stones. From his shoulders depended a short cape of white
"I am in bed," I answered angrily.
"Get up! Thieves! . . . Circassians!" . . .
"I have a cold," I answered. "I am afraid of catching a chill."
They went away. I had gained no useful pur- pose by answering them: they would have been looking for me in the garden for another hour or so.
Meanwhile the alarm became terrific. A Cossack galloped up from the fortress. The com- motion was general; Circassians were looked for in every shrub -- and of course none were found. Probably, however, a good many people were left with the firm conviction that, if only more courage and despatch had been shown by the garrison, at least a score of brigands would have failed to get away with their lives.
THIS morning, at the well, the sole topic of conversation was the nocturnal attack by the Circassians. I drank the appointed number of glasses of Narzan water, and, after sauntering a few times about the long linden avenue, I met Vera's husband, who had just arrived from Pyati- gorsk. He took my arm and we went to the restaurant for breakfast. He was dreadfully un- easy about his wife.
"What a terrible fright she had last night," he said. "Of course, it was bound to happen just at the very time when I was absent."
We sat down to breakfast near the door leading into a corner-room in which about a dozen young men were sitting. Grushnitski was amongst them. For the second time destiny provided me with the opportunity of overhearing a conversation which was to decide his fate. He did not see me, and, consequently, it was impossible for me to suspect him of design; but that only magnified his fault in my eyes.