16 Chapter 16: In Constantinople
The late evening in Constantinople was one of the impressions that surprised me most. An unusual dialect, the racket, the fezzes which were flashing in front of my eyes, the employees of the hotels who were carping at the people going shore from all sides, the guttural voices, the noise of the strange, unseen fiacres – all of it fell over me, and I probably would have been confused if Joan with her children hadn’t drawn my attention. She was accompanied by the ship’s doctor and both Italians who were met by their relatives with high posts, - and all of them were waiting for us on the shore.
Joan hurried towards me, she was asking I. kindly to allow her to nurse me until I recover and to repay us for our entire attention to her at least with such a small service.
I gave a laugh and answered her that I was absolutely healthy and that I obeyed his instructions and I was pretending to be a patient only because of my love and respect to him.
Then the Italians introduced me to their relatives. A respectable ambassador offered us to settle me in his remote house, but I. refused his offer categorically by assuring everybody that the hotel’s noise would be even useful for me, because I wasn’t allowed only to walk for a while.
The Italians were sorry, because I wasn’t coming with them. They said good-bye to us and promised to visit me tomorrow in the hotel and then they left.
The hotel wasn’t far and we were going on foot together with Joan and her children very slowly and not for very long. The Turks were already waiting for us at the hotel. They had time to order the rooms on the same floor for us and Joan.
As soon as we reached our floor, I noticed how Joan pined away and changed. She whispered to my question what was making her so sad.
“While you were ill, I went through such horror, such horror that also now I still cannot fully recollect myself, often I’m crying and shaking during the whole hours.”
“Well, you see how ruinous a fear can be,” I. interfered. “I was explaining to you many times that Lovushka would recover. Now he’s healthy, and before you start your job, I will have to treat you.”
“No, I can assure you that you won’t have to treat me! If you like, I can start my job tomorrow, only that if I knew that Lovushka is healthy and cheerful,” Joan answered I.
We went to our rooms. I thanked the clumsy sailor heartily for his care. I. wanted to repay him generously, but the kind-hearted lad didn’t take the money. He attached to us during that short journey and asked us to let him visit us, while the steamer would be repaired on the shore.
Although I didn’t want to confess that I wasn’t absolutely healthy, but it wasn’t easy for me to undress. Everything started floating in front of my eyes again.
I don’t know if I was sleeping for a long time, but I woke up from the voices in the adjacent room. Having looked at the clock, I saw that it wasn’t an early morning, but ten o’clock already. I was trying to dress myself silently and I touched the chair clumsily. I. heard the noise. He opened the door immediately and asked me if I didn’t fall down.
Having made sure that everything was all right, he offered me to drink a cup of coffee with the captain in the balcony, because he was already waiting for me, and then to have breakfast with Joan, while he and the Turks would be running about with Joan’s affairs.
I understood that at the presence of the captain I. didn’t want to talk about our business because of which actually we had come here, and I didn’t doubt that he was going to find out about my brother’s destiny.
While being together with the captain, I had an opportunity to make sure of this man’s versatility and culture once again. Besides that he had seen the whole world while sailing around the earth several times already – he also knew each country’s characteristic features and could speak almost every language. His unusual observation and purely sailor’s vigilance and attention which were developed in the dangers of the insidious sea had taught him to observe people and to estimate them nearly impeccably. I was surprised how accurately and subtly he described I., how he guessed some of the features of my character, and what he told about Joan simply stunned me. In his opinion, now Joan almost reached the limit of the mental disorder because of her experienced shock.
“A woman,” he was telling me, “can rarely survive alone in the moments of the greatest disaster. Not sensing it herself, she’s pressing herself to the man who has shown her attention and tenderness in order to put out the fire of her passions a little, which are raging after loss of her beloved. Therefore, a man, an honest gentleman must be very careful, very attentive to each of his word and action in order to avoid an ambiguous situation. I had a chance to observe many times in my life how a man who was comforting a woman in her bad luck would get into a hopeless situation. The woman would fall on him with the whole burden of her suffering, would attach to him so tightly that he would have either to marry her or to run away from her by arousing the new suffering for her.”
These words were hurting me. I. was telling me the same or almost the same. Unawares, I fell silent and I fell to thinking how it was still difficult for me to orient myself in people’s feelings, how simply everything seemed to me, but in fact the thorns and splinters were hiding everywhere.
We started talking about Joan who had to have breakfast with us. The captain sent for the maitre d’hotel, he ordered him to bring a subtle French breakfast to my room, which looked like a dinner for three persons. He ordered him to decorate the table with roses, and I asked them to be of red and white colours.
At one o’clock the table was already laid. I wrote a note to Joan by asking her to come to have breakfast. There came a knock at the door, and the slender Joan’s figure with the white dress came to light in the dark background of the door.
I met my guest at the threshold and, having kissed her hand, I invited her at the table. I still hadn’t seen Joan such radiant and joyful. At once she started asking me a lot of questions about my general condition, about I., for how long we would stay in Constantinople – I didn’t even know to which one of the questions I had to answer in the beginning.
“I’m so glad, so glad that I will be able to spend this moment with you, because I have a thousand of things to tell you and another thousand questions to ask you – and there’s always no time to do that.”
“Let me introduce you to my friend whom you know as the ship’s captain, but you don’t know what an excellent company and a wonderful cavalier he is,” finally, I took advantage of the pause and interfered in her speech.
As soon as Joan stepped into the cabin, she fixed her gaze on me so much that she didn’t even notice the captain who was standing aside by the table. The captain went to her, smiling. He handed the white and red roses to her. He bent down towards her hand, he was greeting her like a duchess and, having offered her his arm, he accompanied her at the table.
When we sat down, I couldn’t recognize Joan anymore. Her face was cold and strict, I didn’t even know that it could be like this.
I was embarrassed, I took a look at my friend, because I felt confused, but I was unable to read anything in the captain’s face. His face was also unknown to me – it was the face of the courteous and gallant man who was doing his duties at the table and taking care of the lady out of courtesy. He was smiling, his yellow catlike eyes were looking at her kind-heartedly, but I was feeling that Joan was fettered by the armour of his gallantry and she was unable to overstep those limits which he had defined for her instantly.
All her hopes to see me in solitude and to share her thoughts about her new life with me from the bottom of her heart broke from the presence of the stranger – and even of such a grand one who possessed the halo of power and authority, with which each captain was covered in the sea.
Joan’s monosyllabic answers, her appearance and lack of culture would have turned each breakfast into a funeral dinner, but the captain’s moderation, the mastery of his speech made me laugh through tears. Joan had difficulty to understand humour, but when the breakfast was coming to the end, she became cheerful and more sincere, too. The captain apologized and went to order some special coffee in the cups, which we would be drinking in the balcony.
Having taken advantage of this possibility, Joan told me that tonight she had to meet the Turk who would provide her with the premises for the shop and for the flat in one of the central streets where she could open the hat’s atelier. She kept telling me how frightened she was, how terrible her solitude was and what fears she had because of the destiny of her children.
I had time to tell her that I. would never leave her, that both of us were her eternal friends wherever we would be. I failed to comfort her very much, because I was afraid of telling her some imprudent word.
The captain came back and brought us some excellent oranges. Soon the famous coffee was served, too, but Joan was sitting like dragged out of the bog, she refused the fruit and left. I could hardly convince her of taking an orange of each of her children, while the captain’s roses were left on the table. The captain accompanied her to the door, he bowed low, let her forward and closed the door behind her.
He came back to me to the balcony, took both roses given to Joan, breathed in their aroma, laughed and told me.
“Not often in my life I used to suffer a defeat at the front of ladies, but today even my flowers, not only I myself have experienced a fiasco.”
“And it influenced me so much,” I answered him, “that I even have a headache. For some reason I think that the poor lady is crying now. And indeed, it is a pity that I’m so helpless and I cannot help her.”
“Not your helplessness is here to blame, but the lack of real culture and politeness. Exactly this could help a woman in the difficult moment of her life’s tests. She must become a woman-heroine, while at the moment she’s only a woman-wife, a townswoman. It doesn’t mean that in the future she won’t be able to rise to the circle of other thoughts and ideas, but the battle of her personal happiness, for
her personal life will be horrible. While she’s unable to refuse love for herself and to start living for her children – she’s going to wade across the torments of hell. So I bowed so low to those torments today,” the captain was talking to me, lost in thought.
“Is it really so that if you loved once, if you loved till an absolute oblivion, but you have lost your heart’s heaven, then you have to search for it again? I think that either you should love a hundred times, but not seriously, or love with your entire essence once, but in such a way that you could never approach a single woman again,” I answered him.
“I cannot judge that. Perhaps, I’ve already lived the greater half of my life and I still haven’t waited till that moment so that I could tell: “stop, moment.” Everywhere where people are obsessed with their passions and cannot become the rulers of their thoughts and hearts, I could see only inexhaustible amount of suffering…”
The captain’s speech was interrupted by the knock at the door, and the duke showed up at the doorway when we invited him to come in.
Having the patient’s right, I remained lying on the coach, under the screen of the curtains of the balcony, while the captain was smiling to hi warmly, he met the guest, squeezed his hand in a friendly way and seated him next to me.
The duke explained to us that he already visited the ship where he was looking for the captain. He wanted to thank him for his help provided to his sick wife, he was also thanking us, but he wanted to ask me and I. to visit the patient.
He looked rather badly. He was elegantly dressed, but his face was sallow, his eyes were feverish, and everything within him was telling about his utter physical exhaustion and mental derangement.
The captain was smiling and he told him that he was very sorry that he wasn’t the doctor, because then he would prescribe the bed regime not to his wife, but to himself. I assured the duke that I. would certainly visit him, but I doubted if he had time today, because he left early in the morning and promised to come back only in the evening, but he also had lots of affairs to do in the evening.
Having spent another hour with us, the duke asked us for permission to visit us tomorrow in the morning in order to find out when I. could visit his wife.
We didn’t have time to exchange our impressions about Constantinople when there came a knock at the door again and signoras Galdoni with the bouquets of roses in their hands entered the cabin. Both of them were radiating with joy. Their speech was cheerful and lively, they invited me, I. and the captain to visit them in the wonderful palace of embassy. The captain explained to them that at the moment he was nursing me, that I. was asserting him that I still had to stay in bed for two or three days, but then he promised them to present me to them himself.
The good manners and noble company were blowing softy from the Italians, while the charming, bottomless and kind eyes of the young Galdoni were arousing the best feelings in my soul, her charming womanhood was penetrating till the bottom of my heart.
“This is what the poor, sweet Joan lacks,” I told the captain. “She’s better than many others, but she cannot control herself, just like me. Only because I’m ill-bred, I’m always irritated, right? Maybe that’s why I can understand Joan better than others.”
“No, my friend. There’s nothing in common between your and her ill breeding. You are only unexperienced and you cannot control neither your temperament nor your thoughts, but the circle of your wants and ideas, the world of your high aspirations in which you are living, - everything is guiding you to the space of those happy people who achieve an ability to be of use to their brothers on the earth. Sooner or later you will find your individual, unique path that is impossible for another person and you will bring something new to your life, I’m sure that it’ll be great and significant for the common welfare. And regarding Joan, well – thank goodness if her endless personal suffering would release at least a mother’s love within her and could help her to become a mother-helper, a mother-assistant to her children, and not a mother-tyrant. There are many cases when a mother’s suffered pain becomes a despotism for her children! In the meanwhile, it seems to her that her love is the greatest deed.”
I was looking at the captain with my eyes opened wide. His face was wonderful. Such a deep concentration was reflected on it, which I used to see only on the faces of I., Florentian and Ali.
My silence made him turn around.
“Why are you looking at me like this, my boy, my brotherhood brother? What new have you seen within me,” he asked me by touching my shoulder easily and tenderly.
“Not only I saw something new within you, but I also understood that you really need to become acquainted with my friend Florentian. He’s such a great man that I haven’t met another one like him up to now. Even I. whom you exclude from others cannot compete with him, although I admit from the bottom of my heart that I. is an ideal of unreachable height and kindness for me. You don’t know my friend Florentian, but you uttered those words that I used to hear from him two times already. Oh, if such happiness came, and I could introduce you to him!”
I even didn’t notice I. who came in.
“It seems that you’re having a good time together, but why I don’t see Joan? I agreed with her that she would be waiting for me here with you, Lovushka, and that I would be able to let her know immediately about where and how she would be making arrangements about her job. Did two such gallant cavaliers fail to dispel the storm of sadness of one lady?” he asked us by squeezing our hands cheerfully.
“No,” the captain answered him. “The lady has taught me obedience. She even left my flowers, while the perfectly selected menu was unsuccessful at all. I think that I’m namely that reason which took the appetite and good mood from the lady. If I hadn’t received your instruction to stay with Lovushka, I’m afraid that I would have run away from the battle-field.”
“I., Joan upset me very much. Once again I failed to remain tactful, I brought disorder in her life again, although I wanted to bring in peace. It seems that the perspective of a sincere and joyful contact with such a gawk like myself is supposed only for black women,” I was complaining ironically to I.
“What kind of black women?” the captain gave a shout.
“This is the first and memorable Lovushka’s acquaintance with the black-skinned woman in B. For the first time in his life, he saw an educated, elegant, black-skinned woman not in the picture, but while he was visiting the family of one of my friends, so he was shocked,” I. answered him. “For some reason you are pale, Lovushka. I would like that you would come down carefully to the garden with the captain and would sit there for a while in the shadow. However sorry I feel for you, but you will have to take part in my conversation with Joan before that trader who gives the premises to her comes. Captain, I also would like to ask you very much to stay with us during that hour, because I guess that it will be very difficult for Joan to start the new life of the single, working woman. It is a pity, but I failed to find out
anything about her uncle. There’s an information that he fell ill and moved away to his relatives in the provinces, but there aren’t any further tracks of him.”
The captain agreed willingly to stay with me in the garden and then to come back. I. asked us if we protested to miss the dinner and to have our supper only late in the evening. We assented to him. While we were going downstairs to the garden, we met both Turks. The younger Turk joined us, while the older one went to I.
The youth was still walking with difficulty. He was using the stick, but he wasn’t feeling any special pain in his leg and back anymore. He had worked out the whole plan what we had to see in Constantinople. I was fascinated by his mentioned, historical places both in the city and in its environs, but I thought that probably I wouldn’t have time to see at least a half of it.
I wanted to hear from I. about my brother and our future destiny very much, but… already not for the first time during these days, I was learning patience and self-control.
Towards evening, the servant in the name of I. asked us to tea. The table was laid no less carefully than the captain’s one during the breakfast. The table was standing in the big I.’s room, it was glittering with silver and loaded with all sorts of Eastern sweets.
When we entered, I. hurried away to invite Joan. He didn’t come back for quite a long time. I already started worrying and getting irritated when finally they came by continuing their conversation which obviously wasn’t very pleasing for Joan.
She had a modest, blue dress on, which especially emphasized her paleness. Having bowed to me and the captain, she greeted both Turks and sat down on the seat which I. showed to her. I. sat down next to her, me and the captain – in front of them, the Turks – from their right side, and there was a free place left from the left side of Joan.
We didn’t have time to take our places when a tall, slender, absolutely grey, elderly man with rather sharp and beautiful facial features knocked lightly at the door and entered the room.
I. rose to meet him, he introduced him to everybody and invited him to sit down next to Joan. He presented him to us as Boris Fyodorovich Stroganoff.
I took a good look at Stroganoff and I wouldn’t have called him a Russian in any way. His face was the one of a typical Turk with a hooked nose, big black eyes and black eye-brows. It was smoothly shaven, which suited more for an actor rather than for a trader.
The joint conversation started, in which Joan wasn’t taking part at all. I could see the traces of tears and powder on her face. I sympathized sincerely with the poor woman and I was tormenting myself, because it was so difficult to transfer energy from one heart to another one. I was sure that everybody who were sitting at the table had gathered only to help her. And nevertheless, everyone’s joint will could hardly help her self-control. I was looking so intently at Stroganoff that he started laughing and told me.
“Young man, I bet that you are a writer.”
Everybody gave a laugh, and I asked him, wonderstruck.
“Why did you draw such a conclusion all of a sudden?”
“Because I’ve seen all kinds of people during my long life and I noticed that only the eyes of talented writers were such awls that one becomes uncomfortable because of them. I absolutely don’t want
to say that your showed attention is unpleasant to me. I want to assure you that I’m not a secret personality at all and you won’t find any crime hidden from justice in my past, so I’m not that interesting,” he was smiling and he extended his cigar-case to me.
“Thank you, I haven’t learned to smoke yet,” I answered him. “Forgive me for such an attentive look of mine, this is only my ill breeding. I’m extremely absent-minded and from my childhood my nickname is Lovushka – the catcher of the crows. I hope that you can forgive me and that you won’t be strict for such a rude curiosity of mine.”
I was totally distressed, because I directed the guest’s attention to me so unsuccessfully.
He rose from his chair, bowed easily before me and answered me politely that his remark wasn’t a challenge, but only a bad compliment, and that he got even with me in this.
I. asked him if he was living in Constantinople for a long time already.
“Yes, I’ve been living here for a long time. I was born here,” Stroganoff explained to him. “My father was the captain of the commercial ship and he often used to come to Constantinople. So one time he became acquainted with a half-Russian, half Turkish family and married one of their daughters. I resemble my mother very much, that’s why my family name doesn’t correspond to my appearance so much. My other family members are blond and corpulent. I was born in that house where the premises of the shop are free now, but back then that street wasn’t one of the main ones like it is now. From whom would you like to rent them?”
“We would like to rent them for your neighbour, so that she could open the hat atelier,” I. answered him.
I. noticed that Stroganoff turned to Joan, so he warned him that his neighbour was French and she was talking only her language.
The guest began to speak in French. He was speaking easily, with a little accent, but absolutely correctly.
My heart started beating out of excitement. I was so afraid that the rude Joan’s behaviour would make Stroganoff to change his mind and would cause difficulty for the rent, but he, as though not noticing anything, was explaining the advantages of the street, house and interior design to her in a very business-like and pleasant way. According to his words, there was a small villa downstairs – the shop with the antechamber, while upstairs there was a two-room flat with the kitchen, which had a way out to the yard and the wonderful garden.
Seeing that Joan kept silent, he offered to take her tomorrow in the morning and to show her the premises. If the repairs were needed, then it would be possible to do it quickly.
I. thanked Boris Fyodorovich, he explained to him that Joan was the niece of that man about whom he was searching the information in the morning, that she would have to stay in Constantinople alone with her two little children, because all of us would leave, except the Turks.
Stroganoff turned to Joan again. The tears were rolling down her face.
“Don’t upset yourself, madam,” he was talking to her. All of us are fighting in our lives and all of us start with a very little – only to make our bread. It is your fortune that you met the people who turned out to be the real people and who are taking care of you now. This is a rare luck. It seems that you’ve deserved an exceptional favour of fate with something, because I will be glad to help you, too. I have twenty-seven years old daughter who lost her groom when she was seventeen years old, then she didn’t
want to marry again. I always wanted to begin an independent business. If you could teach her to do your trade, then to accept her as your companion, then both the shop and its installation would cost you half as much.”
Joan’s face became brighter. The smile showed up in her lips, and with the childish confidence she extended both of her hands to Stroganoff.
“I will be happy to have a companion. I know my trade very well, the ladies usually lose their minds for my hats, but I absolutely don’t know the book-keeping and accounts, and this side of the business even frightens me. I would be happier if you could just hire me, while the whole business would be yours.”
“I think that this won’t correspond to your friends’ plans,” Stroganoff answered her. “As I understood from your friend’s speech and as I would wish it for my own daughter myself, you have to live independent, you have to work and to bring up your children. Only be brave. My daughter doesn’t know anything about financial accounts, too, but she’s intelligent, diligent, and I will be guiding you in your financial operations from the beginning. It is everything easy for a man if he doesn’t cry, if he isn’t afraid of anything, but if he starts his job easily and fearlessly. I noticed many times that in business not those who have lots of money win, but those who have started their business easily.”
Everything was decided. Joan, I. and Stroganoff hat to meet in the future atelier tomorrow at eleven o’clock.
I was looking at I. pleadingly, not daring to ask him for permission to come with him, but I., foreseeing my want, explained to Stroganoff that I was very ill and that I wasn’t allowed neither to walk nor to jolt in the coach. So I. asked Stroganoff if it was possible to cover a part of the way by water. Boris Fyodorovich answered him that we could go to the old defensive tower by boat, then in two blocks there would be the shop, but we would have to row at least for half of hour.
“We’ll do exactly this,” the captain said to Joan by looking at her, “if the whole company is inviting us.”
Joan gave a laugh and told him that she would be happy, but whether Lovushka himself would want to do it. This looked so funny for everybody, because my evident desire to see everything by myself was simply writ large on my face.
Stroganoff finished drinking his tea and said good-bye to us by smiling benevolently. The old Turk volunteered to accompany him, because the urgent matters were waiting for him in his house, too.
When they left, I. handed two big batches of bank-notes to Joan and explained to her that they were meant for her children. If now she had to spend some of the money for the beginning of the business, then as soon as there would be some profit, she had to lay it aside, because his friends had given the money for education of her children.
“Probably I should only thank you and your friends, mister senior doctor, but I cannot understand in any way – is really my entire life only for my children? Don’t I really signify anything at all, because during the whole journey no one has told me personally a kinder word, and all the troubles are running only on my children?” Joan was asking I. “I’m very dedicated to my children, I want to work and I will be working for them, but is it really everything over for me, because I have lost my husband? So I’m not allowed even to look at people? I’m stunned with such a tyrannical attitude.”
Hysteria rang in her face, and I remembered the captain’s words that Joan was on the boundary of a mental disease.
“One day,” I. answered her, “you will probably perceive how terrible it is that what you are talking about now. You are very ill, very unhappy and you are unable to estimate the entire tragedy of your disposition. Everything what we could do for you we did, but nobody can give peace to your heart, and that is the first condition of your successful work. You see happy and restrained people among us, and it seems to you that we are exactly such how you are thinking about us, but in truth, my dear Joan, you cannot imagine how many tragedies some of us have gone through. I don’t ask anything from you now, only don’t give in to the sorrow of this moment and don’t think that if Lovushka and I are leaving, then you won’t have any comfort anymore. You will find comfort in your successful work. Only for now don’t think about love like the only possibility to restore your balance. Trust my experience that life without work is the unhappiest one, but when there’s a work, then the whole life is already half-happy.”
Joan didn’t answer him any word, but I understood that a husband and love had taken the first place in her psychology, and only then her children followed, while work was only a necessary addition to it.
The younger Turk promised Joan to bring her an old nurse Turk who was living in their family for many years.
In this way Joan’s life was being put in order as if a fairy had waved her wand.
I. interrupted our not so absolutely happy drinking of the tea by offering us to depart and by reminding everybody about my condition. While Joan was saying good-bye to me, she told me that she would agree to rent the house only in this case if I assented to it. I didn’t have time to answer her more exhaustively, I only had time to utter her that I myself was following I.’s advices and I offered her to catch each of his words, not mine.
The captain and the younger Turk went downstairs to the restaurant. I. and I refused the food categorically, and finally the two of us were left alone.
We went to the balcony. It was the dark night already, which seemed to me like the real fairy-tale: I had never seen such wonderful sky and unusual stars. This strange and extraordinary city with its lights seemed to be unreal to me, like a panorama of a fairy-tale.
“I don’t have many new news, besides the ones which I have already imparted to you. Our persecutors died in the sea, but I received the letter from Ali, in which he asks us to stay in Constantinople until Ananda comes here. Then all of us together will be moving to India, to Ali’s estate. I received the telegram from Florentian. He’s writing that your brother and Nal came to London, but I think that they would have to go to New York where Florentian himself would accompany them to,” I. was speaking to me.
“Am I really going to India with you and my brother to America, not even seeing one another before our separation?” I asked I. sadly.
“Lovushka, if you saw your brother in front of you now, could you, after your first meeting with him, ask him all those questions which have appeared in your soul, which still are living there and to which you would like to get some detailed answers? You have been living with your brother for so many years and only now you understand that your and his spiritual lives are spinning around the different axes. Not the physical meeting is important, but that you could understand your brother without any questions and tears, that you could find the answers to all of it within yourself. You have to learn a lot, so that you could understand your brother’s books. You will find an excellent library in Ali’s estate, while young Ali will be your friend and assistant. You can still choose at this moment. If you want to go to your brother, Florentian will take you with him, and Ananda will take you to him. However, if you, knowing from your experience how it is difficult to be living with the people who are superior than you, not being able to
understand them, want to stay with me and Ali, then you’ll be able to become a strong assistant both to Florentian and your brother who will still need your help many times. You are free to choose your path yourself, but for some reason it seems to me that both your intuition and your talent are already telling you themselves that you cannot leave that what you’ve already started. While we are living here and signing in your name, those who are persecuting your brother will certainly come here as soon as they receive this message, and while we will be their target, your brother and Nal will have time to move to America. I won’t hide from you my anxiety, too. Although the mad Turk’s blow haven’t killed you in place, it shook you so much that it affected your whole organism anyway. With the help of your cheerful will, you have to try to keep your balance all the time. Every time when you begin to get excited or to irritate, think about Florentian, remember his perfect self-control which have been saving you many times along your path. Also think about Joan whose behaviour you understand perfectly as inappropriate. The more and more thoroughly you will be going deeper in your circumstances, the easier it will be for you to perceive when you are more valuable for your brother and Florentian – now, when everything seems to be secret for you, or when you acquire some knowledge and understand that there are no secrets in nature, and that there’s only one or another level of knowledge.”
We went to our rooms, but I couldn’t fall asleep. Now I could understand Joan who was seeking for her personal happiness so perfectly…
Now all my happiness could go into meeting with my brother and Florentian. It seemed to me that I didn’t want anything else. Even if I wasn’t suited for anything else, I would agree to be their servant, to clean their shoes and clothes, only if I could see their dear faces, hear their voices and not the moans of my heart because of the separation with them. I was already about to burst into tears when all of a sudden I remembered Stroganoff’s words that he could often see that those who used to start their paths easily would win. I even became red in the face. I compared myself to Joan once again and I saw that so many people were helping me, just like her, and that I had also seized the desire for my personal happiness blindfold, just like her.
I tried to forget myself, I directed my thoughts to Florentian with all my strength, and suddenly the familiar face emerged next to me again and I heard my dear voice: “Be strong. Not always man receives that much as you do now. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn; man receives a call for knowledge only once in his life and there’s no another time. Learn to love people well, and for the real love neither separation nor time exists. Preserve peace and your place next to I. without any fear, any lie, but with joy. Always remember: joy is an unbeatable power.”
An unusual silence fell within myself. As though with inner insight, I understood easily and simply how I should keep on living. I fell in an undisturbed sleep and I was really happy.
I woke up in the morning only when I. was waking me up. He was telling me that the clumsy sailor and the captain were waiting for me downstairs in order to boat to the meeting’s place and that I had to breakfast on the boat.
I put my clothes on quickly, but I didn’t have time to put on my coat, while the clumsy sailor was already here and he was explaining to me that it wasn’t a great sailor’s way to dress himself for so long. He didn’t allow me to take my coat, he told me that there was a raincoat and a plaid on the boat, but it was also warm without them.
He was showing me the way through some yards, and although we were walking slowly, soon we reached the sea where I got on the boat successfully.