good-natured, and healthy. He was delighted to see me, and proceeded to make inquiries respecting the lamentable events of which I had been a witness. I related all to him. The old man listened with attention, removing meanwhile the dead branches.
"Poor Mironoff!" said he, when I had ended my sad recital; "what a pity! He was a good officer, and Madame Mironoff was a good lady, and so clever at salting mushrooms! And what about Masha, the captain's little daughter?"
I replied that she remained at the fortress in charge of the priest's wife.
"Ay, ay, ay!" observed the general, "that's bad, very bad. One cannot possibly rely on the discipline of the robbers. What will become of the poor girl?"
I replied that Byĕlogorsk, being at no great distance, his excellency would probably not delay in sending troops for the relief of its poor inhabitants.
The general shook his head, doubtfully; "We shall see, we shall see," said he. "We shall have time enough to talk it over. I beg you will do me the favour to come and take a cup of tea. I hold a council of war to-day. You will be able to give us correct information about the miscreant Pougatcheff and his army. In the meantime, go and rest."
I repaired to the rooms assigned to me, where I found Savelitch already engaged putting things in order, and I impatiently awaited the appointed time. The reader will easily understand that I did not fail to appear at the council which was to have such an influence on my