In the Kalmyk Steppe

A new character makes an appearance: Lieutenant-Colonel Darensky (also a new setting: the Russian steppe).

Darensky got out of his car and looked at a horseman on top of a small hill. Dressed in a long robe tied by a piece of string, he was sitting on his shaggy pony and surviving the steppe. He was very old; his face looked as hard as stone. Darensky called out to the man and then walked up to him, holding out his cigarette-case. The old man turned in his saddle; his movenent somehow combined the agility of youth with the thoughtful caution of age. He looked in turn at the hand holding out the cigarettes, at Darensky’s face, at the pistol hanging by his side, at the three bars indicating his rank, and at his smart boots. Then he took a cigarette and rolled it between his fine, brown, childlike fingers.

— life and fate, pp. 292 – 293

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