We have been here three days. Some of us are going to be sent to Erivan; the rest of us are starting in two days for Van.
The enthusiasm here is very great. There are already 20,000 volunteers at the front, and they are trying to increase the number to 30,000. Each district we occupy is placed under Armenian administration, and an Armenian post is running from Igdir to Van. The Russian Government is showing great goodwill towards the Armenians and doing everything in its power for the liberation of Turkish Armenia.
When we disembarked at Archangel the Government gave us every possible assistance. It even undertook the transport of our baggage, and gave us free passes, second class, to Petrograd.
At Petrograd we received an equally hearty welcome, and the Governor of the city presented each of us with a medal in token of his sympathy. The Armenian colony put us up in the best hotels, entertained us at the best restaurants, and could not make enough of us. This lasted for five days, and then we continued our journey, again at the Government's expense, to Tiflis.
Everywhere on the way the population received us with cheers and offerings of flowers. Just as we were leaving Archa gel, a young Russian lady came with flowers and offered one to eaeh of us. I also saw a quite poor man who was so moved by the speech in Russian that one of our comrades had made, that he came and put his tobacco into the pipe of a comrade standing next to me, and kept nothing for himself but a bare half-pipeful. A third, an old man, was so moved by the speech that he began to cry and nearly made off, but a little while after I saw him standing in front of the carriage window and, with a shaking hand, holding out a hard-boiled egg to our comrade the chemist Roupen Stepanian. Probably it was his one meal for the day.
And so at every step we found ourselves in the midst of affecting scenes. At Petrograd Railway Station the crowd was enormous. There was an Armenian lady there who offered each of us a rose. There were boys and young men who wept because they could not come with us. At Rostov a young Russian joined our ranks. He was caught more than once by his parents at the stations further down the line, but he always succeeded in escaping them and reioining us. We have christened him Stepan.
When we arrived at Tiflis, we marched singing to the offices of the Central Armenian Bureau, with our flag unfurled in front of us, and the people marched on either side of us in such a crowd that the trams were forced to stop running.
That is enough for to-day. My next letter shall be written from Armenia itself..
Please say nothing to my sister about this resolution that I have taken. I hope, of course, that she would know how to sacrifice her affection for her brother to her love for the nation and for liberty.. I should curse any of my relations who lament my resolution; they would have committed treason against the nation. There are five of us brothers; was it not imperative that at least one of us should devote himself to the cause of a national emancipation ? Let us keep up our courage, realise the urgency of the moment and do our duty.