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variety, they formed a pleasant and safe retreat, until the day had further declined: here, too, they refreshed themselves with the last of the supply which they had brought with them from their own cottage.

A secret, yet strong revolting of mind, was experienced by the noble Sobiesky to the work in which he had, in some measure, enlisted. All the information he could gain from Chowanskoi was, that vengeance was called for, and that it would be speedily obtained. In vain had he, at several periods during their journey, inquired the names and characters of the conspirators. Once more, while seated in their woody covert, he pressed Chowanskoi to satisfy his curiosity; but, as before, he could gain nothing: an obstinate silence was maintained on the subject. Sobiesky's mind misgave him; and, to divert its bitterness, he looked back to the happy days he had spent with Eudocia, in the seclusions of Valdai, and thought, with the ancient bard of Scotia,

,

“ Pleasant is the recollection of joys that are pass'd ;"

and yet, when the comparison, which his mind unconsciously drew, between those “ departed joys” and his present circumstances, was made, a sigh of agony burst forth, and his frame shook with a nervous convulsion.

The Moskwa, which wound its serpentine form in the valley of the Kremlin, encompassing the royal residence, as it ran towards the Volga, was passed by the travellers just as the last ray of light receded from the heavens. The appearance of nature, and the deed which was contemplated, seemed in perfect unison. Darkness sat heavy on our world, and enveloped all things in its sombre pall, as they reached the city. They passed through the Spaskiya Vorotui, or Gate of Our Saviour, and crossing from hence, one of the plostchades, or ill-shapen squares, into which the town is divided, they reached the dark resort of some of the disaffected lords and fanatic priests. This was an obscure inn, near the Emperor's residence. Sobiesky was formally introduced to them; and it was shortly determined to inform the leaders of their body of their intention to hold a final consultation that night, in the ruins of an extensive residence, contiguous to the palace.

The inn, in which the conspirators had met, was thronged with Russians of the lower order, who, according to the general custom of their country, were indulging in intoxication and every kind of excess. The confusion which prevailed, but ill accorded with the state of Sobiesky's mind, who, amidst the quiet scene of Valdai, had known no interruption to tranquillity, excepting such as might have been produced by their evening revels, or a village fete. He trembled in the midst of his new associates, and sighed to escape from them. The keen eye of Chowanskoi was fixed upon him, and, as if he read the workings of his mind, drawing him aside, like another Zanga, he endeavoured, by professions of attachment to his father's memory, and devotion to the interests of his son, to lull to quiet every aroused suspicion, and every awakened sentiment, either of fear or remorse, and thus to secure him to his

purpose. “ To you, Sobiesky," observed the subtile di. rector, “the eyes of numbers are turned; while each person, animated with a noble spirit of revenge, feels anxious to attend your bidding. This night they purpose to hail you as their chief;assured that neither skill nor courage can be wanting in the offspring of the brave Count Soltikoff. The reeking blood of your murdered sire,” continued he, “no less than the degraded station to which you are reduced, calls upon you to arouse the spirit of your ancestry within you; and, by whatever means it may be practicable, and at whatever peril obtained, to avenge your own indignities and your father's wrongs !“ Chowanskoi,” replied the youth, “I feel my humiliation, and mourn my unfortunate sire's untimely death, and pledge myself never to dishonour the name and lineage of Soltikoff!"

The company had dispersed at different periods, and by different ways repaired to the appointed rendezvous : Sobiesky and Chowanskoi were the last who left the inn. With considerable palpitation the youth followed the guidance of him in whose hands he had placed himself, who conducted him to the dilapidated mansion, amidst the ruins

of which the fatal meeting was to be held. Sobiesky's director proved, by the adroitness with which he turned the dark angles, and surmounted the piles of rubbish by which their path was beset, that he was no stranger to the place. He was indeed one of the most active agents in the business; and hence, he secretly exulted that their plot was nearly ripe for execution, with every prospect of complete success.

The conspirators had already assembled ; and when Sobiesky and his companion were ushered into the assembly, every individual was deeply engaged in familiar discussion. The attention of the company, however, was instantly directed to the Count Sobiesky, for by that title he was cordially greeted by the whole conclave. Sobiesky, by a silent inclination of his manly person, acknowledged their reception, and each person resumed the seat from which he had risen. A few moments' pause followed ;-an awful silence prevailed. The extensive, and but faintly illuminated place, appalling in itself, from the evidences in almost every part, of the hand of time being hard upon it, was rendered more chillingly appallingeven breathing seemed suspended ; and the hoard of conspirators looked rather like so many frightful bodies from which the spirits had escaped, than living men :-every eye was fixed, moveless as stone, upon Sobiesky, when, at a signal given, all at once arose, and above a hundred shining dag. gers were simultaneously brandished above the head, while-"The murdered Count Soltikoff, and revenge !” burst from every lip. Sobiesky again bowed with firmness, but spoke not. One of the band, whose appearance and conduct gave full intimation of superiority, gently motioned with his hand, and the fearful weapons were re-sheathed. The company again took their seats, and he who had given the signal of action, thus addressed Sobiesky.

'Heir of the valiant Count Soltikoff, -you behold yourself surrounded by men, whose only crimes are their misfortunes :-you see the remnant of your country's defenders, who have escaped the vengeful tyranny of the Czar. That barbarian, though he put to death, by the hands of the executioner, and even by his own, the greater part of our companions, the Strelitz, has not succeeded in extending his fury to us. Heaven has preserved us to execute its righteous vengeance upon him ; and the desired moment rapidly approaches. You shudder, Count Sobiesky !-well may you do so, with strong revenge. I have seen the blood of your unfortunate father shed on the scaffold. I followed him to the melancholy spot;—but I could not save him! Outcasts from the body of men, myself and brave companions have wandered for years through dreary forests, and made our resting places the lion's lair, or the bear's habitation. The misery of our circumstances has compelled us to seek by fraud, or to obtain by violence, that subsistence to which our rank as soldiers and

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