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THE COSSACKS

the night. For there you can have a good time, but here? Whether in the cordon, or in the 'secret,' is one and the same. Really!"

"And will you come down to the village?"

"I will, on the holiday."

"Gúrka said that your Dunáyka is keeping company with Fomúshkin," suddenly said Nazárka.

"The devil take her!" answered Lukáshka, grinning with his even white teeth, but not laughing. "Can't I find another?"

"Gúrka said like this: he went to see her, says he, and her husband was not there. Fomúshkin was there, eating a pie. He stayed awhile, and went away; under the window he heard her say, 'The devil is gone; why, darling, do you not eat the pie? And,' says she, 'don't go home to sleep!' And he said under the window, 'That is fine!'"

"You are lying!"

"Really, upon my word!"

Lukáshka was silent.

"Well, if she has found another, the deuce take her. There are lots of girls. I am tired of her, anyway."

"What a devil you are!" said Nazárka. "You had better try to get into the graces of Maryánka, the ensign's. She is not keeping company with anybody?"

Lukáshka frowned. "Maryánka! It is all the same!" he said.

"Well, you tackle her—"

"What do you think? Are there not enough of them in the village?"

And Lukáshka again whistled, and walked along the cordon, tearing off leaves and branches. As he walked between some bushes, he suddenly noticed a smooth withe; he stopped, took out his knife from under his dagger, and cut it off. "It will make a fine ramrod," he said, swishing the withe in the air.