Open main menu

Page:Pushkin - Russian Romance (King, 1875).djvu/132

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
120
RUSSIAN ROMANCE.

What thinkest thou? Will the Prussian king be able to withstand me?"

The robber's bragging aroused me.

"What dost thou thyself think," said I; "wouldst thou be able to stand up against Frederick?"

"With Feodor Feodorovitch?[1] and why not? Don't I manage your generals, and they have beaten him? Up to the present time, my arms have been successful. Give me but time, and thou wilt see still other things, when I advance upon Moscow."

"And so thou thinkest of advancing upon Moscow?" The pretender reflected for a moment, and then said in a low tone of voice:—

"God knows. My road is narrow, my will is limited, My boys have too much to say; they are scoundrels. I must keep my ears open; at the first mishap they will buy off their necks with my head."

"Just so!" said I to Pougatcheff. "Would it not be better if thou wert thyself to leave them, whilst it is yet time, and throw thyself on the clemency of the empress?"

Pougatcheff smiled a bitter smile.

"No," he replied, "it is too late for repentance. There can be no mercy for me. I shall continue as I have begun. Who knows? I may yet succeed! Did not Grishka Otrepieff reign over Moscow?"

"But dost thou know what his end was? He was pitched out of a window, killed, burned, and his ashes were blown away from a gun!"

  1. ↑ Name given to Frederick the Great, by the Russian soldiers.—Tr.