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256

INDAR OGLU AND THE COUNCIL.

imposed, the freezing looks by which the old ouzden's glance, as it wandered round the assembly, was met, must have painfully convinced him that he was regarded as an alien and intruder, if not a very Cataline, in this little senate of Circassians. To leave him no doubt on the subject, they presently rose in a body, and, having withdrawn to some distance, proceeded with their discussions. This intentional slight was a sharp trial to his feelings; his cup of bitterness had been recently filled to the brim by the invasion of the Russians; there wanted but this last drop to make it overflow. We endeavoured to soothe him by all the polite attentions in our power, but the heart of the old man was too full to listen to us; he wrung our hands, mounted his horse, and, having struck into the neighbouring copse, might soon after be seen wading over a distant ford of the Pchat.

The reader will no doubt think it highly creditable to Indar Oglu, after the scene I have described, that his patriotism was proof against the temptations that were now held out to him by the Russian general. Overtures had been made to him by Tausch, the German agent who formerly resided with him, and who was then acting as guide to the army, but they were sturdily rejected by him. In the general conflagration of the houses of Pchat, Mehemet's had been spared—a very invidious com

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pliment, which he could well have dispensed with. To prove he had not sought it, he himself destroyed his habitation, and retired, with the rest of the people, to the mountains. In truth, he had need at this time of all his firmness and circumspection to allay the jealousy and suspicion with which he was universally regarded. His sons, particularly Nogai, were the foremost in every skirmish, and lost no opportunity of displaying their friendship to the Russians by the havoc they made in their ranks. Djanboulat, Nogai's eldest son, was killed during the course of the campaign; he was a young warrior of great promise, and, during the time I allude to, attended us assiduously in our peregrinations. The very tattered condition of our youthful squire's wardrobe had attracted my attention, and I was surprised to hear he was an Indar Oglu; but the whole family, I found, had thought it prudent to travestie themselves in the same fashion, it being a sort of practical refutation of the reports that had prevailed, that they had been enriched by their intercourse with the Russians. Mehemet Indar Oglu was not the only chief by a great many who had incurred the suspicion, and who was then under the jealous surveillance, of his countrymen.

The means by which they, for the most part, had become suspected was, by frequenting the

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neutral province of Zadooz, between which and Russia there had long existed commercial relations; but the people of Shapsook and Natukvitch having strictly interdicted all direct communication with the enemy, the disaffected, or rather the corrupt, still found a door open in Zadooz; and many, under pretence of visiting their friends, or of trading there, were known to have extended their rambles into Russia. Among those was a young noble, whose acquaintance we made about this time; one, however, whose offences in this way had been atoned for by such noble intrepidity in the field, and such a lavish spirit of generosity to his friends—virtues the most esteemed in Circassia,—that they had been in a great measure overlooked there. He had, moreover, bound himself by an oath on the Koran to discontinue these practices. But of what avail were such bonds to the roving and adventurous spirit of a Tongouse ? He had formed at Ekaterinodar a friendship with a young French officer in the Russian service, as romantic, if not quite as disinterested, as that which united the Paladins, or the Damons and Pythiases of yore. The liberality of his friend not only excited his admiration, but supplied him with the means of indulging in similar profusion.

The exact nature of the services by which his

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kindness was to be repaid was never ascertained; it seems, however, that Tongouse had neglected to perform them. Some spies, who had been seized and tried before the council, had deposed that they had been instructed by the officer in question to remind him of certain promises he had made at Ekaterinodar, but which seemed to have escaped his memory; but these imputations he had treated with disdain, and, as far as he could refute them with his sword and rifle--the only arguments he condescended to wield—they were certainly non proven. The wounds he could shew (not to mention some curious ones he could not shew) were also convincing evidence of his patriotism.

In short, Tchorook Oglu Tongouse, or Wolf,” was a good model of the Circassian preur chevalier, altogether sans peur, if not sans reproche. Whatever enterprise was in hand, were it foray, onslaught, or ambuscade, he for one might be depended upon; if wrongs were to be redressedindividual, provincial, or national—Tongouse was invariably the champion.

When certain of the Caucasian provinces had made separate terms with Russia, he was the first, by his successful inroads, to make them repent of their apostasy. His name had spread even as far as the Ingouches, whose children “ the Wolf” had more than once carried off from them. Such celebrity in a man yet scarcely

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