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A Tale of 1852That whole part of the Terek line (about fifty miles) along which lie the villages of the Grebensk Cossacks is uniform in character both as to country and inhabitants. The Terek, which separates the Cossacks from the mountaineers, still flows turbid and rapid though already broad and smooth, always depositing grayish sand on its low reedy right bank and washing away the steep, though not high, left bank, with its roots of century-old oaks, its rotting plane trees, and young brushwood. On the right bank lie the villages of pro-Russian, though still somewhat restless, Tartars. Along the left bank, back half a mile from the river and standing five or six miles apart from one another, are Cossack villages. In olden times most of these villages were situated on the banks of the river; but the Terek, shifting northward from the mountains year by year, washed away those banks, and now there remain only the ruins of the old villages and of the gardens of pear and plum trees and poplars, a...

The good stallion took the sledge along at a brisk pace over the smooth-frozen road through the village, the runners squeaking slightly as they went. ‘Look at him hanging on there! Hand me the whip, Nikita!’ shouted Vasili Andreevich, evidently enjoying the sight of his ‘heir,’ who standing on the runners was hanging on at the back of the sledge. ‘I’ll give it you! Be off to mama, you dog!’ The boy jumped down. The horse increased his amble and, suddenly changing foot, broke into a fast trot. The Crosses, the village where Vasili Andreevich lived, consisted of six houses. As soon as they had passed the blacksmith’s hut, the last in the village, they realized that the wind was much stronger than they had thought. The road could hardly be seen. The tracks left by the sledge-runners were immediately covered by snow and the road was only distinguished by the fact that it was higher than the rest of the ground. The...

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