“Ah!” cried Rastoptchin, as though struck by some sudden recollection.

And rapidly opening the door, he walked resolutely out on the balcony. The hum of talk instantly died down, caps and hats were lifted, and all eyes were raised upon the governor.

“Good-day, lads!” said the count, speaking loudly and quickly. “Thanks for coming. I’ll come out to you in a moment, but we have first to deal with a criminal. We have to punish the wretch by whose doing Moscow is ruined. Wait for me!” And as rapidly he returned to the apartment, slamming the door violently.

An approving murmur of satisfaction ran through the crowd. “He’ll have all the traitors cut down, of course. And you talk of the French … he’ll show us the rights and the wrongs of it all!” said the people, as it were reproaching one another for lack of faith.

A few minutes later an officer came hurriedly out of the main entrance, and gave some order, and the dragoons drew themselves up stiffly. The crowd moved greedily up from the balcony to the front steps. Coming out there with hasty and angry steps, Rastoptchin looked about him hurriedly, as though seeking some one.

“Where is he?” he said, and at the moment he said it, he caught sight of a young man with a long, thin neck, and half of his head shaven and covered with short hair, coming round the corner of the house between two dragoons. This young man was clothed in a fox-lined blue cloth coat, that had once been foppish but was now shabby, and in filthy convict’s trousers of fustian, thrust into uncleaned and battered thin boots. His uncertain gait was clogged by the heavy manacles hanging about his thin, weak legs.

“Ah!” said Rastoptchin, hurriedly turning his eyes away from the young man in the fox-lined coat and pointing to the bottom steps. “Put him here!”

With a clank of manacles the young man stepped with effort on to the step indicated to him; putting his finger into the tight collar of his coat, he turned his long neck twice, and sighing, folded his thin, unworkmanlike hands before him with a resigned gesture.

For several seconds, while the young man was taking up his position on the step, there was complete silence. Only at the back of the mass of people, all pressing in one direction, could be heard sighs and groans and sounds of pushing and the shuffling of feet.

Rastoptchin, waiting for him to be on the spot he had directed, scowled, and passed his hand over his face.

“Lads!” he said, with a metallic ring in his voice, “this man, Vereshtchagin, is the wretch by whose doing Moscow is lost.”

The young man in the fox-lined coat stood in a resigned pose, clasping his hands together in front of his body, and bending a little forward. His wasted young face, with its look of hopelessness and the hideous disfigurement of the half-shaven head, was turned downwards. At the count’s first words he slowly lifted his head and looked up from below at the count, as though he wanted to say something to him, or at least to catch his eye. But Rastoptchin did not look at him. The blue vein behind the young man’s ear stood out like a cord on his long, thin neck, and all at once his face flushed crimson.

All eyes were fixed upon him. He gazed at the crowd, and, as though made hopeful by the expression he read on the faces there, he smiled a timid, mournful smile, and dropping his head again, shifted his feet on the step.

“He is a traitor to his Tsar and his country; he deserted to Bonaparte; he alone of all the Russians has disgraced the name of Russia, and through him Moscow is lost,” said Rastoptchin in a harsh, monotonous voice; but all at once he glanced down rapidly at Vereshtchagin, who still stood in the same submissive

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