The Daughter of the Commandant eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 117 pages of information about The Daughter of the Commandant.

“Humph!  I understand.”

“’And not give him any liberty’—­No; it seems that porcupine-skin gloves means something quite different.’  Enclosed is his commission’—­Where is it then?  Ah! here it is!—­’in the roll of the Semenofsky Regiment’—­All right; everything necessary shall be done.  ’Allow me to salute you without ceremony, and like an old friend and comrade’—­Ah! he has at last remembered it all,” etc., etc.

“Well, my little father,” said he, after he had finished the letter and put my commission aside, “all shall be done; you shall be an officer in the ——­th Regiment, and you shall go to-morrow to Fort Belogorsk, where you will serve under the orders of Commandant Mironoff, a brave and worthy man.  There you will really serve and learn discipline.  There is nothing for you to do at Orenburg; amusement is bad for a young man.  To-day I invite you to dine with me.”

“Worse and worse,” thought I to myself.  “What good has it done me to have been a sergeant in the Guard from my cradle?  Where has it brought me?  To the ——­th Regiment, and to a fort stranded on the frontier of the Kirghiz-Kaisak Steppes!”

I dined at Andrej Karlovitch’s, in the company of his old aide de camp.  Strict German economy was the rule at his table, and I think that the dread of a frequent guest at his bachelor’s table contributed not a little to my being so promptly sent away to a distant garrison.

The next day I took leave of the General, and started for my destination.

CHAPTER III.

THE LITTLE POET.

The little fort of Belogorsk lay about forty versts[28] from Orenburg.  From this town the road followed along by the rugged banks of the R. Yaik.  The river was not yet frozen, and its lead-coloured waves looked almost black contrasted with its bunks white with snow.  Before me stretched the Kirghiz Steppes.  I was lost in thought, and my reverie was tinged with melancholy.  Garrison life did not offer me much attraction.  I tried to imagine what my future chief, Commandant Mironoff, would be like.  I saw in my mind’s eye a strict, morose old man, with no ideas beyond the service, and prepared to put me under arrest for the smallest trifle.

Twilight was coming on; we were driving rather quickly.

“Is it far from here to the fort?” I asked the driver.

“Why, you can see it from here,” replied he.

I began looking all round, expecting to see high bastions, a wall, and a ditch.  I saw nothing but a little village, surrounded by a wooden palisade.  On one side three or four haystacks, half covered with snow; on another a tumble-down windmill, whose sails, made of coarse limetree bark, hung idly down.

“But where is the fort?” I asked, in surprise.

“There it is yonder, to be sure,” rejoined the driver, pointing out to me the village which we had just reached.

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The Daughter of the Commandant from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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