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Page:Pushkin - Russian Romance (King, 1875).djvu/140

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RUSSIAN ROMANCE.

that Pougatcheff knew of their deception. "The power of the cross be with us!" said Akoulina Pamphylovna. "Do Thou, O God! let the cloud pass away from us! Well, Aleksey Ivanovitch, thou art a cunning fox indeed!" At that moment the door opened, and Maria Ivanovna entered, a smile playing on her pale face. She had laid aside her peasant's garb, and was dressed as usual, simply and becomingly.

I seized her hand, and for a long time was unable to say a word. We were both silent, our hearts being too full. Our hosts felt that they were in the way, and left us. We remained alone. All was forgotten. We talked, and it seemed that we were not able to say enough. Maria told me all that had happened to her from the time of the taking of the fortress, describing all the horrors of her position, and all the trials to which the base Shvabrine had subjected her. We also recalled the happy past. . . . We were both crying! . . . . At last I exposed my plans to her. To remain in the fortress, in Pougatcheff's power, and under the command of Shvabrine, would be impossible. One could not think of Orenburg then undergoing all the calamities of a siege. She had no relatives living. I advised her to go to my parents' property. At first she hesitated: the prejudice manifested against her by my father alarmed her. I tranquillized her. I knew that my father would consider it a happiness, and would make it his duty to receive the daughter of a worthy warrior who had perished in the service of his country. "Dear Maria Ivanovna!" I said, "I look upon thee as I would upon my wife. Extra-