ITS INHABITANTS AND OWNERS
Our birthplace, the village of Velikoe (“Great”), Yaroslavl’ province (thirty-five versts40 from Yaroslavl’ city eastward along the main road to Rostov), had, from time immemorial, along with the sur- rounding villages, belonged to the sovereign’s court department. A church, two market days a week, and the production of peasant shoes, mittens, gloves, and woolen stockings remain relics of those old days. Traditionally, these crafts sustained the local market, which in the summer was enlivened with the additional sale of cloth and fine handkerchiefs (perhaps even better known than the village itself), and, during the winter, became brisk with the sale of a type of flax called “glinets.” The area historically produced a large quantity of flax, which was always famous for its quality. In the eighteenth century the entire estate, with all its twenty-three hamlets and the village of Pleshcheevo, somehow (I cannot explain how, probably Ekaterina gifted it41) passed into the possession of Prince Peter Ivanovich Repnin.42 This dignitary loved the village,
40Versta is a pre-revolutionary Russian measure of distance. One versta is approximately 1.067 km or 0.663 mile. Thirty-five versts is about twenty-three miles.
41 Here Purlevskii is referring to Empress Catherine I (r. 1725–1727). Her reign is explored in John Alexander, “Catherine I, Her Court and Courtiers,” in Peter the Great and the West: New Perspectives, Lindsey Hughes, ed. (Basingstoke, UK: Pargrave, 2000), and Lindsey Hughes, Russia in the Age of Peter the Great (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998).
42 Here the author apparently means Prince Anikita Ivanovich Repnin