Burly Jew Paltiel met by Kipnis in Otwock was called by the surname of a tsarist general, Skobielew. Michaił Dmitriewicz Skobielew (1843–1882) began his brilliant military career in the Kingdom of Poland, where he proved himself while suppressing the January Uprising. The future general was, however, not only a murmurer following orders obediently, but he also turned out to be unusually talented commander. The most talented in the whole Empire. During Russian struggles with Turkey in the years 1877–1878, he achieved fame as a hero and a great strategist. His achievements sank into the memories of those fascinated by military science in the Russian Empire, Bulgaria and Western Europe. The Poles did not really respect him and they had reasons for that.
The residents of Congress Poland remembered Skobielew still many years after his death. Possibly, it was because the Russian invaders would often and eagerly commemorate him. Small and big monuments, of marble or bronze were being put in many cities, including Warsaw. There were also more and more photographic images of the general.
Noble countenance of Skobielew was in fact pleasant. It was graced with a bushy beard, handlebar moustache and intelligent glance.
A found face of Paltiel was graced with as busy beard as Skobielew’s. Paltiel also had a posture of a general. Following Gogol, one might say that „he won’t fit this door, so sturdy he is.” Anyway, Paltiel was called Skobielew though he had not become famous in any battles, nor had he saved a tsar or taken a fortress. He was only an orange seller. But how characteristic! A walking dignity and authority. Not only some seller, but „Paltiel Skobielew”, known to everyone visiting Otwock. Who would not want to buy oranges from Skobielew himself? Everyone and eagerly.