Professor Skridlov

We lived in this monastery about six months and left it, not because we could not have stayed there longer or did not wish to, but only because we were finally so over­filled with the totality of impressions we had received that it seemed as if even a little more would make us lose our minds.

Our stay there brought us so many answers to the psychological and archaeological questions which interested us, that it then seemed as if we had nothing more to seek, at least for a long time, so we abandoned our journey and returned to Russia by almost the same way as we had come.

After arriving in Tiflis the professor and I parted, he going to Piatigorsk, by the Georgian military road, to see his elder daughter, and I to Alexandropol to my family.

After this I did not see Professor Skridlov for rather a long time, but we corresponded regularly. I saw him for the last time in the second year of the World War, in Piatigorsk, where he was visiting his daughter.

I shall never forget the last conversation I had with him, on the summit of Mount Bechow. At that time I was living in Essentuki, and one day when we met at Kislovodsk he proposed that, in remembrance of the good old days, we should climb Mount Bechow, which was not far from Piatigorsk.

One fine morning about two weeks after this meeting, taking provisions with us, we did indeed set out on foot from Piatigorsk towards this mountain, and began the ascent up the rocks from the difficult side, that is, the side at the foot of which there is a well­known monastery.

This ascent is considered very difficult by everybody who has made it and it was indeed not easy, yet for both of us, after the mountains we had climbed up and down during our many travels together through the wilds of Central Asia, it was, as is said, child’s play. Nevertheless we experienced great pleasure from this ascent and felt ourselves, after the monotonous life of the city, in an element which had already become almost natural to us.