Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A foreign nihilist is to be arrested at Helsingfors

In an hour I was aboard the ship Alexis as it steamed down the Neva, bound for Stockholm. It was the same boat on which I had come to St. Petersburg, and the Captain and I were friends. In the morning, at breakfast, I sat at the Captain's left hand, and he said, motioning to the opposite seat : "Inspector Denisov, a high official of the police, is on board and will eat with us. He is on a serious errand. A foreign nihilist is among the passengers, it seems, and is to be arrested at Helsingfors if he does not try to get off the ship before we reach there. He is charming — the Inspector, I mean. I will introduce you. By-the-way, you have not yet given me your passport. I must trouble you for it, as our companion at table desires the papers of all the passengers to be submitted to his inspection."

I blushed rose red and stammered something about my papers being in my trunk. For an instant the hope that I could retain possession of the paper lingered in my mind, but I quickly dismissed it. Of what use could it be to postpone events, since it could be but a question of a few hours' time when all my belongings, and my person as well, must pass into the custody of my pursuer.

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