ordinary circumstances have united us indissolubly; nothing on earth can separate us." Maria Ivanovna listened to me with gentleness, without any affectation of reserve, and without inventing any excuses. She felt that her destiny was bound up with mine. But she repeated that she would only become my wife with the consent of my parents. I said nothing in opposition to this. We exchanged a passionate ardent kiss, and thus all was settled between us.
An hour afterwards, an orderly brought to me a pass, signed with Pougatcheff's hieroglyphics, and informed me that Pougatcheff desired to see me. I found him ready to start. I cannot express what I felt at parting from this dreadful man, this monster, this miscreant towards everybody excepting myself. Why should I not speak the truth? At that moment I felt drawn towards him by strong sympathies. I eagerly longed to tear him away from the gang of wretches, whose leader he was, and save his head whilst there was yet time. I was hindered from expressing to him what filled my heart to overflowing, by the presence of Shvabrine and the people who were gathered about us.
We parted as friends. Seeing Akoulina Pamphylovna in the crowd, Pougatcheff shook his finger at her, and winked significantly. He then entered the kibitka, gave the order to drive to Berd, and when the horses had already started, he leant out of the kibitka, and shouted out to me: "Good-bye, your lordship; we may perhaps meet again some day." We did indeed meet—but under what circumstances! . . . .