We Imported into Russia, Untaxed, Undiscovered by The Custom-House
Officials, A Goodly Stock Of Misadvice, Misinformation, Apprehensions,
And Prejudices, Like Most Foreigners, Albeit We Were Unusually Well
Informed, And Confident That We Were Correctly Posted on The Grand
Outlines Of Russian Life, At Least. We Were Forced to Begin Very
Promptly The Involuntary Process Of Getting rid Of Them. Our Anxiety
Began In berlin. We Visited the Russian Consul-General There To Get Our
Passports _Vised_. He Said, "You Should Have Got The Signature Of The
American Consul. Do That, And Return Here."
At That Moment, The Door Leading from His Office To His Drawing-Room
Opened, And His Wife Made Her Appearance On The Threshold, With The
Emphatic Query, "_When_ Are You Coming?"
"Immediately, My Dear," He Replied. "Just Wait A Moment, Until I Get Rid
Of These Americans."
Then He Decided to Rid Himself Of Us For Good. "I Will Assume The
Responsibility For You," He Said, Affixed his Signature On The Spot, To
Spare Himself A Second Visit, And, Collecting his Fees, Bowed us Out. I
Suppose He Argued that We Should Have Known The Ropes And Attended to
All Details Accurately, In order To Ward Off Suspicion, Had We Been
Suspicious Characters. How Could He Know That The Americans Understood
Russian, And That This Plain Act Of "Getting rid" Of Us Would Weigh On
Our Minds All The Way To The Russian Frontier?
At Wirballen The Police Evoked a Throb Of Gratitude From Our Relieved
Hearts. No One Seemed to Suspect That The American Government Owned a
Consul In berlin Who Could Write His Name On Our Huge Parchments, Which
Contrasted so Strongly With The Compact Little Documents From Other