Mr. X or Captain Pogossian

We were so absorbed in learning these twenty words and in trying to pronounce correctly the unaccustomed sounds, so foreign to our ear, that we did not notice that evening had come and the ship was underway. We broke off our occupation only when a sailor came towards us, swaying to the measured rolling of the ship, and, explaining with a very expressive gesture that it was time to eat, took us to our cabin near the galley.

During the meal we discussed matters between ourselves and, after consulting the sailor who spoke tolerable Greek, we decided to ask permission—which was granted that very evening—for me to begin the next morning cleaning the metal­work on the ship and for Pogossian to work in some capacity or other in the engine­-room.
I will not dwell on the events during the remainder of our voyage on that warship.

On arriving at Alexandria I warmly took leave of the hospitable sailors, and left the ship with the burning determination to reach Cairo as soon as possible. But Pogossian, who had become friends with several of the sailors during the voyage and was enthusiastic about his work in the engine-­room, wished to stay on the ship and go further. We agreed to keep in touch with each other.

As I later learned, Pogossian, after we had parted, continued to work in the engine-­room of this English warship, acquired a passion for mechanics, and became very close friends with several of the sailors and younger officers.

From Alexandria he went with this ship to Bombay, and then, after calling at various Australian ports, finally landed in England. There, in the city of Liverpool, persuaded by these new English friends of his and through their influence, he entered a technical institute of marine engineering where, along with intensive technical studies, he perfected himself in the English language. At the end of two years he became a qualified mechanical engineer.

In concluding this chapter devoted to the first comrade and friend of my youth, Pogossian, I wish to mention a certain highly original feature of his general psyche which was apparent from his earliest years and was very characteristic of his individuality.

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