Chapter 6

Abram Yelov

AFTER POGOSSIAN, ABRAM YELOV WAS THE NEXT of those remarkable people whom I happened to meet during my preparatory age and who, voluntarily and involuntarily, served as ‘vivifying factors’ for the complete formation of one or another aspect of my individuality.

I first met him a short time after I had lost all hope of discovering from contemporary people anything real concerning those questions in which I was wholly absorbed, and when, on returning from Echmiadzin to Tiflis, I had buried myself in the reading of ancient literature.

I returned to Tiflis chiefly because I could obtain there any book I wanted. In this city, both then and the last time I stopped there, it was very easy to find any rare book in any language, especially in Armenian, Georgian and Arabic.

When I arrived in Tiflis, I went to live in the district called Didoubay and from there I used to go nearly every day to the Soldiers’ Bazaar, to one of the streets along the west side of the Alexander Gardens, where most of the shops of the Tiflis booksellers were situated. On this same street in front of the permanent bookstores, small traders, or book pedlars, used to spread out their books and pictures on the ground, especially on market days.

Among these small traders was a certain young Aïsor who bought and sold or handled on commission all kinds of books.

This was Abrashka Yelov, as he was called in his youth—an artful dodger if there ever was one, but for me an irreplaceable friend.