11. Travelers In Distress
DURING the momentary lull which followed, shouts could be distinctly heard from
farther on, at no great distance from the tarantass. It was an earnest appeal,
evidently from some traveler in distress.
Michael listened attentively. The iemschik also listened, but shook his head, as
though it was impossible to help.
"They are travelers calling for aid," cried Nadia.
"They can expect nothing," replied the iemschik.
"Why not?" cried Michael. "Ought not we do for them what they would for us
under similar circumstances?"
"Surely you will not risk the carriage and horses!"
"I will go on foot," replied Michael, interrupting the iemschik.
"I will go, too, brother," said the young girl.
"No, remain here, Nadia. The iemschik will stay with you. I do not wish to leave
"I will stay," replied Nadia.
"Whatever happens, do not leave this spot."
"You will find me where I now am."
Michael pressed her hand, and, turning the corner of the slope, disappeared in
"Your brother is wrong," said the iemschik.
"He is right," replied Nadia simply.
Meanwhile Strogoff strode rapidly on. If he was in a great hurry to aid the
travelers, he was also very anxious to know who it was that had not been
hindered from starting by the storm; for he had no doubt that the cries came from
the telga, which had so long preceded him.
The rain had stopped, but the storm was raging with redoubled fury. The shouts,
borne on the air, became more distinct. Nothing was to be seen of the pass in
which Nadia remained. The road wound along, and the squalls, checked by the
corners, formed eddies highly dangerous, to pass which, without being taken off
his legs, Michael had to use his utmost strength.
He soon perceived that the travelers whose shouts he had heard were at no
great distance. Even then, on account of the darkness, Michael could not see
them, yet he heard distinctly their words.
This is what he heard, and what caused him some surprise: "Are you coming
"You shall have a taste of the knout at the next stage."
"Do you hear, you devil's postillion! Hullo! Below!"
"This is how a carriage takes you in this country!"
"Yes, this is what you call a telga!"
"Oh, that abominable driver! He goes on and does not appear to have discovered
that he has left us behind!"
"To deceive me, too! Me, an honorable Englishman! I will make a complaint at
the chancellor's office and have the fellow hanged."