Page:Taras Bulba. A Tale of the Cossacks. 1916.djvu/160

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terrible; and that, dying, I should reproach thee still more, O cruel Fate! and thee—forgive my sin—O holy Mother of God!"

And when she ceased in despair, a feeling of hopelessness was expressed in her face; every feature spoke of gnawing sorrow; and all, from the sadly bowed brow and downcast eyes, to the tears trickling down and drying on her softly-flushed cheeks, seemed to say: "There is no happiness in this face."

"Such a thing was never heard of since the world began. It cannot be, it shall not be!" said Andríi, "that the best and most beautiful of women should suffer so bitter a fate, when she was born that all the best there is in the world should bow before her as before a Saint. No, you shall not die! I swear it by my birth, and by all I hold dear in the world, you shall not die. But if it must indeed be so; if nothing, neither strength, nor prayer, nor heroism will avail to avert that cruel fate,—then we will die together, and I will die first. I will die before you, at your beauteous knees, and even in death they shall not part us."

"Deceive not yourself and me, knight," she said, gently shaking her beautiful head; "I know, and to my great sorrow I know only too well, that it is impossible for you to love me. I know what your duty is, and what your Faith. Your father,