"I'll join the army all the same," announced Yefim obstinately. "Who's trying to dissuade you?" exclaimed Ignaty. "Go!" He looked Yefim straight in the face, and said with a smile: "If you're going to shoot at me, aim at the head. Don't just wound me; kill me at once." "I hear what you're saying," Yefim replied sharply.
It is no great wonder... the Evil One will begin whistling in a stone if he wants to. Before the Day of Freedom a rock was humming for three days and three nights in our parts. I heard it myself. The pike laughed because Yefim caught a devil instead of a pike." The old man remembered something.
Even his wife can't attach him to the same spot. At the least provocation farewell, my dear! and off he goes to look for something better. But the peasant wants to improve himself just where he is without moving off the spot. There's your mother!" And Rybin went out into the kitchen. Yefim approached Pavel, and with embarrassment asked: "Perhaps you will give me a book?" "Certainly."
Yefim took it, turned it in his hands, and putting it aside, said calmly: "That's out of date." "Have you an apportionment of land for yourself?" inquired Pavel. "We? Yes, we have. We are three brothers, and our portion is about ten acres and a half all sand good for polishing brass, but poor for making bread." After a pause he continued: "I've freed myself from the soil. What's the use?
We went together to meet the dead Tsar, and in those days the great highway did not run to Bahmut, but from Esaulovka to Gorodishtche, and where Kovyli is now, there were bustards' nests there was a bustard's nest at every step. Even then I had noticed that Yefim had given his soul to damnation, and that the Evil One was in him.
"You offer goodness, and get the stake in return," said Yefim with a low laugh, and quickly jumped to his feet. "But they ought to go, Uncle Mikhail, before anybody sees them. We'll distribute the books among the people; the authorities will begin to wonder where they came from; then some one will remember having seen the pilgrims here."
Foma frowned insinuatingly and addressed the captain, imperiously emphasizing his words: "Yefim, I want you to bear it in mind, and to tell it to everybody here, that if anyone will utter an obscene word about her, I'll strike him on the head with a log of wood!" "How terrible!" said Yefim, incredulously, looking into the master's face with curiosity. But he immediately made a step backward.
He was sitting by the table under the awning of the steamer and drinking tea, together with Yefim and the receiver of the corn, a provincial clerk a redheaded, short-sighted gentleman in glasses.
"Yes," Rybin drawled sullenly. "That's the course of action they've decided on to go out openly." "If we were to arrange such a parade here," said Yefim, with a surly smile, "they'd hack the peasants to death." "They certainly would," Ignaty assented, nodding his head. "No, I'll go to the factory. It's better there." "You say Pavel's going to be tried?" asked Rybin. "Yes.
"Hush-a-bye, my baby wee," she murmurs, "and I will sing a song to thee." And the baby screams, and is worn out with screaming. Again Varka sees the muddy high road, the people with wallets, her mother Pelageya, her father Yefim.
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