"I ask your pardon. . . . You must understand there are so many traitors! Honest men have disappeared. I cannot trust anybody. All names are false and assumed; documents are counterfeited. Eyes and words deceive. . . . All is demoralized, insulted by Bolshevism. I just ordered Colonel Philipoff cut down, he who called himself the representative of the Russian White Organization. In the lining of his garments were found two secret Bolshevik codes. . . . When my officer flourished his sword over him, he exclaimed: 'Why do you kill me, Tavarische?' I cannot trust anybody. . . ."
He was silent and I also held my peace.
"I beg your pardon!" he began anew. "I offended you; but I am not simply a man, I am a leader of great forces and have in my head so much care, sorrow and woe!"
In his voice I felt there was mingled despair and sincerity. He frankly put out his hand to me. Again silence. At last I answered:
"What do you order me to do now, for I have neither counterfeit nor real documents? But many of your officers know me and in Urga I can find many who will testify that I could be neither agitator nor. . ."
"No need, no need!" interrupted the Baron. "All is clear, all is understood! I was in your soul and I know all. It is the truth which Hutuktu Narabanchi has written about you. What can I do for you?"
I explained how my friend and I had escaped from Soviet Russia in the effort to reach our native land and how a group of Polish soldiers had joined us in the hope of getting back to Poland; and I asked that help be given us to reach the nearest port.
"With pleasure, with pleasure. . . . I will help you all," he answered excitedly. "I shall drive you to Urga in my motor car. Tomorrow we shall start and there in Urga we shall talk about further arrangements."