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? 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!"
- Name given to Frederick the Great, by the Russian soldiers.—Tr.