Professor Skridlov

Although it is not high, this mountain is so situated in relation to the surrounding countryside that from its summit we saw spread out before our eyes an extensive panorama of really extraordinary beauty.
Far to the south arose the majestic snow­capped peak of Elbrus, with the great chain of the Caucasian mountains outlined on both sides of it. Below us, as in miniature, could be seen the numerous settlements, towns and villages of almost the entire region of the Mineral Waters, and just below to the north stood out various parts of the town of Zheleznovodsk.

Silence reigned all around. No one was on the mountain, and no one was likely to come, as the usual easy road leading up from the northern side was visible for many miles and as clear as the palm of one’s hand, and there was no one to be seen on it. And as for the southern face by which we had come, one rarely meets anybody daring enough to climb that!
On the summit of the mountain was a small hut, evidently for the sale of beer and tea, but that day there was no one there.

We sat down on a rock and began to eat. Each of us, spellbound by the grandeur of the scenery, silently thought his own thoughts.

Suddenly my glance rested on the face of Professor Skridlov and I saw that tears were streaming from his eyes.
‘What’s the matter, old fellow?’ I asked him.

‘Nothing,’ he answered, drying his eyes, and then added: ‘In general, during the last two or three years, my inability to control the automatic manifestations of my subconsciousness and my instinct is such that I have become almost like an hysterical woman.

‘What has just happened, has happened to me many times during this period. It is very difficult to explain what takes place in me when I see or hear anything majestic which allows no doubt that it proceeds from the actualization of Our Maker Creator. Each time, my tears flow of themselves. I weep, that is to say, it weeps in me, not from grief, no, but as if from tenderness. I became so, gradually, after meeting Father Giovanni, whom you remember we met together in Kafiristan, to my worldly misfortune.