A Hero of Our Time June 10

It is already three days since I arrived in Kislovodsk. Every day I see Vera at the well and during the promenade. In the morning, upon waking, I sit in the garden that leads from our houses down to the well. The bracing mountain air has returned strength and color to her face. It is for good reason that the Narzan is called a mighty spring. The local residents confirm that the air of Kislovodsk disposes one toward love, and that all love affairs that begin somewhere in the foothills of Mount Mashuk have their denouements here. And it is true, everything here breathes seclusion; everything here is mysterious. The thick canopies of the linden avenues lean over a stream, which falls with foam and noise from rock to rock, cutting itself a path between the verdant mountains. The ravines, full of mist and silence, diverge like branches in all directions. The freshness of the aromatic air is burdened with the scents of the high southern grasses and the white acacia. And there is the constant sweet and soporific sound of the very cold streams, which meet at the bottom of the valley, chasing one another amicably, flinging themselves finally into the Podkumok River. On this side, the ravine is wider and turns into a green hollow, along which winds a dusty road. Every time I look at it, it seems to me that there is a carriage passing along it and that there is a rosy face looking out of its window. Lots of carriages do pass along this road, but that one hasn’t appeared yet. The slobodka behind the fortress is densely settled; evening lights in the restaurant built on the hill a few paces from my quarters are starting to twinkle through two rows of poplars. Noise and the ringing of glasses stretch late into the night.

Nowhere do people drink so much Kakhetian wine and mineral waters as here.

But there is a willing multitude

Who mix these two occupations,

I am not in their numbers16

Grushnitsky and his gang rage in the tavern every day and barely bow when they see me.

He arrived only yesterday but has already managed to argue with three old men, who tried to sit in the baths before him: misfortune definitely produces a warring spirit in him.