So they determined to expend their enthusiasm on the first American that appeared, and rather unexpectedly I became the recipient of the will of the Siberians toward the United States. Two days after my arrival I was visited by Mr. Hamenof, one of the wealthiest merchants of Irkutsk.
Hamenof proposed "The United States of America," and prefaced his toast with a little speech to his Russian guests. I proposed the health of the Emperor, and then the toasts became irregular and applied to the Governor General, the master of the house, the ladies of Siberia, the Russo-American Telegraph, and various other persons, objects, and enterprises.
As he spoke only Russian, he was accompanied by my late fellow-traveler who came to interpret between us, and open the conversation with "Mr. Hamenof presents his compliments, and wishes you to dine with him day after to-morrow." I accepted the invitation, and the merchant departed.