Prince Yuri Lubovedsky
Very soon after this visit the prince left Moscow, and spent almost all the rest of his life in Africa, India, Afghanistan and Persia. He rarely returned to Russia and then only by necessity and for a short time.
The prince was a very rich man, but he spent all his wealth on ‘searches’ and on organizing special expeditions to the places where he thought he might find an answer to his questions. He lived for a long time in certain monasteries and met many persons with interests similar to his own.
When I first met him, he was already middle-aged, while I was still a young man. From then on until his death we always kept in touch with each other.
Our first meeting took place in Egypt, at the pyramids, not long after my journey with Pogossian. I had just returned from Jerusalem, where I had earned my living by showing tourists, chiefly Russians, the sights of the city and giving them the customary explanations; in a word, I had been a professional guide.
Soon after my return to Egypt I decided to take up the same profession. I knew Arabic and Greek well, and also Italian, which was indispensable then for speaking to Europeans. In a few days I had learned everything that a guide needed to know and began, along with the slick young Arabs, to confuse naïve tourists.
Since I was already well versed in this kind of work, and my pockets were not overflowing at that time either, I became a guide in order to earn the money I needed to carry out what I had planned.
One day I was taken as a guide by a certain Russian, who afterwards proved to be a professor of archaeology, named Skridlov. As we were walking from the Sphinx towards the Pyramid of Cheops, my employer was hailed by a gentleman with slightly greying hair, who called him a ‘gravedigger’ and, obviously delighted at the meeting, inquired about his health. They talked Russian together but to me my employer spoke broken Italian, not knowing that I spoke Russian.