The Ostrekoff Jewels
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Into one of the splendid but bare reception rooms of the famous Ostrekoff Palace in Petrograd, its owner made sudden, almost precipitate entrance. A tall man-almost six feet four in his stockings-the Prince was a striking personage, with long black beard streaked with grey, deep-set but fiery black eyes, and thin, finely aquiline nose. His attire was disordered and perplexing. He wore the uniform of a general but half of his ribbons were torn off, and the flowing cape which hung from his shoulders was merely the ordinary habiliment of a junior cavalry officer. He had apparently recently escaped from some scene of wild happenings, for the smell of exploded cartridges came from the old-fashioned service revolver which he was grasping in his right hand. He stood for the first few moments watching the doorway through which he had just sprung. His nostrils were quivering, his expression tense. He was engaged in a paroxysm of strained listening, his head a little on one side, his lips parted, his eyes almost glassy in their stare. A very human Anglo-American voice broke the silence, and the figure of a tall young man, broad-shouldered and powerful, emerged from the nearer of the great suite of rooms beyond. "Trouble getting worse, Prince?" he asked anxiously.