The death of the Grand Duke Stepan is decreed by a band of Nihilists belonging to a society known as "The Black Cross." It falls to the lot of the Countess Kaya to perform the deed of assassination.
back and bowed and bowed.
The House rose as one man.
"Velasco! Velas--co!" It was deafening.
Suddenly out of the uproar, out of the crowd and the din, from someone, from somewhere, a bunch of violets fell at his feet. He raised them to his lips with a smile. "Viva--Velas--co--o!" The clapping redoubled.
About the stems of the violets, twined and intertwined again, was a twist of paper. His eyes fell for an instant on the blotted words and then the stage door closed behind him. They were few and almost illegible.
"Will you help me--life or death--tonight? Kaya." The rest was a blot. He scanned them again more closely and shook the hair from his eyes.
When the young Violinist came forward for the third time, his dark eyes flashed to the eyes of the girl like steel to a magnet. They seemed to plead, to wrestle with him.
"Will you help me--life or death--tonight? Kaya."
Did her lips move; was it a signal? He