She made me feel sick; she could not say bread, meat, milk, and butter, but called them 'brud, 'mate, 'mulk, and 'buzzer'. 'Ah, for a bit of buzzer how I will ate it and enjoy it! she kept muttering. "I tell you, Vilyashev, the people are bewildered. The world is returning to savagery.
In what does man transcend the beast?..." He turned towards the west, and a cruel, rapacious, predatory look flitted over his face; he took a piece of bread from his overcoat pocket and handed it to Vilyashev: "Eat, brother; you are hungry." From the valley uprose the muffled chime of a church bell, and a low baying of dogs could be heard round the village settlements.
Vilyashev answered quietly: "I have the strength of a mailed knight, Constantine. I could smash, rend, and trample the peasants underfoot as my forebears did, but they have wound themselves round my heart; they are like little children!" They went along by the hill; the tumulus was left behind. A light sparkling frost powdered the rich loamy earth.
He gazed unseeingly into space; thought and movement alike were suspended. He was only conscious of pain. He knew all was ended. Thus his errant forbear from the north may have stood five hundred years ago, leaning upon his lance, a sword in his chain girdle. Vilyashev pictured him with a beard like Constantine's.
From all around echoed the happy cries of birds; the vernal air thrilled and vibrated in great running arpeggios to the wonder-music of the winds. The river alone preserved a rigid silence. Vilyashev brooded a long while beside the swiftly running waters; but at sunset's approach he rose hastily, and returned to the tumulus. The sky was wrapped in its evening shroud of deep, mysterious darkness.
I feel utterly lost, Vilyashev. We are no good to anyone. Not so long ago our ancestors used to flog peasants in the stables and abduct maidens on their wedding-nights. How I curse them! They were wild beasts! Ibn-Sadif spoke the truth ... a thousand years and still the Mark of the Beast!" The Prince's cry was low; but deep, and wild.
Yet they sang alone, for their youths had been given to the Moloch of war: they had gone to Uralsk, to Ufa, and to Archangel. Only old men were left to plough the fields in the spring. Vilyashev stood dejectedly on the crest of the hill, a solitary, lonely figure outlined darkly against the clear blue background of sky and distance.
He left abruptly without a word of farewell, and they did not meet again until the next evening: both had spent the day wandering about the valleys. At dawn the following morning Vilyashev ascended a steep hill; on the flat summit of a tumulus that crowned it he observed an eagle tearing a pigeon to pieces.
A scarcely noticeable streak of light lay over the eastern horizon. Somewhere afar the village maidens were singing their songs of Lada. It was night time when Prince Constantine arrived at his brother's little cabin. Young Vilyashev himself opened the door, and throughout the brief conversation that ensued they remained in darkness not even a candle was lighted.
On reaching home, the cabin seemed damp and cold and inexpressibly dreary as on the day Natalya died; when the door had slammed incessantly. The brothers went hastily to their rooms without speaking or lighting up. Constantine lay on Natalya's bed. At dawn he awoke Vilyashev. "I am going. Goodbye! It is ended! I am going out of Russia, out of Europe.