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Page:Complete Works of Count Tolstoy - 02.djvu/141

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119
THE COSSACKS

"I do not know whose, but very likely yours."

"Was it beyond the hole near the plane-tree? That is mine, I placed it there yesterday."

Lukáshka got up, and looked at the pheasant. He patted his dark blue head, which the cock stretched forward in fright, rolling his eyes, and took him into his hands.

"We shall prepare a pilau to-day. Go and kill him, and pick his feathers!"

"Shall we eat it alone, or shall we give it to the under-officer?"

"He has had enough."

"I am afraid to kill them," said Nazárka.

"Let me have him!"

Lukáshka took out his knife from beneath his dagger, and drew it rapidly across the bird's neck. The bird fluttered, but before he had time to open his wings his bloody head was bent back and hung down.

"This is the way it is done," said Lukáshka, throwing down the cock. "It will be a fat pilau."

Nazárka shuddered, looking at the bird.

"Listen, Luká, the devil will send us again into the 'secret,'" he added, as he raised the pheasant, meaning the under-officer by the word "devil." "He has sent Fomúshkin for some red wine, it was his turn. Every night we go out, the enemy comes out against us."

Lukáshka walked, whistling, along the cordon.

"Pick up the twine!" he shouted.

Nazárka obeyed him.

"I will tell him to-day, really I will," continued Nazárka. "We will say we won't go, because we are tired, and that is the end of it. You tell him that; he will listen to you. What sense is there in going?"

"Now this is not worth talking about!" said Lukáshka, evidently thinking of something else, "Nonsense! It would be insulting if he drove us out of the village for