have been intimidated, and the Khirghis have also learnt a lesson. Never fear, they will not touch us; and should they do so, I will punish them to such an extent as would compel them to keep still for the next ten years."
"And are you not afraid," I continued, addressing the captain's wife, "to remain in a fortress threatened by such dangers?"
"It is a matter of habit, my little father," said she "Twenty years ago we were transferred to this place from the regiment, and dear me, how frightened I used to be of those d—d heathens! It was enough for me to see their fur caps and to hear their yells, and my heart seemed to stop beating! And now I do not even stir when I am told that those wretches are groping about the fortress."
"Vassilissa Yegorovna is a wonderfully brave lady," observed Shvabrine, seriously, with a consequential air. "Ivan Kouzmitch can bear witness to the fact."
"Yes, certainly," said Ivan Kouzmitch, "she is not one of the timid ones."
"And Maria Ivanovna," asked I, "is she as brave as you are?"
"Masha brave?" answered her mother. "No, Masha is a coward. She cannot even hear a gun fired without trembling all over. And when, two years ago, Ivan Kouzmitch took it into his head to fire our cannon on my name's day, my little dove almost died of fright. Since then we have ceased to fire the dd—dd cannon."
We rose from the table. The captain and his wife