"Tell me who you are! Hereabouts are many spies and agitators," he cried out in an hysterical voice, as he fixed his eyes upon me. In one moment I perceived his appearance and psychology. A small head on wide shoulders; blonde hair in disorder; a reddish bristling moustache; a skinny, exhausted face, like those on the old Byzantine ikons. Then everything else faded from view save a big, protruding forehead overhanging steely sharp eyes. These eyes were fixed upon me like those of an animal from a cave. My observations lasted for but a flash but I understood that before me was a very dangerous man ready for an instant spring into irrevocable action. Though the danger was evident, I felt the deepest offence.
"Sit down," he snapped out in a hissing voice, as he pointed to a chair and impatiently pulled at his moustache. I felt my anger rising through my whole body and I said to him without taking the chair:
"You have allowed yourself to offend me, Baron. My name is well enough known so that you cannot thus indulge yourself in such epithets. You can do with me as you wish, because force is on your side, but you cannot compel me to speak with one who gives me offence."
At these words of mine he swung his feet down off the bed and with evident astonishment began to survey me, holding his breath and pulling still at his moustache. Retaining my exterior calmness, I began to glance indifferently around the yurta, and only then I noticed General Rezukhin. I bowed to him and received his silent acknowledgment. After that I swung my glance back to the Baron, who sat with bowed head and closed eyes, from time to time rubbing his brow and mumbling to himself.
Suddenly he stood up and sharply said, looking past and over me:
"Go out! There is no need of more. . . ."
I swung round and saw Captain Veseloffsky with his white, cold face. I had not heard him enter. He did a formal "about face" and passed out of the door.
"'Death from the white man' has stood behind me," I thought; "but has it quite left me?"