Prince Yuri Lubovedsky
My financial resources were almost at an end and, after paying for my room in the caravanserai and settling my other debts in P, the very most I would have left would be sixty kopeks. It was impossible in that town to earn money in any way, because it was not the working season, and it was none too easy in such a remote place, far from European civilization, to sell any artistic or mechanical trifles. In Samarkand, on the other hand, there were many Russians and other Europeans; besides, foreseeing the possibility of my going to Samarkand, I had already given instructions to have money sent to me there from Tiflis.
Not having the wherewithal to pay for the trip, I decided to do this distance, about seventy miles, on foot, and one fine day I set out with my friend Philos. Before leaving I bought myself five kopeks’ worth of bread and for another five kopeks a sheep’s head for Philos. I drew on our supply of food, mine as well as Philos’, very economically, so it could not be said that we were satisfied.
At a certain place on both sides of the road were bostani, that is, vegetable gardens. In many parts of Turkestan it is the custom to fence off one garden from another and from the road, by planting hedges of Jerusalem artichokes, which grow very high and thick and serve the purpose of wooden or wire fences. Walking along, I came to just this kind of fence.
As I was very hungry, I decided to dig up several artichokes. Looking round to see whether anyone could see me, I hastily dug up four big artichokes and, as I continued on my way, ate them with great pleasure. I also gave a piece to Philos to try, but after sniffing at it he refused to eat it.
Arriving in New Samarkand, I took a room in the house of a local inhabitant on the outskirts of the town, and went off at once to the post office to see if my money had come from Tiflis, but it had not yet arrived. Pondering on where to get money I decided to earn some by making artificial paper flowers. For this purpose I immediately went to a shop to buy coloured paper, but, calculating that for my fifty kopeks I could get very little, I decided simply to buy some thin white paper and a little aniline dye of different colours and to colour the paper myself. In this way for a trifling sum I could produce a large quantity of flowers.