Page:The Czar, A Tale of the Time of the First Napleon.djvu/40

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30
SOMETHING WONDERFUL HAPPENS TO IVAN.

no splendour in his dress—an officer's uniform, gray in colour and plain in fashion. But his face, which seemed to bring the glow and glory of the morning with it, held Ivan's gaze with a kind of fascination. Features almost perfect enough for the deathless marble of a Grecian sculptor might have worn no charm to his untrained eye, if they had not also beamed with a kindness and gentleness that took his heart at once. That bright, young face—the first beardless manly face he remembered to have seen—left itself for ever on his mind. It was destined to be the inspiration of his life; and when death closed his eyes, he had scarcely a clearer hope than to see it once again in the morning of the resurrection.

The boyar, meanwhile, had come quite close to the group ere he appeared to perceive distinctly the cause of their distress. But no sooner had he done so than he sprang from his horse, flinging the bridle to Ivan, who proudly accepted the charge. The next moment he w^as bending over the lifeless form; the next, he turned and said cheerfully to the mujiks standing near,—

"My children, this is not death. We will save him yet."

They were speechless with amazement. Was this stranger a holy saint, a worker of miracles? They knew at least that he was a nobleman and an officer, whom fortunately every instinct of their nature, every habit of their lives, taught them to obey without a question. Rapidly singling out two or three of the most intelligent-looking, he set them to work—working with them himself as Ivan, used to the dawdling, dreamy ways of the mujiks, had never in his life seen any one work before. By magic, as it seemed, poor Stefen's dripping clothes were removed, and he was wrapped in the warmest garments the mujiks could contribute for the purpose—Ivan, amongst others, gladly offering his little sheepskin shuba. Then the cold and rigid limbs were gently chafed, a work of time and patience. Those who were helping did mechanically