3. Michael Strogoff Meets The Czar
THE door of the imperial cabinet was again opened and General Kissoff was
"The courier?" inquired the Czar eagerly.
"He is here, sire," replied General Kissoff.
"Have you found a fitting man?"
"I will answer for him to your majesty."
"Has he been in the service of the Palace?"
"You know him?"
"Personally, and at various times he has fulfilled difficult missions with success."
"In Siberia itself."
"Where does he come from?"
"From Omsk. He is a Siberian."
"Has he coolness, intelligence, courage?"
"Yes, sire; he has all the qualities necessary to succeed, even where others
might possibly fail."
"What is his age?"
"Is he strong and vigorous?"
"Sire, he can bear cold, hunger, thirst, fatigue, to the very last extremities."
"He must have a frame of iron."
"Sire, he has."
"And a heart?"
"A heart of gold."
"Is he ready to set out?"
"He awaits your majesty's orders in the guard-room."
"Let him come in," said the Czar.
In a few moments Michael Strogoff, the courier, entered the imperial library. He
was a tall, vigorous, broad-shouldered, deep-chested man. His powerful head
possessed the fine features of the Caucasian race. His well-knit frame seemed
built for the performance of feats of strength. It would have been a difficult task to
move such a man against his will, for when his feet were once planted on the
ground, it was as if they had taken root. As he doffed his Muscovite cap, locks of
thick curly hair fell over his broad, massive forehead. When his ordinarily pale
face became at all flushed, it arose solely from a more rapid action of the heart.
His eyes, of a deep blue, looked with clear, frank, firm gaze. The slightly-
contracted eyebrows indicated lofty heroism--"the hero's cool courage,"
according to the definition of the physiologist. He possessed a fine nose, with
large nostrils; and a well-shaped mouth, with the slightly-projecting lips which
denote a generous and noble heart.