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Smythe, James P / Rescuing the Czar Two authentic Diaries arranged and translated
Produced by Leah Moser and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.


Two authentic Diaries arranged and translated









W.E. Aughinbaugh, M.D., LL.B., LL.M.

Is the former Czar and his Imperial family still alive? There are
millions of people in Europe and America who are asking this question.

European governments have considered the question of sufficient
interest to justify the investigation by official bodies of the
alleged extinction of this ancient Royal Line. Millions have been
expended for that purpose. Commissions have pretended to investigate
the subject _after_ the event. Volumes have been returned of a
speculative nature to authenticate a mysterious _disappearance_ that
has never been explained.

April 5; the Universal Service carried a cable from Paris reading:
"Czar Nicholas and all members of the Imperial family of Russia are
still alive, according to M. Lassies, former member of the Chamber of
Deputies, who has just returned from a mission to Russia." This was
several weeks after the manuscript of the following account of the
_Czar's Escape_ was in my possession.[A] Yet this confirmation of the
manuscript has not sufficiently overcome the universally persistent
doubt that has grown out of many previous imposing reports.

In certain Royal quarters the anxiety to disseminate the "reports"
of their Commissions is too apparent to authorize a judicial mind to
accept their speculative guesswork as convincing evidence of a legal
_corpus delicti_ when no identified bodies have ever been produced.
This eagerness to convince the world by substituting a mere
_disappearance_, or the lack of evidence, for positive proof of the
Royal assassination raises very naturally the presumption that certain
circles are more interested in misleading than in satisfying the
public mind.

To those schooled in the methods and objects of international
propaganda during the Great War it is evident that, in a period of
revolution, when thrones and dynasties become unpopular within the
area of hostility and discontent, the adherents of Royalty may not
be unwilling to appease the demand for vengeance by some theatrical
display of meeting it with a pretense or an artifice until the
passions of the populace have subsided and sober toleration resumes
its sway over the sated revolutionary mind.

That such may be the fact will seem convincing from a careful study of
the incidents narrated in the following rudimentary story of "Rescuing
the Czar." In a technical sense it is not a story. Nevertheless, while
partaking of the nature of a simple diary, it reads like a romance of
thrilling adventure upon which a skilful novelist may easily erect a
story of permanent interest and universal appeal. But it is this very
lack of art--this indifference to accomplished technique--that makes
"Rescuing the Czar" so interesting and so convincing a rebuttal of the
Royal Executioners' Case.

There have been many periods in the progress of society when such an
original piece of work as "Rescuing the Czar" would have been welcomed
by the historian of serious events. The preservation, discovery and
the piecing together of the various scraps of first-hand information
by the actual participants in the tragic scenes narrated in these
diaries, by the compiler of this book represent a work of so
discriminating a judgment that its contribution to the historical
wealth of the period involved will assume an increasing, if not a
prophetic, value as time goes on, either to explain the mystery or
authenticate the evidence revealed. While apparently no connection
is evident between the two authors of the First and Second Parts of
"Rescuing the _Czar_," the discriminating reader will be impressed
by the independent way each of them, operating unconsciously of
the other, sustains the manifest conclusion that both are recording
international secrets that never were intended for the public eye.

Imbedded in the national consciousness of many European States the
historian finds everywhere the shadowy outlines of "nobility" and
"aristocracy" delineated on the surface of traditionary pretense and
political desire. It forms the inheritance of distributive power
in nations ascending from monarchial institutions to theoretical
republics or pseudo-democracies, and it imparts a touch of pathos to
the lingering hope of Royalty that humanity may some day welcome its
return to reverence and power. It forms the superstructure on which
the crumbling column of aristocracy sustains its capital pretensions
amid the ruins of privileged exemption from the universal law of
change. Consequently the reader will not be surprised nor much alarmed
when encountering its subterranean methods depicted in these pages.
They will merely fortify the accepted impression among students of
events that when Time binds up the wounds of Revolutionary Russia
the world will discover an Agrarian Democracy, instead of a Soviet
Communism or Romanoff Empire, emerging from the cosmos of organized
disorder in that land. This seems to be the trend of thought behind
"Rescuing the Czar." Yet it does not conceal a fundamental inclination
to sympathize with every rank that suffers in this onward sweep of
power. Royalty and Rags, throughout these pages, find many mourners
over the sacrifices each has made to reconcile the eternal conflict
between poverty and pomp. In the abysmal void between the disappearing
star and the aspiring glowworm men tramp upon, there seems to be
sufficient latitude for the play of gratitude or grief. A Napoleon
exiled by the French or a Ney shot down by Frenchmen is unthinkable
today. In like manner, when the revolutionary passions of Russia have
subsided, there may be men and women of the humblest estate who
will wonder how it happened that their Emperor, whose darkest sin,
apparently, was loyalty to Russia, could have been murdered by their
countrymen in cold blood.

It will never be believed.

In reflecting on the experiments of their Revolution, finding much
to be admired and more to be condemned, they will not accept without
resentment an accusation from posterity that they lacked both
gratitude and pity when the test of national manhood came. In
exculpation of such an imputation they will doubtless reverence the
tradition of a House that fell only with the ruins of their native
land. Viewing as they may the fragments of their once majestic Empire
annexed to alien States in compensation of successful perfidy and
neglect, they will lament the lot of Nicholas II while reflecting
on their fate. If their democracy shall survive their own
self-amputation, the lightness of their governmental burdens will
stimulate the flow of mercy through their social institutions and
direct their thoughts toward pity for the useless sacrifice.

In simple justice, therefore, "Rescuing the Czar" is offered in
extenuation of this doubtful charge against the entire Russian race.
For nothing is better calculated to sanctify a martyrdom and make a
race abhorred than a belief in its injustice. Nothing is more potent
to dissolve a race and scatter its suspected members from the altar of
their fathers than the fable of their unrepentant hostility to the cry
of Mercy from the sacrificial Ikon. Nothing so quickly exposes their
abandoned fields to the tramp of hostile feet and the subjugation
of their soil. Ambitious rivalry has no better ally than unexplained

If "Rescuing the Czar" does no more than set at rest the _fable_ of
the "Romanoff Execution," it will have done its work by characterizing
the source and methods and objects of its inspiration. If it raises
the presumption of generosity in quarters generally subject to
suspicion, it will be equally praiseworthy for expelling the darkness
that has always hovered around Imperial thrones. If it does nothing
but portray the dignified composure of Russian womanhood in the
presence of unspeakable affronts, it will have justified its
publication by adding to the diadem of virtue a few more jewels to
glorify the crest of motherhood. If it performs no other service than
to place upon the pale face of tragic possibility the red-pink blush
of romantic probabilities, it will have justified its presence in the
society of the learned by the sincerity of its purpose and the candor
of its appeal to the conscience of the world.

New York, 1920.

[Footnote A: February 20, 1920]




The ice was breaking up along the river Neva, in 1917. At the Winter
Palace, the ladies were rejoicing over the good news. The Czar in the
field was reorganizing his dismembered armies. America was severing
diplomatic relations with the Central Powers. The Asquith Ministry had
dissolved and Lloyd-George was hurling his dynamic personality into
organizing Victory for the Allied forces in the field. Kut-el-Amara
had fallen to the British--Bagdad had been taken--the Crescent was
fleeing before the Cross of Russia--the Grand Duke was driving the
Turk from Trebizond. Even Hindenburg was retiring along the Western
Front--France with unexampled gallantry was holding back the
Juggernaut--America was getting mad and rolling up its sleeves.

The women at the palace did not disguise their happiness over the
cheerful events that heralded the approach of Victory. The evening
star that poured down its steel-blue rays upon the crosses of St.
Isaac's presaged to their encouraged fancies the early dawn of peace.
Yet the chilly wind that whistled round their dull-red household was
laden with a frosty air that blew from official regions and "froze
the genial current of their souls." The icy glances of ambitious
princelings, reflecting back the sinister sullenness of designing
ministers, fell like a spectral gloom upon their happy hearts. A
hollow roar rolled down the Nevskii Prospekt--a guard burst into the
palace and put the women under arrest. The pent-up Revolution at last
had burst--anarchy howled around the capital--the isolated Czar was
captive, and plotting princelings joined hands with puny lawyers to
browbeat courageous women and drive the chariot of State!

The miserable fiasco of a delirious Revolution went careering through
the giddy maze of treachery and madness until a frenzied wave of
rapine and disorder swept all the noblewomen of the Imperial household
into a barricaded fortress around which lust and inebriety held
unsated and remorseless vigil for the prize. (See Part II: Tumen.)

Among these prisoners of State were five women who realized that
the Power which had organized disorder as a feature of its military
strategy had also honeycombed the Army, the Navy and the State with
its agencies of pillage and so undermined the public conscience that
their purity and virtue, more than their jewels and fortune, became an
open challenge to the vanity of mob lust.

The younger of these women in their unsullied maidenhood looked
longingly and unsuspectingly in the direction of Siberia. They were
learning by degrees that the semblance of freedom which offered a
pathway to escape was nothing but a strategem employed by pretended
friends to entrap them into more cruel and ruthless hands. On every
side loomed the evidence of their danger. The villainous stares of
foreign interlopers, the ribald jests of guards, the furtive glances
of the envious, the scowls of the emancipated underling, the profanity
of the domineering agitator who denounced respectability and clamored
for possession of the girls,--no moment of their lives was free from
ugly threats; no retreat, save the wild jungle or the mountains,
offered any liberation from the immodest glare of cruel, licentious
eyes. (See Part II: Tobolsk.)

The eldest of the girls was scarcely twenty-two. Like her mother, she
was erect and stately and somewhat saddened by the hostile experiences
through which the family had just passed. The youngest was a chummy
little creature of sixteen years who did not conceal her admiration
for her next elder sister, whose courage seemed unfailing through
all the trying hours. The next eldest sister, with her little younger
brother, was openly planning to outwit the guard and escape to
the Siberian wilds. It was doubtless her undisguised activity that
ultimately betrayed the Royal prisoners into the unhappy tangle that
beset their future lives.

From one camp to another they were carted off like cattle and never
for a moment permitted to forget that, if they ever reached a place of
safety, they would have to pay the price. Along the frozen pathway
of their weary eastern journey there did come, here and there, some
slender little byways that offered an escape. Whenever they approached
these places and estimated the perils, they found no one to confide
in--there were none that they could trust. Treason, like a contagion,
lurked in smiles as well as scowls about them, and even their
steadfast trust in the Invisible Diplomacy of European Royalty was
gradually yielding in their hearts to the dissolving acid of despair.
(See Part II: Tobolsk.)

From the conflicting rumors that reached them they fully realized that
it was the politician in all countries who ignorantly obstructed their
relief. The ferocious and misleading propaganda employed to fanaticize
the populace as an element of military strategy seemed to sweep its
own authors from their feet and drag the prisoners through many months
of torture toward a time and place set for their execution by other
politicians in the drunken stupor of their power. (See Part II:

Under the agitated surface of this tidal wave of fanaticism that
threatened to engulf the Royal prisoners there were a few men in
Europe and America, as well as in India and Thibet, who were slowly
converging in the direction of the victims with a _phrase upon their
lips_ that none but Royalty and themselves were privileged to use. It
was that ancient secret code transmitted by tradition to the followers
of a sturdy Tyrian king. It was made use of by Lycurgus, as well as by
Solomon and Justinian; and it was again employed by the partisans of
Louis XVIII to save the House of Bourbon. It is that mystic code which
binds Royalty together and is given only to those whom Royalty may
trust. That ancient code meant freedom if it reached the prisoners
in time! It rested with these silent men to pass the scrutiny of a
million eyes to liberate the victims from the fury of the mob.

Such a rescue, as time swept by, became nothing but a slender hope
with any of the women. They began to realize that their blood
would not very greatly shock the nerves of statesmen who had become
accustomed to the daily cataract that poured down upon the soil of
Europe. They felt abandoned by the diplomats. Their only friends were
busy in the red work of war. One chance alone remained. Soldiers might
be deceived by men disguised as comrades. The Secret Service might
overlook the hysterical entertainers who fluttered under the mask of
charitable workers and skipped across forbidden lines protected by a
Cross. This was the only possibility, this the phantom hope that stood
trembling on the brink of the prisoners' abysmal fear. Thus the sight
of a Red Cross driver or an English uniform in the midst of their
disaster became a welcome incident in the lives of these affronted
women. The appearance of either seemed to carry to the prisoners
a spirit of encouragement and reflect a ray of mercy into the dark
corners of their hearts. They indulged the hope that some of
those foreign uniforms might conceal trustworthy friends. And they
recognized a basis for such a hope in the mystifying movements of one
of those uniforms that met their notice day by day. It was near them
at the palace when they were thrown upon a maddened world. They saw it
following onward as they passed through pathless wilds. They could see
it hovering near them on that last historic night. They learned about
its maneuvers in the morning as it moved among the silent rooms of the
pretty mansard cottage that had witnessed their withdrawal from
the vision of historical events,--how it had paused to scan without
emotion the small blood stain on the floor--how an agitated censor
informed the credulous that the prisoners had been murdered in cold
blood! Thus they learned that the world had heard with skepticism
that, so far as history and international politicians were affected,
their _seven lives had been, technically, blotted out_! (See Part II:

Possibly the Prisoners of Tobolsk may have been willing to suffer what
is termed a "technical death" in diplomatic circles in order to elude
the hungry bloodhounds of the Revolution. They may have welcomed
the many opportunities such an event would furnish to read their own
obituary in the letters and official documents which treated of their
tragic fate. Who knows? They certainly possessed a saving sense of
humor or they would never have left behind them at Ekaterinburg
so many little reminders of the tragic romance to which calm
investigation hereafter will give birth. For instance, there are a
couple of diaries that some men must have kept. Of their existence it
seems certain that some of the prisoners knew. Why and just how the
hitherto profound State secrets narrated in these diaries come now to
light is suggested by a simple little letter that raises the inquiry,
"Did the Imperial Russian family escape?"

The letter that started this investigation is little different from
others one receives from friends traveling in the Orient. By itself it
does not clearly identify the family it describes; but, when the
scene it pictures is coupled with the events narrated in the purloined
diaries which the hands of some invisible diplomats _have_ left
behind, the student of the Russian Revolution will marvel at the skill
with which some other Royal hands untied the knot of Fate.



There may be those in official circles who will suggest that a case
of mistaken identity is exhibited in the following quotation from
the letter. "It is in a sort of arboreal enclosure, with all sorts of
flowers and vigorous vegetation that characterizes this region," the
letter reads. "Behind the ivy-covered wall that extends around the
gardens and shuts out all intruders, I got a glimpse of that man
through the heavy iron gate. He was smooth-shaven, slightly drooped,
sprinkled with gray and with a scar upon his forehead near the roots
of his hair--a little to one side. He was twirling a pruning knife in
his left hand and speaking in _English_ to a boy who scampered up to
him ahead of four beautiful girls and a very dignified woman moving
leisurely over the lawn in the direction of the gate.

"When the women reached the man's side they paused for a moment and
asked a few questions in _Russian_. He seemed to be listening very
attentively and answering only in monosyllables.

"Then I noticed the elder of the women unfold a well-known London
newspaper and move closer to his side. They began glancing over its
pages together and seemed to be deeply moved by an article they,
apparently, were reading as they walked slowly toward the gate.
Finally, when they were about ten feet from where I stood concealed
behind one of the massive palms, the man raised his head from the page
and, looking earnestly into the woman's eyes, exclaimed in a skeptical
tone: '_Il n'aurait jamais cru le fait si ces messieurs n'avaient
pu lui jurer L'avoir vu!... Tout ce que j'ai prédit!... Les faux
nobles,--les plagiaires_!' which means in English, "He couldn't have
believed the thing unless these gentlemen had sworn they witnessed
it!... All that I predicted!... The sham nobles!... the stealing
authors!" The comment set me thinking.

"Who _is_ he? I asked myself. Inside of five minutes I had heard him
speak in English, in Russian and in French! I am certain that he is
not a Frenchman,--although his accent would have proclaimed him a
native of the Avenue des Champs Elysées. He had a Danish countenance,
the eyes of English Royalty and the forehead of an early Christian

"No one I have talked to on the island seems certain of his identity.
Some take the view that he is a retired millionaire, judging from the
refined simplicity of his family and the strict guard the Government
has furnished to protect his undisturbed retirement. Others hint that
he may be, possibly, some very high dignitary, judging from the
almost Royal homage that some people in the city pay to his person and

"The only reliable information I got about him was that he arrived
upon the island aboard a man-o'-war accompanied by one of the richest
tea merchants in the Empire. He declines all membership in any of the
clubs, apparently satisfied to spend the time among his orchids and
the lovely white-robed debutantes I saw blooming in that fascinating

"Naturally I was very curious about the identity of this secluded
family. But the only information given out about them by the
chivalrous tea merchant or the Government officials is simply, 'Oh,
the family have friends in India and are living in retirement.'"

One would be very bold to say, after reading the foregoing, that the
personages described were the same people who had been driven out of
the Winter Palace upon the ebb-tide of their Imperial splendor a
few months before. Yet a long and somewhat intimate interest in the
underground diplomacy of the world will lead one thus engaged to piece
together stray bits of gossip that come from different sources to
check up the information that some others may possess. In this way
will the letter of an American who was held incommunicado at Geneva by
the Swiss Government in the latter part of 1919, be found exceedingly
persuasive in the process of reconstructing the tragic comedy which
struts around the vacant Russian throne. The American was en route to
Turkestan under proper credentials from the United States; yet there
were certain powerful combinations sufficiently interested in his
mission to cause his imprisonment for a time sufficiently lengthy to
enable their emissaries to precede him beyond the Caspian, where other
secret combinations were incubating that American foreign traders
would have given much to understand.

It was during this period of restraint that the American, whose name
we will call Fox, wrote to a friend in the United States: "You have
often heard me speak of my brother who was in Turkestan when the
Russian Revolution burst upon the world. He is now resting in Tasmania
after going through one of the most remarkable experiences ever given
to an ordinary _tea merchant_ intrusted with some secrets of _the
greatest land monopoly in the world_. You may call it a fairy tale;
and if you did not know me as a business man of ordinary sense, I
should hesitate to intimate that Nicholas R---- and all the family are
quite well, I thank you, not a million miles distant from my brother."

Fox had learned from his experience at Geneva that governments are
sometimes cajoled by diplomatic pressure to do undreamed-of things.
The dispatch of an expeditionary force to Siberia by the United States
without a declaration of war against the Revolutionists struck him
as an instance of this kind, and he knew his correspondent to be
sufficiently versed in the underground politics of Europe to look for
a connection between some member of that expedition and the subject
mentioned in the two foregoing letters. This connection was innocently
revealed by a newspaper report from a Western city concerning
a wounded soldier who had recently returned to an American Army
hospital. The particular name being given, it was easy enough for
Fox's correspondent to meet the soldier on some errand of mercy and to
obtain the revelations that are hereinafter made.

The soldier was a young commissioned officer who was having an
artificial jaw supplied to replace the one shot off in a Bolshevik
encounter. He had greatly recovered when the call was made and an
opening naturally presented for the soldier to recount the part he
played in the adventure of his country in the Revolutionary drama of
that hour.

"I'm as certain as I'm living," the wounded soldier said, "that a
Bolshevik is as 'nutty' as a rabbit. The fellow I had by the neck
before my lights went out was putting up a holler, in German, and
claiming to be a personal friend of some personal friend of the
missing Czar. Before he finally passed in his chips he gave me a
bundle of paper _diaries_ he had stolen down in China, and he asked me
to return them to their rightful owner so that he might die without
a sin upon his conscience. Honestly, that chap was dead in earnest
in this matter of his conscience. I took the stuff, of course; but I
never thought about them until the other day. Since then they seem to
haunt me. I wonder if you'd mind looking them over if the nurse'd get
them out?"

"With pleasure," was the reply.

The nurse brought in an old leather bag, from which the Captain
extracted two begrimed and blood-smeared rolls written in a very small
but strong and vigorous hand.

While looking over the documents in a casual way a loose leaf fell to
the floor. Upon picking it up, there was found to be written on one
side in bold underscored letters:

"Make no belief in the evidence that was manufactured to
satisfy some bloodthirsty men in Russia. What I have seen with
my own eyes I know is true. For the sake of Russia I stoled
these papers from the man come from the West who was with them
all the way from 'Yekaterinburg to Chunking. What he write is


"That's his name," the Captain said, "and if you don't find that he
was as crazy as a bedbug I'll say I'm General Graves."

"This diary seems to be written in very good English."

"Yes," said the Captain, "all those fellows keep one. They're like the
Germans--give 'em a pencil and a piece of paper and they'll scribble
all day."

"Did he say who wrote this?"

"No; he cashed in, as I told you; but you'll see the name of Fox here
and there through the diary that's written in the small hand."

"_Fox_--who was 'Fox'?"

"Search me! Some Johnny, I suppose."

"May I take these with me?"

"Sure thing! I'll make you a present of 'em. All I ask is, if you find
out whether that fellow 'Fox' grabs the peacherino from the Métropole
or the one called 'Maria' you'll send me an invitation."

The bargain was struck. Then the question was asked: "Any idea who
wrote this diary--the one written in a quick running hand?'

"Sounds like some fellow with a grouch against Kerensky and Lvov. I
know enough Russian to make out that much--"

"Evidently one of the Revolutionary officials?"

"Seems so," the Captain said. "You'll notice what he has to say about
the mixup with the Russian Royal family at Tobolsk and Tumen. There's
a lot of our fellows who don't take any stock in that assassination
business at 'Katerinburg."

"I began to read: 'I had walked from Euston Station to Madame
Tussaud's, when the messenger jumped from his motorcycle and rushed up
to me--' Your diarist starts out in London, I see."

"Yes, he is some globe trotter--"

"'"Go to Birdcage and walk slowly back to Queen Victoria Memorial.
As you pass Buckingham, observe the heavily veiled lady wearing white
lace wristlets who will follow on behind. Let her overtake you. If she
utters _the correct phrase_, go with her at once to Admiralty Arch
and follow the Life Guard to the War Office. Meet number ... there;
receive a small orange-colored packet, _wear the shirt he gives you_,
and cross the Channel at once"'--I see! From Buckingham Palace to the
War Office; sounds interesting."

"It is; that fellow is all there!" complimented the Captain.

"'The meeting at the _Huis ten-Bosch_ points to Wilhelmstrasse.
Nothing can be done here. They suspect Downing Street.'--Ah, at The
Hague, and at the _ten-Bosch_ too, where the Czar and Andrew Carnegie
held their first Peace Conference in 1899; this looks significant!"

"Keep going," said the Captain; "that fellow's got 'The Man in the
Iron Mask' brushed off the map."

"Here is something singular about Berlin. Your man walks through the
lines like a wraith--"

"Not always. As you get into his stuff you'll hear things sizzle."

And thus the Imperial dead return to life through the pages of these
stolen diaries.

While the temptation is great to revise the manuscript, so as to make
it read more smoothly, it has been decided not to alter a line or
letter. Truth will be better served by publishing what is prudent,
under the complicated political circumstances of our times, _word_ for
_word_ as it was written by its daring author.



For certain persuasive reasons it is deemed prudent to omit that
part of the diary which details the writer's experiences in England,
Belgium and Holland. Those who recognize the incidents hereafter given
will appreciate this act of censorship. The discerning reader will
gain all the information necessary by following the "Invisible
Diplomat" and author from Berlin to the end of the diary.

The first entry reads:

"Today I called on Count R---- at Thiergartenstrasse 23 and handed
him the yellow packet. Then I went with him to the race track at
Hoppegarten.... On the way out R. inquired about the incident
at Buckingham and asked me if I were willing to continue the
adventure.... I assured him that nothing would please me better,
providing the _lady_ was good-looking.... He said that there were more
than ONE lady as well as a couple of men involved in the affair....
I replied that if there were enough to go around and the men
didn't become too meddlesome, their presence wouldn't spoil the
'adventure.'... He assured me that the men were 'fine fellows,' the
ladies the loveliest on earth, but the 'adventure' was one that might
mean decapitation for me if I failed in the undertaking.... I told
him that just suited me.... 'I expect to meet Colonel Z---- S---- von
T---- at the track. If he takes a liking to you he'll invite you to
Koenigergratzerstrasse for a quiet little talk,' Count R---- replied
after I had climbed up on the box with him.... We had just reached
the old saddle paddock when a man saluted us in a very _knowing_
manner.... It was Colonel Z---- S----, who put some pointed
questions to me about my recent travels and my knowledge of Oriental
languages.... Before returning to the hotel tonight the Colonel asked
me to call on him tomorrow.... I feel that his request amounts to a
positive command.... I shall call early in the morning...."

4. On the same page the following entry was made:

"There were guards everywhere when I called at K-70. Even the
doorkeeper was a non-com, who took my name, entered it in a book with
the precise time I called, took down his telephone, merely mentioned
my name, hung up the receiver, called an orderly who conducted me
through a corridor and three anterooms full of civilian clerks and
finally landed me in the private office of Colonel Z---- S----. He
wore the undress uniform of the Imperial Army, greeted me pleasantly,
offered me a cigar and tactfully asked: 'Have you _positively_ made up
your mind to continue in this service?'

"I wanted to know a little more fully what was required of me before
answering; but he did not say. He insisted, rather, on my answering
his question FIRST.... To be perfectly frank I was not anxious to
commit myself unreservedly without knowing ALL he expected of me, but
it sounded cowardly ... so with a mental _reservation_ I finally said:
'You don't look like a man who would ask another to commit suicide. Go
ahead! I've decided to take a chance.'... Colonel Z---- S---- looked
me straight in the eye and said: 'We expect you to use the same
tactics that are used against you. We can't be squeamish.... The
interests at stake are too _sacred_ to allow personal considerations
to affect your conduct.... You will be required to undertake a journey
in the capacity of a guide.... How you make it will be left entirely
to yourself ... _but we expect results_.... Every resource will be
placed at your disposal, but if YOU get into _trouble_ you'll have to
get yourself out without calling on us for help.... We _must not_ be
known in the matter. And understand this--the assignment is dangerous
from start to finish; no official help can be given you under ANY
circumstances.'... To get a line on things I asked, casually, what my
compensation would be.... He replied: 'You will be allowed a
regular retainer fee, an allowance for daily expenses and a _bonus_
sufficiently attractive to make the undertaking worth while, as _you_
should know.' I thought a little while before asking, 'When do I
start?'... 'There's another thing,' he said. 'I suppose you know we
_retain_ one-third of your fee for the benefit of your family in the
event of any trouble.'... I merely nodded and said, 'All right.'"

In a moment a clerk brought in a check for 400, which Colonel Z----
S---- gave me, saying: 'This is your first month's allowance for
expenses; your retainer will be paid quarterly.'... 'How do you KNOW I
won't swindle you?' I asked, being a perfect _stranger_ to him. 'I am
taking my ORDERS from above,' he answered.... '_Who?_' I asked. 'Young
man!' he thundered, 'learn this QUICK--don't ask questions; keep your
ears and eyes open and your mouth SHUT.... _Be here_ at 10 tomorrow.'

5. The next entry of interest read as follows:

"I met Colonel Z---- S---- at 10 today. My head was not clear. Guess I
had too much at Kempinsky's last night.... A saturnalia of spending on
the theory that the Allies will pay.... Even the ride in the Grunewald
this morning didn't clear the cobwebs away. I was constantly thinking
of that girl at the Métropole with her long eyelashes and dimpling
smile; resembles the veiled lady at Buckingham,--and I was trying to
make out why she managed to occupy a seat at the next table to mine at
the Admiral's Palace an hour or two later. She seems to know some of
the performers who mingled in the audience, especially the energetic
dark-eyed Circe with the Greek nose, and said to be some sort of
a Baroness, who so often approached my table. I wonder what the
connection is between these two.... There is _certainly_ some
sympathetic tie between those girls! This I know, for when I had
breakfast at the Cafe Bauer, U.d.L., they were BOTH there, slightly
disguised, and occupying _the same_ table!... Who is Syvorotka? Her
lover?... I wonder what the game is.... Come to think about it, the
titled performer of the Métropole looks like a twin sister of Marie
Amelia, Countess of [Cszecheny] Chechany, a perfect composite of
Juno and Venus and Hebe all rolled into one.... These enigmatical
personages crowded everything else out of my mind as I walked into
Colonel Z---- S----'s office....

"... Without any preliminaries he said, 'Come with me!'... We entered
a cab and a few minutes later I entered the Wilhelmstrasse and was in
the presence of that tall, iron-gray, wiry gentleman with eyes like a
searchlight and the manners of a Chesterfield. 'Thank you, Colonel,'
he said. The Colonel sprang to attention, bowed, saluted and backed
away. We were ALONE!... 'In ten minutes,' he said, 'you will be
conducted to another room. When you arrive advance to the middle, make
a right wheel and stand at attention facing the portière.
Maintain perfect silence, answer all question,--make NO
inquiries--understand?'... I was taken downstairs, along a wide
corridor to a solid-oak door guarded by two sentries and an attendant
in the Royal livery. The door was opened by an officer of the Erste
Garde; I entered a large room, advanced to the center and faced the
divided portières of an adjoining chamber! There sat the man whose
nod shook the earth!... Behind a heavy, old-fashioned desk, in a
dim light, apparently absorbed in writing, sat a deeply tanned,
lean-faced, blue-gray-eyed counterpart of Frederick the Great,--the
very embodiment of Majesty!... Eyes that blazed in their defiant
depths with a steady and consuming fire--the kind of eyes that seem to
defy the world.... I stood there fully five minutes before I heard the
sharp, high-pitched voice pierce through the portière saying: 'Adell,
I will see the C----'... I was conducted to within six feet of the man
at the desk and in the same shrill voice asked how familiar I was with
Russia, with Turkestan, India, and the Far East.... My answers seemed
to convince my questioner.... Handing me a note he said: 'No one
besides ourselves is to know that you are to undertake the mission
outlined in that note.' Then he sat forward abruptly, his elbows
resting on the desk, his head between his hands, his eyes fixed on
space.... I began to study the note.... I was dumfounded!... I had
thought all along that this man was the mortal enemy of the persons
this note commanded me to rescue from danger.... I could not
understand HOW there could be the slightest co-operation between this
man and the other great ones of the earth that note commanded me to
call upon for assistance in case I should need it. It was utterly
incomprehensible! Yet THERE were the directions in plain black and
white.... And I could not ask a solitary question!... In the same
shrill voice the man asked: 'Have you memorized it?' I had! It was
burned into my very soul. I could not forget a syllable of it!...
Without another word he took the note, struck a match and watched it
curl into shapeless ashes.... Then making a quick gesture he plunged
into the documents before him.... I backed away until the door closed
and shut out the sight of the lonely figure enveloped in a green
light, his face illuminated against the shadowy background of
an underground chamber of the Foreign Office.... On the way to
Friedrichstrasse depot I met that girl of the Métropole again!"



6. The next entry was:

"On the Orient Express, or what was the O.E. before the '_Grosse
General Stab_' took over the whole job of mixing up these
schedules.... Well, well, well, the veiled lady of the Métropole and
Buckingham is in trouble in the next compartment ... at least so
she says!... She just came into my compartment and said she had been
insulted by the man who is sharing it with her.... Confound him!...
BUT ... Now I've heard of such 'plants' before.... While I'd like
to go in there and kick the brute through the partitions I believe
discretion is the better part of valor.... Let her call the guard if
the case needs attention.... The guard is a reservist and I believe
she _knows_ it.... Furthermore, I must be at Donaustrasse 24,
Budapest, tomorrow, and meet Colonel Shuvalov at the Hotel de Paris,
Belgrade, the day after.... I wonder if that petit Paris looks the
same as when I met my old friend Count Arthur Zu Weringrode and
Kazimir Galitzyn coquetting with Cecilia Coursan, Mlle. Balniaux and
the Petite Valon at the card tables after our sparkling dinners a few
years ago.... And where is that fire-eating Prince now?... He was
a great friend of Grey and Churchill at Monte Carlo.... and
notwithstanding that meeting in the Taunus they MUST BE friends
YET.... The Monte Carlo combination HOLDS good today.... The Taunus
meeting so far as Haldane and Winston Spencer were concerned was a
_frame-up_ to catch Waechter and 'His Whiskers' (both the Admiral and
the General).... That's where the Wilhelmstrasse FELL DOWN!... and
yet I am on a mission of mercy, in behalf of one of the principal
double-crossers, today!... _Must see Kovalsky at Donau 24 sure_....
Mademoiselle must take care of herself today...."

The next entry read:

"This is a great combination--Roumania is sidestepping
Wilhelmstrasse.... _Greece_ is tying up with Servia, Bulgaria is
likely to form a wedge between a complete coalition of these mutually
hating and suspicious grafters.... Montenegro is the only honest
combination in the whole bunch.... In another hour I will see Kovalsky
and _astonish_ him with the news I bring."

7. Then the following entry: "_K---- is absolutely opposed_ to taking
any part in this business....

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Main -> Smythe, James P -> Rescuing the Czar Two authentic Diaries arranged and translated