Page:The Czar, A Tale of the Time of the First Napleon.djvu/35

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CHAPTER III.


SOMETHING WONDERFUL HAPPENS TO IVAN.


"Dir ist dein Ohr geklungen
    Vom Lob das man dir bot,
Doch ist zu ihn gedrungen
    Ein schwacher Schrei der Noth.
Der ist ein Held der Freien
    Der, wenn der Ruhm ihn kränzt,
Noch gluht, zu dem zu weihen,
    Das frommet und nicht glänzt."—Ruckärt.


WHEN Ivan awoke it was broad daylight; the shed was empty, and all around him still and silent. After a few moments of bewilderment, he remembered where he was, and a sudden terror seized him lest the boat might have come and gone, and his companions have crossed the river without him. So he threw on his shuba and hurried out. They were standing on the bank, watching eagerly for the boat—or rather for the boatman, of whom as yet there was no appearance, though they were tantalized by the sight of the empty boat lying high and dry on the opposite bank. Their irritation increased every moment, and curses were not wanting, which lost none of their effect uttered in that hard, resonant, metallic language.

At this point a new wayfarer joined the group. He came with long strides, as one in eager haste, and his annoyance at the delay seemed even greater than that of the rest. He was a fine, active, young fellow, neatly dressed, and with a mason's trowel stuck in the sash of his caftan, where all the others carried the indispensable axe. Seeing no sign of the approach