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Page:Pushkin - Russian Romance (King, 1875).djvu/214

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ceived by them with as little courtesy as they would have shown to a superannuated assessor.

Our lovers corresponded, and met daily, unobserved, either in the shade of the pine forest or by the old chapel. Here they exchanged vows of constant love, bewailed their cruel fate, and meditated upon means of deliverance. These letters and secret conferences led them (and very naturally so) to the following conclusions: that life would be a burden were they to be separated from each other, and as her hard-hearted parents chose to place obstacles in the way of their happiness, would it not be possible to forego their consent altogether? Of course it was the young man who first originated this happy idea, which very much pleased the romantic Maria Gavrilovna.

Winter setting in put an end to their meetings, but their correspondence became the more active. Vladimir Nikolaevitch besought Maria Gavrilovna in each of his letters to give herself up to him, urging her to a clandestine marriage, proposing that they should keep themselves concealed for a while, and that they should finally throw themselves in repentance at her parents' feet, who by that time would doubtless be touched by such unequalled constancy, and by the unhappiness of the lovers, and would be certain to receive them with the exclamation, "Children! come to our arms."

Maria Gavrilovna wavered long; one plan of flight was dismissed for another. At last she consented: it was arranged that she should, on the appointed day, retire to her room before supper, under the pretext of suffering from a headache; that accompanied by her maid, who