- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
88

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH THE GAUCASUS TO THE VOLGA
88
of these mountains ; and indeed they have not really
got much farther even now. From the plain and up
these forest-clad, steep slopes they waged their
bloody wars for nearly a hundred years to bring
under their yoke the brave, freedom-loving moun
tain tribes, who defended themselves with an iron
heroism, and for every inch of mountain soil took
streams of blood. They brought defeat after defeat
on the Russian armies, until the fresh on-storming
forces were at length too strong in numbers for the
small bands of mountain peasants, far worse armed,
who in the end had to give in; but rather than
become Russian subjects many ofthem left the land.
Not yet did the Caucasus become Russian, and the
Russian culture today does not reach much beyond
the foot of the mountains.
The wall now lay far behind us there, as a bluish
haze—the dividing-line between two worlds, where
a hoary antiquity, that still lives, meets our own
hurrying times.
Now wc had to say farewell to our friend
Napoleon, otherwise Narriman Ter Kasarian, our
faithful companion throughout the crowded journey
from the time when wc arrived at Batum, which
now seemed so long ago, although it was only a
little over three weeks. He was now going back
the same way with his Armenian friend and the
ladies, and would spend the night in the hotel at
Kasbek. Wc were sad at heart, and felt a deep
yearning to go back there, and once more to go
through the great adventure in that overwhelming
world heaved up and torn asunder by the mightiest

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