- Aug 21, 2010
Graham's Russian Pilgrims just arrived. The prologue stirred misgivings when I read it, but as soon as the account of the pilgrims begins, the book takes flight!
I'm now a hundred-plus pages into Undiscovered Russia by the same author, and liking it well, too. In this case, I went to archive.org, from which I have also printed out Stephen Graham's A Vagabond in the Caucasus. There's a nice blurb for the Vagabond at the end of the one I'm reading now:
"It is the spirit of the open air, the passion of the tramp, the poet's delight in the simple yet significant little things of forest, mountain, plain that combine to charm. As you read, you picture the days when this 'old world was yet young,' and find yourself in a region that has not changed for too many centuries to count, and wherein move stately fighting men and unspoilt shepherds and bearded figures that have stepped clean out of the Bible picture-books of one's childhood. The beauty of this marvellous land of mountains between the Caspian and the Black Sea is utterly arresting. I myself spent some weeks there last summer, and it calls to me like strong music. To read this vital account of it all is to live over again my own adventures. There are no 'purple patches.' The colour is vivid and true. One sees that air of strange clear brilliance; one smells the leagues of azaleas; hears the barking of the savage sheep dogs; and watches the horsemen clad in flowing bourkas careering over the mountain paths like strayed centaurs." -- ALGERNON BLACKWOOD