knocked. "Who is there?" asked Paláshka. I announced myself. Maria Ivanovna's dear voice was heard behind the door. "Wait a little, Piotr Andrevitch; I am dressing. Go to Akoulina Pamphylovna. I shall be there directly."
I complied, and went to Father Gherassim's house. His wife and he ran out to meet me. Savelitch had forestalled me.
"Good-day, Piotr Andrevitch," said the priest's wife. "God has brought us together again. How are you? We have never let a day pass without thinking of you. And Maria, my poor dove, has suffered so much during your absence! . . . But tell me, my little father, how have you managed Pougatcheff? how is it that he has not done away with you? Well, we have to thank the wretch."
"Leave off, old woman," interrupted Father Gherassim. "Do not blab out all thou knowest. There is no salvation in tale-telling. My little father, Piotr Andrevitch! come in, pray come in. What a time it is since we last saw you!"
His wife set before me what they happened to have in the house, talking incessantly the while. She related how Shvabrine had compelled them to deliver Maria Ivanovna to him; how Maria Ivanovna cried, and would not leave them; how Maria Ivanovna communicated with them through Paláshka (a sharp lass, who knew how to make the orderly even dance to her pipe); how she had advised Maria Ivanovna to write to me, &c., &c. I, in my turn, told her my story in a few words. The priest and his wife crossed themselves, when they learned