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Page:The Prose Tales of Alexander Poushkin (Bell, 1916).djvu/408

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POUSHKIN'S PROSE TALES

were already beginning to wear out, but their tufted skullcaps were still worn on the side of the head, and yataghans and pistols still protruded from under their broad sashes. Nobody complained of them. It was impossible to imagine that these poor, peaceably-disposed men were the notorious insurgents of Moldavia, the companions of the ferocious Kirdjali, and that he himself was among them.

The Pasha in command at Jassy became informed of this, and in virtue of treaty stipulations, requested the Russian authorities to deliver up the brigand.

The police instituted a search. They discovered that Kirdjali was really in Kishineff. They captured him in the house of a fugitive monk in the evening, when he was having supper, sitting in the dark with seven companions.

Kirdjali was placed under arrest. He did not try to conceal the truth; he acknowledged that he was Kirdjali.

"But," he added, "since I crossed the Pruth, I have not touched a hair of other people's property, nor imposed upon even a gipsy. To the Turks, to the Moldavians and to the Wallachians I am undoubtedly a brigand, but to the Russians I am a guest. When Saphianos, having fired off all his cartridges, came over into these lines, collecting from the wounded, for the last discharge, buttons, nails, watch-chains and the knobs of yataghans, I gave him twenty beshliks, and was left without money. God knows that I, Kirdjali, lived by alms. Why then do the Russians now deliver me into the hands of my enemies?"

After that, Kirdjali was silent, and tranquilly awaited the decision that was to determine his fate. He did not wait long. The authorities, not being bound to look upon brigands from their romantic side, and being convinced of the justice of the demand, ordered Kirdjali to be sent to Jassy.

A man of heart and intellect, at that time a young and