The door of the yurta suddenly swung open and an adjutant snapped into a position of attention and salute.
"Why do you enter a room by force?" the General exclaimed in anger.
"Your Excellency, our outpost on the border has caught a Bolshevik reconnaissance party and brought them here."
The Baron arose. His eyes sparkled and his face contracted with spasms.
"Bring them in front of my yurta!" he ordered.
All was forgotten--the inspired speech, the penetrating voice--all were sunk in the austere order of the severe commander. The Baron put on his cap, caught up the bamboo tashur which he always carried with him and rushed from the yurta. I followed him out. There in front of the yurta stood six Red soldiers surrounded by the Cossacks.
The Baron stopped and glared sharply at them for several minutes. In his face one could see the strong play of his thoughts. Afterwards he turned away from them, sat down on the doorstep of the Chinese house and for a long time was buried in thought. Then he rose, walked over to them and, with an evident show of decisiveness in his movements, touched all the prisoners on the shoulder with his tashur and said: "You to the left and you to the right!" as he divided the squad into two sections, four on the right and two on the left.
"Search those two! They must be commissars!" commanded the Baron and, turning to the other four, asked: "Are you peasants mobilized by the Bolsheviki?"