On September 8 in the Julian calendar, a light carriage entered Moscow via the Tver Gateway of the Kamer-Kollezhsky rampart. In it, sat a government messenger and a passenger by the name of Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin, who was being taken to the Kremlin to see Nicholas I, as was ordered.
The poet and the tsar spoke in private for about two hours We only have snippets of their conversation from second-hand sources: “What would you have been doing in Saint Petersburg on December 14?” –
“I would have joined the rebels!,” “I will be your censor myself,”
and the smug “Well, you are not the old Pushkin now, you are my Pushkin.” And impressions: the tsar’s words which might have been just emotion or a PR-stunt: “I spoke to the cleverest man in Russia today.” And Pushkin’s words: “In hopes of fame and bliss…” The hopes, as it turned out later, were futile.