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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 10

Russian soldiers, for there are barracks in the place, 
we saw very few of the inhabitants. The posting- 
house is thirteen versts from the last station, and in 
a few minutes we were again on the move, for the 
change of horses was quickly accomplished. 
The road on the whole was not bad, though now 
and then the nearly dry bed of a water-course, two 
or three hundred yards wide, had to be crossed. It 
was like driving over an avalanche of small boulders, 
but the horses never jibbed, and the tarantass seemed 
equally used to it. The jolting kept one awake, and 
gave the muscles a little needful exercise. The view 
to the left was restricted to the scrub-covered spurs 
of the main chain. But turning to the right the 
eyes could wander over a great stretch of flat and 
scarcely cultivated country. This was bounded in 
the distance by a mountain range of delicate blue, 
the outline of which was for a considerable distance 
so horizontal that, if suddenly seen between two 
bushy trees in the foreground, one might easily take 
it for a sea horizon. For several versts the road was 
lined on both    sides by walnut-trees, and at the 
posting-station of Bielokani there was one of enormous 
size, affording ample shade for man and beast. I was 
told the meaning of the word Bielokani in Georgian is 
"skin of a bear cub," but I suspect this is an example 
of "folk-etymology." The village is mainly inhabited 
by Lesgians, the first I had seen knowing for certain 
they were such. Their type of face is distinctly 
different from that of the Georgians, being much 
rounder and paler. They wear on their heads tallish, 

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