My mother fetched my passport, which had been put away in a casket, with my little christening shirt, and handed it to my father with a trembling hand. My father read it attentively, laid it before him on the table, and commenced his letter.
I was eaten up with curiosity. Where was I to be sent to, if not to Petersburg? I never took my eyes off my father's pen, which moved slowly enough. At last he concluded, enclosed my passport in his letter, removed his spectacles, and calling me, said: "Here is a letter to Andrey Karlovitch R——, my old comrade and friend. You are going to Orenburg to serve under him."
Thus all my bright hopes vanished! Instead of the pleasurable life at Petersburg, I was to look forward to a dull monotonous existence in a distant and unknown region. I had thought with so much ecstasy, a few moments before, of entering the service, and now my joy seemed turned into the heaviest sorrow. But there was no help for it! The next day a travelling kibitka was brought to the door; my portmanteau was put into it, also a cellarette containing a tea service, and sundry packages of buns and pies, the last tokens of the indulgences of home. My parents blessed me. My father said: "Good-bye, Piotr. Serve him faithfully, him to whom thou shalt swear allegiance; obey thy superiors; do not court their favour too much; do not be over anxious to serve; but do not either shrink thy duty, and remember the proverb: Take care of thy coat from the hour that it is new, and of thy honour from the days of
- Andrew, the son of Charles.—Tr.
- Carriage with a hood.—Tr.