Prince Yuri Lubovedsky

‘During the time I spent in the desert to practise walking on stilts, I went through two more storms. One of them, to be sure, was mild, but, even so, it would have been unthinkable to move and orient oneself in it by ordinary means; but with the aid of my stilts I walked around over the sands during both of these storms, in any desired direction, as though I were in my own room. At first it was somewhat difficult not to stumble, because very often and particularly, as I have already said, during storms, there are ups and downs in the dunes. But fortunately, as I soon discovered, the upper surface of the sand-filled atmosphere has irregularities of contour exactly corresponding to the irregularities of the sands, so that walking on stilts is considerably facilitated by the fact that one can clearly see by the contours of the sand-filled atmosphere where one dune ends and another begins.

‘In any case,’ concluded Dr. Sari-Ogli, ‘it has been shown that the sand-filled atmosphere has a definite and not very high limit, and that the contours of its upper surface always correspond to the contours of the desert itself; and one must admit that it is absolutely necessary to make use of this discovery in the journey we have ahead of us.’

The third to report was Yelov, the philologist, who, with the peculiar, expressive manner of speech characteristic of him, addressed us as follows:
‘If you will allow me, gentlemen, I will say the same thing as our esteemed Aesculapius concerning the first half of his report, namely, “I pass”, but I pass also concerning everything in general which I had thought out and wiseacred about during the past month.

‘What I had wished to communicate to you today is simply child’s play in comparison with the ideas presented by the mining engineer, Karpenko, and my friend the doctor—as irreplaceable in respect of his origin as of his possession of a diploma.
‘However, just now while the two previous speakers were making their proposals some new ideas arose in me, which you may perhaps find admissible and effective for our journey. They are as follows: