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Page:Complete Works of Count Tolstoy - 02.djvu/29

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"Of course, I need that, but where am I to get it? It won't do to go for everything to the manor. What kind of peasants should we be if we were permitted to go to the manor to ask your Grace for everything? But if you will permit me to take the oak posts that are lying uselessly in the threshing-floor of the manor," he said, bowing, and resting now on one foot, now on the other, "I might manage, by changing some, and cutting down others, to fix something with that old material."

"With the old material? But you say yourself that everything of yours is old and rotten. To-day one corner is falling in, to-morrow another, and day after to-morrow a third. So, if you are to do anything about it, you had better put in everything new, or else your labour will be lost. Tell me, what is your opinion? Can your buildings last through the winter, or not?"

"Who knows?"

"No, what do you think? Will they fall in, or not?"

Churís meditated for a moment.

"It will all fall in," he said, suddenly.

"Well, you see, you ought to have said at the meeting that you have to get the whole property mended, and not that you need a few forks. I am only too glad to aid you."

"We are very well satisfied with your favour," answered Churís, incredulously, without looking at the master. "If you would only favour me with four logs and the forks, I might manage it myself; and whatever useless timber I shall take out, might be used for supports in the hut."

"Is your hut in a bad condition, too ?"

"My wife and I are expecting every moment to be crushed," Churís answered, with indifference. "Lately a strut from the ceiling struck down my old woman."

"What? Struck down?"

"Yes, struck her down, your Grace. It just whacked