Твори О.С. Пушкіна.Переклад англійською мовою > THE CAPTAIN'S DAUGHTER >XIII. The Arrest

THE CAPTAIN'S DAUGHTER

 

XIII. The Arrest

 

"Pray, be not angry, sirrah: but my duty calls
On me to send you straight behind the dungeon walls."
"You may, and I stand ready; but before you do,
Let me by your kind leave explain the case to you."

KNIAZHNIN

I could hardly believe my good fortune at being so unexpectedly reunited with the dear girl whose fate had so terribly worried me even that morning: it seemed as though it had all been just an empty dream. Maria Ivanovna gazed pensively now at me, now at the highway; she had evidently not had enough time to come to her senses and recover her old self. Drained of emotions, we were both silent. In a couple of hours, which had gone by almost unnoticed, we were at the next fort, also under Pugachev's rule. Here we changed horses. The speed with which they were harnessed and the eagerness with which the bearded Cossack, appointed commandant by Pugachev, tried to oblige us seemed to indicate that, thanks to the loquacity of our driver, I was being taken for a courtier of the pretender.
We continued our journey. It was beginning to get dark. We approached a small town, which the bearded commandant had reported to be occupied by a strong detachment on its way to join forces with the pretender. We were stopped by the sentries. To the challenge, "Who goes there?" our driver replied in a thunderous voice, "The Sovereign's trusty friend with his bride." Suddenly a throng of hussars surrounded us, swearing frightfully.
"Get out of there, devil's trusty friend!" the sergeant said to me. "A nice hot bath is waiting for you, and for your bride."
I got out of the carriage and demanded to be taken to their commander. Seeing an officer, the soldiers stopped swearing. The sergeant proceeded to conduct me to the major. Savelich followed right behind me, muttering to himself, "So much for the Sovereign's trusty friend! Out of the frying pan into the fire! God Almighty! How's all this going to end?" The carriage followed us at a walking pace.
In five minutes we reached a brightly lit little house. The sergeant left me guarded by the sentries and went in to announce me. He returned immediately, declaring that His Honor had no time to receive me, and had ordered him to take me off to prison and to bring my bride to him.
"What does this mean?" I shouted in a rage. "Has he lost his mind?"
"That I daren't judge, Your Honor," answered the sergeant, "but His Honour’s given orders that Your Honor should be taken off to prison and Her Honor should be brought before His Honor, Your Honor."
I sprang onto the porch. The sentries did not attempt to stop me, and I dashed straight into the room where the hussar officers, some six of them, were playing cards. The major was dealing. How great was my surprise when at the first glance I recognized Ivan Ivanovich Zurin, who had at one time fleeced me in the Simbirsk tavern!
"Is it possible?" I cried. "Ivan Ivanych! Is it you?"
"Gads so! Petr Andreich! What brings you here? Where've you come from? Welcome, brother. Would you like a card?"
"Thank you kindly. I'd rather you'd assign me to a lodging."
"What lodging? Stay with me."
"I can't: I'm not by myself."
"Well, bring your comrade, too."
"I'm not with a comrade. I'm... with a lady."
"With a lady? Where did you get your hands on her? Oho, brother!" Here Zurin whistled so expressively that everybody burst into laughter, and I was thoroughly embarrassed.
"Well," continued Zurin, "be it as you wish. You'll have lodgings. It's a pity, though... We could've had a good time, as of old... But say, boy, why aren't they bringing in Pugachev's little lady friend? Or is she balking? Tell'er not to be afraid: the gentleman is handsome and will do no harm to her; and give'er a good hearty slap."
"What do you mean?" I said to Zurin. "What little lady friend of Pugachev's? It's the daughter of the late Captain Mironov. I rescued her from captivity, and I'm now taking her to my father's village, where I intend to leave her."
"How? Is it you then whose arrival they just announced? For pity's sake, what does all this mean?"
"I'll tell you about it later. But now, for heaven's sake, reassure the poor girl, whom your hussars have frightened so."
Zurin immediately proceeded to make the necessary arrangements. He himself came out in the street to apologize to Maria Ivanovna for the accidental misunderstanding and ordered the sergeant to assign to her the best apartment in town. I myself stayed to spend the night with him.
We had supper, and when we were left alone, I related my adventures to him. He listened to me attentively. When I finished, he shook his head, saying:
"All this is fine, brother, except for one thing: what the devil do you want to get married for? Honest officer that I am, I don't want to deceive you: you must believe me that marriage is folly. Why would you want to trifle with a wife and waste your time looking after babies? A plague on them! Take my advice: shake off this captain's daughter. I've cleared the highway to Simbirsk: it's safe now. Send her off to your parents by herself tomorrow, and stay with my detachment. There's no point in trying to return to Orenburg. If you fall into the rebels' hands again, you'll hardly be able to extricate yourself yet another time. That way this amorous folly will pass of itself, and all will be fine."
Although I did not quite agree with him, I nevertheless recognized that duty and honor demanded my presence in the Empress's army. I decided to follow Zurin's advice and send Maria Ivanovna to my parents' village while I stayed with his detachment.
Savelich came in to help me undress: I told him to be ready to set out for the journey with Maria Ivanovna the next morning. At first he balked at the idea.
"What d'ye mean, sir? That I should forsake you? Who'd be looking after you? What 'ud your parents say?"
Knowing my attendant's stubborn nature, I resolved to get around him by soft words and candor.
"Arkhip Savelich, my friend," I said to him, "don't refuse me your favour, be my benefactor: I don't need any servants here, and I'd be worried if Maria Ivanovna were to set out on the road without you. Serving her, you'll be serving me, for I've firmly resolved to marry her as soon as circumstances permit."
Savelich clasped his hands with a look of indescribable astonishment.
"To marry!" he repeated. "The child wants to marry! And what'll your dear father say? And your dear mother, what'll she think?"
"They'll consent," answered I; "they'll be sure to consent when they get to know Maria Ivanovna. I'm placing my hopes in you, too. Father and mother trust you: you'll plead for us, won't you?"
The old man was touched.
"Oh, dear master, Petr Andreich," he replied, "early though you've taken it into your head to marry, it's true that Maria Ivanovna is such a good-hearted young lady that it'd be a crime to miss the opportunity. Egad, be it as you wish! I’ll accompany her, God's little angel, and will humbly tell your parents that such a bride doesn't even need a dowry."
I thanked Savelich and went to bed, sharing Zurin's room. All wrought up and excited, I chattered away. At first Zurin conversed with me willingly, but gradually his answers grew less and less frequent and coherent, until at last he answered one of my questions with a snore and a whistle. I stopped talking and soon followed his example.
I went to see Maria Ivanovna the next morning. I told her about my intentions. She acknowledged them to be prudent and immediately consented. Zurin's detachment was to leave the town that same day. There was no reason to delay matters. I parted with Maria Ivanovna right then and there, entrusting her to Savelich's care and furnishing her with a letter to my parents. She burst into tears.
"Farewell, Petr Andreich," she said in a soft voice. "God only knows if we'll see each other again, but I will never forget you: till my dying day you alone shall live in my heart."
I was unable to reply. There were people around us, and in their presence I did not wish to give full rein to the emotions stirring within me. At last she left. I returned to Zurin sad and silent. He wanted to cheer me up, and I myself was seeking distraction: we spent the day wildly and noisily. In the evening we set out on our march.
This was at the end of February. Winter, which had hindered military operations, was drawing to its close, and our generals were preparing for joint action. Pugachev was still encamped below Orenburg. In the meantime the various government troops scattered about him were joining forces and converging on the robbers' den. The rebel villages submitted to legal authority at the first sight of our troops; the bands of brigands were fleeing from us everywhere; and all signs pointed to an early and happy conclusion of the affair.
Prince Golitsyn soon beat Pugachev at Fort Tatischev, scattering his hordes and lifting the siege of Orenburg. The rebellion, it appeared, had been dealt the last, decisive blow. At this time Zurin's detachment was ordered out against a band of Bashkirs, who scattered before we could set eyes on them. Spring caught us in a Tatar hamlet. The rivers overflowed, and the roads became impassable. Our only comfort in our idleness was the thought that this tedious and petty war against brigands and savages would soon be over.
But Pugachev had not been captured. He reemerged in the area around the Siberian metalworks, gathered new bands there, and recommenced his villainous acts. Reports about his success were making the rounds again. We learned that he had destroyed several Siberian forts. Soon after, rumours of the taking of Kazan and of the pretender's intention to march on Moscow awakened the commanders of the various troops, who had been carelessly slumbering, trusting in the despised rebel's incompetence. Zurin received orders to cross the Volga.
I will not go into the details of our campaign and of the end of the war. I will only say that the disaster reached extreme proportions. We passed through villages ravaged by the rebels and, despite our best intentions, took away from the poor villagers whatever they had managed to salvage. Law and order were suspended everywhere; landowners were hiding in the forests. Bands of brigands dealt destruction everywhere; the commanding officers of various government troops arbitrarily meted out punishment or mercy; conditions were terrible in the whole vast region engulfed in the conflagration... May the Lord save us from another such senseless and ruthless Russian rebellion!
Pugachev fled, pursued by Ivan Ivanovich Mikhelson. Soon afterwards we heard about his complete defeat. Finally Zurin received news of the pretender's capture, and orders not to proceed any farther. The war was over. I could at last return to my parents! I went into raptures at the thought of embracing them and seeing Maria Ivanovna, of whom I had not had any news. I leapt with joy like a child. Zurin laughed and said, shrugging his shoulders, "Mark my word, you'll come to a bad end! You'll marry - and perish for no good reason!"
At the same time, however, a strange emotion poisoned my joy: I could not help feeling disturbed whenever I thought of the villain, bespattered by the blood of so many innocent victims and awaiting execution. "Emelia, Emelia," I said to myself with vexation, "why couldn't you fall on a bayonet or cross the path of a grapeshot! That would have been the best solution." How could I feel otherwise? His image was joined in my mind with a recollection of the mercy he had shown me at one of the most terrible moments of my life and with the memory of my fiancee's deliverance from the hands of the detestable Shvabrin.
Zurin granted me a furlough. In a few days I was to be in the bosom of my family and to see my Maria Ivanovna again... But suddenly an unexpected storm burst on me.
On the appointed day of my departure, at the very moment I was about to leave, Zurin came into my cottage holding a piece of paper in his hand and wearing an extremely serious look. A pang shot through my heart. I felt alarmed, though I did not know why. He sent my orderly out and declared that he had to talk to me about an official matter.
"What is it?" I asked anxiously.
"A slight unpleasantness," he answered, handing me the piece of paper. "Read what I've just received."
I began to read it: it was a secret order to the commanders of all army units to arrest me wherever I might be caught and to convey me immediately under guard to Kazan, to appear before the Secret Commission established to investigate Pugachev's case.
The paper almost fell out of my hands.
"There's nothing I can do," said Zurin. "It's my duty to obey the order. Evidently, rumours about your friendly travels with Pugachev have somehow reached the government. I hope the matter will have no serious consequences and you will be able to justify yourself before the Commission. Don't feel dejected, but rather set out at once."
My conscience was clear, and I did not fear the trial, but the thought that my cherished reunion with my beloved one would have to be postponed by possibly several months appalled me. The wagon was ready. Zurin bade me a friendly farewell. I took my seat in the wagon. Two hussars with their swords drawn sat beside me, and we set out along the main highway.

 

      

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