The Return of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 29

to a little curtained alcove off the
apartment in which the countess was wont to serve tea of an afternoon.

A half hour later Tarzan was ushered into the room, and presently his
hostess entered, smiling, and with outstretched hands.

"I am so glad that you came," she said.

"Nothing could have prevented," he replied.

For a few moments they spoke of the opera, of the topics that were then
occupying the attention of Paris, of the pleasure of renewing their
brief acquaintance which had had its inception under such odd
circumstances, and this brought them to the subject that was uppermost
in the minds of both.

"You must have wondered," said the countess finally, "what the object
of Rokoff's persecution could be. It is very simple. The count is
intrusted with many of the vital secrets of the ministry of war. He
often has in his possession papers that foreign powers would give a
fortune to possess--secrets of state that their agents would commit
murder and worse than murder to learn.

"There is such a matter now in his possession that would make the fame
and fortune of any Russian who could divulge it to his government.
Rokoff and Paulvitch are Russian spies. They will stop at nothing to
procure this information. The affair on the liner--I mean the matter
of the card game--was for the purpose of blackmailing the knowledge
they seek from my husband.

"Had he been convicted of cheating at cards, his career would have been
blighted. He would have had to leave the war department. He would
have been socially ostracized. They intended to hold this club over
him--the price of an avowal on their part that the count was but the
victim of the plot of enemies who wished to besmirch his name was to
have been the papers they seek.

"You thwarted them in this. Then they concocted the scheme whereby my
reputation was to be the price, instead of the count's. When Paulvitch
entered my cabin he explained it to me. If I would obtain the
information for them he promised to go no farther, otherwise Rokoff,
who stood without, was to notify the purser that I was entertaining a
man other than my husband behind the locked doors of my cabin. He was
to tell every one he met on the boat, and when we landed he was to have
given the whole story to the newspaper men.

"Was it not too horrible? But I happened to know something of Monsieur
Paulvitch that would send him

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.
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" He was addressing Schneider.
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