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Page:Pushkin - Russian Romance (King, 1875).djvu/153

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I found myself in a tolerably spacious room. At a table, strewn with papers, sat two men; an old general with a stern and cold countenance, and a young captain of the Guards of about eight and twenty years of age, of prepossessing exterior, and pleasing and easy manners. Near the window, at a separate table, sat the secretary, a pen behind his ear, bending over his papers, ready to note my deposition. The inquiry commenced. I was asked my name and surname. The general inquired whether I was the son of Andrey Petrovitch Grineff, and upon my replying in the affirmative, roughly remarked: "Pity that such an honourable man should have such an unworthy son!" I answered quietly, that whatever the nature of the charges about to be preferred against me, I hoped to be able to meet them by a sincere declaration of the truth. My self-assurance displeased him. "Thou art sharp, my good fellow," said he frowning, "but we have seen the like of thee before this!"

The young man then asked, upon what occasion and at what period I had entered Pougatcheff's service, and upon what duties I had been employed by him?

I replied with indignation, that as an officer and a nobleman, I could neither have entered Pougatcheff's service nor have accepted any employment under him.

"How is it then," reiterated my interrogator, "that the nobleman and officer alone was spared by the pretender, when all his comrades were cruelly put to death? How is it that that same officer and nobleman feasted amicably with the rebels, and accepted from the chief of the vagabonds, a pelisse, a horse, and half a rouble in money?