I presumed that my watchful guardian was Sola, nor was
I returned to Kislovodsk at five o'clock in the morning, threw myself on my bed, and slept the sleep of Napoleon after Waterloo.
By the time I awoke it was dark outside. I sat by the open window, with my jacket unbuttoned -- and the mountain breeze cooled my breast, still troubled by the heavy sleep of weariness. In the distance beyond the river, through the tops of the thick lime trees which overshadowed it, lights were glancing in the fortress and the vil- lage. Close at hand all was calm. It was dark in Princess Ligovski's house.
The doctor entered; his brows were knit; contrary to custom, he did not offer me his hand.
"Where have you come from, doctor?"
"From Princess Ligovski's; her daughter is ill -- nervous exhaustion. . . That is not the point, though. This is what I have come to tell you: the authorities are suspicious, and, although it is impossible to prove anything positively, I should, all the same, advise you to be cautious. Princess Ligovski told me to-day that she knew that you fought a duel on her daughter's account. That little old man -- what's his name? -- has told her everything. He was a witness of your quarrel with Grushnitski in the restaurant. I have come to warn you. Good-bye. Maybe we shall not meet again: you will be banished somewhere."
He stopped on the threshold; he would gladly have pressed my hand . . . and, had I shown the slightest desire to embrace him, he would have thrown himself upon my neck; but I remained cold as a rock -- and he left the room.
That is just like men! They are all the same: they know beforehand all the bad points of an act, they help, they advise, they even encourage it, seeing the impossibility of any other expedient -- and then they wash their hands of the whole affair and turn away with indignation from him who has had the courage to take the whole burden of responsibility upon himself. They are all like that, even the best-natured, the wisest. . .
NEXT morning, having received orders from the supreme authority to betake myself to the N---- Fortress, I called upon Princess Ligov- ski to say good-bye.