Page:Pushkin - Russian Romance (King, 1875).djvu/18

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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[1] 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[2] 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

  1. Andrew, the son of Charles.—Tr.
  2. Carriage with a hood.—Tr.