“And go we will, so there!” … “And go we will … so there!” the tavern-keeper and the tall fellow repeated after one another, and both together moved forward along the street. The blood-bespattered smith walked on a level with them. The factory-hands and a mob of outsiders followed them with talk and shouting.

At the corner of Maroseyka, opposite a great house with closed shutters, and the signboard of a bootmaker, stood a group of some twenty bootmakers, thin, exhausted-looking men, with dejected faces, in loose smocks, and torn coats.

“He ought to pay folks properly!” a thin boot hand, with a scant beard and scowling brows, was saying. “He’s sucked the life-blood out of us, and then he’s quit of us. He’s been promising and promising us all the week. And now he’s driven us to the last point, and he’s made off.” Seeing the mob and the blood- bespattered smith, the man paused, and the bootmakers with inquisitive eagerness joined the moving crowd.

“Where are the folks going?”

“Going to the police, to be sure.”

“Is it true we are beaten?”

“Why, what did you think? Look what folks are saying!”

Questions and answers were audible. The tavern-keeper, taking advantage of the increased numbers of the rabble, dropped behind the mob, and went back to his tavern.

The tall young fellow, not remarking the disappearance of his foe, the tavern-keeper, still moved his bare arm and talked incessantly, attracting the attention of all. The mob pressed about his figure principally, expecting to get from him some solution of the questions that were absorbing all of them.

“Let them show the order, let him show the law, that’s what the government’s for! Isn’t it the truth I am saying, good Christian folk?” said the tall young man, faintly smiling.

“Does he suppose there’s no government? Could we do without government? Wouldn’t there be plenty to rob us, eh?”

“Why talk nonsense!” was murmured in the crowd. “Why, will they leave Moscow like this! They told you a lot of stuff in joke, and you believed them. Haven’t we troops enough? No fear, they won’t let him enter! That’s what the government’s for. Ay, listen what folks are prating of!” they said, pointing to the tall fellow.

By the wall of the Kitay-Gorod there was another small group of people gathered about a man in a frieze coat, who held a paper in his hand.

“A decree, a decree being read! A decree is being read,” was heard in the crowd, and the mob surged round the reader.

The man in the frieze coat was reading the placard of the 31st of August. When the mob crowded round, he seemed disconcerted, but at the demand of the tall fellow who pressed close up to him, he began with a faint quiver in his voice reading the notice again from the beginning.

“Early to-morrow I am going to his highness the prince,” he read (“his highness!” the tall young man repeated, with a triumphant smile and knitted brows), “to consult with him, to act and to aid the troops to exterminate the wretches; we, too, will destroy them root and branch …” the reader went on and paused (“D’ye see?” bawled the tall fellow with an air of victory. “He’ll unravel the whole evil for you …”) “and send our visitors packing to the devil; I shall come back to dinner, and we will set to work, we will be doing till we have done, and done away with the villains.”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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