Page:Taras Bulba. A Tale of the Cossacks. 1916.djvu/282

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privileges. But the kazáks were not the men to be tricked by all that: they already knew full well the value of a Polish oath. And Pototzky would never more have pranced on his six-thousand ducat race-horse of the Kabarda, attracting the glances of distinguished ladies, and the envy of the nobility; he would never more have cut a figure in the Diet, giving luxurious feasts to Senators,—if the Russian priests who were in the little town had not saved him. When all the clergy in their brilliant gold vestments, with the Bishop himself, cross in hand and episcopal mitre on head, went out to meet the kazáks, bearing the holy pictures and the cross, all the kazáks bowed their heads, and doffed their caps. No one lower than the King himself would they have respected at such an hour; but their boldness subsided before the Church of Christ, and they paid respect to their priesthood. The Hetman and the Colonels agreed to release Pototzky, after having exacted from him a solemn oath to leave all the Christian churches at liberty, to lay aside the ancient enmity, and to do no injury to the kazák army. One colonel alone would not agree to such a peace. That one was Taras. He tore a handful of hair from his head, and cried:

"Eh, Hetman and Colonels! Commit no such womanish deed! Trust not the Lyakhs! The dogs will betray you!"