My friends, who learned of the date of my return to Petersburg only the evening before my arrival, took care not to spread the news, particularly not to the press, because the city was already in a revolutionary fever and my arrival might spark demonstrations and counter-demonstrations. Nonetheless, a large crowd was waiting when I arrived at the station, so large that I had difficulty in reaching the waiting automobile. Someone in the crowd delivered a welcoming speech, praising me for my service to the fatherland in negotiating peace. I felt obliged to respond to this unexpected welcome with a few words of thanks.