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Page:Pushkin - Russian Romance (King, 1875).djvu/97

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ant's house. The gibbet with its victims loomed hideously in the dark. The body of the poor captain's wife was still lying in the porch, in front of which two Cossacks stood on sentry. The Cossack by whom I had been escorted went to announce me, and returning immediately, conducted me into the room, where, on the previous day, I had taken such an affectionate leave of Maria Ivanovna.

A strange spectacle presented itself. Pougatcheff and the Cossack chiefs in coloured shirts and caps, their red faces heated by wine, their eyes glittering, sat at a table, which was covered with a cloth, and laden with bottles and tumblers. Shvabrine and our orderly, those newly-sworn traitors, were not of the number.

"Ah! your lordship!" said Pougatcheff, on seeing me. "You are welcome; honour and place to you."

The guests made room for me. I took my seat in silence at the end of the table. My neighbour, a young Cossack, slight and handsome, poured me out a glass of wine; which, however, I did not touch. I scanned the assembly with curiosity. Pougatcheff sat at the post of honour, leaning on the table, and supporting his black bearded chin with his broad fist. His regular and almost agreeable features had nothing of cruelty about them. He frequently turned towards a man of about fifty, now addressing him as count, then Tymofeitch, and sometimes uncle. Everybody seemed to treat his neighbour as a comrade, and none showed any special respect to their leader. They conversed on the assault of that morning, of the success of the rebellion, and of their future plans of