THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY
that in three minutes one can boil eggs in it quite hard. In the ravine, on the torrent, three mills, one above the other, are built in a very curious, but attractive way. The whole day Tartar women are seen moving above and below the mills, washing their clothes. I must tell you that they wash with their feet. There is always great activity, like the bustle in an ant-hill. The women mostly are handsome and well-built. The dress of Oriental women, however poor, is always graceful . . . . Picturesque groups of women, the wild beauty of nature—all this makes a delightful scene. Often I stand for hours contemplating the landscape."
The greater part of his three years' stay in the Caucasus Leo Tolstoy spent at Stary-Yurt. The beauty of the scenery of the mountainous country formed the background for the beautiful descriptions of nature in his novels on life in the Caucasus. We quote from "The Cossacks" the following splendid picturing of the mountains:
"The morning was perfectly cloudless. Suddenly he saw, at a distance of only twenty paces as it seemed to him at first, brilliant white masses with their delicate outlines, and the fantastic, sharply defined contours of their summits against the distant sky. When he realised the great distance