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THE COSSACKS

"A good day to you, good people! Oh, there!" he turned to the Cossacks, in the same powerful and joyful voice; he spoke without effort, and yet as loud as if he were talking to some one across the river.

"A good day to you, uncle!" merrily sounded the youthful voices of the Cossacks, from all sides.

"Well, have you seen anything? Do tell me!" cried Uncle Eróshka, wiping the sweat from his broad, red face with the sleeve of his mantle.

"Listen, uncle? There is some hawk living here in the plane-tree! Every evening he goes circling in the air," said Nazárka, blinking with his eye, and twitching his shoulder and leg.

"You don't say?" the old man said, incredulously.

"Truly, uncle, you watch awhile," insisted Nazárka, laughing.

The Cossacks all laughed.

The jester had not seen any hawk; but it had long become a habit with the young Cossacks of the cordon to tease and deceive Uncle Eróshka every time he came near them.

"Oh, you fool, talking rubbish!" said Lukáshka from the watch-tower to Nazárka.

Nazarka at once grew silent.

"I must watch, and I will," said the old man, to the great amusement of the Cossacks. "Have you seen any boars?"

"The idea! Watching boars!" said the under-officer, glad to have an opportunity to divert himself, rolling over, and scratching his long back with both his hands. "We have to catch abréks here, and not boars. Uncle, haven't you heard anything, eh?" he added, blinking without cause, and opening his even row of white teeth.

"Abréks?" said the old man. "No, I have not. Well, have you any red wine? Let me have a drink, good man! I am tired, really, I am. Just give me a