Prince Yuri Lubovedsky

‘To tell the truth there was no longer anything for me to break away from. It was not even a condition for me, because, apart from my ties with a few people, no interests existed for me any longer and, as for these ties, for various reasons I had recently had to force myself to stop thinking of them.

‘I told him then and there that I was ready that very moment to go wherever necessary. He stood up, told me to liquidate all my affairs, and without another word disappeared in the crowd. The next day I settled all my affairs, gave certain instructions, wrote home several letters of a business character, and began to wait.

‘Three days later a young Tadzhik came to me and said simply and laconically: “I have been hired as a guide for you. The journey will last about a month. I have prepared for it such and such . . .” and he enumerated what he had prepared. “Will you please tell me what else to order and when and where you wish the caravan to assemble?”
‘I had no need of anything else, as everything for the journey had been provided, and I replied that I was ready to start out the next morning if necessary; as for the place of departure I asked him to fix it himself. He then added, laconically as before, that I should meet him at six o’clock the following morning at the caravanserai Kalmatas, just outside the city in the direction of Ousun-Kerpi. The next day we set out with a caravan, which brought me here in two weeks. And what I found here you will see for yourself.

‘But now maybe you will tell me what you know about our mutual friends.’

Seeing that his story had fatigued my dear old friend, I proposed that we postpone any further conversation, saying that later I would tell him with pleasure about everything, but that meanwhile he should rest and so recover sooner.

As long as Prince Lubovedsky had to keep to his bed, we went to see him in the second court, but when he was better and could leave his cell, he used to come to us, and we talked every day for two or three hours.