The Reception Committee shuffled on the platform while Filyuchev, the Delegation bureaucrat, was still a step up on the train holding Metved’s flowers which, hurriedly culled,showed serrated edges of dandelion. The Reception Commit-tee was all coated: though mid-summer, the mountain night was chill. The night-shift railwaymen wore short jackets; they walked by in a smell of shag tobacco, barely curious.

  The train was not much. Quite empty. An official train,put at their disposal. Old-fashioned, wooden-sided. It was dark in the carriage the Russians had just vacated. The train looked sad at having to go back the way it had come: all blank, dark windows.