Open main menu

Page:The Prose Tales of Alexander Poushkin (Bell, 1916).djvu/407

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

gents were caracoling about, and threatened them with his finger. The insurgents, seeing this, turned round and galloped off, with the whole Turkish detachment after them. The major, who had threatened them with his finger, was called Khortcheffsky. I do not know what became of him.

The next day, however, the Turks attacked the Hetairists. Not daring to use bullets or cannon-balls, they resolved, contrary to their usual custom, to employ cold steel. The battle was a fiercely-contested one. Yataghans[1] were freely used. On the side of the Turks were seen lances, which had never been employed by them till then; these lances were Russian: Nekrassovists fought in their ranks. The Hetairists, by permission of our Emperor, were allowed to cross the Pruth and take refuge within our lines. They began to cross over. Kantagoni and Saphianos remained last upon the Turkish bank. Kirdjali, wounded the evening before, was already lying within our lines. Saphianos was killed. Kantagoni, a very stout man, was wounded in the stomach by a lance. With one hand he raised his sword, with the other he seized the hostile lance, thrust it further into himself, and in that manner was able to reach his murderer with his sword, when both fell together.

All was over. The Turks remained victorious. Moldavia was swept clear of insurrectionary bands. About six hundred Arnouts were dispersed throughout Bessarabia; and though not knowing how to support themselves, they were yet grateful to Russia for her protection. They led an idle life, but not a licentious one. They could always be seen in the coffee-houses of half Turkish Bessarabia, with long pipes in their mouths, sipping coffee grounds out of small cups. Their figured jackets and red pointed slippers

  1. Long Turkish daggers.