Maria Ivanovna threw a quick glance at him, and guessed that it was the murderer of her parents who stood before her. She covered her face with her hands, and fell senseless to the floor. I rushed to her side; at that moment my old acquaintance Paláshka slipped boldly into the room, and began to busy herself about her mistress. Pougatcheff left the chamber, and we three descended into the sitting-room.
"Well, your lordship," said Pougatcheff, laughing, "now that we have freed the pretty girl, what dost thou think of our sending for the priest to marry his niece? I shall give her away if thou wishest; Shvabrine will be the best man; we shall feast, and drink, and shut the gates!"
What I had so much dreaded now came to pass. On hearing Pougatcheff's proposal, Shvabrine quite lost his head.
"Sire!" he exclaimed, enraged; "I am guilty, I have lied to you; but Grineff also is deceiving you. This girl is not the priest's niece; she is the daughter of Ivan Mironoff, who was executed at the taking of the fortress."
Pougatcheff fixed his fiery eyes on me.
"What does this mean?" he asked, perplexed.
"Shvabrine has told thee the truth," I answered with firmness.
"Thou didst not tell me of this," observed Pougatcheff, whose face clouded over.
"Judge thyself," I replied; "how could one, in the presence of thy people, declare that Mironoff's daughter