They all stood despondent and silent. The tall youth moved his lips and swayed from side to side.
"We should ask him . . . that's he himself?" . . ."Yes, ask him indeed! . . . Why not? He'll explain" . . . voices in the rear of the crowd were suddenly heard saying, and the general attention turned to the police superintendent's trap which drove into the square attended by two mounted dragoons.
The superintendent of police, who had that morning by Count Rostopchin's orders to burn the barges and had in connection with that matter acquired a large sum of money which was at that moment in his pocket, on seeing a crowd bearing down upon him told his coachman to stop.
"What people are these?" he shouted to the men, who were moving singly and timidly in the direction of his trap.
"What people are these?" he shouted again, receiving no answer.
"Your honor . . ." replied the shopman in the frieze coat,"your honor, in accord with the proclamation of his highest excellency the count, they desire to serve, not sparing their lives, and it is not any kind of riot, but as his highest excellence said . . ."
"The count has not left, he is here, and an order will be issued concerning you," said the superintendent of police."Go on!" he ordered his coachman.
The crowd halted, pressing around those who had heard what the superintendent had said, and looking at the departing trap.
The superintendent of police turned round at that moment with a scared look, said something to his coachman, and his horses increased their speed.
"It's a fraud, lads! Lead the way to him, himself!" shouted the tall youth."Don't let him go, lads! Let him answer us! Keep him!" shouted different people and the people dashed in pursuit of the trap.
Following the superintendent of police and talking loudly the crowd went in the direction of the Lubyanka Street.
"There now, the gentry and merchants have gone away and left us to perish. Do they think we're dogs?" voices in the crowd were heard saying more and more frequently.