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Page:Pushkin - Russian Romance (King, 1875).djvu/74

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RUSSIAN ROMANCE.

Youlaï said, "was false. On his return the stealthy Cossack had declared to his comrades that he had been with the rebels, had been conducted before their leader, who had given him his hand to kiss, and had conversed with him for a long time." The commandant immediately made a prisoner of the Cossack, and appointed Youlaï in his place. This news was received by the Cossacks with evident dissatisfaction. They murmured aloud, and Ivan Ignatitch, who carried the commandant's orders into execution, heard them say with his own ears: "Thou shalt catch it by-and-by, thou garrison rat!" It was the intention of the commandant to have interrogated the prisoner that very day; but the orderly had made his escape from confinement, probably by the aid of some accomplices.

A fresh occurrence increased the commandant's uneasiness. A Bashkir, upon whom were found seditious papers, had been seized. The commandant again deemed it necessary to assemble his officers, and again sought to get rid of Vassilissa Yegorovna under some plausible pretext. But being a straightforward and truthful man, Ivan Kouzmitch could think of no other plan but that to which he had already had recourse.

"Look here, Vassilissa Yegorovna," said he, coughing several times; "I am told that Father Gherassim has received from the town——"

"Leave off telling stories, Ivan Kouzmitch," interrupted his wife. "Thou art probably about to assemble a council to talk in my absence about Emilian Pougatcheff; but I shall not be taken in this time."