Although I was then still very young, my relationship with Bogachevsky soon became very friendly. I often went to see him in my spare time, and when I had afternoon lessons I would often stay after they were finished, either to prepare other lessons or to listen to his conversations with Ponomarenko and with the acquaintances who were always visiting them. Sometimes I helped them in their simple household.

Among those who often came to see them was an army engineer, Vseslavsky, who was a fellow-­countryman of Bogachevsky, and an artillery officer and pyrotechnical expert named Kouzmin. Seated around the samovar, they would discuss anything and everything.

I would always listen very attentively to Bogachevsky and his friends, as, reading at that time a large number of books on the most varied subjects in Greek, Armenian and Russian, I was interested in many questions; but because of my youth I naturally never joined in their conversation. Their opinions were authoritative for me, and at that time I had a great veneration for these men on account of their advanced education.

It was, by the way, all the conversations and discussions of these men, who gathered at my teacher Bogachevsky’s to kill time in the monotonous life of the remote and very boring town of Kars, which awakened my ever-­continuing interest in abstract questions.

Since this interest played an important part in my life, leaving a definite mark on my entire subsequent existence, and since the events which stimulated this interest occurred during the period to which belong my memories of Bogachevsky, I will dwell upon them a little longer.

Once, during one of these conversations, a lively discussion arose about spiritualism and, among other things, about table-­turning, which at that time was a subject of absorbing interest everywhere.

The army engineer asserted that this phenomenon occurs through the participation of spirits. The others denied this, attributing it to other forces of nature, such as magnetism, the law of attraction, auto­ suggestion and so forth; but nobody denied the existence of the fact itself.