Твори О.С. Пушкіна.Переклад англійською мовою > THE CAPTAIN'S DAUGHTER > IX. Separation

THE CAPTAIN'S DAUGHTER

 

IX. Separation

 

Sweet it was to be united
With you then, my lovely heart;
Bitter now to be divided,
As for flesh and soul to part.

KHERASKOV

Early next morning I was awakened by the beating of drums. I went to the place of assembly. Pugachev's hordes were already lined up next to the gallows, where the victims of the previous day were still hanging. The Cossacks sat on horseback, the soldiers stood under arms. Banners were flying. Several cannon, among which I recognized ours, were placed on gun carriages. All the inhabitants of the fort were here, too, waiting for the pretender. In front of the porch of the commandant's house a Cossack was holding a beautiful white Kirgiz horse by the bridle. I looked about for the corpse of the commandant's wife. It had been pushed somewhat to the side and covered with a piece of matting. At last Pugachev appeared in the doorway. All the people bared their heads. Pugachev stopped on the porch and exchanged greetings with everyone. One of his chiefs gave him a bag filled with copper coins, which he proceeded to scatter about by the handful. People threw themselves on the coins with shouts: the transaction did not pass without some bodily injury. Pugachev was surrounded by his chief followers, including Shvabrin. Our eyes met: the contempt he could read in mine made him turn away with an expression of genuine spite and affected scorn. Seeing me in the crowd, Pugachev nodded to me and called me to him.
"Listen," he said to me, "set out for Orenburg at once, and tell the governor and all the generals to expect me in a week. Counsel them to meet me with filial love and submission: otherwise they won't escape merciless execution. Have a pleasant journey, Your Honor!" Then he turned to the people and said, pointing to Shvabrin, "Here, my children, is your new commander: follow his orders in everything; he's answerable to me for you and the fort."
I heard these words with horror: Shvabrin was to be commander of the fort, and Maria Ivanovna to remain under his power! Lord, what was to become of her! Pugachev came down from the porch. His horse was brought to him. He deftly leapt into the saddle, not waiting for his Cossacks to help him.
At this moment I saw Savelich step out of the crowd, go up to Pugachev, and hand him a sheet of paper. I could not imagine what would come of this.
"What is this?" asked Pugachev gravely.
"Read, if you please, and you will see," answered Savelich.
Pugachev took the paper and scrutinized it for a long time with an air of importance.
"What strange handwriting," he said at last. "Our regal eyes cannot make out any of it. Where's my chief scribe?"
A young fellow in a corporal's uniform swiftly ran up to Pugachev.
"Read it aloud," said the pretender, handing him the paper.
I was extremely curious to learn what my attendant could possibly have written to Pugachev. The chief scribe began to read the following in a thunderous voice, drawing out each word syllable by syllable:
"Two dressing gowns, one of calico and one of striped silk, worth six rubles."
"What does this mean?" asked Pugachev, frowning.
"Just tell 'im to read further," Savelich calmly replied.
The chief scribe continued:

A uniform coat made of fine green cloth, seven rubles.
A pair of white broadcloth pantaloons, five rubles.
Twelve Dutch linen shirts with ruffles, ten rubles.
A hamper with a tea service, two and a half rubles.

"What nonsense is all this?" interrupted Pugachev. "What business of mine are hampers and pantaloons with ruffles?" Savelich cleared his throat and began to explain.
"This, so please Your Honor, is an inventory of my master's goods that the brigands made off with."
"What brigands?" Pugachev asked menacingly.
"I crave pardon: my tongue slipped," Savelich answered. "Brigands or no brigands, but it was your lads as went ransacking and plundering. Don't be angry with 'em: the horse has four legs and yet he stumbles. But tell 'im to finish the list."
"Read on," said Pugachev.
The scribe continued:

A chintz coverlet, and another one, of taffeta quilted with cotton wool, four rubles.
A fox fur coat, lined with woollen cloth, forty rubles.
And finally a hareskin coat, given to Your Grace at the wayside inn, fifteen rubles.

"And what else!" exclaimed Pugachev, his eyes flashing.
I must confess I felt extremely alarmed for my poor attendant. He was about to launch into further explanations, but Pugachev cut him short.
"How dare you pester me with such trifles?" he cried, tearing the paper from the scribe's hand and flinging it in Savelich's face. "Stupid old idiot! They've been robbed: so what? You should pray for me and my men for the rest of your life, old sod: you and your dear master could both be hanging here among the others who've disobeyed me... Hareskin coat! I'll give you a hareskin coat! Before you know it, I'll have you flayed alive and a coat made of your skin!"
"Do as you please," replied Savelich, "but I'm a man in bondage, responsible for my master's chattels."
Pugachev was apparently in a fit of generosity.
He turned away and rode off without saying another word. Shvabrin and the chiefs followed him. The band marched out of the fort in orderly fashion. The crowd went to see Pugachev off. I remained alone with Savelich in the square. My attendant held the inventory in his hands, reading it over and over with a look of deep regret.
Seeing my good relations with Pugachev he had hit on the idea of putting this to good use, but his artful stratagem had not worked. I thought of scolding him for his inappropriate zeal, but I could not refrain from laughing.
"Aye, you can laugh, sir," he responded, "you can laugh, but when it comes to having to buy all of 'em things anew, you won't find it funny."
I hurried to the priest's house to see Maria Ivanovna. The priest's wife met me with sad news: during the night Maria Ivanovna had developed a high fever. She was lying unconscious, in a delirium. The priest's wife led me into the girl's room. I tiptoed up to her bed. I was struck by the change in her face. She did not recognize me. Gloomy thoughts troubled my mind. The plight of the poor defenceless orphan, left amongst the vicious rebels, and my own inability to help her filled me with horror. Shvabrin, it was above all Shvabrin who preyed on my thoughts. Invested with authority by the pretender, put in charge of the fort where the unfortunate girl — an innocent target of his hatred — was remaining, he might resolve to do anything. But what could I do? How could I help her? How could I free her from the villain's hands? There was only one means left to me: I decided to set out for Orenburg immediately in order to hasten the deliverance of Belogorsk and if possible to assist in it. I said farewell to the priest and Akulina Pamfilovna, fervently entreating the good woman to take care of her whom I already regarded as my wife. I took the poor girl's hand and kissed it, bathing it in tears.
"Farewell," said the priest's wife as she saw me off, "farewell, Petr Andreich. Perhaps with God's help we'll meet in better times. Don't forget us and write to us as often as you can. Poor Maria Ivanovna has no one now but you to comfort and protect her."
When I reached the square, I stopped for a moment, looked at the gallows, and bowed down before it. Then I left the fort, setting out along the Orenburg highway, accompanied by Savelich, who never lagged far behind.
I was walking on, immersed in my thoughts, when I suddenly heard the clatter of horses' hooves behind me. As I looked around I saw a Cossack galloping from the fort, pulling along a Bashkir horse by the reins and making signs to me from afar. I stopped and soon recognized our sergeant. When he reached us, he got off his horse and said, handing me the reins of the other one, "Your Honor, the Tsar Our Father is sending you as a present this horse and a fur coat off his own back." (There was a sheepskin coat tied to the saddle.) "And," the sergeant added with a stammer, "he's also made a present of half a ruble to you... but I seem to have lost it along the way: please generously forgive me."
Savelich eyed him askance and growled, "Lost it along the way indeed! And what's jingling under your shirt? Don't you have no shame?"
"Jingling under my shirt?" rejoined the sergeant without the slightest embarrassment. "What are you talking about, greybeard? The bridle was jingling, not any coins."
"All right," I said, putting an end to the dispute. "Please give my thanks to him who sent you; as for the half-ruble you've lost, try to find it on your way back and keep it for your services."
"Most grateful to Your Honor," he replied, turning his horse around. "I will forever be praying for you."
With these words he galloped off, holding his shirt against his chest with one hand. In a minute he disappeared from our sight.
I put the fur coat on and got on the horse, seating Savelich behind me.
"D'ye see now, sir," said the old man, "I didn't petition the rascal for nothing: the impostor felt ashamed of himself, though I will say that a lanky Bashkir jade and a sheepskin coat ain't worth half what the rascals stole from us and what you yourself gave 'im. But they'll do, I s'pose: we mustn't look a gift horse in the mouth."

 

      

I. The Sergeant of the Guards || II. The Guide|| III. The Fort || IV. The Duel|| V. Love || VI. The Pugachev Rebellion|| VII. The Assault || VIII. An Uninvited Guest|| IX. Separation || X.The Siege of a City|| XI. The Rebel Village|| XII. The Orphan || XIII. The Arrest || XIV. The Trial


 

Бібліотека ім. О. С. Пушкіна (м. Київ).
Про О.С. Пушкіна