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114
THE COSSACKS

song. One Cossack, with a haggard and swarthy face, lay, apparently dead drunk, on his belly near one of the walls of the hut, which some two hours before had been in the shade, but upon which now fell the burning slanting rays.

Lukáshka, who was stationed in the watch-tower, was a handsome fellow, about twenty years of age, and very much like his mother. His face and his whole figure expressed, in spite of the angularity of youth, great physical and moral strength. Although he had but lately been taken into the army, one could see from the broad features of his face and from the calm self-confidence of his attitude that he had already succeeded in acquiring that martial and somewhat proud bearing, which is characteristic of the Cossacks and of people in general, who are continually in arms,—that he was a Cossack, and that he knew his full value. His broad mantle was torn in places; his cap was poised jauntily in Chechén fashion; his leggings fell below his knees. His attire was not rich, but it fitted him with that Cossack foppishness which consists in the imitation of the Chechén braves.

In a real brave everything hangs loosely and carelessly in tatters; only the weapons are of the richest. But this ragged attire and the weapons are put on, girded, and adjusted in a certain fashion, which not everybody can acquire, and which immediately catches the eye of a Cossack or mountaineer. Lukáshka had this appearance of a Chechén brave. Placing his hands under his sabre, and blinking with his eyes, he kept looking at the distant village. The separate features of his face were not handsome; but upon surveying at once his stately form, and his black-browed and intelligent face, everybody would involuntarily say, "He is a fine chap!"

"What a lot of women that village is pouring out!" he said, in a sharp voice, lazily opening his shining white teeth, and speaking to nobody in particular.