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10
A MORNING OF A LANDED PROPRIETOR

legs, it could be seen that all his life had passed in extremely hard labour, which was beyond his strength. His attire consisted of white hempen drawers, with blue patches over his knees, and a similar dirty shirt, which was threadbare on his back and arms. The shirt was girded low by a thin ribbon, from which hung a brass key.

"God aid you!" said the master, entering the yard.

Churís looked around him, and again took up his work. After an energetic effort he straightened out the wicker work from under the shed; then only he struck the axe into a block, pulled his shirt in shape, and walked into the middle of the yard.

"I wish you a pleasant holiday, your Grace!" he said, making a low obeisance, and shaking his hair.

"Thank you, my dear. I just came to look at your farm," said Nekhlyúdov, with childish friendliness and embarrassment, examining the peasant's garb. "Let me see for what you need the fork posts that you asked of me at the meeting of the Commune."

"The forks? Why, your Grace, you know what forks are for. I just wanted to give a little support to it, — you may see for yourself. Only a few days ago a corner fell in, and by God's kindness there were no animals in it at the time. It barely hangs together," said Churís, contemptuously surveying his unthatched, crooked, and dilapidated sheds. "When it comes to that, there is not a decent girder, rafter, or box case in them. Where am I to get the timber? You know that yourself."

"Then why do you ask for five forks when one shed is all fallen in, and the others soon will fall? What you need is not forks, but rafters, girders, posts, — all new ones," said the master, obviously parading his familiarity with the subject.

Churís was silent.

"What you need, therefore, is timber and not forks. You ought to have said so."