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Page:Pushkin - Russian Romance (King, 1875).djvu/103

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gallows, from which yesterday's victims were still suspended. The Cossacks were on horseback, the foot soldiers under arms. The standards were unfurled. Several guns, among which I noticed our own, had been mounted on field carriages. The inhabitants had also assembled in expectation of the Pretender. At the porch of the commandant's house stood a Cossack, holding a beautiful white horse of the Khirghis breed by the bridle. I looked for the body of the commandant's wife. It had been moved a little on one side, and covered with a piece of matting. Pougatcheff appeared. The crowd uncovered. Pougatcheff stopped in the doorway and saluted it. One of the chiefs handed to him a bagful of coppers, which he scattered in handfuls. The people rushed in a noisy scuffle to pick them up. Pougatcheff was surrounded by his principal accomplices. Shvabrine was one of the number. Our eyes met; he probably read contempt in mine, for he turned away with a look of genuine malice, and feigned derision. Perceiving me in the crowd, Pougatcheff nodded his head, and beckoned me to come to him.

"Listen," said he; "go at once to Orenburg, and tell the governor and all the generals that they are to expect me in a week. Recommend them to welcome me with childlike love and obedience; otherwise, they shall not escape a cruel death. A happy journey to you, your lordship!" Turning to the people, and pointing to Shvabrine, he said: "Here, my children, is your new commander. Obey him always; he is responsible for you and for the fortress."