Prince Yuri Lubovedsky
This was said in passing. There was a great bustle on board and many people had come to see me off. Having no time to pay much attention to the old man, I quite forgot what the attaché had told me.
‘The boat started. It was morning. The weather was fine. I was sitting on deck reading. Near me, romping about, was Jack.’ (Jack was the prince’s fox-terrier, who accompanied him everywhere.)
‘A pretty girl passed and patted Jack. Then she brought him some sugar, but Jack never takes anything from anyone without my permission, so he cocked his head at me as if to ask “May I?” I nodded and said in Russian: “Yes, you may.”
‘It turned out that the young woman also spoke Russian and a conversation was started with the usual questions as to where each was going. She told me that she was going to Alexandria to take a place as governess in the family of the Russian consul.
‘During our conversation the old man whom the attache had pointed out to me came on deck and called the young woman. When they had gone off together, I suddenly recalled what had been said about this old man, and his acquaintance with this girl seemed to me suspicious. I began to think, searching my memory. I knew the consul in Alexandria and, as far as I could remember, he could not have needed a governess. My suspicions increased.
‘Our boat had to stop at several ports, and at the first stop in the Dardanelles I sent two telegrams, one to the consul at Alexandria, asking whether he needed a governess, and the other to the consul at Salonika, where the boat was to stop next. I also confided my suspicions to the captain. In short, when we arrived at Salonika, what I had suspected was confirmed, and it became clear that this girl was being carried off under false pretences.
‘I found the girl appealing, and I resolved to rescue her from the danger menacing her, to take her back to Russia and not to start off again for Ceylon until I had arranged something for her.
‘We left the boat together at Salonika and the same day boarded another which was returning to Constantinople. As soon as we arrived I wished to send her back to her home, but it turned out that she had no one to whom she could go. That is why I have been delayed here.