“God, Karl Ivanovich, there is absolutely no way you could do this!”

“And yet, weren’t it for me, we probably wouldn’t have this colony today.”

“Tell us more about that night, please, please, please!”

“Ngui, bring us some more beers, and fruit-waters for the children.”

“Yes, bwana.”

“Well, it happened…19, oh the fast-flowing time, years ago, just after we won the war. There was a small café in Berlin where you could get only if—”

Cool breeze came off the snows of the mountain. It was very pleasant to sit by the fire and listen to the never-ending stories of Karl Ivanovich Tropp, their hunter in Tanganyika. Mikhail himself recalled the years of the war. He was careful not to recall some things, but he delighted in recalling other things. His wife when he first met her on his leave, the warm Crimean nights in July when she would escape from her house and they would walk for hours by the sea and part only at the dawn. His formal visits when she would blush and look at him stealthily and then their engagement and the wedding, all of them in a hurry because he had to go back to the front. Ah, how pleasant was it to recall sitting there, in Africa, smoking his pipe and the breeze coming off the snows of the Mountain.

When Mikhail returned, there stayed only his eldest daughter and Karl Ivanovich. Maria was trying to prove something very hard while Karl Ivanovich looked confused.

“It isn’t fair at all,” she said, “We should build communism! There wouldn’t be any poor people at all. Everyone will work and there won’t be any such…unhappiness. Russia will become a happy country.”

“Were it possible to show you to what this your ‘communism’ would lead, Maria,” Mikhail said.

“To a better society where people would not be mean or envious or resentful at all. Everyone would be part of one big family; everyone would have a place and be needed!”

“You like to speak for everyone. What would you do in such a society? And haven’t you your family already?”

“I would…I would find work and work side by side with the working class and would become a working-class woman.”

“All right, when we return to Moscow, I’ll send you to the factory to work with the working class.”

“It’s not the same, Papa!”

“Why, because you would work for me, a dirty capitalist?”

“You are not dirty. But it’s not the same.”

“What, would your perfect country send me to prison?”

“No, there won’t be any prisons because there wouldn’t be any people committing crimes, because no one would be envious or resentful or unhappy. You would work as a director of a factory.”

“Wow, a director of a factory! Not of my own factory, I suppose. I heard that my ‘class’ would be ‘eliminated.’”

“No, Papa, not like that,” Maria said and left.

His daughter was angry at him for not understanding a thing in her and her friends’ politics. But he remembered this type all through the university and the war. He somehow knew that there wouldn’t be any trips to Africa nor any Tanganyika colony at all were there communism in Russia. And his daughter loved Africa. Except for the times when she pitied Africans, and wanted the Masai and the Wakamba to live in perfect peace in perfect communism which they did not understand; then she was upset. Had they understood it, they would probably have killed him by now, he laughed to himself and puffed at his pipe. It should pass when she grows up, he thought. It should.

“Ah Moscow, my Moscow…by day and by night…” he hummed.

Karl Ivanovich Tropp lighted his pipe and opened a beer. Cool breeze from the mountain made the fire burn brighter.