelly's beat lay in the
direction of the foreign colony.
At length Number Two rolled in, a double header, one engine alive
and one dead, but both swathed in snow and frozen steam from
cowcatcher to tender, the first puffing its proud triumph over the
opposing elements, the second silent, cold and lifeless like a
warrior borne from the field of battle.
The passengers, weary and full of the mild excitement of their long
struggle with storm and drift across half a continent, emerged from
their snow-clad but very comfortable coaches and were eagerly taken
in charge by waiting friends and watchful hotel runners.
Sergeant Cameron waited till the crowd had gone, and then turning
to Murchuk, he said, "You will be coming along with me, Murchuk.
I am going to look after some of your friends."
"My frients?" enquired Murchuk.
"Yes, over at the colony yonder."
"My frients!" repeated Murchuk with some indignation. "Not motch!"
Murchuk was proud of his official position as Dominion Government
Interpreter. "But I will go wit' you. It is my way."
Away from the noise of the puffing engines and the creaking car
wheels, the ears of Sergeant Cameron and his friend were assailed
by other and less cheerful sounds.
"Will you listen to that now?" said the Sergeant to his polyglot
companion. "What do you think of that for a civilised city? The
Indians are not in it with that bunch," continued the Sergeant,
who was diligently endeavouring to shed his Highland accent and
to take on the colloquialisms of the country.
From a house a block and a half away, a confused clamour rose up
into the still night air.
"Oh, dat noting," cheerfully said the little Russian, shrugging his
shoulders, "dey mak like dat when dey having a good time."
"They do, eh? And how do you think their neighbours will be liking
that sort of thing?"
The Sergeant stood still to analyse this confused clamour.
Above the thumping and the singing of the dancers could be heard
the sound of breaking boards, mingled with yells and curses.
"Murchuk, there is fighting going on."
"Suppose," agreed the Interpreter, "when Galician man get married,
he want much joy. He get much beer, much fight."
"I will just be taking a walk round there," said the Sergeant.
"These people have got to learn to get married with less fuss
about it. I am not going to stand this much longer. What do they
want to fight for anyway?"
"Oh," replied Murchuk lightly, "Polak not like Slovak, Slovak not
like Galician. Dey drink plenty beer, tink of someting in Old
Country, get mad, make noise, fight some."
"Come along with me," replied the Sergeant, and he squared his big
shoulders and set off down the street with the quick, light stride
that suggested the springing step of his Highland ancestors on the
heather hills of Scotland.
Just as they arrived at the house of feasting, a cry, wild, weird
and horrible, pierced through the uproar. The Interpreter stopped
as if struck with a bullet.
"My God!" he cried in an undertone, clutching the Sergeant by the
arm, "My God! Dat terrible!"
"What is it? What is the matter with you, Murchuk?"
"You know not dat cry? No?" He was all trembling. "Dat cry I
hear long ago in Russland. Russian man mak dat cry when he kill.
Dat Nihilist cry."
"Go back and get Dr. Wright. He will be needed, sure.
You know where he lives, second corner down on Main Street.
Get a move on! Quick!"
Meantime, while respectable Winnipeg lay snugly asleep under
snow-covered roofs and smoking chimneys, while belated revellers
and travellers were making their way through white, silent streets
and under avenues of snow-laden trees to homes where reigned love
and peace and virtue, in the north end and in the foreign colony
the festivities in connection with Anka's wedding were drawing to
a close in sordid drunken dance and song and in sanguinary fighting.
In the main room dance and song reeled on in uproarious hilarity.
In the basement below, foul and fetid, men stood packed close,
drinking while they could. It was for the foreigner an hour of rare
opportunity. The beer kegs stood open and there were plenty of tin
mugs about. In the dim light of a smoky lantern, the swaying crowd,
here singing in maudlin chorus, there fighting savagely to pay off
old scores or to avenge new insults, presented a nauseating spectacle.
In the farthest corner of the room, unmoved by all this din, about
a table consisting of a plank laid across two beer kegs, one empty,
the other for the convenience of the players half full, sat four
men deep in a game of cards. Rosenblatt with a big Dalmatian sailor
as partner, against a little Polak and a dark-bearded man. This man
was apparently very drunk, as was evident by his reckless playing
and his jibing, jeering manner. He was losing money, but with
perfect good cheer. Not so his partner, the Polak. Every loss made
him more savage and quarrelsome. With great difficulty Rosenblatt
was able to keep the game going and preserve peace. The singing,
swaying, yelling, cursing crowd beside them also gave him concern,
and over and again he would shout, "Keep quiet, you fools. The
police will be on us, and that will be the end of your beer, for
they will put you in prison!"
"Yes," jeered the black-bearded man, who seemed to be set on making
a row, "all fools, Russian fools, Polak fools, Galician fools,
Slovak fools, all fools together."
Angry voices replied from all sides, and the noise rose higher.
"Keep quiet!" cried Rosenblatt, rising to his feet, "the police
will surely be here!"
"That is true," cried the black-bearded man, "keep them quiet or
the police will herd them in like sheep, like little sheep, baa,
baa, baa, baa!"
"The police!" shouted a voice in reply, "who cares for the police?"
A yell of derisive assent rose in response.
"Be quiet!" besought Rosenblatt again. He was at his wits' end.
The police might at any time appear and that would end what was
for him a very profitable game, and besides might involve him in
serious trouble. "Here you, Joseph!" he cried, addressing a man
near him, "another keg of beer!"
Between them they hoisted up a keg of beer on an empty cask,
knocked in the head, and set them drinking with renewed eagerness.
"Swine!" he said, seating himself again at the table. "Come, let us play."
But the very devil of strife seemed to be in the black-bearded man.
He gibed at the good-natured Dalmatian, setting the Polak at him,
suggested crooked dealing, playing recklessly and losing his own and
his partner's money. At length the inevitable clash came. As the
Dalmatian reached for a trick, the Polak cried out, "Hold! It is mine!"
"Yes, certainly it is his!" shouted the black-bearded man.
"Liar! It is mine," said the Dalmatian, with perfect good temper,
and held on to his cards.
"Liar yourself!" hissed the little Polak, thrusting his face toward
"Go away," said the Dalmatian. His huge open hand appeared to rest
a moment on the Polak's grinning face, and somehow the little man
was swept from his seat to the floor.
"Ho, ho," laughed the Dalmatian, "so I brush away a fly."
With a face like a demon's, the Polak sprang at his big antagonist,
an open knife in his hand, and jabbed him in the arm. For a moment
the big man sat looking at his assailant as if amazed at his
audacity. Then as he saw the blood running down his fingers he went
mad, seized the Polak by the hair, lifted him clear out of his
seat, carrying the plank table with him, and thereupon taking him
by the back of the neck, proceeded to shake him till his teeth
rattled in his head.
At almost the same instant the black-bearded man leaped across the
fallen table like a tiger, at Rosenblatt's throat, and bore him down
to the earthen floor in the dark corner. Sitting astride his chest,
his knees on Rosenblatt's arms, and gripping him by the throat, he
held him voiceless and helpless. Soon his victim lay still, looking
up into his assailant's face in surprise, fear and rage unspeakable.
"Rosenblatt," said the bearded man in a soft voice,
"you know me--me?"
"No," gasped Rosenblatt in terrible fury, "what do you--"
"Look," said the man. With his free hand he swept off the black
beard which he stuffed into his pocket.
Rosenblatt looked. "Kalmar!" he gasped, terror in his eyes.
"Yes, Kalmar," replied the man.
"Help!--" The cry died at his teeth.
"No, no," said Kalmar, shutting his fingers upon his windpipe.
"No noise. We are to have a quiet moment here. They are all too busy
to notice us. Listen." He leaned far down over the ghastly face of
the wretched man beneath him. "Shall I tell you why I am here? Shall
I remind you of your crimes? No, I need not. You remember them well,
and in a few minutes you will be in hell for them. Five years I
froze and burned in Siberia, through you." As he said the word "you"
he leaned a little closer. His voice remained low and soft, but his
eyes were blazing with a light as of madness. "For this moment,"
he continued gently, "I have hungered, thirsted, panted. Now it has
come. I regret I must hurry a little. I should like to drink this
sweet cup slowly, oh so slowly, drop by drop. But--ah, do not
struggle, nor cry. It will only add to your pain. Do you see this?"
He drew from his pocket what seemed a knife handle, pressed a spring,
and from this handle there shot out a blade, long, thin, murderous
looking. "It has a sharp point, oh, a very sharp point." He pricked
Rosenblatt in the cheek, and as Rosenblatt squirmed, laughed a
laugh of singular sweetness. "With this beautiful instrument I mean
to pick out your eyes, and then I shall drive it down through your
heart, and you will be dead. It will not hurt so very much," he
continued in a tone of regret. "No no, not so very much; not so
much as when you put out the light of my life, when you murdered
my wife; not so much as when you pierced my heart in betraying my
cause. See, it will not hurt so very much." He put the sharp blade
against Rosenblatt's breast high up above the heart, and drove it
slowly down through the soft flesh till he came to bone. Like a mad
thing, his unhappy victim threw himself wildly about in a furious
struggle. But he was like a babe in the hands that gripped him.
Kalmar laughed gleefully. "Aha! Aha! Good! Good! You give me much
joy. Alas! it is so short-lived, and I must hurry. Now for your
right eye. Or would you prefer the left first?"
As he released the pressure upon Rosenblatt's throat, the wretched
man gurgled forth, "Mercy! Mercy! God's name, mercy!"
Piteous abject terror showed in his staring eyes. His voice was to
Kalmar like blood to a tiger.
"Mercy!" he hissed, thrusting his face still nearer, his smile now
all gone. "Mercy? God's name! Hear him! I, too, cried for mercy for
father, brother, wife, but found none. Now though God Himself
should plead, you will have only such mercy from me." He seemed to
lose hold of himself. His breath came in thick sharp sobs, foam
fell from his lips. "Ha," he gasped. "I cannot wait even to pick
your eyes. There is some one at the door. I must drink your heart's
blood now! Now! A-h-h-h!" His voice rose in a wild cry, weird and
terrible. He raised his knife high, but as it fell the Dalmatian,
who had been amusing himself battering the Polak about during these
moments, suddenly heaved the little man at Kalmar, and knocked him
into the corner. The knife fell, buried not in the heart of Rosenblatt,
but in the Polak's neck.
There was no time to strike again. There was a loud battering,
then a crash as the door was kicked open.
"Hello! What is all this row here?"
It was Sergeant Cameron, pushing his big body through the crowd as
a man bursts through a thicket. An awed silence had fallen upon
all, arrested, sobered by that weird cry. Some of them knew that
cry of old. They had heard it in the Old Land in circumstances of
heart-chilling terror, but never in this land till this moment.
"What is all this?" cried the Sergeant again. His glance swept the
room and rested upon the huddled heap of men in the furthest corner.
He seized the topmost and hauled him roughly from the heap.
"Hello! What's this? Why, God bless my soul! The man is dying!"
From a wound in the neck the blood was still spouting. Quickly the
Sergeant was on his knees beside the wounded man, his thumb pressed
hard upon the gaping wound. But still the blood continued to bubble
up and squirt from under his thumb. All around, the earthen floor
was muddy with blood.
"Run, some of you," commanded the Sergeant, "and hurry up that
Dr. Wright, Main Street, two corners down!"
Jacob Wassyl, who had come in from the room above, understood,
and sent a man off with all speed.
"Good Lord! What a pig sticking!" said the Sergeant. "There is a
barrel of blood around here. And here is another man! Here you!"
addressing Jacob, "put your thumb here and press so. It is not much
good, but we cannot do anything else just now." The Sergeant
straightened himself up. Evidently this was no ordinary "scrap."
"Let no man leave this room," he cried aloud. "Tell them," he said,
addressing Jacob, "you speak English; and two of you, you and you,
stand by the door and let no man out except as I give the word."
The two men took their places.
"Now then, let us see what else there is here. Do you know
these men?" he enquired of Jacob.
"Dis man," replied Jacob, "I not know. Him Polak man."
The men standing about began to jabber.
"What do they say?"
"Him Polak. Kravicz his name. He no bad man. He fight quick,
but not a bad man."
"Well, he won't fight much more, I am thinking," replied the Sergeant.
A second man lay on his back in a pool of blood, insensible. His
face showed ghastly beneath its horrible smear of blood and filth.
"Bring me that lantern," commanded the Sergeant.
"My God!" cried Jacob, "it is Rosenblatt!"
"Rosenblatt? Who is he?"
"De man dat live here, dis house. He run store. Lots mon'.
My God! He dead!"
"Looks like it," said the Sergeant, opening his coat. "He's got a
bad hole in him here," he continued, pointing to a wound in the
chest. "Looks deep, and he is bleeding, too."
There was a knocking at the door.
"Let him in," cried the Sergeant, "it is the doctor. Hello, Doctor!
Here is something for you all right."
The doctor, a tall, athletic young fellow with a keen, intellectual
face, pushed his way through the crowd to the corner and dropped on
his knees beside the Polak.
"Why, the man is dead!" said the doctor, putting his hand over the
Even as he spoke, a shudder passed through the man's frame, and he
lay still. The doctor examined the hole in his neck.
"Yes, he's dead, sure enough. The jugular vein is severed."
"Well, here is another, Doctor, who will be dead in a few minutes,
if I am not mistaken," said the Sergeant.
"Let me see," said the doctor, turning to Rosenblatt. "Heavens
above!" he cried, as his knees sank in the bloody mud, "it's blood!"
He passed round the other side of the unconscious man, got out his
syringe and gave him a hypodermic. In a few minutes Rosenblatt
showed signs of life. He began to breathe heavily, then to cough
and spit mouthfuls of blood.
"Ha, lung, I guess," said the doctor, examining a small clean wound
high up in the left breast. "Better send for an ambulance, Sergeant,
and hurry them up. The sooner we get him to the hospital, the better.
And here is another man. What's wrong with him?"
Beyond Rosenblatt lay a black-bearded man upon his face, breathing
heavily. The doctor turned him over.
"He's alive anyway, and," after examination, "I can't find any
wound. Heart all right, nothing wrong with him, I guess, except
that he's got a bad jag on."
A cursory examination of the crowd revealed wounds in plenty,
but nothing serious enough to demand the doctor's attention.
"Now then," said the Sergeant briskly, "I want to get your names and
addresses. You can let me have them?" he continued, turning to Jacob.
"Me not know all mens."
"Go on," said the Sergeant curtly.
"Dis man Rosenblatt. Dis man Polak, Kravicz. Not know where he live."
"It would be difficult, I am thinking, for any one to tell where he
lives now," said the Sergeant grimly, "and it does not much matter
for my purpose."
"Poor chap," said the doctor, "it's too bad."
"What?" said the Sergeant, glancing at him, "well, it is too bad,
that is true. But they are a bad lot, these Galicians."
"Poor chap," continued the doctor, looking down upon him,
"perhaps he has got a wife and children."
A murmur rose among the men.
"No, he got no wife," said Jacob.
"Thank goodness for that!" said the doctor. "These fellows are a
bit rough," he continued, "but they have never had a chance, nor
even half a chance. A beastly tyrannical government at home has
put the fear of death on them for this world, and an ignorant and
superstitious Church has kept them in fear of purgatory and hell
fire for the next. They have never had a chance in their own land,
and so far, they have got no better chance here, except that they
do not live in the fear of Siberia." The doctor had his own views
upon the foreign peoples in the West.
"That is all right, Doctor," said the Sergeant, despite the
Calvinism of generations beating in his heart, "it is hard on them,
but there is nobody compelling them here to drink and fight like a
lot of brutes."
"But who is to teach them any better?" said the doctor.
"Come on," said the Sergeant, "who is this?" pointing to the
dark-bearded man lying in the corner.
"Dis man," said Jacob, "strange man."
"Any of you know him here?" asked the Sergeant.
There was a murmur of voices.
"What do they say?"
"No one know him. He drink much beer. He very drunk. He play cards
wit' Rosenblatt," said Jacob.
"Playing cards, eh? I think we will be finding something now.
Who else was in the card game?"
Again a murmur of voices arose.
"Dis Polak man," said Jacob, "and Rosenblatt, and dat man dere, and--"
Half a dozen voices rose in explanation, and half a dozen hands
eagerly pointed out the big Dalmatian, who stood back among the
crowd pale with terror.
"Come up here, you," said the Sergeant to him.
Instead of responding, with one bound the Dalmatian was at the door,
and hurled the two men aside as if they were wooden pegs. But before
he could tear open the door, the Sergeant was on him. At once the
Dalmatian grappled with him in a fierce struggle. There was a quick
angry growl from the crowd. They all felt themselves to be in an
awkward position. Once out of the room, it would be difficult for
any police officer to associate them in any way with the crime.
The odds were forty to one. Why not make a break for liberty?
A rush was made for the struggling pair at the door.
"Get back there!" roared the Sergeant, swinging his baton and
holding off his man with the other hand.
At the same instant the doctor, springing up from his patient,
and taking in the situation, put down his head and bored through
the crowd in the manner which at one time had been the admiration
and envy of his fellow-students in Manitoba College, till he
found himself side by side with the Sergeant.
"Well done!" cried the Sergeant in cheerful approval, "you are the lad!
We will just be teaching these chaps a fery good lesson, whateffer,"
continued the Sergeant, lapsing in his excitement into his native dialect.
"Here you," he cried to the big Dalmatian who was struggling and kicking
in a frenzy of fear and rage, "will you not keep quiet? Take that then."
And he laid no gentle tap with his baton across the head of his captive.
The Dalmatian staggered to the wall and collapsed. There was a flash
of steel and a click, and he lay handcuffed and senseless at the
"I hate to do that," said the Sergeant apologetically, "but on this
occasion it cannot be helped. That was a good one, Doctor," he
continued, as the doctor planted his left upon an opposing Galician
chin, thereby causing a sudden subsidence of its owner. "These men
have not got used to us yet, and we will just have to be patient
with them," said the Sergeant, laying about with his baton as
opportunity offered, not in any slashing wholesale manner, but
making selection, and delivering his blows with the eye and hand of
an artist. He was handling the situation gently and with discretion.
Still the crowd kept pressing hard upon the two men at the door.
"We must put a stop to this," said the Sergeant seriously.
"Here you!" he called to Jacob above the uproar.
Jacob pushed nearer to him.
"Tell these fellows that I am not wanting to hurt any of them,
but if they do not get quiet soon, I will attack them and will
not spare them, and that if they quit their fighting, none of
them will be hurt except the guilty party."
At once Jacob sprang upon a beer keg and waving his arms wildly,
he secured a partial silence, and translated for them the Sergeant's
"And tell them, too," said the doctor in a high, clear voice,
"there is a man dying over there that I have got to attend to
right now, and I haven't time for this foolishness."
As he spoke, he once more bored his way through the crowd to the
side of Rosenblatt, who was continuing to gasp painfully and spit
blood. The moment of danger was past. The excited crowd settled
down again into an appearance of stupid anxiety, awaiting they
knew not what.
"Now then," said the Sergeant, turning to the Dalmatian who had
recovered consciousness and was standing sullen and passive. He had
made his attempt for liberty, he had failed, and now he was ready
to accept his fate. "Ask him what is his name," said the Sergeant.
"He say his name John Jarema."
"And what has he got to say for himself?"
At this the Dalmatian began to speak with eager gesticulation.
"What is he saying?" enquired the Sergeant.
"Dis man say he no hurt no man. Dis man," pointing to the dead
Polak, "play cards, fight, stab knife into his arm," said Jacob,
pulling up the Dalmatian's coat sleeve to show an ugly gash in the
forearm. "Jarema hit him on head, shake him bad, and trow him in
corner on noder man."
Again the Dalmatian broke forth.
"He say he got no knife at all. He cannot make hole like dat wit'
"Well, we shall see about that," said the Sergeant. "Now where is
that other man?" He turned toward the corner. The corner was empty.
"Where has he gone?" said the Sergeant, peering through the crowd
for a black-whiskered face.
The man was nowhere to be seen. The Sergeant was puzzled and
angered. He lined the men up around the walls, but the man was
not to be found. As each man uttered his name, there were always
some to recognize and to corroborate the information. One man alone
seemed a stranger to all in the company. He was clean shaven, but
for a moustache with ends turned up in military manner, and with
an appearance of higher intelligence than the average Galician.
"Ask him his name," said the Sergeant.
The man replied volubly, and Jacob interpreted.
"His name, Rudolph Polkoff, Polak man. Stranger, come to dis town
soon. Know no man here. Some man bring him here to dance."
The Sergeant kept his keen eye fastened on the man while he talked.
"Well, he looks like a smart one. Come here," he said, beckoning
the stranger forward into the better light.
The man came and stood with his back to Rosenblatt.
"Hold up your hands."
The man stared blankly. Jacob interpreted. He hesitated a moment,
then held up his hands above his head. The Sergeant turned him
"You will not be having any weepons on you?" said the Sergeant,
searching his pockets. "Hello! What's this?" He pulled out the
The same instant there was a gasping cry from Rosenblatt. All
turned in his direction. Into his dim eyes and pallid face suddenly
sprang life; fear and hate struggling to find expression in the
look he fixed upon the stranger. With a tremendous effort he raised
his hand, and pointing to the stranger with a long, dirty finger,
he gasped, "Arrest--he murder--" and fell back again unconscious.
Even as he spoke there was a quick movement. The lantern was dashed
to the ground, the room plunged into darkness and before the
Sergeant knew what had happened, the stranger had shaken himself
free from his grasp, torn open the door and fled.
With a mighty oath, the Sergeant was after him, but the darkness
and the crowd interfered with his progress, and by the time he had
reached the door, the man had completely vanished. At the door
stood Murchuk with the ambulance.
"See a man run out here?" demanded the Sergeant.
"You bet! He run like buck deer."
"Why didn't you stop him?" cried the Sergeant.
"Stop him!" replied the astonished Murchuk, "would you stop a mad
crazy bull? No, no, not me."
"Get that man inside to the hospital then. He won't hurt you,"
exclaimed the Sergeant in wrathful contempt. "I'll catch that man
if I have to arrest every Galician in this city!"
It was an unspeakable humiliation to the Sergeant, but with such
vigour did he act, that before the morning dawned, he had every
exit from the city by rail and by trail under surveillance, and
before a week was past, by adopting the very simple policy of
arresting every foreigner who attempted to leave the town, he had
secured his man.
It was a notable arrest. From all the evidence, it seemed that the
prisoner was a most dangerous criminal. The principal source of
evidence, however, was Rosenblatt, whose deposition was taken down
by the Sergeant and the doctor.
The man, it appeared, was known by many names, Koval, Kolowski,
Polkoff and others, but his real name was Michael Kalmar. He was a
determined and desperate Nihilist, was wanted for many crimes by
the Russian police, and had spent some years as a convict in Siberia
where, if justice had its due, he would be at the present time. He
had cast off his wife and children, whom he had shipped to Canada.
Incidentally it came out that it was only Rosenblatt's generosity
that had intervened between them and starvation. Balked in one of
his desperate Nihilist schemes by Rosenblatt, who held a position
of trust under the Russian Government, he had sworn vengeance, and
escaping from Siberia, he had come to Canada to make good his oath.
And but for the timely appearance of the police, he would have
Meantime, Sergeant Cameron was receiving congratulations on all hands
for his cleverness in making the arrest of a man who had escaped the
vigilance of the Russian Police and Secret Service, said to be the
finest in all Europe. In his cell, the man, as good as condemned,
waited his trial, a stranger far from help and kindred, an object of
terror and of horror to many, of compassion to a few. But however men
thought of him, he had sinned against British civilisation, and would
now have to taste of British justice.
The two months preceding the trial were months of restless agony to
the prisoner, Kalmar. Day and night he paced his cell like a tiger
in a cage, taking little food and sleeping only when overcome with
exhaustion. It was not the confinement that fretted him. The Winnipeg
jail, with all its defects and limitations, was a palace to some that
he had known. It was not the fear of the issue to his trial that
drove sleep and hunger from him. Death, exile, imprisonment, had been
too long at his heels to be strangers to him or to cause him fear.
In his heart a fire burned. Rosenblatt still lived, and vengeance
had halted in its pursuit.
But deep as was the passion in his heart for vengeance, that for
his country and his cause burned deeper. He had been able to
establish lines of communication between his fatherland and the
new world by means of which the oppressed, the hunted, might reach
freedom and safety. The final touches to his plans were still to be
given. Furthermore, it was necessary that he should make his report
in person, else much of his labour would be fruitless. It was this
that brought him "white nights" and black days.
Every day Paulina called at the jail and waited long hours with
uncomplaining patience in the winter cold, till she could be
admitted. Her husband showed no sign of interest, much less of
gratitude. One question alone, he asked day by day.
"The children are well?"
"They are well," Paulina would answer. "They ask to see you every day."
"They may not see me here," he would reply, after which she would
turn away, her dull face full of patient suffering.
One item of news she brought him that gave him a moment's cheer.
"Kalman," she said, one day, "will speak nothing but Russian."
"Ha!" he exclaimed. "He is my son indeed. But," he added gloomily,
"of what use now?"
Others sought admission,--visitors from the Jail Mission,
philanthropic ladies, a priest from St. Boniface, a Methodist
minister,--but all were alike denied. Simon Ketzel he sent
for, and with him held long converse, with the result that
he was able to secure for his defence the services of O'Hara,
the leading criminal lawyer of Western Canada. There appeared
to be no lack of money, and all that money could do was done.
The case began to excite considerable interest, not only in the
city, but throughout the whole country. Public opinion was strongly
against the prisoner. Never in the history of the new country had a
crime been committed of such horrible and bloodthirsty deliberation.
It is true that this opinion was based largely upon Rosenblatt's
deposition, taken by Sergeant Cameron and Dr. Wright when he was
supposed to be _in extremis_, and upon various newspaper interviews
with him that appeared from time to time. The Morning News in a
trenchant leader pointed out the danger to which Western Canada
was exposed from the presence of these semibarbarous peoples from
Central and Southern Europe, and expressed the hope that the
authorities would deal with the present case in such a manner as
would give a severe but necessary lesson to the lawless among our
There was, indeed, from the first, no hope of acquittal. Staunton,
who was acting for the Crown, was convinced that the prisoner would
receive the maximum sentence allowed by law. And even O'Hara
acknowledged privately to his solicitor that the best he could hope
for was a life sentence. "And, by gad! he ought to get it! It is
the most damnable case of bloody murder that I have come across in
all my practice!" But this was before Mr. O'Hara had interviewed
In his hunt for evidence Mr. O'Hara had come upon his fellow
countrywoman in the foreign colony. At first from sheer delight
in her rich brogue and her shrewd native wit, and afterward from
the conviction that her testimony might be turned to good account
on behalf of his client, Mr. O'Hara diligently cultivated
Mrs. Fitzpatrick's acquaintance. It helped their mutual admiration
and their friendship not a little to discover their common devotion
to "the cause o' the paythriot in dear owld Ireland," and their
mutual interest in the prisoner Kalmar, as a fellow "paythriot."
Immediately upon his discovery of the rich possibilities in Mrs.
Fitzpatrick Mr. O'Hara got himself invited to drink a "cup o' tay,"
which, being made in the little black teapot brought all the way
from Ireland, he pronounced to be the finest he had had since
coming to Canada fifteen years ago. Indeed, he declared that he
had serious doubts as to the possibilities of producing on this
side of the water and by people of this country just such tea as he
had been accustomed to drink in the dear old land. It was over this
cup of tea, and as he drew from Mrs. Fitzpatrick the description of
the scene between the Nihilist and his children, that Mr. O'Hara
came to realise the vast productivity of the mine he had uncovered.
He determined that Mrs. Fitzpatrick should tell this tale in court.
"We'll bate that divil yet!" he exclaimed to his new-found friend,
his brogue taking a richer flavour from his environment. "They would
be having the life of the poor man for letting a little of the black
blood out of the black heart of that traitor and blackguard, and may
the divil fly away with him! But we'll bate them yet, and it's yersilf
is the one to do it!" he exclaimed in growing excitement and admiration.
At first Mrs. Fitzpatrick was most reluctant to appear in court.
"Sure, what would I do or say in the face av His 'Anner an' the
joorymin, with niver a word on the tongue av me?"
"And would you let the poor man go to his death?" cried O'Hara,
proceeding to draw a lurid picture of the deadly machinations of
the lawyer for the Crown, Rosenblatt and their associates against
this unfortunate patriot who, for love of his country and for the
honour of his name, had sought to wreak a well-merited vengeance
upon the abject traitor.
Under his vehement eloquence Mrs. Fitzpatrick's Celtic nature
kindled into flame. She would go to the court, and in the face of
Judge and jury and all the rest of them, she would tell them the
kind of man they were about to do to death. Over and over again
O'Hara had her repeat her story, emphasising with adjurations,
oaths and even tears, those passages that his experience told him
would be most effective for his purpose, till he felt sure she
would do full credit to her part.
During the trial the court room was crowded, not only with the
ordinary morbid sensation seekers, but with some of Winnipeg's
most respectable citizens. In one corner of the court room there
was grouped day after day a small company of foreigners. Every man
of Russian blood in the city who could attend, was there. It was
against the prisoner's will and desire, but in accordance with
O'Hara's plan of defence that Paulina and the children should
be present at every session of the court. The proceedings were
conducted through an interpreter where it was necessary, Kalmar
pleading ignorance of the niceties of the English language.
The prisoner was arraigned on the double charge of attempted murder
in the case of Rosenblatt, and of manslaughter in that of the dead
Polak. The evidence of Dr. Wright and of Sergeant Cameron,
corroborated by that of many eyewitnesses, established beyond a
doubt that the wound in Rosenblatt's breast and in the dead Polak's
neck was done by the same instrument, and that instrument the
spring knife discovered in the basement of Paulina's house.
Kalmar, arrayed in his false black beard, was identified by the
Dalmatian and by others as the Polak's partner in the fatal game of
cards. Staunton had little difficulty in establishing the identity
of the black-bearded man who had appeared here and there during the
wedding festivities with Kalmar himself. From the stupid Paulina he
skilfully drew evidence substantiating this fact, and though this
evidence was ruled out on the ground that she was the prisoner's
wife, the effect upon the jury was not lost.
The most damaging testimony was, of course, that offered by
Rosenblatt himself, and this evidence Staunton was clever enough
to use with dramatic effect. Pale, wasted, and still weak, Rosenblatt
told his story to the court in a manner that held the crowd breathless
with horror. Never had such a tale been told to Canadian ears. The only
man unmoved was the prisoner. Throughout the narrative he maintained an
attitude of bored indifference.
It was not in vain, however, that O'Hara sought to weaken the
effect of Rosenblatt's testimony by turning the light upon some
shady spots in his career. In his ruthless "sweating" of the
witness, the lawyer forced the admission that he had once been the
friend of the prisoner; that he had been the unsuccessful suitor of
the prisoner's first wife; that he had been a member of the same
Secret Society in Russia; that he had joined the Secret Service of
the Russian Government and had given evidence leading to the
breaking up of that Society; that he had furnished the information
that led to the prisoner's transportation to Siberia. At this point
O'Hara swiftly changed his ground.
"You have befriended this woman, Paulina Koval?"
"You have, in fact, acted as her financial agent?"
"I have assisted her in her financial arrangements. She cannot
"Whose house does she live in?"
Rosenblatt hesitated. "I am not sure."
"Whose house does she live in?" roared O'Hara, stepping toward him.
"Her own, I think."
"You think!" shouted the lawyer. "You know, don't you? You bought
it for her. You made the first payment upon it, did you not?"
"Yes, I did."
"And since that time you have cashed money orders for her that have
come month by month?"
Again Rosenblatt hesitated. "I have sometimes--"
"Tell the truth!" shouted O'Hara again; "a lie here can be easily
traced. I have the evidence. Did you not cash the money orders that
came month by month addressed to Paulina Koval?"
"I did, with her permission. She made her mark."
"Where did the money go?"
"I gave it to her."
"And what did she do with it?"
"I don't know."
"Did she not give you money from time to time to make payments
upon the house?"
"Be careful. Let me remind you that there is a law against
perjury. I give you another chance. Did you not receive certain
money to make payments on this house?" O'Hara spoke with terrible
and deliberate emphasis.
"I did, some."
"And did you make these payments?"
"Would you be surprised to know, as I now tell the court,
that since the first payment, made soon after the arrival
in the country, not a dollar further had been paid?"
Rosenblatt was silent.
"Answer me!" roared the lawyer. "Would you be surprised to know this?"
"This surprise is waiting you. Now then, who runs this house?"
"Tell me the truth. Who lets the rooms in this house, and who is
responsible for the domestic arrangements of the house? Tell me,"
said O'Hara, bearing down upon the wretched Rosenblatt.
"Then you are responsible for the conditions under which Paulina
Koval has been forced to live during these three years?"
Rosenblatt was silent.
"That will do," said O'Hara with contempt unspeakable.
He could easily have made more out of his sweating process had not
the prisoner resolutely forbidden any reference to Rosenblatt's
treatment of and relation to the unfortunate Paulina or the domestic
arrangements that he had introduced into that unfortunate woman's
household. Kalmar was rigid in his determination that no stain
should come to his honour in this regard.
With the testimony of each succeeding witness the cloud overhanging
the prisoner grew steadily blacker. The first ray of light came
from an unexpected quarter. It was during the examination of
Mrs. Fitzpatrick that O'Hara got his first opening. It was a master
stroke of strategy on his part that Mrs. Fitzpatrick was made to
appear as a witness for the Crown, for the purpose of establishing
the deplorable and culpable indifference to and neglect of his
family on the part of the prisoner.
Day after day Mrs. Fitzpatrick had appeared in the court, following
the evidence with rising wrath against the Crown, its witnesses,
and all the machinery of prosecution. All unwitting of this surging
tide of indignation in the heart of his witness the Crown Counsel
summoned her to the stand. Mr. Staunton's manner was exceedingly
"Your name, Madam?" he enquired.
"Me name is it?" replied the witness. "An' don't ye know me name as
well as I do mesilf?"
Mr. Staunton smiled pleasantly. "But the court desires to share
that privilege with me, so perhaps you will be good enough to
inform the court of your name."
"If the court wants me name let the court ask it. An' if you want
to tell the court me name ye can plaze yersilf, fer it's little I
think av a man that'll sit in me house by the hour forninst mesilf
an' me husband there, and then let on before the court that he
doesn't know the name av me."
"Why, my dear Madam," said the lawyer soothingly, "it is a mere
matter of form that you should tell the court your name."
"A matter o' form, is it? Indade, an' it's mighty poor form it is,
if ye ask my opinion, which ye don't, an' it's mighty poor manners."
At this point the judge interposed.
"Come, come," he said, "what is your name? I suppose you are
not ashamed of it?"
"Ashamed av it, Yer 'Anner!" said Mrs. Fitzpatrick, with an
elaborate bow to the judge, "ashamed av it! There's niver a
shame goes with the name av Fitzpatrick!"
"Your name is Fitzpatrick?"
"It is, Yer 'Anner. Mistress Timothy Fitzpatrick, Monaghan that
was, the Monaghans o' Ballinghalereen, which I'm sure Yer 'Anner'll
have heard of, fer the intilligent man ye are."
"Mrs. Timothy Fitzpatrick," said the judge, with the suspicion of
a smile, writing the name down. "And your first name?"
"Me Christian name is it? Ah, thin, Judge dear, wud ye be wantin' that
too?" smiling at him in quite a coquettish manner. "Sure, if ye had
had the good taste an' good fortune to be born in the County Mayo ye
wudn't nade to be askin' the name av Nora Monaghan o' Ballinghalereen."
The judge's face was now in a broad smile.
"Nora Fitzpatrick," he said, writing the name down. "Let us proceed."
"Well, Mrs. Fitzpatrick," said the counsel for the Crown,
"will you kindly look at the prisoner?"
Mrs. Fitzpatrick turned square about and let her eyes rest upon
the prisoner's pale face.
"I will that," said she, "an' there's many another I'd like to
see in his place."
"Do you know him?"
"I do that. An' a finer gintleman I niver saw, savin' Yer 'Anner's
prisence," bowing to the judge.
"Oh, indeed! A fine gentleman? And how do you know that, Mrs. Fitzpatrick?"
"How do I know a gintleman, is it? Sure, it's by the way he trates a lady."
"Ah," said the lawyer with a most courteous bow, "that is a most
excellent test. And what do you know of this--ah--this gentleman's
manners with ladies?"
"An' don't I know how he trates mesilf? He's not wan to fergit a
lady's name, you may lay to that."
"Oh, indeed, he has treated you in a gentlemanly manner?"
"And do you think this is his usual manner with ladies?"
"I do," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick with great emphasis. "A gintleman,
a rale gintleman, is the same to a lady wheriver he mates her, an'
the same to ladies whativer they be."
"Mrs. Fitzpatrick," said Mr. Staunton, "you have evidently a most
excellent taste in gentlemen."
"I have that same," she replied. "An' I know thim that are no
gintlemen," she continued with meaning emphasis, "whativer their
clothes may be."
A titter ran through the court room.
"Silence in the court!" shouted the crier.
"Now, Mrs. Fitzpatrick," proceeded Mr. Staunton, taking a firmer
tone, "you say the prisoner is a gentleman."
"I do. An' I can tell ye--"
"Wait, Mrs. Fitzpatrick. Wait a moment. Do you happen to know his wife?"
"I don't know."
"You don't know his wife?"
"Perhaps I do if you say so."
"But, my good woman, I don't say so. Do you know his wife,
or do you not know his wife?"
"I don't know."
"What do you mean?" said Mr. Staunton impatiently. "Do you mean
that you have no acquaintance with the wife of the prisoner?"
"What do you mean by might?"
"Aw now," remonstrated Mrs. Fitzpatrick, "sure, ye wouldn't be
askin' a poor woman like me the manin' av a word like that."
"Now, Mrs. Fitzpatrick, let us get done with this fooling. Tell me
whether you know the prisoner's wife or not."
"Indade, an' the sooner yer done the better I'd like it."
"Well, then, tell me. You either know the prisoner's wife or you
don't know her?"
"That's as may be," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick.
"Then tell me," thundered Staunton, losing all patience,
"do you know this woman or not?" pointing to Paulina.
"That woman is it?" said Mrs. Fitzpatrick. "An' why didn't ye
save yer breath an' His 'Anner's time, not to shpake av me own
that has to work fer me daily bread, by askin' me long ago if
I know this woman?"
"Well, do you know her?"
"Then why did you not say so before when I asked you?"
said the exasperated lawyer.
"I did," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick calmly.
"Did you not say that you did not know the wife of the prisoner?"
"I did not," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick.
By this time the whole audience, including the judge, were
indulging themselves in a wide open smile.
"Well, Mrs. Fitzpatrick," at length said the lawyer, "I must
be decidedly stupid, for I fail to understand you."
"Indade, I'll not be contradictin' ye, fer it's yersilf ought to
know best about that," replied Mrs. Fitzpatrick pleasantly.
A roar of laughter filled the court room.
"Silence in the court! We must have order," said the judge,
recovering his gravity with such celerity as he could. "Go on,
"Well, Mrs. Fitzpatrick, I understand that you know this woman,
"It's mesilf that's plazed to hear it."
"And I suppose you know that she is the prisoner's wife?"
"An' why wud ye be afther supposin' such a thing?"
"Well! well! Do you know it?"
"Do I know what?"
"Do you know that this woman, Paulina Koval, is the wife of the prisoner?"
"She might be."
"Oh, come now, Mrs. Fitzpatrick, we are not splitting hairs.
You know perfectly well that this woman is the prisoner's wife."
"Indade, an' it's the cliver man ye are to know what I know better
than I know mesilf."
"Well, well," said Mr. Staunton impatiently, "will you say that you
do not consider this woman the prisoner's wife?"
"I will not," replied Mrs. Fitzpatrick emphatically, "any more than
I won't say she's yer own."
"Well, well, let us get on. Let us suppose that this woman is his
wife. How did the prisoner treat this woman?"
"An' how should he trate her?"
"Did he support her?"
"An' why should he, with her havin' two hands av her own?"
"Well now, Mrs. Fitzpatrick, surely you will say that it was a case
of cruel neglect on the part of the prisoner that he should leave her
to care for herself and her children, a stranger in a strange land."
"Indade, it's not fer me to be runnin' down the counthry,"
exclaimed Mrs. Fitzpatrick. "Sure, it's a good land, an' a foine
counthry it is to make a livin' in," she continued with a glow of
enthusiasm, "an' it's mesilf that knows it."
"Oh, the country is all right," said Mr. Staunton impatiently;
"but did not this man abandon his wife?"
"An' if he's the man ye think he is wudn't she be the better
quit av him?"
The lawyer had reached the limit of his patience.
"Well, well, Mrs. Fitzpatrick, we will leave the wife alone.
But what of his treatment of the children?"
"The childer?" exclaimed Mrs. Fitzpatrick,--"the childer, is it?
Man dear, but he's the thrue gintleman an' the tinder-hearted
father fer his childer, an' so he is."
"Oh, indeed, Mrs. Fitzpatrick. I am sure we shall all be delighted
to hear this. But you certainly have strange views of a father's
duty toward his children. Now will you tell the court upon what
ground you would extol his parental virtues?"
"Faix, it's niver a word I've said about his parental virtues,
or any other kind o' virtues. I was talkin' about his childer."
"Well, then, perhaps you would be kind enough to tell the court
what reason you have for approving his treatment of his children?"
Mrs. Fitzpatrick's opportunity had arrived. She heaved a great
sigh, and with some deliberation began.
"Och! thin, an' it's just terrible heart-rendin' an' so it is.
An' it's mesilf that can shpake, havin' tin av me own, forby
three that's dead an' gone, God rest their sowls! an' four that's
married, an' the rest all doin' well fer thimsilves. Indade, it's
mesilf that has the harrt fer the childer. You will be havin'
childer av yer own," she added confidentially to the lawyer.
A shout of laughter filled the court room, for Staunton was a
confirmed and notorious old bachelor.
"I have the bad fortune, Mrs. Fitzpatrick, to be a bachelor,"
he replied, red to the ears.
"Man dear, but it's hard upon yez, but it's Hivin's mercy fer yer wife."
The laughter that followed could with difficulty be suppressed by
the court crier.
"Go on, Mrs. Fitzpatrick, go on with your tale," said Staunton,
who had frankly joined in the laugh against himself.
"I will that," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick with emphasis. "Where was I?
The man an' his childer. Sure, I'll tell Yer 'Anner." Here she
turned to the judge. "Fer he," with a jerk of her thumb towards the
lawyer, "knows nothin' about the business at all, at all. It was
wan night he came to me house askin' to see his childer. The night
o' the dance, Yer 'Anner. As I was sayin', he came to me house
where the childer was, askin' to see thim, an' him without a look
o' thim fer years. An' did they know him?" Mrs. Fitzpatrick's voice
took a tragic tone. "Not a hair av thim. Not at the first. Ah, but
it was the harrt-rendin' scene, with not a house nor a home fer him
to come till, an' him sendin' the money ivery month to pay fer it.
But where it's gone, it's not fer me to say. There's some in this
room" (here she regarded Rosenblatt with a steady eye) "might know
more about that money an' what happened till it, than they know
about Hivin. Ah, but as I was sayin', it wud melt the harrt av a
Kerry steer, that's first cousin to the goats on the hills fer
wildness, to see the way he tuk thim an' held thim, an' wailed over
thim, the tinder harrt av him! Fer only wan small hour or two could
he shtay wid thim, an' then aff to that haythen counthry agin that
gave him birth. An' the way he suffered fer that same, poor dear!
An' the beautiful wife he lost! Hivin be kind to her! Not her,"
following the judge's glance toward Paulina, "but an angel that
need niver feel shame to shtand befure the blissid Payther himsilf,
wid the blue eyes an' the golden hair in the picter he carries nixt
his harrt, the saints have pity on him! An' how he suffered fer the
good cause! Och hone! it breaks me harrt!" Here Mrs. Fitzpatrick
paused to wipe away her tears.
"But, Mrs. Fitzpatrick," interrupted Mr. Staunton, "this is all
very fine, but what has this to do--"
"Tut! man, isn't it that same I'm tellin' ye?" And on she went,
going back to the scene she had witnessed in her own room between
Kalmar and his children, and describing the various dramatis
personae and the torrential emotions that had swept their hearts
in that scene of final parting between father and children.
Again and again Staunton sought to stay her eloquence, but with a
majestic wave of her hand she swept him aside, and with a wealth of
metaphor and an unbroken flow of passionate, tear-bedewed rhetoric
that Staunton himself might well envy, she held the court under her
sway. Many of the women present were overcome with emotion. O'Hara
openly wiped away his tears, keeping an anxious eye the while upon
the witness and waiting the psychological moment for the arresting
of her tale.
The moment came when Mrs. Fitzpatrick's emotions rendered her
speechless. With a great show of sympathy, Mr. O'Hara approached
the witness, and offering her a glass of water, found opportunity
to whisper, "Not another word, on your soul."
"Surely," he said, appealing to the judge in a voice trembling
with indignant feeling, "my learned friend will not further
harass this witness."
"Let her go, in Heaven's name," said Staunton testily; "we want
no more of her."
"So I should suppose," replied O'Hara drily.
With Mrs. Fitzpatrick, the case for the Crown was closed.
To the surprise of all, and especially of the Counsel for the
Crown, O'Hara called no witnesses and offered no evidence in
rebuttal of that before the court. This made it necessary for
Staunton to go on at once with his final address to the jury.
Seldom in all his experience had he appeared to such poor advantage
as on that day. The court was still breathing the atmosphere of
Mrs. Fitzpatrick's rude and impassioned appeal. The lawyer was
still feeling the sting of his humiliating failure with his star
witness, and O'Hara's unexpected move surprised and flustered him,
old hand as he was. With halting words and without his usual
assurance, he reviewed the evidence and asked for a conviction on
With O'Hara it was quite otherwise. It was in just such a desperate
situation that he was at his best. The plight of the prisoner,
lonely, beaten and defenceless, appealed to his chivalry. Then,
too, O'Hara, by blood and tradition, was a revolutionist. In every
"rising" during the last two hundred years of Ireland's struggles,
some of his ancestors had carried a pike or trailed a musket, and
the rebel blood in him cried sympathy with the Nihilist in his
devotion to a hopeless cause. And hence the passion and the almost
tearful vehemence that he threw into his final address were
something more than professional.
With great skill he took his cue from the evidence of the last
witness. He drew a picture of the Russian Nihilist hunted like
"a partridge on the mountains," seeking for himself and his
compatriots a home and safety in this land of liberty. With
vehement scorn he told the story of the base treachery of
Rosenblatt, "a Government spy, a thief, a debaucher of women,
and were I permitted, gentlemen, I could unfold a tale in this
connection such as would wring your hearts with grief and
indignation. But my client will not permit that the veil be drawn
from scenes that would bring shame to the honoured name he wears."
With consummate art the lawyer turned the minds of the jury from
the element of personal vengeance in the crime committed to that of
retribution for political infidelity, till under his manipulation
the prisoner was made to appear in the role of patriot and martyr
doomed to suffer for his devotion to his cause.
"But, gentlemen, though I might appeal to your passions, I scorn to
do so. I urge you to weigh calmly, deliberately, as cool,
level-headed Canadians, the evidence produced by the prosecution.
A crime has been committed, a most revolting crime,--one man killed,
another seriously wounded. But what is the nature of this crime?
Has it been shown either to be murder or attempted murder? You must
have noticed, gentlemen, how utterly the prosecution has failed to
establish any such charge. The suggestion of murder comes solely
from the man who has so deeply wronged and has pursued with such
deadly venom the unfortunate prisoner at the bar. This man, after
betraying the cause of freedom, after wrecking the prisoner's home
and family, after proving traitor to every trust imposed in him,
now seeks to fasten upon his victim this horrid crime of murder.
His is the sole evidence. What sort of man is this upon whose
unsupported testimony you are asked to send a fellow human being to
the scaffold? Think calmly, gentlemen, is he such a man as you can
readily believe? Is his highly coloured story credible? Are you so
gullible as to be taken in with this melodrama? Gentlemen, I know
you, I know my fellow citizens too well to think that you will be
"Now what are the facts, the bare facts, the cold facts, gentlemen?
And we are here to deal with facts. Here they are. There is a wedding.
My learned friend is not interested in weddings, not perhaps as much
interested as he should be, and as such, apparently, he excites the
pity of his friends."
This sally turned all eyes towards Mrs. Fitzpatrick, and a broad
smile spread over the court.
"There is a wedding, as I was saying. Unhappily the wedding feast,
as is too often the case with our foreign citizens, degenerates into
a drunken brawl. It is a convenient occasion for paying off old
scores. There is general melee, a scrap, in short. Suddenly these
two men come face to face, their passions inflamed. On the one hand
there is a burning sense of wrong, on the other an unquenchable
hate. For, gentlemen, remember, the man that hates you most
venomously is the man who has wronged you most deeply. These two
meet. There is a fight. When all is over, one man is found dead,
another with a wound in his breast. But who struck the first blow?
None can tell. We are absolutely without evidence upon this point.
In regard to the Polak, all that can be said is this, that it was
a most unfortunate occurrence. The attempt to connect the prisoner
with this man's death has utterly failed. In regard to the man
Rosenblatt, dismissing his absurdly tragic story, what evidence
has been brought before this court that there was any deliberate
attempt at murder? A blow was struck, but by whom? No one knows.
What was the motive? Was it in self-defence warding off some
murderous attack? No one can say. I have as much right to believe
that this was the case, as any man to believe the contrary. Indeed,
from what we know of the character of this wretched traitor and
thief, it is not hard to believe that the attack upon this stranger
would come from him."
And so O'Hara proceeded with his most extraordinary defence. Theory
after theory he advanced, quoting instance after instance of
extraordinary killings that were discovered to be accidental or in
self-defence, till with the bewildered jury no theory explanatory
of the crime committed in the basement of Paulina's house was too
fantastic to be considered possible.
In his closing appeal O'Hara carried the jury back to the point
from which he had set out. With tears in his voice he recounted the
scene of the parting between the prisoner and his children. He drew
a harrowing picture of the unhappy fate of wife and children left
defenceless and in poverty to become the prey of such men as
Rosenblatt. He drew a vivid picture of that age-long struggle for
freedom carried on by the down-trodden peasantry of Russia, and
closed with a tremendous appeal to them as fathers, as lovers of
liberty, as fair-minded, reasonable men to allow the prisoner the
full benefit of the many doubts gathering round the case for the
prosecution, and set him free.
It was a magnificent effort. Never in all his career as a criminal
lawyer had O'Hara made so brilliant an attempt to lift a desperate
case from the region of despair into that of hope. The effect of
his address was plainly visible upon the jury and, indeed, upon the
whole audience in the court room.
The judge's charge did much to clear the atmosphere, and to bring
the jury back to the cold, calm air of Canadian life and feeling;
but in the jury room the emotions and passions aroused by O'Hara's
address were kindled again, and the result reflected in no small
degree their influence.
The verdict acquitted the prisoner of the charge of manslaughter,
but found him guilty on the count of attempted murder. The verdict,
however, was tempered with a strong recommendation to mercy.
"Have you anything to say?" asked the judge before pronouncing sentence.
Kalmar, who had been deeply impressed by the judge's manner during
his charge to the jury, searched his face a moment and then, as if
abandoning all hope of mercy, drew himself erect and in his stilted
English said: "Your Excellency, I make no petition for mercy. Let
the criminal make such a plea. I stand convicted of crime, but I
am no criminal. The traitor, the thief, the liar, the murderer,
the criminal, sits there." As he spoke the word, he swung sharply
about and stood with outstretched arm and finger pointing to
Rosenblatt. "I stand here the officer of vengeance. I have failed.
Vengeance will not fail. The day is coming when it will strike."
Then turning his face toward the group of foreigners at the back
of the room he raised his voice and in a high monotone chanted a
few sentences in the Russian tongue.
The effect was tremendous. Every Russian could be picked out by his
staring eyes and pallid face. There was a moment's silence, then a
hissing sound as of the breath drawn sharply inward, followed by a
murmur hoarse and inhuman, not good to hear. Rosenblatt trembled,
started to his feet, vainly tried to speak. His lips refused to
frame words, and he sank back speechless.
"What the deuce was he saying?" enquired O'Hara of the Interpreter
after the judge had pronounced his solemn sentence.
"He was putting to them," said the Interpreter in an awed whisper,
"the Nihilist oath of death."
"By Jove! Good thing the judge didn't understand. The bloody fool
would have spoiled all my fine work. He would have got a life term
instead of fourteen years. He's got enough, though, poor chap. I
wish to Heaven the other fellow had got it."
As the prisoner turned with the officer to leave the dock, a wild
sobbing fell upon his ear. It was Paulina. Kalmar turned to the judge.
"Is it permitted that I see my children before--before I depart?"
"Certainly," said the judge quickly. "Your wife and children and
your friends may visit you at a convenient hour to-morrow."
Kalmar bowed with grave courtesy and walked away.
Beside the sobbing Paulina sat the children, pale and bewildered.
"Where is my father going?" asked the boy in Russian.
"Alas! alas! We shall see him no more!" sobbed Paulina.
Quickly the boy's voice rang out, shrill with grief and terror,
"Father! father! Come back!"
The prisoner, who was just disappearing through the door, stopped,
turned about, his pale face convulsed with a sudden agony. He took
a step toward his son, who had run toward the bar after him.
"My son, be brave," he said in a voice audible throughout the room.
"Be brave. I shall see you to-morrow."
He waved his hand toward his son, turned again and passed out with
Through the staring crowd came a little lady with white hair and
a face pale and chastened into sweetness.
"Let me come with you," she said to Paulina, while the tears
coursed down her cheeks.
The Galician woman understood not a word, but the touch upon her
arm, the tone in the voice, the flowing tears were a language she
could understand. Paulina raised her dull, tear-dimmed eyes, and
for a brief moment gazed into the pale face above her, then without
further word rose and, followed by her children, accompanied the
little lady from the room, the crowd making respectful way before
the pathetic group.
"Say, O'Hara, there are still angels going about," said young Dr.
Wright, following the group with his eyes.
"Be Hivin!" replied the tender-hearted Irishman, his eyes suddenly
dim, "there's wan annyway, and Margaret French is the first two
letters of her name."
THE PRICE OF VENGEANCE
Dr. Wright's telephone rang early next morning. The doctor was
prompt to respond. His practice had not yet reached the stage that
rendered the telephone a burden. His young wife stood beside him,
listening with eager hope in her wide-open brown eyes.
"Yes," said the doctor. "Oh, it's you. Delighted to hear your ring."
"No, not so terribly. The rush doesn't begin till later in the day."
"Not at all. What can I do for you?" "Certainly, delighted."
"What? Right away?" "Well, say within an hour."
"Who is it?" asked his wife, as the doctor hung up the phone.
"A new family?"
"No such luck," replied the doctor. "This has been a frightfully
healthy season. But the spring promises a very satisfactory
"Who is it?" said his wife again, impatiently.
"Your friend Mrs. French, inviting me to an expedition into the
"Oh!" She could not keep the disappointment out of her tone.
"I think Mrs. French might call some of the other doctors."
"So she does, lots of them. And most of them stand ready to obey
"Well," said the little woman at his side, "I think you are going
too much among those awful people."
"Awful people?" exclaimed the doctor. "It's awfully good practice,
I know. That is, in certain lines. I can't say there is very much
variety. When a really good thing occurs, it is whisked off to the
hospital and the big guns get it."
"Well, I don't like your going so much," persisted his wife.
"Some day you will get hurt."
"Hurt?" exclaimed the doctor. "Me?"
"Oh, I know you think nothing can hurt you. But a bullet or a knife
can do for you as well as for any one else. Supposing that terrible
man--what's his name?--Kalmar--had struck you instead of the Polak,
where would you be?"
"The question is, where would he be?" said the doctor with a smile.
"As for Kalmar, he's not too bad a sort; at least there are others
a little worse. I shouldn't be surprised if that fellow Rosenblatt
got only a little less than he deserved. Certainly O'Hara let in
some light upon his moral ulcers."
"Well, I wish you would drop them, anyway," continued his wife.
"No, you don't," said the doctor. "You know quite well that you
would root me out of bed any hour of the night to see any of their
kiddies that happened to have a pain in their little tumtums.
Between you and Mrs. French I haven't a moment to devote to
my large and growing practice."
"What does she want now?" It must be confessed that her tone was
"Mrs. French has succeeded in getting the excellent Mrs. Blazowski
to promise for the tenth time, I believe, to allow some one,
preferably myself, to take her eczematic children to the hospital."
"Well, she won't."
"I think it is altogether likely. But why do you think so?"
"Because you have tried before."
"Well, Mrs. French has, and you were with her."
"That is correct. But to-day I shall adopt new tactics. Mrs. French's
flank movements have broken down. I shall carry the position with a
straight frontal attack. And I shall succeed. If not, my dear, that
little fur tippet thing which you have so resolutely refused to let
your eyes rest upon as we pass the Hudson's Bay, is yours."
"I don't want it a bit," said his wife. "And you know we can't
"Don't you worry, little girl," said the doctor cheerfully,
"practice is looking up. My name is getting into the papers.
A few more foreign weddings with attendant killings and I
shall be famous."
At the Blazowski shack Mrs. French was waiting the doctor, and
in despair. A crowd of children appeared to fill the shack and
overflow through the door into the sunny space outside, on the
sheltered side of the house.
The doctor made his way through them and passed into the
evil-smelling, filthy room. For Mrs. Blazowski found it a task
beyond her ability to perform the domestic duties attaching to the
care of seven children and a like number of boarders in her single
room. Mrs. French was seated on a stool with a little child of
three years upon her knee.
"Doctor, don't you think that these children ought to go to the
hospital to-day?" she said, as the doctor entered.
"Why, sure thing; they must go. Let's look at them."
He tried to take the little child from Mrs. French's knee,
but the little one vehemently objected.
"Well, let's look at you, anyway," said the doctor, proceeding to
unwind some filthy rags from the little one's head. "Great Scott!"
he exclaimed in a low voice, "this is truly awful!"
The hair was matted with festering scabs. The ears, the eyes,
the fingers were full of running sores.
"I had no idea this thing had gone so far," he said in
a horrified voice.
"What is it?" said Mrs. French. "Is it--"
"No, not itch. It is the industrious and persevering eczema
pusculosum, known to the laity as salt rheum of the domestic
"It has certainly got worse this last week," said Mrs. French.
"Well, this can't go on another day, and I can't treat her here.
She must go. Tell your mother," said the doctor in a decided tone
to a little girl of thirteen who stood near.
Mrs. Blazowski threw up her hands with voluble protestation. "She
says they will not go. She put grease on and make them all right."
"Grease!" exclaimed the doctor. "I should say so, and a good many
other things too! Why, the girl's head is alive with them! Heavens
above!" said the doctor, turning to Mrs. French, "she's running
over with vermin! Let's see the other."
He turned to a girl of five, whose head and face were even more
seriously affected with the dread disease.
"Why, bless my soul! This girl will lose her eyesight! Now look
here, these children must go to the hospital, and must go now.
Tell your mother what I say."
Again the little girl translated, and again the mother made
"What does she say?"
"She say she not let them go. She fix them herself. Fix them all right."
"Perhaps we better wait, Doctor," interposed Mrs. French. "I'll talk
to her and we'll try another day."
"No," said the doctor, catching up a shawl and wrapping it around
the little girl, "she's going with me now. There will be a scrap,
and you will have to get in. I'll back you up."
As the doctor caught up the little child, the mother shouted,
"No, no! Not go!"
"I say yes," said the doctor; "I'll get a policeman and put you
all in prison. Tell her."
The threat made no impression upon the mother. On the contrary, as
the doctor moved toward the door she seized a large carving-knife
and threw herself before him. For a moment or two they stood facing
each other, the doctor uncertain what his next move should be, but
determined that his plan should not fail this time. It was Mrs.
French who interposed. With a smile she laid her hand upon the
"Tell her," she said to the little girl, "that I will go with the
children, and I promise that no hurt shall come to them. And I
will bring them back again safe. Your mother can come and see them
to-morrow--to-day. The hospital is a lovely place. They will have
nice toys, dolls, and nice things to eat, and we'll make them better."
Rapidly, almost breathlessly, and with an eager smile on her sweet
face, Mrs. French went on to describe the advantages and attractions
of the hospital, pausing only to allow the little girl to translate.
At length the mother relented, her face softened. She stepped from
the door, laying down her knife upon the table, moved not by the
glowing picture of Mrs. French's words, but by the touch upon her
arm and the face that smiled into hers. Once more the mother spoke.
"Will you go too?" interpreted the little girl.
"Yes, surely. I go too," she replied.
This brought the mother's final surrender. She seized Mrs. French's
hand, and bursting into loud weeping, kissed it again and again.
Mrs. French put her arms around the weeping woman, and unshrinking,
kissed the tear-stained, dirty face. Dr. Wright looked on in
"You are a dead sport," he said. "I can't play up to that; but you
excite my ambition. Get a shawl around the other kiddie and come
along, or I'll find myself kissing the bunch."
Once more he started toward the door, but the mother was before
him, talking and gesticulating.
"What's the row now?" said the doctor, turning to the little
"She says she must dress them, make them clean."
"It's a big order," said the doctor, "but I submit."
With great energy Mrs. Blazowski proceeded to prepare her children
for their momentous venture into the world. The washing process was
simple enough. From the dish-pan which stood upon the hearth half full
of dirty water and some of the breakfast dishes, she took a greasy
dish-cloth, wrung it out carefully, and with it proceeded to wash,
not untenderly, the festering heads, faces and fingers of her children,
resorting from time to time to the dish-pan for a fresh supply of water.
This done, she carefully dried the parts thus diligently washed with
the handkerchief which she usually wore about her head. Then pinning
shawls about their heads, she had her children ready for their departure,
and gave them into Mrs. French's charge, sobbing aloud as if she might
never see them more.
"Well," said the doctor, as he drove rapidly away, "we're well out
of that. I was just figuring what sort of hold would be most fatal
to the old lady when you interposed."
"Poor thing!" said Mrs. French. "They're very fond of their
children, these Galicians, and they're so suspicious of us.
They don't know any better."
As they passed Paulina's house, the little girl Irma ran out from
"My mother want you very bad," she said to Mrs. French.
"Tell her I'll come in this afternoon," said Mrs. French.
"She want you now," replied Irma, with such a look of anxiety upon
her face that Mrs. French was constrained to say, "Wait one moment,
Doctor. I'll see what it is. I shall not keep you."
She ran into the house, followed by the little girl. The room was
full of men who stood about in stolid but not unsympathetic
silence, gazing upon Paulina, who appeared to be prostrated with
grief. Beside her stood the lad Kalman, the picture of desolation.
"What is it?" cried Mrs. French, running to her. "Tell me what is
Irma told the story. Early that morning they had gone to the jail,
but after waiting for hours they were refused admission by the guard.
"A very cross man send us away," said the girl. "He say he put us
in jail too. We can see our fadder no more."
Her words were followed by a new outburst of grief on the part of
Paulina and the two children.
"But the Judge said you were to see him," said Mrs. French in
surprise. "Wait for me," she added.
She ran out and told the doctor in indignant words what had taken
place, a red spot glowing in each white cheek.
"Isn't it a shame?" she cried when she had finished her story.
"Oh, it's something about prison rules and regulations, I guess,"
said the doctor.
"Prison rules!" exclaimed Mrs. French with wrath rare in her.
"I'll go straight to the Judge myself."
"Get in," said the doctor, taking up the lines.
"Where are you going? We can't leave these poor things in this way,"
the tears gathering in her eyes and her voice beginning to break.
"Not much," said the doctor briskly; "we are evidently in for
another scrap. I don't know where you will land me finally,
but I'm game to follow your lead. We'll go to the jail."
Mrs. French considered a moment. "Let us first take these children
to the hospital and then we shall meet Paulina at the jail."
"All right," said the doctor, "tell them so. I am at your service."
"You are awfully good, Doctor," said the little lady, her sweet
smile once more finding its way to her pale face.
"Ain't I, though?" said the doctor. "If the spring were a little
further advanced you'd see my wings sprouting. I enjoy this.
I haven't had such fun since my last football match. I see the
finish of that jail guard. Come on."
Within an hour the doctor and Mrs. French drove up to the jail.
There, at the bleak north door, swept by the chill March wind, and
away from the genial light of the shining sun, they found Paulina
and her children, a shivering, timid, shrinking group, looking
pathetically strange and forlorn in their quaint Galician garb.
The pathos of the picture appeared to strike both the doctor and
his friend at the same time.
"Brute!" said the doctor, "it's some beast of an understrapper.
He might have let them in, anyway. I'll see the head turnkey."
"Isn't it terribly sad?" replied Mrs. French.
The doctor rang the bell at the jail door, prepared for battle.
"I want to see Mr. Cowan."
The guard glanced past the doctor, saw the shrinking group behind
him and gruffly announced, "This is not the hour for visitors."
"I want to see Mr. Cowan," repeated the doctor slowly, looking
the guard steadily in the eye. "Is he in?"
"Come in," said the guard sullenly, allowing the doctor and
his friend to enter, and shutting the door in the faces of
In a few moments Mr. Cowan appeared, a tall athletic man, kindly of
face and of manner. He greeted Mrs. French and the doctor warmly.
"Come into the office," he said; "come in."
"Mr. Cowan," said Mrs. French, "there is a poor Galician woman and
her children outside the door, the wife and children of the man who
was condemned yesterday. The Judge told them they could see the
"The hour for visitors," said Mr. Cowan, "is three in the afternoon."
"Could you not let her in now? She has already waited for hours at
the door this morning, and on being refused went home broken-hearted.
She does not understand our ways and is very timid. I wish you could
let her in now while I am here."
Mr. Cowan hesitated. "I should greatly like to oblige you,
Mrs. French. You know that. Sit down, and I will see. Let that
woman and her children in," he said to the guard.
The guard went sullenly to the door, followed by Mrs. French.
"Come in here," he said in a gruff voice.
Mrs. French hurried past him, took Paulina by the arm, and
saying, "Come in and sit down," led her to a bench and sat
beside her. "It's all right," she whispered. "I am sure you
can see your husband. Tell her," she said to Irma.
In a short time Mr. Cowan came back.
"They may see him," he said. "It is against all discipline,
but it is pretty hard to resist Mrs. French," he continued,
turning to the doctor.
"It is quite useless trying," said the doctor; "I have long ago
"Come," said that little lady, leading Paulina to the door of the cell.
The guard turned the lock, shot back the bolts, opened the door
and motioning with his hand, said gruffly to Paulina, "Go in."
The woman looked into the cell in shrinking fear.
"Go on," said Mrs. French in an encouraging voice, patting her on
the shoulder, "I will wait here."
Clinging to one another, the woman and children passed in through
the door which the guard closed behind them with a reverberating
clang. Mrs. French sat on the bench outside, her face cast down,
her eyes closed. Now and then through the grating of the door rose
and fell a sound of voices mingled with that of sobs and weeping,
hearing which, Mrs. French covered her face with her hands, while
the tears trickled down through her fingers.
As she sat there, the door-bell rang and two Galician men appeared,
"We come to see Kalmar," said one of them.
Mrs. French came eagerly forward. "Oh, let them come in, please.
They are friends of the prisoner. I know them."
Without a word the guard turned from her, strode to the office
where Mr. Cowan sat in conversation with the doctor, and in a
few moments returned with permission for the men to enter.
"Sit down there," he said, pointing to a bench on the opposite side
of the door from that on which Mrs. French was sitting.
Before many minutes had elapsed, the prisoner appeared at the door
of his cell with Paulina and his children.
"Would you kindly open the door?" he said in a courteous tone to
the guard. "They wish to depart."
The guard went toward the door, followed by Mrs. French, who stood
waiting with hands outstretched toward the weeping Paulina. As the