Uhlans are a type of light cavalry that originated in Poland in the fifteenth century. The Russian army had seventeen Uhlan regiments.
The Lifeguard Horse Regiment, including the Horse Guards, performed a magnificent charge at the Battle of Austerlitz, scattering the French 4th Line Infantry Regiment, under the command of Napoleon's brother, and capturing their eagle and standard. They also defeated several French infantry units. Although the Russian Guard cavalry regarded themselves as the best of the Russian army, they were newly formed and had no real battle experience before Austerlitz.
Moravia is a region in what is now the Czech Republic; it is where the Battle of Austerlitz was fought. Its largest city is Brno. The traditional dress of the region is called kroje, and involves a lot of lace and ribbons, and hats with feathers on them. Many famous figures originally hail from Moravia, including Gregor Mendel, Edmund Husserl, Sigmund Freud, Oskar Schindler, and Milan Kundera.
A selvedge is a piece of cloth that is self-finishing, and therefore does not fray. The selvedge is created as a by-product of the weaving process, and is often discarded, as the weave pattern is different to the main body of the fabric.
Russian peasants often wore plaited shoes made out of bast, a fibre produced from the bark of linden or birch trees. Wearing such shoes, which were known as lapti, was a sign of extreme poverty. The word came to be used as a derogatory term for poor, uneducated people, who could not afford proper shoes.
As with many other languages, Russian has two forms of address. They are usually transliterated as vyi (formal) and tyi (informal), and correspond in usage to the French words vous and tu.
The mazurka is a lively Polish dance with three beats to a bar, where the accent falls on the second or third beat. It was popular in Russia, where composers such as Tchaikovsky, Glinka, Scriabin and Borodin all used the form. Tolstoy mentions the mazurka in Anna Karenina as well as here, and Turgenev uses it in a scene in Fathers and Sons.