"And you, Mesdames, do you not realize the ruin of your people? No? For you it is of no moment. And have you no feeling for your husbands at the front who may even now be killed? You are not women. . . . I honor woman, who feels more deeply and strongly than man; but you are not women! . . . Listen to me, Mesdames. Once more and I will hang you. . . ."
He came back to the car and himself sounded the horn several times. Immediately Mongol horsemen galloped up.
"Take these men to the Commandant. I will send my orders later."
On the way to the Baron's yurta we were silent. He was excited and breathed heavily, lighting cigarette after cigarette and throwing them aside after but a single puff or two.
"Take supper with me," he proposed.
He also invited his Chief of Staff, a very retiring, oppressed but splendidly educated man. The servants spread a Chinese hot course for us followed by cold meat and fruit compote from California with the inevitable tea. We ate with chopsticks. The Baron was greatly distraught.
Very cautiously I began speaking of the offending officers and tried to justify their actions by the extremely trying circumstances under which they were living.
"They are rotten through and through, demoralized, sunk into the depths," murmured the General.