do! Go home quickly, and if thou canst find time, dress Masha in a sarafan."
The commandant's wife and daughter left. I watched the retreating Masha; she looked round and nodded to me. Ivan Kouzmitch now turned to us, and all his attention became concentrated on the enemy. The rebels gathered around their chief, and suddenly dismounted.
"Stand fast now," said the commandant, "they are about to attack——"
Dreadful shouts and shrieks followed; the rebels were running at the fortress. Our gun was loaded with grape. The commandant allowed them to approach, and fired again. The shot had taken effect in the midst of the crowd. The rebels divided, and fell back a little. Their leader alone remained in the front. He was waving his sword, and appeared to be encouraging his men with energy. The shouts and shrieks which had ceased for but a moment, were renewed.
"Now then, boys," said the commandant, "open the gates, beat the drum. Advance! follow me!"
The commandant, Ivan Ignatitch, and I were in an instant without the palisade; but the terrified garrison did not stir.
"Why do you stand there, boys?" shouted Ivan Kouzmitch. "If we are to die, let us die. Our duty requires it."
The rebels rushed at us, and invaded the fortress. The drum ceased. The garrison dropped its arms. I was
- The costume of female peasants, in which the girl might be disguised.—Tr.