" A wonderful talent!" he said to Prince Andrew, and Magnitski immediately assumed a pose and began reciting some humorous verses in French which he had composed about various well-known Petersburg people.

He was interrupted several times by applause.

When the verses were finished Prince Andrew went up to Speranski and took his leave.

"Where are you off to so early?" asked Speranski.

"I promised to go to a reception.

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