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Page:Complete Works of Count Tolstoy - 02.djvu/330

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THE COSSACKS

"The Cossacks did that while on a spree," replied Eroshka.

"The Cossacks? How so?" asked Olénin.

"Like this! They were drinking. Vánka Sítkin, a Cossack, was pretty drunk, and he took out his pistol, and bang! sent a bullet right into this spot."

"Did it pain you?" asked Olénin. "Vanyúsha, will you be done soon?" he added.

"Oh, in what a hurry you are! Let me tell you— He fired off; the bullet did not break my bone, but stopped right here. And so I told him: 'You have killed me, brother! Eh! What have you done to me? I will not let you off so easily. You will have to treat me to a bucket of wine.'"

"Well, did it hurt you?" again asked Olénin, scarcely hearing his story.

"Let me tell it to you. He put up the bucket. We drank together. And the blood was running all the time. I soiled the whole room with my blood. Then Grand-father Clodhopper said: 'The fellow will surely die. Let us have another stoup of sweet wine, or else we will have you in court.' They brought some more. And we filled ourselves up—"

"Well, did it hurt you?" again asked Olénin.

"Did it hurt? Don't interrupt me! I don't like that. Let me tell you the rest. We drank, and drank, and celebrated until morning, and I fell asleep on the oven, drunk. When I awoke in the morning, I could not unbend myself."

"Was it very painful?" repeated Olénin, thinking that now, at last, he would got an answer to his question.

"Did I tell you it hurt? It did not hurt, only I could not bend, nor walk."

"Well, and it healed up?" said Olénin, not even laughing, his heart was so heavy.

"Yes, but the bullet is still there. Just feel it!"