ONE evening in the middle of January, 1880--I forget the exact day--some exiles met in Geneva to take a cup of tea at the house of one of their number, M. G.
It was a somewhat numerous party, six or seven persons perhaps, and, what is much rarer in the gatherings of the exiles, it was rather a lively one. Our charming hostess was seated at the piano, which she played with much taste and feeling, and she sang to us several Ukrainian songs. We were all somewhat excited by the music. We joked and laughed. The principal subject of our conversation was the escape from Siberia of one of our friends, news of which had reached us that very day.
All the particulars of the escape then known having been related, and all the observations and conjectures with regard to it having been made, a moment of silence followed; of that dead, insupportable silence, when the Russians say, 'A fool has been born' or 'The angel of silence is hovering over us,' according to their respective tastes.