Aleksey Eltsov's picture

Junior Captain Rybnikov I

«Junior Captain Rybnikov» (Shtabs-Kapitan Rybnikov) is a short story by Alexander Kuprin.

Junior Captain Rybnikov is on a ceaseless trip through Saint Petersburg military departments ostensibly trying to secure financial assistance as a wounded veteran, pestering officials with petty complaints, patriotic rants and naive-sounding questions concerning the state of the Russian military. Newspaper reporter Shchavinsky, a shrewd man, spots some flaws in Rybnikov's over-stylized veneer (the superfluity of Russian proverbs, occasional 'clever' words, fine silk linen of a kind Russian soldiers never wear, obvious inner strain and occasional glimpses of hatred in his look) and thinks himself to be on the verge of exposing a Japanese spy.

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