Classic novella. According to Wikipedia: "The Cossacks is a short novel by Leo Tolstoy, published in 1863. The novel was acclaimed by Ivan Bunin as one of the finest in the language. In the story, Olenin is stationed in the Caucasus and leaves Moscow behind. While there, he slowly becomes enamored by the surroundings and despises his previous existence. ... Olenin soon finds his love growing for the surroundings and first falls in love with Maryanka, who is to be wed to Luka later in the story. He tries to stop this emotion and eventually convinces himself that he loves both Luka and Maryanka for their simplicity and decides that happiness can only come to a man who constantly gives to others with no thought of self-gratification... another Russian named Beletsky, who is still attached to the ways of Moscow, comes and partially corrupts Olenin’s ideals and convinces him through his actions to attempt to win Maryanka’s love. He approaches her several times and Luka hears of the possibility from a Cossack, and thus does not invite him to the betrothal party. Olenin spends the night with Eroshka but soon decides that he will not give up on the girl and attempts to win her heart again. He eventually, in a moment of passion, asks her to marry him, which she says she will answer soon. Luka, however, is severely wounded when he and a group of Cossacks go to confront a group of Chechens, including the brother of the man he killed earlier, who are trying to attack the village. Though the Chechens lose after the Cossacks take a cart to block their bullets, the brother of the slain Chechen manages to shoot Luka in the belly when he is close by. As Luka seems to be dying and is being cared for by village people, Olenin approaches Maryanka to ask her to marry him; she angrily refuses. He realizes that "his first impression of this woman's inaccessiblity had been perfectly correct."