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We enjoyed the tenderness of our meeting
for a time in silence; but presently I
told her my planhow that it was impossible
for her to accompany me to Orenberg,
where starvation was playing terrible
ravages;—how I had arranged that Savéliitch
should conduct her to my father's house.
Remembering my father's letter, she
hesitated; but, at length, my arguments
prevailed. In an hour my safe-conduct
arrived.

We followed in a few hours, travelling in
an old carriage that had belonged to Marie's
father, Palachka being in attendance upon
Marie. A little after nightfall we arrived
at a small town which we believed to be in the
possession of the rebels; but, on giving
Pougatcheffs pass-word to the sentinels, we were
instantly surrounded by Russian soldiers, and
I was hurried off to prison. I demanded an
interview with the commanding officer; but
this was refused; and I was told the major
had ordered Marie to be taken to him. Blind
with fury, I rushed past the sentinels direct
into the major's room, where I found him
gambling with his officers. In a moment I
recognised him,—as the commander
Lowrine, who had lightened my purse at
Simbirsk.

He received me with a hearty greeting,
and began to rally me about my travelling
companion; but my explanations quieted
his raillery, and he went to make his
excuses to Marie for his rude message, and to
provide her with the best lodging the town
afforded. I supped with Lowrine that night,
and agreed to do my duty, by joining his troop
at once, and sending my betrothed on to
Simbirsk, under the care of Savéliitch. Savéliitch
had many objections, but I overpowered them;
and Marie shed many tears, but I kissed them
away before we parted.

The vigorous operations of the following
spring brought many reverses to Pougatcheff;
at last he was taken. I jumped for joy. I
should clasp my beloved Marie once more in
my arms. Lowrine laughed at my extravagant
delight.

I was about to depart for my father's house
when Lowrine entered my room, and showed
me an order for my arrest, and safe conveyance
to Kazan, to give evidence against
Pougatcheff. This drove me nearly mad with
disappointment. There was no evasion to be
thought of, and I was escorted on my way to
Kazan, between two hussars with drawn
swords. I found this place almost in ashes.
Here I was at once placed in irons, and
locked up in a wretched cell. But my
conscience was tranquil, for I had resolved to
tell the simple truth about my transactions
with Pougatcheff.

On the day after my arrival I appeared
before the council. In reply to the
questions of my judgeswho were evidently
prejudiced against meI told every fact as it
had occurred, until I came to Marie, when
I suddenly thought that to name her would
be to ruin her. I hesitated and was silent.
I was then confronted with another prisoner
Chvabrine! He lied my life away; swore
that I had been a spy in the service of
Pougatcheff, and we were both conducted
back to prison.

Meantime, my father had received Marie
kindly, and both my parents soon loved her.
She explained to them the innocence of my
connexion with the rebel chief, and they laughed
at my adventures; until one day they received a
letter from their relation, Prince Banojik,
telling them that I had been convicted;
but that, through his interference, my punishment
was commuted to perpetual exile in
Siberia.

My parents were stricken with grief, and
Marie, with the soul of a heroine, started with
Palachka and the faithful Savéliitch for St.
Petersburg. She heard that the Court was
at the summer palace of Tzarskoié-Selo; and,
with the assistance of the wife of a tradesman
who served the Empress, gained access
to the Palace gardens. Here she met a
very agreeable lady, to whom she told her
story, mentioning how I suffered because
I would not even divulge her own name to
exculpate myself. This lady listened
attentively, and then promised to take care that
the petition on my behalf should be
presented to the Empress. A few hours
afterwards, Marie was summoned before the
Empress herself, in whom she recognised the
lady she had met in the garden, and I
received my pardon; the Empress being
convinced that I was innocent.
Shortly afterwards, we were married.*
* This story forms the substance of the most popular
prose fiction of the Russian poet Pouschkin, who died
in eighteen hundred and thirty-nine. He was
historiographer to the Emperor Nicholas.

P.N.C.C.

THE thing which drove me from my late
purchase of Longfield Hall in Cumberland
after nine months' trial,—back to town, has
been a dead secret, until this present writing.
My friends have found a mine of reasons to
explain the circumstance: either the county
families refused to visit us; or our income
was not more than enough to maintain our
lodge-keeper; or my eldest daughter had
made love to the surgeon's young man
at Nettleton; or I could not get on without
my billiards and my five to two at whist;
or I had been horse-whipped by Lord
Wapshaw for riding over his hounds. There
was more behind the curtain than people
thought; and a thousand other good-natured
explanations.

The actual facts are these: We arrived in
Cumberland at the close of last autumn, and
were as happy for some months as the days
were longand the days were very long
indeed; everybody was kind and hospitable

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