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Page:Complete Works of Count Tolstoy - 02.djvu/124

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A Cossack, by his natural inclination, hates less a warrior brave who has killed his brother, than a soldier who is stationed there to defend his village, but who has smoked up his cabin with tobacco. He respects the hostile mountaineer, but despises the soldier, who is a stranger to him, and an oppressor. A Russian peasant proper is to the Cossack a strange, wild, and contemptible creature, not different from the Little-Russian peddlers and immigrants whom he has seen, and whom he contemptuously designates as "fullers."

His dandyism consists in imitating the Chechén attire. He gets his best ammunition from the mountaineers, and his best horses are bought and stolen from them. A young Cossack brags of his knowledge of the Tartar language, and when he is carousing speaks in Tartar even to his brother Cossack. In spite of this, these Christian people, lost in a corner of the earth, and surrounded by semi-savage Mohammedan tribes and by soldiers, regard themselves as highly civilized, and consider none but Cossacks to be men; upon everybody else they look with contempt.

A Cossack passes the greater part of his life in the cordons, in expeditions, hunting, or fishing. He hardly ever works at home. His presence in the village is an exception, and then he carouses. The Cossacks all have wine of their own, and intoxication is not so much a common weakness of theirs, as a ceremony, the neglect of which would be considered an apostasy.

Upon woman a Cossack looks as an implement of his well-being. A maiden is permitted to take things easy; but a wife is compelled to work for him from youth to advanced old age; he looks upon woman with the Eastern conception of submissiveness and labour. In consequence of this view, a woman, whose physical and moral development is intensified, outwardly submits, but at the same time has, as generally in the East, an incom-