Open main menu

Page:Pushkin - Russian Romance (King, 1875).djvu/88

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
76
RUSSIAN ROMANCE.

Our orderly stepped to the front, from the crowd, and pointed to Ivan Kouzmitch. Pougatcheff looked sternly at the old man, and said:

"How didst thou dare to oppose me; me, thy emperor?"

The commandant, weakened by his wound, summoned his failing strength, and replied in a firm voice:

"Thou art not my emperor; thou art a robber and a usurper, that is what thou art!"

Pougatcheff frowned gloomily, and waved a white kerchief. Several Cossacks seized the old captain, and dragged him to the gibbet. Astride the cross beam, was the mutilated Bashkir, whom we had examined the previous day. He was holding the rope, and in another minute I saw poor Ivan Kouzmitch dangling in the air. Ivan Ignatitch was next led before Pougatcheff.

"Swear allegiance," said Pougatcheff, "to the emperor Piotr Feodorovitch!"[1]

"Thou art not our emperor," replied Ivan Ignatitch, repeating his captain's words; "thou, uncle, art a robber and a usurper!"

Pougatcheff again waved the kerchief, and the kind-hearted sub-lieutenant was hanged by the side of his old chief.

My turn had come. I looked boldly at Pougatcheff, prepared to repeat the answer given by my brave com-

  1. Peter, son of Feodor; Peter III. was son of Anna, daughter of Peter the Great, by Charles Frederick, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp. The name of Frederick does not exist in the Russian calender, and is substituted by Feodor (Theodore).—Tr.