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108
THE COSSACKS

the cattle which her daughter Maryánka was driving in the street. She had barely opened the gate, when a large buffalo-cow, pursued by gnats, rushed bellowing into the yard; after her slowly came the well-fed cows, recognizing their mistress with their large eyes, and evenly switching their sides with their tails.

Stately and beautiful Maryánka walked through the gate and, throwing down the stick, fastened the gate, and ran nimbly to scatter the cattle, and drive them to their stalls.

"Take off your shoes, devil's daughter," cried her mother. "You have muddied your shoes."

Maryánka was not in the least insulted by being called a devil's daughter, but accepted these words as an expression of affection, and continued at her work. Maryánka's face was covered with a kerchief; she wore a rose-coloured shirt and a green half-coat. She disappeared under the penthouse, behind the large, fat cattle, and from the stall was heard her voice, gently admonishing the buffalo-cow, "Why don't you stand? Come now! Oh, there, motherkin!—"

After awhile the girl and her mother came out of the stable, and walked to the dairy, carrying two large pots of milk,—the day's milking. From the clay chimney of the dairy soon rose dung smoke, and the milk was changed into boiled cream. The girl attended to the fire, and the old woman came out to the gate.

Darkness fell over the whole village. In the air was borne the odour of vegetables, of the cattle, and of the fragrant dung smoke. At the gates and in the streets ran Cossack women, carrying burning rags in their hands. In the yards could be heard the gasping and quiet chewing of the cattle stretching themselves, and the voices of women and children calling in the courtyards and streets. On week-days a man's drunken voice is but rarely heard.

An old, tall, masculine Cossack woman, from the house