Open main menu

Page:Pushkin - Russian Romance (King, 1875).djvu/156

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
144
RUSSIAN ROMANCE.

panying him from fortress to fortress, and seeking by every means to injure my fellow-traitors, with the view of usurping their places, and of benefiting by the rewards showered by the pretender. I listened in silence and felt at ease in one respect. Maria Ivanovna's name had not been uttered by the base wretch, either because his vanity suffered at the remembrance of her who had rejected him with scorn, or perhaps because a spark of the same feeling which forced me to silence still lingered in his breast. However that may be, the name of the daughter of the commandant of the fortress of Byĕlogorsk was not mentioned in the presence of the commission. I felt strengthened in my resolution, and when the officers asked me how I could refute Shvabrine's evidence, I replied that I held to my first deposition, and had nothing further to offer in my defence. The general ordered us to withdraw. We went out together. I looked at Shvabrine without saying a word to him. He smiled viciously, and lifting his chains, stepped quickly past me. I was reconducted to jail, but was not again taken before the commission.

I was not a witness of all that now remains to be related to the reader; but I have so often heard it described, that the smallest details have, as it were, been graven in my memory, and I feel as though I had been myself present.

Maria Ivanovna was received by my parents with that sincerity and good-will so characteristic of people in days gone by. They considered it a divine favour, that the opportunity was afforded them of welcoming and com-