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citizens justly entitled us. But, to-morrow, the tyrant and his courtiers are doomed to fall by our hands. We loved your father; he was our chief. -You are now invited to become so.

Your resolution and courage will, we doubt not, prove our choice has not been improperly made.”

Sobiesky listened with astonishment, and at once became fully alive to the dilemma in which he was placed. He had proceeded too far to recede, and yet, more than ever, he detested the contemplated deed of blood. To state his objections, he was aware, would only be to secure his own destruction; while to proceed on the projected plan, would be to act in concert with murderers, whose chief object was to spread anarchy and confusion in every direction. He felt the only alternative left him, was to disguise his feelings, and summon to his aid an appearance of determination, foreign to his heart and understanding. In this he succeeded; and the next night was appointed for their last meeting. The conspirators dispersed; each taking a different direction. Chowanskoi merely conducted Sobiesky to the place at which they had entered the ruins, and then left him to pursue his way to the inn, while himself, to prevent observation, took a more circuitous route.

Sobiesky had not advanced many paces, before he felt his arm suddenly seized by an unseen hand, while a stranger addressed him, and requested, with earnestness, that he would follow him. To distinguish the features of the person by whom he was accosted, was impossible; but, as he felt confident in his mind that he was one of the party from which he had just separated, he conceived that to refuse would be dangerous; hence, making a slight motion with his hand, he whispered—“Lead on,” and immediately followed his unknown guide.

To whatever part of Moscow Sobiesky might have been conducted, would have been equally indifferent to him, as he had only been in it a few hours in the whole; hence all places were alike strange to him. A few minutes brought them to a narrow and decayed staircase, which, with considerable difficulty they ascended, and entered an apartment, the door of which the Russian closed after them instantly. “Whither are you leading me?” demanded Sobiesky, as the stranger still moved forwards in silence. “Do you fear to follow me?” asked the guide, surveying him attentively, by the light of a lamp which depended from the ceiling. Sobiesky felt awed beyond what he could account for. He gazed upon the tall and robust figure before him, whose piercing eyes looked as if they would read the secret working of his mind: at length he replied as before, “ Lead on,—I'll follow you.” They entered a second room, of limited dimensions, the door of which was likewise immediately closed, when the Russian turned, and thus addressed Sobiesky.

“ I perceive you are surprised at what I have

done. It is unnecessary :--be secret, and all will be well. I have, as well as yourself, just left the ruins in which the death of the Czar has been resolved upon, with a solemn oath. Like yourself, I have to-night, for the first time, been among the conspirators. I too have reasons for being the irreconcilable enemy of Peter. But our plot, I fear, is badly laid : for who are our companions? Wretches stained with crimes,-outlawed plunderers, who have eluded the arm of justice, and now breathe only murder and pillage. They state, indeed, that the chief men in the empire are in their plot, and yet not one of them was named. But can we suppose any noble would so far disgrace himself, as to mingle with common banditti ? They have opened no plot to us. For what, and for whom do they expose themselves to danger? It is true they name your father and revenge; but it is only to induce others to become the blind instruments of their enterprise : everything is, in fact, unknown to us. You, Sobiesky, they have made their chief.—I cheerfully submit to their choice, only make me better informed on this mysterious matter, and you shall not calculate in vain upon the exertions of my arm."

Sobiesky had listened with the utmost attention to the stranger, during his address; and after he ceased to speak, continued to survey him with mingled emotions. There was a noble boldness in his manner; an independence of look and tone, equally distant from the vaunting of a coward

traitor of a cause he had espoused, and the bravolike fiery expression of an assassin. There was a calm dignity about all he said, which, together with the open, fearless confidence he had displayed, charmed Sobiesky, and begat in him a similar spirit. The designing seorecy of a conspirator comported not with his ingenuous temperament; hence, without disguise, he as freely communicated his own, as he had received the sentiments of the Russ.

Delicately he adverted to his happiness and contentment in the cottage of Valdai. There, where he knew not the sting of ambition, nor felt the envenomed tooth of envy, nor the fires of malice and revenge; where his wants were few, and easily supplied, he had learned-what in courts is seldom known—to be sincere and honest. “And still," continued Sobiesky, “I might have enjoyed, what I now can scarcely hope to possess,-happiness, had not my blissful ignorance been removed. And what have I gained by knowledge ?- The painful information, that in order to avenge the author of my being, whom I never knew, I must stain my hands in the blood of my sovereign. Whether, indeed, he who is declared to have been my father, was innocent, or guilty, I know not: doubts may well agitate me here, surveying the assembly in which I have been. Burdened with these doubts, I am to murder my master. Fear would not weaken my arm, nor hesitancy hold me back, if I knew my cause were good ;-but I doubt it. I am equally unable to form an opinion even of the conduct of the Emperor, in reference to my father; nor can I think that Heaven, as some would persuade me, has willed it that revenge should be so taken. I would at once have expressed the indignation of my heart against the plot, and the detestation I felt at its purposes, when I first heard it in the ruins, had not the conviction of my mind assured me that death would have immediately followed, -and without benefit to my sovereign. I shudder at the dastardly proposal ; an inward voice seems to address me—“The life of your sovereign is sacred ; love and protect him.' This monitor I am resolved to follow.–Pity, and save my youth and ignorance-give your advice and assistance-deliver me from the hands of these insurgents and murderers -point me to a way of escape, and I will follow, For if the Emperor must bleed by my hand or consent, or I must suffer, I will cheerfully submit, and perish as I have lived-innocent!"

“Noble Sobiesky,” exclaimed the stranger, embracing him, "you shall not perish: such heroism demands, and shall have reward. Behold," continued he, throwing off as he spoke, the cloak by which he had partly concealed himself, “Behold your Emperor before you. He who addresses you is the Czar,-is PETER, your sovereign: he can and will protect you."

It was indeed the magnanimous monarch. Sobiesky fell at his feet, but was soon raised from

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