Open main menu

Page:Pushkin - Russian Romance (King, 1875).djvu/90

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

I should have preferred the most violent of deaths to such abject humiliation.

"My little father, Piotr Andrevitch," whispered Savelitch, who stood behind, nudging me, "do not be obstinate! What does it cost thee? Spit, and kiss the rob—— (tfu!) Kiss his hand!"

I did not move. Pougatcheff dropped his hand, saying, with a sneer—

"His lordship would appear to have become foolish through joy. Raise him."

I was raised, and let go. I looked on at the continuation of this horrible cruelty.

The inhabitants were being sworn in. They approached one by one, kissed the crucifix, and bowed before the Pretender. The soldiers of the garrison followed. The regimental tailor, armed with his blunt scissors, cut off their queues. They gave their heads a shake, kissed Pougatcheff's hand, who extended to them his pardon, and enlisted them in his army. This continued for three hours. At last Pougatcheff rose and left the porch, accompanied by his chiefs. A white horse, richly caparisoned, was led to him. Two Cossacks seized him under the arms and lifted him into the saddle. He informed Father Gherassim that he would dine with him. At that moment a woman's shriek was heard. Several of the scoundrels had dragged Vassilissa Yegorovna, dishevelled and almost stripped, into the porch. One of them had already managed to put on himself her dooshegreyka[1] Others were drawing after them feather-

  1. "Soul-warmer," a coat lined with fur, worn by females.—Tr.