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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 21

than in the villages, where the fleas prevent sleep. I 
soon had occasion to act upon his advice. 
Next day about one o'clock I started with M. 
Selefko and Father Vitali in a phaeton to drive to 
Kish, where the old Armenian chapel is situated. 
The first part of the road is through the luxuriant 
gardens and orchards that surround the town. That 
was very pleasant. But soon the road merged into 
the stony bed of a mountain stream. How the springs 
of the carriage survived I do not know. The Tatar 
driver seemed to think nothing of it, nor did Father 
Vitali, who joked and smoked unceasingly. To escape 
the rain, which was falling hard, we entered one of 
the Tatar stamping-mills built along the stream. 
Nothing could be more primitive. No iron was used 
in its construction. A wooden cylinder with pegs 
stuck into it like a barrel-organ was made to revolve 
by turning on a current of water. In front of it stood 
a row of holes, about a foot deep, made in the floor 
of the mill. Above them was a rude framework, to 
support and keep in their place a number of vertical 
stout pieces of timber, into each of which a wooden 
pin was inserted. These timbers were the pounders 
or stamps, and fitted loosely into the holes. When 
the cylinder was in motion the pegs hit below the 
pins, raising the stamps a foot or two, but letting 
them drop into the holes, where rice was put, as the 
revolution continued. The two men and a boy, all 
Tatars, were most polite and amiable-looking, and 
immediately set the mill in motion to let me see how 
it worked. 

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