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Boys Own Paper 22 February 1913

Boys Own Paper 22 February 1913

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NO.
21,
NEW VOLUME.]
(VOL.
XXXV.)
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY
22, 1913.
Price One Penny.
[ALL RIGHTS
RESERVED.]
The
Son of an
Anarchist:
A
Tale of Strange Mystery
and
Wild Adventure.
By W. A. B.
CLEMENTSON,
M.A.,
 Author
of "A
Couple
of 
Scamps" etc.
CHAPTER V.—THE
SONS
OF
GLORIOUSLIBERTY.
A
s
he
knelt
on the
window-ledge
Paolo
saw
that
there
was
a
littlerent
in the
brown paper
that
coveredthe broken pane, through which
he
wasable
to see as
well
as
hear
what
was
going
on in the
room.
The
room
was nearly dark except
for
several
tall
candles
on a
table oppositethe
window.
Behind the candles Paolo
could
dimly
see a
little
man
sitting,dressed
in
scarlet with
a
hood
of the
same
colour,
which completely
hid his
face
in its
shadow. There were severalother figures
in
scarlet
near
the
table,and round
the
Paolo
'
Behind
the
candles Paolo could
see a
little
man
sitting, dressed
in
scarlet with
a
hoodwhich completely
hid his
face
in
shadow.
 
322
The
"Boy's Obun
Paper.
could
just distinguish the forms of men inordinary clothes ; but how many
there
werein all he could not be sure. He
looked
invain for his
father,
for Luigi was evidentlynot
there.
Presently one of the men in red began tospeak.
"
Most Valiant Dictator, having
trans
acted our first business, it is now our duty to
welcome
into our midst a new brother andto
initiate
him into the rules and secrets of the Society of the Sons of Glorious Liberty."
"
Who introduces the new brother ? "inquired the
little
man behind the table.His
voice
was a most remarkable one—
rather
like a human
voice
as rendered by aninferior gramophone.
"
Brother Bardi introduces him, MostValiant Dictator," replied the man who first
spoke.
"
Let them appear before us," said theDictator. There was a slight commotionand presently two more men entered the
room,
whom Paolo recognised as his
father
and Bardi. His
father's
eyes were bandagedwith red cloth, but Bardi's were uncovered.The Valiant Dictator
then
proceeded toask in his
hard
metallic
voice
whether Friend
Luigi
Costa were willing to swear, by all
that
he held most sacred and most dear, never to
disclose
or reveal to any man, woman or
child
at any time or in any place the secrets,mysteries and plans of the society into whichhe was to be admitted.
Luigi
Costa replied
that
he was willing :and Paolo's
blood
ran
cold
as he heard one
of 
the men in red administer the oath to his
father,
a most solemn and awful promise
of 
secrecy about all
that
concerned the
society
and its members.The bandage was
then
removed from
Luigi's
eyes and the Valiant Dictator recitedto him the objects and purposes of the
society,
namely:
"
To try to improve the condition of the
people
of all countries, by freeing them from
tyrants,
both royal and
industrial,
by doingaway with
unjust
laws, and by bringing
terror
into the
hearts
of evildoers in high
places
whom the law protects."There was a great deal more which Paolowas too excited to
take
in, but what he did
hear
confirmed his worst fears.
"
For
this
purpose," went-on the Dictator,
"
it is absolutely necessary
that
all brothersshould
obey
the Dictator and the Committeein all things. The
greatest
secrecy isnecessary, but energy and courage arenecessary also. Each must do his
part
tohelp to free the world from
tyrants
and to
uphold
the principles of Liberty, Equalityand
Fraternity."
He added a great deal
more
which sounded very fine and mighthave been quite innocent, but which Paolothought otherwise.Then Luigi Costa was obliged to
take
another oath "
that
he would faithfully
obey
the orders of the Dictator and
Com
mittee without hesitation or question, and
that
he would at all times uphold the
glorious
cause of Liberty with all his powers."The Dictator
then
said in a low
voice:
"
Your
obedience will be put to the
test
at
some
time during the next
three
da3's. Butbeware lest you fail to carry out our
com
mands, or it will be necessary to impose
upon
you the utmost penalty known to the
society."
The signs, seals and pass-words of the
society
were
then
made known to Luigi, hewas formally received as a Son of GloriousLiberty, and all the members rose and shook him by the hand.Suddenly it occurred to Paolo
that,
if hewas to get away safely, he had
better
move
under
cover
of the noise which the men were
now
making : so he climbed back to hisladder and down to the ground
once
more.Then, with silent
haste,
he carried the ladderacross the yard and placed it against the
wall
where he had left his coat. After
putting
on his boots with trembling hands,again he climbed the ladder. To
haul
itup was even more difficult
than
before, as
SCHOOL
FOOTBALL CAPTAINS.
R.
H. Colbourne,
Tettenhall
College.The game
played
at
Tettenhall
is Rugby.In the
present team there
are
only three
old
"
colours,"
which
fact
may
explain
the
want
of 
success
as compared
with last
year's
record.However, the XV is a
fairly strong
one. It.
H.
Colbourne
plays
in the forward
line.
his agitation was
greater
and he thought heheard someone
unbarring
a door. Yet at
last
it was done and he just reached theground and removed the ladder when heheard a
door
open and a man's
voice
say,
"
No,
there
is no one in the yard. It was
only
a cat."
Paolo
kept still till he heard the
doorclose
again,
then
he picked up the ladder and
bolted
back to the yard from which he had
borrowed
it. After
this
he put on his coat,
which
he had luckily remembered to remove
from
the wall, and
started
to run home.It was nearly ten
o'clock 
when he reachedthe house, but his
father
had not
returned.
His mother met him on the doorstep, lookingpale and anxious. " Where have you been
?
"she asked, hugging him to her
heart
with anembrace which showed how great had beenher anxiety. For a moment Paolo hesi
tated
: should he tell her all he had dis
covered
? No ! She was ill and stillsuffering from the effects of the accident:he would wait till she was able to bear it.
So,
trying to speak calmly, he only said :
"
Oh, it's all
right,
mother. I went fora walk ;
that
is all. Is it very
late
? "Then, making the excuse
that
he was
tired,
he kissed his mother and ran
upstairs
to his bedroom.
CHAPTER VI. PAOLO PLAYS
WITH
DEATH.
ON
the night of his visit to the
anarchists' headquarters
Paolo got very
little
sleep. He was feeling the reactionafter his adventure and every nerve of his
body
was quivering with excitement. Hewent through it all again and again inimagination, picturing to himself what mighthave happened if he had been discovered.
So
vivid did these waking dreams seem tohim
that
several times he only just stopped
himself 
from screaming out for help. At
one
time he thought he was falling off the
wall,
at another
that
he was trapped in theyard with no way of escape, or again
that
the men discovered him at the window andfired at him with automatic pistols, andbehind it all he was dimly conscious of his
father's
presence in
that
great
dark\ 
house,
bound
by strong chains and stronger oaths,a slave of the men who called themselveswith hideous irony " the Sons of GloriousLiberty " !
As
for Giuseppe Bardi, Paolo had lostall faith in him, for he was clearly one of the ringleaders of the
anarchists.
Paolognashed his
teeth
as he thought how he had
worshipped
that
man, listened to his storiesand played his best to please him.Then he fell to wondering in what way his
father
would have to prove his loyaltyto the new society and how the command
would come—by
letter
or by word of mouth,perhaps even by means of Bardi himself, the
traitor
and false friend. Paolo lamentedhis own helplessness. What could he do tosave his
father
from these lawless men ?His mother was
right
after all: he was onlya child, a weak, helpless child ! As if to
prove
the
truth
of 
this
conclusion Paolo
broke
down and sobbed bitterly till the firstray of dawn began to brighten the sky.Suddenly the sound of a soft footstepdownstairs
attracted
his
attention.
He
looked
at his watch : it was too early for the
servants
to be up. Who could it be ? Wasit by any chance his
father
already going out
on
some dangerous
errand
at the command
of 
the
anarchists
? If so, it was
strange
hehad not heard his bedroom
door
open.
Paolo
got up and dressed quickly. If hisfears were
true
he knew he might have a
long
journey before him: for he wasdetermined at all costs to
follow
his
father.
Downstairs he crept fearing lest he should
be
too late. There was no one
there
: so hewent first to the dining-room, where, to hissurprise, he saw
that
one of the windows had
been
opened. It must have been a burglarto
enter
in
that
way. He therefore examinedthe silver basket and the writing-desk inthe window ; but as far as he could see,nothing had been touched.Presently his eyes fell on something whichlay on the table—a brown paper parcel.It might have been left
there
the night before
by
his
father
or mother : but no !
there
was
 
The
Son of an Anarchist.
323
a
piece
of paper
close
beside it bearing
this
inscription :
"
Please deliver at the address as early as
possible
to-day
(Wednesday).
S.G.L."Thenan idea came to Paolo—was
this
the
promised
test
? What
could
be inside themysterious parcel ?
Just
then a faint ticking sound proceeding
from
the parcel caught his ear. He raisedthe package and
looked
at the address : itwas directed to a man whose name he had
often
seen in the papers. The parcel was
rather
a heavy one.Suddenly the
truth
blazed upon him—it was an infernal machine timed to
explode
at some unknown hour of the day ! Hisfather's
task 
was to deliver it at the house
of 
a man
whom
the anarchists wished toassassinate ; if undelivered it
would
explode
wherever it happened to be.
Paolo
knew in a flash all about it, thehorrible danger he was in, the danger tohis father if he should carry the parcel, thedanger to them all if it remained where it
was.
He turned
sick 
and faint as he sawit all in imagination : the horrors of thenight
before
were nothing to
this
! For atime he was paralysed with fear and unableto decide what to do.
At
last
with a great effort he pulled
himself 
together ; for he knew
that
he mustact without delay. His mother must not
be
told,
that
was certain, but what abouthis father ? His father had taken a most
solemn
oath to
fulfil
without question any
commands
that
should be laid upon him,and Paolo knew with what reverence heregarded a promise. Besides, the machinemight
explode before
the time. No !
Paolo
decided it
would
be better not to tellhis father; he
would
do it all himself !
The
parcel must be taken to some placewhere it
would
not
hurt
anyoneif it
exploded.The
question was—where ? All the parks
were
closed,
any of the open
streets
orsquares might be full of 
people
when thefatal hour came,l but
there
was still theThames ! He had quite made up his mindwhat he must do: he must carry thedangerous parcel
down
to the nearest bridgeand drop it into the river!
After
the first moment of panic, having
thus
quickly
made up his mind, Paolo did notwaste any time in hesitation, but pocketingthe
piece
of paper and taking up the parcelhe opened the
door
and went out.
At
first he felt inclined to run as he fearedth"e machine might go off 
before
its time ;then it occurred to him
that
to shake theparcel might be dangerous, so he steadied
himself 
and walked rapidly in the direction
of 
the river. He was fully aware of hisdanger, and purposely avoided walking nearhouses or other
people.
Luckily, at
this
early hour the
streets
were almost empty;yetPaolo was to be hindered in a mostunexpectedmanner.
Bonald
Overbury, always an early riser(as a Scout should be), had been tempted bythe brightness of the morning to
take
a stroll
on
the embankment, and on his way he sawa little in front of him Paolo carrying a
brown
paper parcel. Ronald at
once
recognised
his new friend, and quickly
overtook 
him.
"
Hullo ! " he said, " you are out early.
Where
are you off to ? "
Paolo
shrank 
away
from
Ronald with ashudder, saying in a hoarse
voice:
"
Oh, go away, please ! Don't
come
near
me
!
"
"
Is anything wrong ? " inquired Ronald
anxiously.
" Can't I help you at all ?Let me at least carry
that
heavy parcel.I'm not
going
anywhere in particular, andI should like to walk with you, if youdon't mind."
"
Oh, but you
mustn't
come
near me,"persisted Paolo in great distress. " Youmust leave me now—at
once
! "
"
Won't
you tell me what is the
matter
?
"said Ronald. " Is someone ill ? I am notafraid of infection. I was sorry not to see
you
the other day when I called. Is yourhand better ? "
"
My hand ? Oh, yes. And it isn't
infection
that's
the
matter—it's
worse
than
that!
"
"
Worse
? What do you mean ?"
Ronald's
curiosity was aroused and the agony
of 
Paolo's eyes was appealing to him for
help.
" Do tell me what is wrong. I wantto be your friend; I want to help you."
Paolo longed
to
confide
in
this
open-hearted
boy,
of whose name he was ignorant;but he knew
that
if he
allowed
Ronald to
accompany
him, two lives
would
be in dangerinstead of 
only
one. He
could
see
that
Ronald
was quite determined to help him if 
possible
and
that
he
would
not be easilyfrightened away : the
only
way to get rid
of 
him was to be positively rude to him, to
offend
him whatever the
cost.
So with apain in his
heart
as he said the
words,
whichhe was so far
from
meaning, Paolo cried out:
"
I don't want you for
v\j
friend. I don'tlike you. Please go away ! "
Ronald
was almost stunned with surprise.
"
Oh, I'm sorry," was all he said as heturned away, while Paolo
started
to run inorder to hide the sobs which he
could
no
longer
keep in. Regardless of the danger
of 
shaking the parcel, he ran on sobbing tillhe reached the river at the Chelsea Embankment. Presently he heard within the parcela mysterious whirring sound such as a
clock 
makes
before
striking : and he knew
that
the time had
come.
The machine was just
going
to
explode
!There was no time to reach the river;
so,
exhausted as he was, Paolo sank 
down
on
the pavement against some railings.
He
did not
feel
frightened now: he didnot seem to care what happened to him.Death itself 
could
not be very much worse
than
what he had already suffered ; so, witha sigh of relief, he
closed
his eyes and waited
The
sound he was waiting for never came,but the
clockwork 
in the parcel went onticking harmlessly.Presently Paolo was aroused
from
thestupor into which he had fallen by a mansaying to him :
"
What's up, sonny ? Been taken ill ? "
Paolo
jumped to his feet.
"
It's nothing," he said. " I was
only
sleepy,
thank 
you."
"
You don't
look 
well,"
said the kind-hearted man,
looking
at the
boy's
pale
face.
"
I'd go and see a
doctor
if I were you."
Paolo
thanked him and said he
would
; then,
picking
up his terrible burden, he walked
quickly
towards the bridge. Waiting till no
one
was in sight, he flung the parcel far outinto the river
below.
Either the
explosive
was bad or thewater hindered its action, for all
that
followed
was a dull report and a shower of water, ending in a hissing splash, while agreat wave spread out in a
circle,
dashed uponthe banks, and
fell
back into the river again.In another minute the placid stream was
gliding
along as if nothing unusual had
occurred
to disturb its surface.
Paolo
rubbed his eyes and stretchedhimself. Was it all a dream ?
Alas,
no !His father's connection with the anarchistswas a hideous fact. What the future
would
bring forth it was impossible to see; but forthe present Paolo had saved him
from
murder
or
from
death. And yet he was quite
unconscious
of the heroism of his deed : allhe
could
think of at present was
that
he had
been
rude to one who
would
have been a
true
friend to him. He
longed
to go and explainit all to Ronald and beg his pardon ; but he
knew
neither his name, nor where he
lived.He
could
not think of telling his motherwhat he had
done,
and again he
shrank 
from
telling his father, as he was not yet certain
how
far he
would
consider himself bound
by
the oaths he had taken. There wasnothing for it, Paolo saw, but to keep hissad secret
locked
up in his own
heart.
When
the gates were opened, Paolo wentinto Battersea
Park,
and, flinging himself 
down
on the grass,
allowed
his
long
pent-up
feelings
to burst forth. Then, when he was
calm
again, he rose to his feet and
started
towalk home with an aching head and aheavy
heart.
TO
BE
CONTINUED

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