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Abercromby, John / A trip through the eastern Caucasus

A trip through the eastern Caucasus: chapter I: from Tiflis to Nukha,   pp. [1]-29

Page 4

fully believed he was undertaking a very dangerous 
enterprise in crossing the mountains into Daghestan. 
He was quite taken aback when I laughed at him 
for being such an ass, and never lluded to the 
subject again. If I had referred to the incident a 
few days later, he would have indignantly repudiated 
having ever thought of anything so stupid, and 
replied that I had totally misunderstood him. That 
was a way he had. 
Our direction now lay towards the east, and soon 
we had Tiflis with its old rocky citadel and its 
crowded bazaars, peopled by strange-looking, men, 
behind us. To me it used to be a standing riddle 
to try to make out what nationality each belonged to. 
There was little use asking the Armenian guide, for 
to him all Mussulmans were Tatars, though they 
might have been Lesgians, Avars, or any of the 
peoples of Daghestan.   After jolting through the 
town it was a comfort at last to leave the paved 
streets and get upon the comparatively smooth road. 
Before us lay a huge uncultivated plain, covered with 
sun-scorched grass, and stretching far away to the 
east and south-east. Beyond the river to the right 
lay a line of grayish brown hills of uniform altitude, 
scored by a thousand ravines, each brought into 
prominence by a dark, sharply-defined shadow. The 
general aspect was that of barrenness and desolation. 
Now and then we met droves of cattle, and carts 
drawn by buffaloes, plodding slowly along, attended 
by very rough-looking men. 
At Orkhevi we changed, horses. The hills to the 

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