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Weird Tales

August, 1929

A Ghost-Tale of Soviet Russia 

AN EXAMINATION
IN DIPLOMACY

By EDITH M. ALMEDINGEN

HE HAD not enough daring to tell them he did not want to be assigned to that particular post. They would have laughed at him had he ventured to give an outlet to his vague fears; a trusted tool of the Tcheka, afraid to spend a few nights on duty at the Paul Castle, just because he had happened to hear some old woman's tales about its being haunted! Glebov realized that his bold hopes of rapid promotion would have been dashed to the ground had the chief but caught one glimpse of the almost animal terror in his heart. So he merely bit his lips and lashed himself into a sham attitude of glad readiness. "So good of the chief to think so highly of him, Glebov; certainly he'd try and do his utmost." And he added a few' more similar commonplaces, before leaving the grim Tcheka house, a fateful mandate to the commandant of the castle in his pocket.

Glebov's duty did not begin till a few hours later. These he spent in breathless feverish activities, carefully abstaining from drink during the day. "One's mind had to be clear before an emergency." he thought. And, following an unaccountable trend of reasoning, he had his pockets well stuffed with numbers of The Atheist. Its pages gave one food for thinking on "the right lines," convinced one that things supernatural were impotent to frighten, because they did not exist. "I have not been attending all those anti-religious lectures for nothing," Glebov tried to comfort himself, and, by dint of heroic efforts, he well-nigh managed to conquer his fears, when it was time for him to go up to the castle.

But no sooner had he crossed the sinister drawbridge, no sooner had the castle gates slammed to behind him, than he became aware that, if anything, his fears were as mighty as ever before. His very tread, ...

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