From this period my position altered. Maria Ivanovna scarcely spoke to me, and tried to avoid me in every manner. The commandant's house became unendurable. Gradually, I accustomed myself to remain at home alone. Vassilissa Yegorovna reproached me for this, at first, but finding me obstinate, she left me in peace. I only saw Ivan Kouzmitch when on duty; Shvabrine I met seldom and reluctantly, the more so because I noticed his hidden dislike to me, which helped to confirm my suspicions. My existence became insupportable. I lapsed into a gloomy state of melancholy, fostered by my loneliness and inaction. This solitude intensified my love, which hourly became more burdensome to me. I lost all desire for reading and literature. My spirits sank. I feared lest I should either lose my reason, or abandon myself to dissolute habits. Unexpected events, which largely influenced my subsequent career, agitated my very soul violently and beneficially.
Before entering on the account of the singular events
- Emilian Pougatcheff, a Cossack of the Don, who had served during the Seven Years' War in the armies of Russia, Prussia, and Austria; returning to his own country, he incited a rebellion in 1773, assuming to be Peter III., who had been assassinated in 1762. Defeated on the banks of the Volga in 1774, and captured, he was beheaded at Moscow the following year.—Tr.