Taras Bulba/Chapter IX

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No one in the city knew that one-half of the kazáks had gone in pursuit of the Tatárs. From the tower of the Magistracy all the sentinels observed was, that a part of the wagons had been dragged into the forest: but they thought the kazáks were preparing an ambush; so, also, thought the French engineer. Meanwhile, the Koshevói's words proved to be not devoid of foundation, and a scarcity of provisions arose in the city.

In accordance with the custom of past centuries, the troops did not separate as much as was necessary. They tried to make a sortie; but half the venturesome men were instantly slain by the kazáks, and the other half driven into the city with no result. But the Jews availed themselves of the opportunity to find out everything: whither and why the Zaporozhtzi had departed, and with what leaders, and which particular kuréns, and their number, and how many had remained on the spot, and what they intended to do: in short, within a few minutes, everything was known in the city.

The colonels took courage and prepared to offer battle. Taras had already divined it by the noise and movement in the city, and toiled energetically, making his arrangements, forming his men into columns, issuing orders and instructions. He ranged the kuréns in three camps, surrounding them with the wagons, in the guise of bulwarks,—a form of battle in which the Zaporozhtzi were invincible. He ordered two kuréns into ambush; he drove sharp stakes, broken guns, fragments of spears, into a part of the plain, with a view to forcing the enemy's cavalry upon it, should an opportunity present itself. And when all was done that was needed, he made a speech to the kazáks, not for the purpose of encouraging and freshening up their spirits,—he knew that they were strong of soul without that,—but simply because he wished to tell them all he had in his heart.

"I want to tell you, sir brothers, what our brotherhood is. You have heard from your fathers and grandfathers in what honour our land has always been held by all men. We have made ourselves known to the Greeks, and we captured gold from Tzargrad,[1] and our cities were luxurious, and so were the temples and the Princes,—the Princes of the Russian people, our own Princes, not Catholic unbelievers. But the Mussulmans took all, all vanished, and only we orphans remained, yea, like unto a widow after the death of a powerful husband: orphaned was our land, as well as ourselves! Such was the time, comrades, when we joined hands in a brotherhood: that is what our fellowship consists of! There is no bond more sacred than brotherhood. A father loves his children, a mother loves her children, the children love their father and their mother; but this is not like that, brethren! the wild beasts also love their young! But only men can enter into a relationship which is of the spirit and not of blood. There have been comrades in other lands, but never any such brotherhoods as on our Russian soil. It has happened to many of you to be lost for awhile in foreign lands. You look: there are people there, also! They, also, are God's creatures; and you talk with them as with the men of your own country. But when it comes to saying a heartfelt word—you see the difference. No! they're sensible folks, but not the right sort; the same kind of people, and yet not the same! No, brothers, to love as the Russian soul loves, is to love not with the mind or anything else, but with all that God has given you, all that is within you.—Ah!" said Taras, and waved his hand, shook his grey head, twitched his moustache, and then went on: "No, no one can love In that way! I know that baseness has now made its way into our land. Men care only to possess ricks of grain and hay, and their droves of horses, and that their sealed mead may be untouched in their cellars; they adopt the Devil only knows what Mussulman customs. They abhor their own language. They care not to speak their real thoughts with their own countrymen. They sell their fellow-countrymen as they sell soulless creatures on the market-place. The favour of a foreign king—and not even of a king, but the grudging favour of a Polish magnate, who beats them on the mouth with his yellow shoe, is dearer to them than all brotherhood. But the very meanest scoundrel, whoever he may be, given over though he be to vileness and servility, even he, brothers, has at least a Russian feeling; and it will assert itself some day. And then the wretched man will beat the floor with his hands; and he will grasp his head in despair, loudly cursing his vile life, and ready to expiate his disgraceful deeds with torture. For they know, all of them, what brotherhood means on Russian soil! And if it has come to the point when such a man must die, not one of them will have the chance to die in the right way. No! Not one of them! 'Tis not a fitting thing for their mouse-like natures!" Thus spoke the Atamán; and after he had finished his speech, he still continued to shake his head, which had grown silver in kazák affairs. All who stood there were deeply affected by this speech, which went to their very hearts. The oldest in the ranks stood motionless, their grey heads drooping earthward: a tear gathered quietly in their aged eyes; they slowly wiped it away with their sleeve, and then all, as with one consent, waved their hands in the air at the same moment, and shook their experienced heads. For it was evident that Taras had reminded them of many of the best-known and finest points of the heart in a man who has become wise through suffering, toil, daring, and every earthly misfortune, or, though unknown to them, of many things felt by young, pearly spirits, to the eternal joy of the parents who bore them.

But the enemy's troops were already marching out of the city, to the thunder of kettledrums and trumpets; and the noble lords, with arms akimbo, rode forth surrounded by innumerable retinues. The fat Colonel was giving orders. And they began to advance briskly on the kazák camps, threateningly aiming their arquebuses, with eyes flashing and brazen armour glittering. As soon as the kazáks perceived that they had arrived within gunshot, they let fly all together with their seven-palm arquebuses, and continued to fire without cessation.

The heavy detonations resounded through the distant fields and meadows, merging into one continuous roar. The whole plain was shrouded in smoke, but the Zaporozhtzi went on firing without stopping to draw breath: the rear ranks did nothing but load and hand to those in front, creating amazement among the enemy who could not understand how the kazáks fired without loading their guns. Amid the dense smoke which enveloped both armies, it could no longer be seen how one and another dropped out of the ranks: but the Lyakhs felt that the bullets were flying thickly, and that the engagement was growing hot: and when they retreated to escape from the smoke and to take an observation, many were missing from the ranks, but only two or three out of a company had been killed on the kazák side. And still the kazáks went on firing their arquebuses without a moment's intermission. Even the foreign engineer was amazed at tactics heretofore unknown to him, and said, then and there, in the presence of all, "Those Zaporozhtzi are brave lads. That's the way men in other lands ought to fight." And he advised that the cannon should immediately be trained on the camps. Heavily roared the iron cannon, with their wide throats; the earth hummed and trembled far and wide, and the smoke lay twice as heavy over the plain. The reek of the powder could be smelled among the squares and streets in the most distant as well as the nearest quarters of the city. But those who aimed the cannon pointed them too high; the hot shot described too large a curve; screaming horribly they flew over the heads of the whole camp, and buried themselves deep in the earth at a distance, tearing up the ground and throwing the black dirt high in the air. At the sight of such lack of skill, the French engineer tore his hair, and undertook to point the cannon himself, heeding not the kazák bullets which burned and showered around him.

Taras saw from afar that the whole Nezamaikovsky and Steblikivsky kuréns were threatened with destruction, and uttered a ringing shout: "Get away instantly from behind the wagons, and mount your horses!" But the kazáks would not have succeeded in effecting these two movements had not Ostap dashed into the midst of the enemy, and wrenched the lunts from six cannoneers. But he was unable to wrench them from the remaining four: the Lyakhs drove him back. Meanwhile the foreign Captain had taken a lunt in his own hand, to fire off the largest of the cannon—such a cannon as none of the kazáks had ever beheld before. It looked horrible, with its wide mouth, and a thousand deaths peered forth from it. And as it thundered, the three others followed, shaking in fourfold earthquake the dully responsive earth,—and much woe did they cause. For more than one kazák wails an aged mother, beating with bony hands her feeble breast; more than one widow will be left in Glukhov, Nemirov, Chernigov, and other towns. Every day will the loving woman hasten forth to the bazaar, catching at all passers-by, scanning the face of each to see if there be not among them one dearer than all; but many troops of all sorts will pass through the town, yet never among them will appear the single one who is dearest of all to her.

And half the Nezamaikovsky kurén was as though it had never been! As hail suddenly beats down a field where every ear of grain shines like a ducat of full weight, so were they beaten down.

How hastened the kazáks thither! how they all started up! How raged the atamán of the kurén, Kukubenko, when he saw that the best half of his kurén was no more! He fought his way, with his remaining Nezamaikovtzi, to the very heart of the fray, hewed down, in his wrath, like a cabbage, the first man he encountered, hurled many a rider from his horse, impaling both horse and rider with his spear; made his way to the gunners and captured a cannon; but there he beheld the atamán of the Umansky kurén and Stepan Guska hard at work, having already seized the chief cannon. He left those kazáks there, and returned with his own to another group of the foe: and where the Nezamaikovtzi went there was a street! where they wheeled about there was a lane! And the ranks were visibly thinning, and the Lyakhs were falling in sheaves! And right beside the wagons was Vovtuzenko, and in front Cherevichenko, and by the more distant one Degtyarenko; and behind them was the atamán of the kurén, Vertykvist. Degtyarenko already had raised two Lyakhs upon his spear, and was now attacking the third, a stubborn fellow. Agile and strong was the Lyakh, with gorgeous accoutrements, and he was accompanied by fifty servitors. He fell fiercely upon Degtyarenko, beat him to the ground and, flourishing his sword above him, cried, "There's not one of you kazák dogs who would dare to oppose me!"

"Here's one!" said Mosii Shilo, stepping forward. He was a muscular kazák, who had often served as atamán on the sea, and had undergone many vicissitudes. The Turks had captured him and his men at Trebizond, and thrown them all, captives, into the galleys; they bound them hand and foot with iron chains, gave them no millet for a week at a time, and made them drink the repulsive sea water. The poor prisoners bore and suffered all things, if only they might not be forced to renounce their Orthodox Faith. Atamán Mosii Shilo could not endure it: he trampled under foot the Holy Scriptures, wound a vile turban about his sinful head, won the confidence of a Pasha, became steward on a ship, and ruler over all the slaves. The poor prisoners sorrowed greatly thereat, for they knew that if he had betrayed his Faith he would become a tyrant, and his hand would be the more severe and heavy on them; and so it turned out. Mosii Shilo had them all put in new chains, three in a row, and twisted the cruel cords until they cut clean to the bone; and he beat them upon the back of the neck, regaling them with cuffs for their napes. And when the Turks rejoiced at having obtained such a servant, and began to carouse, and, forgetful of their law, all got drunk, he distributed all the sixty-four keys among the prisoners, in order that they might free themselves, fling their chains and manacles into the sea, and, seizing their swords, in their turn slay the Turks. Then did the kazáks collect great booty, and return with glory to their country; and the bandura-players glorified Mosii Shilo for a very long time. The men would have elected him Koshevói, but he was a very peculiar kazák. At one time he would perform some feat which the most sagacious never would have dreamed of; and at another, folly simply took possession of him. He drank away and squandered away everything, was in debt to every one in the Syech, and stole like a common street thief, to boot. He carried off a complete kazák equipment from another kurén, by night, and pawned it to a dram-shop keeper. For this dishonourable act they bound him to a post in the bazaar, and laid a club by his side, so that every one, according to the measure of his strength, might deal him a blow. But there was not one Zaporozhetz out of them all to be found who would raise the club against him, remembering his former services. Such was the kazák, Mosii Shilo.

"Here are some who will kill you, you dog!" he said, springing upon him. And how they hacked away! their shoulder-plates and breast-plates bent beneath the blows. The hostile Lyakh cut through his shirt of mail, reaching the body itself with his sharp blade; the kazák's shirt was dyed crimson; but Shilo heeded it not, flourished his muscular hand (heavy was that mighty fist), and brought it down unexpectedly on his head. The brazen helmet flew off, the Lyakh reeled and fell; but Shilo went on hacking and making crosses on the stunned man. Kill not utterly thine enemy, kazák! turn back rather! The kazák turned not, and one of the dead man's servitors plunged a knife into his neck. Shilo turned, and almost succeeded in seizing the daring man, but he disappeared amid the smoke of the powder. On all sides rose the clash of arquebuses. Shilo reeled, and knew that his wound was mortal. He fell, with his hand upon his wound, and said, turning to his comrades: "Farewell, sir brothers, my comrades! May the holy Russian land stand forever, and may it have eternal honour!" Then he closed his failing eyes, and the kazák soul took flight from the grim body. And then Zadorozhny came forward with his men, Vertykhvist broke the ranks, and Balaban stepped forward.

"What now, noble sirs?" said Taras, calling to the atamáns by name: "is there yet powder in the powder-flasks? The kazák force is not weakened, is it? The kazáks do not yield?"

"There is yet powder in the flasks, batko; the kazák force is not yet weakened; the kazáks do not yield!"

And the kazáks pressed vigorously on: the ranks were all in confusion. The little colonel had the assembly beaten, and ordered eight painted standards to be flung out, to collect his men, who were scattered far over all the plain. All the Lyakhs hastened to the standards. But they had not yet succeeded in ranging themselves in order, when Atamán Kukubenko attacked again with his Nezamaikovtzi, in their centre, and fell straight upon the big-bellied colonel. The colonel could not withstand the attack and, wheeling his horse about, set out at a gallop; but Kukubenko pursued him for a long distance, all over the plain, and prevented him from joining his regiment.

Perceiving this from the kurén on the flank, Stepan Guska set out after him, lasso in hand, bending his head to his horse's neck, and taking advantage of an opportunity, with one cast he landed the lasso about his neck: the colonel turned purple in the face, grasped the cord with both hands, and tried to break it; but a powerful blow drove a lance through his body. And there he remained, pinned to the earth. But things turned out badly for Guska! Before the kazáks had time to look about them, they beheld Stepan Guska elevated on four spears. All the poor fellow succeeded in saying was, "May all our enemies perish, and may the Russian land rejoice forever!" and then he yielded up his spirit.

The kazáks glanced around, and there was kazák Meteltzya on one side, entertaining the Lyakhs, dealing blows on the head to one and another; and on the other side, Atamán Nevylychky was attacking with his men; and Zakrutybuga was turning and slaying the foe near the transports; and the third Pisarenko had repulsed a whole squadron from the more distant wagons; and they were still fighting and killing round the other wagons, and even upon them.

"How now, noble sirs! " cried Atamán Taras, stepping forward before them all: "is there still powder in your flasks? Is the kazák force still strong? do not the kazáks yield?"

"There is still powder in our flasks, batko; the kazák force is still strong; the kazáks do not yield!"

But Bovdyug had already toppled off one of the wagons; a bullet had struck him straight under the heart. The old man collected all his strength, and said: "I sorrow not at parting with this world! God grant to every man such an end! May the Russian land be forever glorious!" and Bovdyug's spirit soared on high, to tell the old men who had gone on long before that men still knew how to fight on Russian soil, and, better still, that they knew how to die for it and for the holy Faith.

Balaban, atamán of a kurén, soon after fell to the ground, also from a wagon. Three mortal wounds had he received, from a spear, a bullet, and a sword. He had been one of the most valorous of the kazáks, and had accomplished a great deal during his atamánship, in expeditions on the sea; but more glorious than all the rest was his expedition to the shores of Anatolia. There they had collected many sequins, much valuable Turkish property, kaftans and adornments of every description. But misfortune awaited them on their way back: the gallant fellows fell under the fire of the Turks. How they caught it from the ship! Half the boats were crushed, and overturned, drowning many a one; but the reeds bound to the sides saved the boats from sinking. Balaban rowed off at full speed, and stood straight in the face of the sun, thus rendering himself invisible to the Turkish ship. All the following night they spent in bailing out the water with scoops and their caps, and in repairing the damaged places. They cut sails from their full kazák trousers and, sailing off, escaped from the very swift Turkish vessel. And not only did they arrive unharmed in the Syech, but they brought a gold-embroidered vestment to the Archimandrite[2] of the Mezhigorsky Monastery in Kiev; and for the church in honour of the Intercession of the Holy Virgin, which is in Zaporozhe, an ikóna-frame of pure silver. And for a very long time afterwards did the bandura-players celebrate the daring of the kazáks. Now he bowed his head, feeling the pains which precede death, and said quietly: "It seems to me, sir brothers, that I am dying a fine death. Seven have I hewn in pieces, nine have I transfixed with my spear, and many have I trampled under my horse's hoofs; and I no longer remember how many my bullets have slain. May our Russian land flourish forever!" and his spirit fled.

Kazáks, kazáks! surrender not the flower of your army. Already was Kukubenko surrounded, and seven men only remained out of all the Nezamaikovsky kurén, and these had already defended themselves beyond their strength; their garments were already stained with blood. Taras himself, perceiving his straits, hastened to his rescue; but the kazáks arrived too late. Before the enemies who surrounded him could be driven off, a spear was buried just below his heart. Quietly he sank into the arms of the kazáks who grasped him, and his young blood flowed in a stream, like precious wine brought from the cellar in a glass vessel by careless servants who, stumbling at the entrance, break the rich flask: the wine pours over the ground, and the master, hastening up, tears his hair, having reserved it for the best occasion of his life, in order that, if God should grant him, in his old age, to meet again the comrade of his youth, they might recall together days gone by, when men revelled otherwise and better than now. Kukubenko turned his eyes about, and said, "I thank God that it has been my lot to die before your eyes, comrades. May those who come after us live better than we have lived; and may our Russian land, beloved of Christ, flourish forever!" and his young spirit fled. Angels took it, and, supporting it by the arms,[3] bore it to heaven: there it will be well with him. "Sit down at my right hand, Kukubenko," Christ will say to him: "you never betrayed your comrades, you never committed a dishonourable act, you never sold a man into misery, you preserved and defended My Church!"

The death of Kukubenko saddened them all. The kazák ranks were already terribly thinned; many brave men were missing, but the kazáks still held their ground.

"How now, sir brothers!" cried Taras to the remaining kuréns: "is there still powder in your flasks? Your swords are not yet dulled? Are the kazák forces weary? Have the kazáks given way?"

"There is still plenty of powder, batko; our swords are still fit; the kazák forces are not weary, and the kazáks have not yielded."

And again the kazáks strained every nerve, as though they had suffered no losses whatsoever. Only three kurén atamáns still remained alive. Their red blood flowed everywhere in crimson streams; kazák corpses, and those of the enemy, were piled high in layers. Taras looked up to the sky, and there, already, was outstretched a long file of vultures. Well, there will be booty for some one. And yonder they were raising Meteltzya on their spears and the head of the second Pisarenko, as it went spinning round, opened and shut its eyes; and the mangled body of Okhrim Guska broke apart, and fell upon the ground in four pieces. "Now!" said Taras, and waved a kerchief. Ostap understood the signal, and dashing quickly from his ambush, attacked sharply. The Lyakhs could not withstand this violent onslaught; and he drove them back, chasing them straight to the spot where the stakes and fragments of spears were embedded in the earth. The horses began to stumble and fall, and the Lyakhs to fly over their heads. At that moment, the Korsuntzy, who had remained until the last behind the transport-wagons, perceived that they still had some bullets left, and suddenly fired off their arquebuses. The Lyakhs all fell into confusion, and lost their presence of mind; and the kazáks took courage. "Here's our victory!" rang out kazák voices on all sides; the trumpets began to blare, and the standard of victory was unfurled. The defeated Lyakhs dispersed in all directions, and hid themselves. "No, the victory is not yet complete!" said Taras, glancing at the city gate; and he was right.

The gate opened, and out dashed a hussar regiment, the pride of all the cavalry troops. Every rider was mounted on a matched bay race-horse from Kabarda; in front of the rest rode the handsomest, the most heroic warrior of them all; his black locks streamed from beneath his brazen helmet; a rich scarf, embroidered by the hands of a peerless beauty, was bound about his arm. Taras sprang back in horror when he saw that it was Andríi. And he, meanwhile, enveloped in the dust and heat of battle, anxious to deserve the scarf which had been bound, as a gift, on his arm, flew on like a young greyhound; the handsomest, swiftest and youngest of all the troop. The experienced huntsman halloos on the greyhound, which leaps forward, its legs cutting a straight line in the air, its body slanted all on one side, tossing up the snow, and a score of times outrunning the hare in the ardour of the course. And Andríi was precisely like this. Old Taras paused and observed how he cleared a path before him, dispersing, hewing and distributing blows to right and left. Taras could not restrain himself from shouting, "What? Your own comrades? Your own comrades! You devil's brat, do you slay your own comrades?" But Andríi did not distinguish who stood before him, his comrades or strangers: he saw nothing. Curls, long, long curls were what he saw; and a bosom like that of a river swan, and a snowy neck and shoulders, and all that is created for wild kisses.

"Hey there, my lads! just lure him to the forest! Entice him to the forest for me!" shouted Taras. And instantly thirty of the smartest kazáks volunteered to entice him thither, and settling their tall caps firmly, they spurred their horses straight at a gap in the hussars. They attacked the front ranks from the flank, beat them down, separated them from the rear ranks, distributing a gift to one and another; but Golokopytenko struck Andríi on the back with his sword, and then immediately rode away from the hussars at the top of his speed. How furiously Andríi raged! How his young blood rebelled in his veins! Driving his sharp spurs into his horse's flanks, he flew at top speed after the kazák, never glancing back and not perceiving that only twenty men, at most, were following him; but the kazáks fled at full gallop, and directed their course straight for the forest. Andríi overtook them and was on the point of catching Golokopytenko, when a powerful hand grasped his horse's bridle. Andríi looked: before him stood Taras! He began to tremble all over, and suddenly turned pale, like a student who has incautiously teased his comrade to excess, and receiving, in consequence, a blow on the forehead with a ruler, flushes up like fire, springs up in wrath from the bench, to chase his frightened comrade, prepared to tear him in pieces, and suddenly encounters his teacher entering the class-room: in an instant his wrathful impulse calms down, and his futile anger vanishes. In such wise, in one instant, Andríi's wrath was as though it had never existed. And he beheld nothing save only his terrible father, standing before him.

"Well, what are we going to do now?" said Taras, looking him straight in the eye. But Andríi could make no reply to this, and sat there with his eyes rivetted on the ground.

"Well, little son! Did your Lyakhs help you?"

Andríi did not answer.

"You'll be such a traitor, will you? You'll betray your Faith in this fashion? betray your comrades? Hold on, there, dismount from your horse!"

Obedient as a child, he dismounted, and stood before Taras more dead than alive. "Stand still, don't move! I gave you life, I will also kill you!" said Taras, and, retreating a pace, he brought his gun up to his shoulder. Andríi was white as linen: his lips could be seen to move softly, and he uttered a name; but it was not the name of his native land, or of his mother, or of his brethren; it was the name of the beautiful Pole. Taras fired.

Like an ear of corn cut down by the reaping-hook, like a young limb when it feels the deadly steel in its heart, he hung his head and rolled upon the grass without uttering a word.

The murderer of his son stood and gazed long upon the lifeless body. Even in death he was very handsome: his manly face, so short a time ago filled with power, and irresistible charm for every woman, still breathed forth marvellous beauty; his black brows, like sombre velvet, set off his pale features.

"In what way wasn't he a genuine kazák?" said Taras: "he's tall of stature, and black-browed, and his face is that of a nobleman, and his hand was strong in battle! He has fallen, fallen ingloriously, like a vile dog!"

"Father, what have you done? Was it you who killed him?" said Ostap, riding up at this moment.

Taras nodded.

Ostap gazed intently at the dead man. He felt sorry for his brother, and said, at once: "Let's give him an honourable burial, Father, that the foe may not dishonour his body, nor the birds of prey rend it."

"They'll bury him without any help from us!" said Taras: "there'll be plenty of mourners and comforters for him!"

And he reflected for a couple of minutes: should he fling him to the fierce wolves for their prey, or respect in him the knightly valour which every brave man is bound to honour in another, no matter who the man may be? Then he espied Golokopytenko galloping towards them: "Disaster, atamán! the Lyakhs have been reinforced, a fresh force has come to their rescue!" Golokopytenko had not finished speaking when Vovtuzenko dashed up: "Disaster, atamán! a fresh force is bearing down upon us!"

Vovtuzenko had not finished speaking when Pisarenko rushed up without his horse: "Where are you, batko? The kazáks are looking for you. Atamán Nevylychky is killed, Zadorozhny is killed, and so is Cherevichenko: but the kazáks are still standing their ground; they do not wish to die without having seen you; they want you to gaze upon them once more before the hour of death arrives!"

"To horse, Ostap!" said Taras, and hastened in search of his kazáks, to look once more upon them, and let them once more behold their atamán before the hour of death. But before they could emerge from the forest, the enemy's forces had already surrounded it on all sides, and horsemen armed with swords and spears appeared everywhere among the trees. "Ostap, Ostap! don't surrender!" shouted Taras, and grasping his naked sword, he began to cut down all he encountered on every side. But six had already sprung upon Ostap. ('Twas an unpropitious hour for them! the head of one flew off, another toppled over, a spear pierced the ribs of a third; a fourth, more bold, bent his head to escape from a bullet, and the hot bullet struck his horse in the breast;—the maddened animal reared, fell back upon the earth, and crushed his rider under him.) "Well done, son! Well done, Ostap!" shouted Taras: "I'm following you!" And he beat off all who attacked him. Taras hewed and fought, dealing blows upon the head of one after another, still keeping his eye upon Ostap ahead of him; and he saw that eight more were falling upon Ostap. "Ostap, Ostap! don't surrender!" But already they had overpowered Ostap; one had flung his lasso around his neck, and they had bound him, and were carrying him away. "Hey, Ostap, Ostap!" shouted Taras, forcing his way to him, and cutting down men, as though they had been cabbages, to right and left. "Hey, Ostap, Ostap!" But at that moment something struck him like a heavy stone: everything grew dim and confused before his eyes. For a moment there flashed before him confusedly heads, spears, smoke, flashes of fire, tree-stumps with their leaves. And he sank heavily to the earth, like a felled oak. And darkness covered his eyes.

  1. Tzargrad, i.e., Imperial City; the only Russian name for Constantinople. I. F. H.
  2. Abbot. I. F. H.
  3. Archbishops and Bishops are ceremonially supported by a priest or an acolyte on each side, who hold them by the elbow when ascending steps during a service. I. F. H.