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“My father is Mateo Falcone!” he said till the blood comes, to punish you for vith emphasis.
lying." “Do you know, you little scamp, that “And then ?" can take you to Corte or to Bastia ? "You will see. But, I say, be a good you , on boy,
I'll save you guillotined, if you don't tell me cousin: if you stay here any longer, vhere Gianetto Sanpiero is."
Gianetto will be in the maquis, and then The child laughed heartily at this ab- it will take more than one fox like you urd threat.
to catch him.” "My father's Mateo Falcone," he re- The adjutant took a silver watch from peated.
his pocket, worth perhaps thirty francs; “Adjutant,” said one of the voltigeurs and observing that little Fortunato's eyes in an undertone, “let us not get into a sparkled as he looked at it, he said, holdrow with Mateo."
ing it up at the end of its steel chain: Gamba was evidently perplexed. He "Rascal! you'd like to have a watch calked in a low tone with his soldiers, like this hanging round your neck, and who had already searched the whole you'd stroll through the streets of Porto house. It was not a very long operation, Vecchio, as proud as a peacock; and peofor a Corsican's cabin consists of a single ple would ask you: 'What time is it?' #quare room. The furniture consists of and you'd say: 'Look at my watch!'” a table, benches, chests, and household “When I'm big, my uncle the caporal and hunting implements. Meanwhile will give me a watch.” little Fortunato patted his cat, and “Yes; but your uncle's son has got one seemed to derive a wicked enjoyment now-not such a fine one as this, to be from the embarrassment of the voltigeurs sure. Still, he's younger than you." and his cousin.
The child sighed. A soldier approached the haystack. "Well! would you like this watch, my He saw the cat and thrust his bayonet little cousin ?" carelessly into the hay, shrugging his Fortunato, with his eyes fixed on the shoulders, as if he realized that it was an watch, resembled a cat to which a whole absurd precaution. Nothing stirred; chicken is presented. As the beast feels and the child's face did not betray the sure that he is being made a fool of, he slightest excitement.
darcs not touch it with his claws, and he The adjutant and his squad were at turns his eyes away from time to time to their wit's end; they were already glanc- avoid the risk of yielding to temptation; ing meaningly toward the plain, as if but licks his chops every instant, and proposing to return whence they came, seems to say to his master: "What a when their leader, convinced that threats cruel joke this is!" would have no effect on Falcone's son, But Adjutant Gamba seemed to be in determined to make one last effort, earnest in his offer of the watch. Forand to try the power of caresses and tunato did not put out his hand; but he gifts.
said with a bitter smile: "You seem to be a very wide-awake "Why do you make sport of me?" youngster, cousin,” said he. "You will "By God! I am not joking. Just go far. But you are playing a low game tell me where Gianetto is, and this watch with me; and if I wasn't afraid of dis- is yours.” tressing my cousin Mateo, deuce take me Fortunato smiled an incredulous smile; if I wouldn't carry you off with me!" and, fastening his black eyes on the adju"Bah!"
tant's, he strove to read therein how far "But, when my cousin returns, I'll tell he should put faith in his words. him the story, and he'll give you the lash “May I lose my epaulets,” cried the
adjutant, "if I don't give you the watch on that condition! My comrades are witnesses; and I can't go back on my word.”
As he spoke, he held the watch nearer and nearer, so that it almost touched the child's pale cheek. His face betrayed the battle that was taking place in his mind between covetousness and respect for the duties of hospitality. His bare breast rose and fell violently, and he seemed on the point of suffocation. Meanwhile the watch swung to and fro, turned, and sometimes touched the end of his nose. At last, by slow degrees, his right hand rose toward the watch; the ends of his fingers touched it; and he felt the full weight of it on his hand, but still the adjutant did not let go the end of the chain.
movement. He said to the adjutant, as coolly as possible:
"I can't walk, my dear Gamba; you will have to carry me to the town.'
“You ran faster than a kid just now, retorted the cruel victor; "but never fear; I am so pleased to have caught you, that I would carry you on my back a whole league without getting tired. However, my boy, we'll make a litter for you with some branches and your cloak; and we shall find horses at Crespoli's farm."
"Good," said the prisoner; "just put a little straw on your litter, too, so that I can be more comfortable.”
While the voltigeurs busied themselves, some in making a sort of litter with chestnut branches, others in dressing Gianet
The face was sky-blue, the case newly to's wound, Mateo Falcone and his wife
the The temptation was too great.
Fortunato raised his left hand, too, and pointed with his thumb, over his left shoulder, to the haystack against which he was leaning. The adjutant understood him instantly. He let go the end of the chain; Fortunato realized that he was the sole possessor of the watch. He sprang up with the agility of a stag, and ran some yards away from the haystack, which the voltigeurs began at once to demolish.
They soon saw the hay begin to move; and a man covered with blood came forth, dagger in hand; but when he tried to raise himself, his stiffened wound prevented him from standing erect. He fell. The adjutant threw himself upon him and tore his stiletto from his hand. In a trice he was securely bound, despite his resistance.
Gianetto, lying on the ground and corded like a bundle of sticks, turned his head toward Fortunato, who had drawn
suddenly appeared at a bend in the path leading to the maquis. The woman was stooping painfully beneath the weight of an enormous bag of chestnuts, while her husband sauntered along, carrying nothing save one rifle in his hand and another slung over his shoulder; for it is unworthy of a man to carry any other burden than his weapons.
At sight of the soldiers, Mateo's first thought was that they had come to arrest him. But why that thought? Had Mateo any difficulties to adjust with the authorities? No. He enjoyed an excellent reputation. He was, as they say, a person of good fame; but he was a Corsican and a mountaineer; and there are few Corsican mountaineers who, by carefully searching their memory, cannot find some triling peccadillo—such as a rifle shot, a dagger thrust, or other bagatelle. Mateo's conscience was clearer than most, for he had not aimed his rifle at a man for more than ten years; but he was prudent none the less, and he placed himself in a position to make a stout defence, if need be.
"Wife," he said to Giuseppa, "put down your bag and be ready.
She instantly obeyed. He gave her the gun that he carried slung over his shoulder, which might be in his way,
le cocked the one he had in his hand, "Poor devil!" said Mateo, "he was nd walked slowly toward his house, hungry." kirting the trees that lined the path, and “The rascal defended himself like a eady, at the slightest hostile demonstra- lion," continued the adjutant, slightly ion, to jump behind the largest trunk, mortified; "he killed one of my men, and, vhere he could fire without exposing him- not content with that, he broke Corporal elf. His wife followed at his heels, Chardon's arm; but there's no great holding his spare gun and his cartridge- harm done; he was only a Frenchman. lox. A good housewife's work, in case After that, he hid himself so completely of a fight, is to load her husband's wea- that the devil himself couldn't have sons.
found him. If it hadn't been for my litThe adjutant, on the other hand, was tle cousin, Fortunato, I could never have greatly disturbed to see Mateo advance unearthed him.” hus with measured steps, with rifle "Fortunato!” cried Mateo. raised and finger on trigger.
"Fortunato!" echoed Giuseppa. “If by any chance, he thought, "Yes, Gianetto was hidden under the Mateo proves to be related to Gianetto, haystack yonder; but my little cousin or if he is his friend and should take it showed me the trick. And I'll tell his into his head to defend him, the charges uncle the caporal, so that he'll send him of his two rifles would reach two of us, a handsome present for his trouble. And as sure as a letter reaches its address; and his name and yours will be in the report suppose he should draw a bead on me, I shall send the advocate-general.' notwithstanding our relationship!"
"Malediction!" muttered Mateo. In his perplexity he adopted an ex- They had joined the squad. Gianetto tremely courageous course—he went for- was already lying on the litter, ready to ward alone toward Mateo, to tell him start. When he saw Mateo with Gamwhat had happened, accosting him as an ba, he smiled a strange smile; then, turnold acquaintance; but the short distance ing towards the door of the house, he. that separated them seemed to him terri- spat on the threshold, saying: bly long.
“House of a traitor!" "Hallo! my old comrade," he cried; Only a man who had made up his mind “how goes it, old fellow? It's me, to die would have dared to utter the Gamba, your cousin."
word traitor as applying to Falcone. A Mateo, without a word in reply, halted, quick thrust of the stiletto, which would and as the other spoke he raised the bar- not have needed to be repeated, would rel of his gun slowly, so that it was have paid for the insult instantly. But pointed at the sky when the adjutant met Mateo made no other movement than to him.
put his hand to his forehead, like a man "Good-day, brother,” said the adju- utterly crushed. tant, "it's a long while since I saw you." Fortunato had gone into the house "Good-day, brother."
when he saw his father coming. He soon "I looked in to say good-day to you reappeared with a mug of milk, which he and Cousin Pepa as I passed. We have handed to Gianetto with downcast eyes. had a long jaunt today; but we ought not "Away from me!" shouted the outlaw to complain of fatigue, as we have made in a voice of thunder. Then, turning to a famous capture. We have caught one of the voltigeurs, "Comrade,” he said, Gianetto Sanpiero."
“Give me a drink." "God be praised!” cried Giuseppa. The soldier placed his gourd in his “He stole a milch goat from us last hands, and the outlaw drank the water
given him by a man with whom he had Those words made Gamba's heart recently exchanged rifle shots. Then he glad.
asked that his hands might be bound so
that they would be folded on his breast, “He is your son,” she said in a treminstead of behind his back.
bling voice, fixing her black eyes on her "I like to lie comfortably," he said. husband's, as if to read what was taking
They readily gratified him; then the place in his mind. adjutant gave the signal for departure, “Let me alone,” replied Mateo, “I am bade adieu to Mateo, who made no reply, his father." and marched down at a rapid pace Giuseppa embraced her son and entowards the plain.
tered her cabin, weeping. She fell on Nearly ten minutes passed before her knees before an image of the Virgin Mateo opened his mouth. The child and prayed fervently. Meanwhile Falglanced uneasily, now at his mother and cone walked some two hundred yards now at his father, who, leaning upon his along the path, and did not stop until gun, gazed at him with an expression of they reached a narrow ravine into which intense wrath.
he descended. He sounded the earth "You begin well!” said Mateo at with the butt of his rifle, and found it last, in a voice which, although soft and easy to dig. It seemed to him a calm, was terrifying to one who knew the suitable spot for his design. man.
"Fortunato, go and stand by that big "Father!" cried the child stepping for- stone.” ward, with tears in his eyes, as if to throw The child did what he ordered, then himself at his feet.
knelt. But Mateo cried:
"Say your prayers." "Away from me!"
"Father, father, don't kill me!" And the child stopped and stood still, “Say your prayers!" Mateo repeated, sobbing, a few steps from his father. in a terrible voice.
Giuseppa approached. She had spied The child, stammering and sobbing, rethe watch chain, one end of which pro- peated the Pater and the Credo. The truded from Fortunato's shirt.
father, in a loud voice, said Amen! at the "Who gave you that watch ?" she end of each prayer. asked in a harsh tone.
"Are those all the prayers you know?" "My cousin the adjutant."
"I know the Ave Maria, too, fatber, Falcone seized the watch, and hurled and the litany my aunt taught me." it against a stone, breaking it into a thou- “That's very long, but no matter." sand pieces.
The child finished the litany in a feeble "Woman," he said, "is this child voice. mine?”
"Have you finished ?" Giuseppa's brown cheeks turned a brick "Oh, father! mercy! forgive me! I red.
won't do it again! I will pray so hard “What do you say, Mateo? Do you to my uncle the caporal that he'll forgive know who you're talking to?"
Gianetto!” "Well, this child is the first of his race He continued to speak; Mateo had that ever did an act of treachery.”
cocked his gun, and he took aim at him, Fortunato's sobs and hiccoughs re- saying: doubled in force, and Falcone still kept "May God forgive you!" his lynx-eyes fastened on him. At last he The child made a desperate effort to struck the butt of his gun on the ground, rise and grasp his father's knees; but he then threw it over his shoulder again and had not time. Mateo fired, and Fortustarted back toward the maquis, calling nato fell stark dead. to Fortunato to follow him. The child Without glancing at the body, Mateo obeved.
returned to his house to fetch a spade, in Giuseppa ran after Mateo and grasped order to bury his son. He had taken his arm.
only a few steps, when he met Giuseppa,
vho was running after them, terrified by
“What have you done?” she cried.
"In the ravine. I am going to bury him. He died the death of a Christian; I will have a mass sung for him. Send word to my son-in-law Tiodoro Bianchi to come and live with us.
ALEXANDER PUSHKIN To an Englishman belongs the glory of being the inspiring genius of the two greatest Russian poets. An intimate understanding of both Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837) and Mikhail Lermontov is hardly possible apart from a sympathetic knowledge of Byron. While recognizing the egocentric attitude of Byron toward life, Pushkin in his important work is so completely imbued with Byronic Weltschmere that the hero of his greatest poem has been justly dubbed "a Childe Harold in a Russian cloak.”
In the field of literature "The Shot” (1830) has a personal as well as an historical interest. Poet, soldier, and diplomat, Pushkin was himself killed in a duel fought in defence of the honor of his beautiful and frivolous wife. He is a pioneer in the short story, and is guilty in "The Shot” of several technical crudities: the indirect approach, the loss of vividness due to relation in retrospect, and lack of unity. CHAPTER I
foot, and constantly wore a shabby black WE WERE stationed in the little town
overcoat, but the officers of our regiof N- The life of an officer in the
ment were ever welcome at his table.
His dinners, it is true, never consisted of army is well known. In the morning,
more than two or three dishes, prepared drill and the riding-school; dinner with
by a retired soldier, but the champagne in
his circumstances were, or what his inthere was not one open house, not a single
come was, and nobody dared to question marriageable girl. We used to meet in
him about them. He had a collection of each other's rooms, where, except our
books, consisting chiefly of works on miliuniforms, we never saw anything.
tary matters and a few novels. He willOne civilian only was admitted into our society. He was about thirty-five
ingly lent them to us to read, and never
asked for them back; on the other hand, years of age, and therefore we looked
he never returned to the owner the books upon him as an old fellow. His experi
that were lent to him. His principal ence gave him great advantage over us, and his habitual taciturnity, stern dispo- The walls of his room were riddled with
amusement was shooting with a pistol. sition, and caustic tongue produced a deep
bullets, and were as full of holes as a impression upon our young minds. Some
honeycomb. A rich collection of pistols mystery surrounded his existence; he had
was the only luxury in the humble cotthe appearance of a Russian, although his
tage where he lived. The skill which name was a foreign one. He had for
he had acquired with his favorite weapon merly served in the Hussars, and with distinction. Nobody knew the cause that
was simply incredible; and if he had ofhad induced him to retire from the ser
fered to shoot a pear off somebody's vice and settle in a wretched little village, would have hesitated to place the object
forage-cap, not a man in our regiment where he lived poorly and, at the same
upon his head. time, extravagantly. He always went on
Our conversation often turned upon
duels. Silvio-so I will call him-never From Pushkin's Prose Tales translated by T. Keane. Published by G. Bell and Sons,
joined in it. When asked if he had ever London. Reprinted by permission.
fought, he dryly replied that he had; but