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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Cossacks - Chapter 32
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The Cossacks - Chapter 32 Post by :windermere Category :Long Stories Author :Leo Tolstoy Date :December 2010 Read :1405

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The Cossacks - Chapter 32

He stopped once or twice, listening to the ringing laughter of
Maryanka and Ustenka who, having come together, were shouting
something. Olenin spent the whole evening hunting in the forest
and returned home at dusk without having killed anything. When
crossing the road he noticed her open the door of the outhouse,
and her blue smock showed through it. He called to Vanyusha very
loud so as to let her know that he was back, and then sat down in
the porch in his usual place. His hosts now returned from the
vineyard; they came out of the outhouse and into their hut, but
did not ask of the latch and knocked. The floor hardly creaked
under the bare cautious footsteps which approached the door. The
latch clicked, the door creaked, and he noticed a faint smell of
marjoram and pumpkin, and Maryanka's whole figure appeared in the
doorway. He saw her only for an instant in the moonlight. She
slammed the door and, muttering something, ran lightly back again.
Olenin began rapping softly but nothing responded. He ran to the
window and listened. Suddenly he was startled by a shrill, squeaky
man's voice.

'Fine!' exclaimed a rather small young Cossack in a white cap,
coming across the yard close to Olenin. 'I saw ... fine!'

Olenin recognized Nazarka, and was silent, not knowing what to do
or say.

'Fine! I'll go and tell them at the office, and I'll tell her
father! That's a fine cornet's daughter! One's not enough for
her.'

'What do you want of me, what are you after?' uttered Olenin.

'Nothing; only I'll tell them at the office.'

Nazarka spoke very loud, and evidently did so intentionally,
adding: 'Just see what a clever cadet!'

Olenin trembled and grew pale.

'Come here, here!' He seized the Cossack firmly by the arm and
drew him towards his hut.

'Nothing happened, she did not let me in, and I too mean no harm.
She is an honest girl--'

'Eh, discuss--'

'Yes, but all the same I'll give you something now. Wait a bit!'

Nazarka said nothing. Olenin ran into his hut and brought out ten
rubles, which he gave to the Cossack.

'Nothing happened, but still I was to blame, so I give this!--Only
for God's sake don't let anyone know, for nothing happened ... '

'I wish you joy,' said Nazarka laughing, and went away.

Nazarka had come to the village that night at Lukashka's bidding
to find a place to hide a stolen horse, and now, passing by on his
way home, had heard the sound of footsteps. When he returned next
morning to his company he bragged to his chum, and told him how
cleverly he had got ten rubles. Next morning Olenin met his hosts
and they knew nothing about the events of the night. He did not
speak to Maryanka, and she only laughed a little when she looked
at him. Next night he also passed without sleep, vainly wandering
about the yard. The day after he purposely spent shooting, and in
the evening he went to see Beletski to escape from his own
thoughts. He was afraid of himself, and promised himself not to go
to his hosts' hut any more.

That night he was roused by the sergeant-major. His company was
ordered to start at once on a raid. Olenin was glad this had
happened, and thought he would not again return to the village.

The raid lasted four days. The commander, who was a relative of
Olenin's, wished to see him and offered to let him remain with the
staff, but this Olenin declined. He found that he could not live
away from the village, and asked to be allowed to return to it.
For having taken part in the raid he received a soldier's cross,
which he had formerly greatly desired. Now he was quite
indifferent about it, and even more indifferent about his
promotion, the order for which had still not arrived. Accompanied
by Vanyusha he rode back to the cordon without any accident
several hours in advance of the rest of the company. He spent the
whole evening in his porch watching Maryanka, and he again walked
about the yard, without aim or thought, all night.

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It was late when he awoke the next day. His hosts were no longerin. He did not go shooting, but now took up a book, and now wentout into the porch, and now again re-entered the hut and lay downon the bed. Vanyusha thought he was ill.Towards evening Olenin got up, resolutely began writing, and wroteon till late at night. He wrote a letter, but did not post itbecause he felt that no one would have understood what he wantedto say, and besides it was not necessary that anyone but himselfshould understand it. This is what he wrote:'I receive letters of
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The sun had come out from behind the pear-tree that had shaded thewagon, and even through the branches that Ustenka had fixed up itscorched the faces of the sleeping girls. Maryanka woke up andbegan arranging the kerchief on her head. Looking about her,beyond the pear-tree she noticed their lodger, who with his gun onhis shoulder stood talking to her father. She nudged Ustenka andsmilingly pointed him out to her.'I went yesterday and didn't find a single one,' Olenin was sayingas he looked about uneasily, not seeing Maryanka through thebranches.'Ah, you should go out there in that direction, go right as bycompasses,
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