Prince Yuri Lubovedsky

And so, I was living in New Bukhara . . . and this time I really began to work at making artificial paper flowers, to earn money and for various other advantages. In selling them I was able to enter almost all the places of interest to me in Bukhara, and, besides this, the income from this trade at that season of the year promised to be good.

It was near the end of Lent and, as is well known, the inhabitants of those places like to decorate their rooms and tables with flowers for the Easter Holidays. Moreover, that year the Jewish and Christian Easter almost coincided and, as the population of New Bukhara and part of Old Bukhara consisted mostly of people belonging to these two religions, the demand for artificial flowers was particularly great.

I buckled down to work in real earnest, day and night, leaving only rarely to go and see my dervish friends, or occasionally, on evenings when I was very tired, to play billiards at a near­by restaurant. In my youth I was very fond of this game and quite skilful at it.

One night, the evening of Holy Thursday, having finished my work, I had gone to play billiards, when suddenly during the game I heard noise and shouting in the next room. Throwing down my cue, I ran in and saw four men beating up another one.

Although I did not know these people at all or what the trouble was about, I ran to the rescue of the one who was being attacked. In my youth I used to be enthusiastic about Japanese ju­jutsu and Hivintzian fiz-les-loo and was always glad of an opportunity to apply my knowledge of these methods. So now also, just for the sport of it, I joined hotly in the fight, with the result that the two of us, the stranger and I, gave our opponents a good licking and soon forced them to retire.

At that time New Bukhara was still quite a new town. The population was made up of haphazard elements, including many exiles from Russia living under the surveillance of the police on what were called ‘wolf tickets’.