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III.

The farther Olénin travelled from the centre of Russia, the more distant his memories seemed to him; and the nearer he approached the Caucasus, the happier he felt. "To go away for ever, and never to come back, and not to appear in society," it sometimes occurred to him. "The people that I see here are no people; no one knows me here, and not one of them can ever be in Moscow and in the society in which I moved, or find out anything about my past. And not one of that society will ever know what I was doing when I lived among those people."

And an entirely new feeling of freedom from his whole past seized him among the vulgar beings whom he met on the road, and whom he did not regard as people on the same level with his Moscow acquaintances. The coarser the people were, and the fewer the signs of civilization, the freer he felt himself.

Stavrópol, through which he passed, mortified him. The shop-signs,—nay, French signs,—the ladies in a carriage, the cabmen who stood in the square, the boulevard, and a gentleman in an overcoat and hat, who was strolling in the boulevard and glancing at the stranger, affected him painfully. "Maybe these people know some of my acquaintances," and he again recalled the club, the tailor, the cards, and society—

After Stavrópol, however, everything went satisfactorily: it was all wild and, besides, beautiful and warlike. And Olénin grew happier and happier. All the Cossacks,

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