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Title: Our Little Cossack Cousin
Author: Postnikov, F. A.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Transcriber's Note: Bold text is surrounded by =equal signs= and
italic text is surrounded by _underscores_.]



Our Little Cossack Cousin in Siberia



THE LITTLE COUSIN SERIES

(TRADE MARK)

    _Cloth decorative, 12mo, illustrated, each_      $1.00

By LAURA E. RICHARDS, ANNA C. WINLOW, Etc.


    Our Little African Cousin
    Our Little Alaskan Cousin
    Our Little Arabian Cousin
    Our Little Argentine Cousin
    Our Little Armenian Cousin
    Our Little Australian Cousin
    Our Little Austrian Cousin
    Our Little Belgian Cousin
    Our Little Bohemian Cousin
    Our Little Brazilian Cousin
    Our Little Bulgarian Cousin
    Our Little Canadian Cousin of the Great Northwest
    Our Little Canadian Cousin of the Maritime Provinces
    Our Little Chilean Cousin
    Our Little Chinese Cousin
    Our Little Cossack Cousin
    Our Little Cuban Cousin
    Our Little Czecho-Slovak Cousin
    Our Little Danish Cousin
    Our Little Dutch Cousin
    Our Little Egyptian Cousin
    Our Little English Cousin
    Our Little Eskimo Cousin
    Our Little Finnish Cousin
    Our Little French Cousin
    Our Little German Cousin
    Our Little Grecian Cousin
    Our Little Hawaiian Cousin
    Our Little Hindu Cousin
    Our Little Hungarian Cousin
    Our Little Indian Cousin
    Our Little Irish Cousin
    Our Little Italian Cousin
    Our Little Japanese Cousin
    Our Little Jewish Cousin
    Our Little Jugoslav Cousin
    Our Little Korean Cousin
    Our Little Lapp Cousin
    Our Little Lithuanian Cousin
    Our Little Malayan (Brown) Cousin
    Our Little Mexican Cousin
    Our Little Norwegian Cousin
    Our Little Panama Cousin
    Our Little Persian Cousin
    Our Little Philippine Cousin
    Our Little Polish Cousin
    Our Little Porto Rican Cousin
    Our Little Portuguese Cousin
    Our Little Quebec Cousin
    Our Little Roumanian Cousin
    Our Little Russian Cousin
    Our Little Scotch Cousin
    Our Little Servian Cousin
    Our Little Siamese Cousin
    Our Little South African (Boer) Cousin
    Our Little Spanish Cousin
    Our Little Swedish Cousin
    Our Little Swiss Cousin
    Our Little Turkish Cousin
    Our Little Welsh Cousin
    Our Little West Indian Cousin


THE LITTLE COUSINS OF LONG AGO

    Our Little Athenian Cousin
    Our Little Carthaginian Cousin
    Our Little Celtic Cousin
    Our Little Crusader Cousin
    Our Little Feudal Cousin
    Our Little Frankish Cousin
    Our Little Macedonian Cousin
    Our Little Norman Cousin
    Our Little Roman Cousin
    Our Little Saxon Cousin
    Our Little Spartan Cousin
    Our Little Viking Cousin


    L. C. PAGE & COMPANY (Inc.)
    53 Beacon Street      Boston, Mass.

[Illustration: "THE HORSES RUSHED MADLY FORWARD" (_See page 111_)]



Our Little Cossack Cousin in Siberia

    By
    F. A. Postnikov

    _Illustrated by_
    Walter S. Rogers

[Illustration: SPE LABOR LEVIS]

    Boston
    The Page Company
    PUBLISHERS



    _Copyright, 1916, by_
    THE PAGE COMPANY

    _All rights reserved_


    First Impression, November, 1916
    Second Impression, October, 1917
    Third Impression, May, 1929



PREFACE


The name Cossacks is given to a large part of the Russian population.
These people are endowed with special privileges in return for specific
military service. They are of different racial origin. There are ten
separate _voiskos_, settled along the frontiers, those of the Don,
Kuban, Terek, Astrakan, Ural, Orenburg, Siberian, Semir-yechensk,
Amur, and Ussuri. These differ in many respects, though with a similar
military organization, the primary unit of which is the _stanitsa_ or
administrative village.

The historical Cossacks are those of the Don and of the Dnieper
Rivers in Russia, of whom it has been said that they were "originally
passionate lovers of freedom who went forth to find it in the
wilderness." The other Cossack divisions have been patterned after
these by the Government. In the later sections the military spirit and
the old Cossack traditions are carefully fostered.

Our book deals with the Ussuri Cossacks of Siberia, among whom Colonel
Postnikov lived for many years, both as an officer and as a civil
engineer. Although the story is written in the first person, it is in
no sense an autobiography of the author, who was born in western Russia.

Besides the country around Ussuri River, other sections of Siberia and
other classes of people than the Cossacks are described incidentally.

In the spelling of Russian names, an endeavor has been made to give
some idea of the actual pronunciation.

    THE EDITOR.



Contents


    CHAPTER                                  PAGE
          PREFACE                               v
       I. CHILDHOOD ADVENTURE                   1
      II. THE FIRST DEER OF THE SEASON          9
     III. THE BOOTY SECURED                    17
      IV. A BIG CATCH AND NEW PREPARATIONS     25
       V. "THE KETA ARE COMING!"               35
      VI. TIGER! TIGER!                        42
     VII. THE NIGHT ALARM                      52
    VIII. WHAT CAME FROM ATTENDING A SKODKA    57
      IX. THE HUNT                             67
       X. THE HUNT--CONTINUED                  78
      XI. A JOURNEY                            86
     XII. A GARRISON TOWN                      97
    XIII. A COSSACK DRILL                     105
     XIV. AN EVENING VISIT                    118
      XV. LENT AND EASTER                     129



List of Illustrations


                                                           PAGE
    "THE HORSES RUSHED MADLY FORWARD" (_see page 111_)
                                                  _Frontispiece_
    "RODE AT FULL GALLOP TOWARDS US"                          5
    "IT SEEMED TO ALL OF US THAT THEY COULD NEVER
        REACH THEIR GOAL"                                    17
    "THE GREAT BEAST . . . JUMPED OVER THE SEVEN-FOOT
        FENCE"                                               54
    ALEXIS PAVLOVITCH                                        72
    COSSACK OFFICERS                                        118



Our Little Cossack Cousin in Siberia



CHAPTER I

CHILDHOOD ADVENTURE


No, indeed, we don't sleep through our Siberian winters, nor do we
coddle ourselves hanging around a fire,--not we Cossack[1] children.

I was brought up in Eastern Siberia, in a Russian settlement, on the
Ussuri River, about fifty or sixty miles from where it joins the Amur.
These settlements, you ought to know, were first established in the
year 1857, in order to show the neighboring Manchus where Russian
boundaries ended. The first were along the Amur, the later along the
Ussuri River. No doubt I owe much of my hardiness to the fact that
my ancestors were among the involuntary pioneers sent here by our
government.[2]

The source of the Ussuri is so far south that in the early spring there
is always danger of a sudden breaking of the ice near its mouth and a
consequent overflow. Now it is strange, but whenever we children were
forbidden to go on the river something would tempt us to do it.

"You mustn't go on the ice, Vanka," father said to me one day as he
left for Habarovsk, the nearest big city.

I remembered the command all right until I met my chum Peter. He had a
fine new sled to show me. It could go so swiftly that when he proposed
that we cross to the Manchurian side, I said quite readily, "Whee!
That'll be grand; it isn't far, and we can get back in no time!"

Peter was on the sled which I was pulling, when we neared the low
Chinese banks of the forbidden river. They were not as near as they
had seemed. It had taken us a full half hour to cross, although we
ran all the way, taking turns on the sled. Suddenly Peter called out
in a strange tone of voice: "Stop, Vanka, stop! We must run. Look!
Hongoose!"[3]

I stopped so suddenly as almost to throw Peter off of the sled, and saw
three Manchurians on the bank. They were standing near their horses who
had huge bundles slung across their backs.

"Why," I said slowly, resolved not to be frightened, "those are
merchants."

"No," said Peter, his lips trembling; "they have rifles."

"Ye-es," I reluctantly admitted; "but see their big bundles. They are
certainly traders."

"We had better run--" began Peter stubbornly, turning from me.

[Illustration: "RODE AT FULL GALLOP TOWARDS US"]

"You're nothing but a _baba_ (old woman)," I said contemptuously,
a tingle of shame covering my cheeks at the mere thought of me, a
Cossack boy, running from a Chinaman. What would my father say, or my
grandfather? Whoever heard of their doing such a thing? Yet, to my
great surprise, my knees trembled as I recalled a scene of two years
ago, when the brave Cossack Kontuska was found two miles from our
village with his head smashed open, and it had been decided that he had
been murdered by the Hongoose. Then, with a certain feeling of being
protected, there also flashed through my mind a picture of the revenge
expedition that the Cossacks had organized, and even of the Chinese
horse that had been brought later, as one of the spoils, to my own home.

As we stood thus, one of the Manchus suddenly threw the bundles from
off his horse, and, leaping on it, rode at full gallop towards us. I
caught my breath, yet instinctively picked up a huge piece of ice,
while Peter raised the sled into the air with both his hands.

It was a regular Siberian winter morning, dry and clear. The sun was
still in the east over the high Russian bank, so that it fell full
on the approaching Chinaman, as we called him. The snow flew out
like sparks of fire from under the hoofs of his horse, accompanied
by a peculiar crunching sound. When a few hundred feet from us, the
Manchurian changed the gallop to an easy trot.

"_How a ma?_"[4] he said, when he had come up, surveying us with a
broad smile.

With a deep feeling of relief something made me recognize the fact
that he had not come to slay but merely to satisfy his curiosity. I
noticed the round red circular spot on his breast as well as the red
ball on his cap. These, I knew, indicated that he was a regular army
officer. With an awkward show of friendship he turned us round and
round, touching our clothes, looking inside of our hats, and then
said something which puzzled us. But when he had twice repeated,
"_Shango-shango_," I understood that it meant that all was right, but
whether it related to our clothes or to us, I hadn't any idea.

To show that I wasn't afraid, I shook my fist at him saying, "You are
_bushango_."[5]

He understood, and smiling good-naturedly said in broken Russian: "No,
no, me shango too." Then, opening his fur coat and putting one hand
under it, he pulled out something wrapped in a small piece of rice
paper. This he opened. It contained a few cookies smelling of peanut
oil, and these he smilingly offered to us.

I leaned heavily first on one foot, then on the other, while Peter
looked sideways, unable to decide whether it would be proper to accept
such a gift from a Chinaman or not; but tempted by a desire to show it
to our parents, we took it shyly. "How interested mother will be," I
thought, quite forgetful of my disobedience. Mother, however, never got
a glimpse of the treat; every crumb was eaten long before we got half
way back.

When I reached home, I found mother in a very nervous state of mind.
Some one had spread the report of our trip across the border, and in
her anxiety she imagined all sorts of terrible things to be happening
to us.

No sooner did she see me than she put down my baby sister, who had
fallen asleep in her arms, and embraced me. A moment after she still
further relieved her wrought up feelings by giving me a sound whipping,
and still later, after I had washed myself and had had my dinner, both
she and my older sister listened with many questions to very minute
particulars of our little adventure.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 1: More properly Kozak or Kazak.]

[Footnote 2: In the spring of 1857, a regiment of three sotnias of
Cossacks from the Transbaikal region were chosen by lot to settle with
their families along the Amur River. Here they were divided into small
villages or _stanitsas_ (Cossack posts) about fifteen miles apart. The
land was then for the most part a wilderness. There were forests to be
cleared and marshes to be drained. In addition to doing this pioneer
work the Cossacks had to defend the frontier toward China and provide
postal communications between the Amur and the section from which they
had come.--THE EDITOR.]

[Footnote 3: Members of organized bands of Chinese robbers.]

[Footnote 4: Northern Chinese for "Hello."]

[Footnote 5: Not good.]



CHAPTER II

THE FIRST DEER OF THE SEASON


It was April. Winter was over, but the sun had not yet had time to melt
the ice in our part of the river when the alarm was given that the
Ussuri had broken loose a hundred miles above us and was rushing toward
our village at tremendous speed.

This news was brought by an officer who had been sent to give orders
that the river be dynamited at once to remove the ice blockade.

I was awakened that night by a terrible noise resembling hundreds
of guns shot in rapid succession. My first impression was that the
officer and his assistants were blowing up the ice, but I soon learned
differently.

When I had dressed and come out, I could see that it was caused
entirely by the breaking of the ice. All the village, including babes
in arms, were already on the banks. It was not light enough to see
the whole picture, but in the half darkness the moving white field
of ice blocks resembled now a herd of mysterious animals, fighting
among themselves, jumping on one another, and roaring, as they rushed
headlong toward the north, or then again more like spirits driven from
paradise, and making their way into the unknown with cries and wails,
in desperate panic and fear.

We stood there for two or three hours watching the ice blocks, many of
them three or four feet thick and hundreds of feet long, pushed out on
the shore by their neighbors, to be in their turn broken by new masses
of blocks. When the sun arose the picture instead of mysterious became
magnificent. As far as one could see there was a moving field of blocks
of ice, gleaming in rainbow colors, apparently changing shapes at every
moment. Those nearest to us rushed with the greatest velocity, the
middle blocks moved more slowly, and those toward the low Chinese shore
seemed merely a moving stretch of snow.

I had just noted that the river which I was accustomed to see far
below our high bank, now almost rose to its level, when I heard quick,
excited exclamations around me: "Deer! Deer!"

I turned to where the hands were pointing and saw a strange sight.
Several of the small deer that we Siberians called _koza_, were sailing
on a big block of ice in the middle of the stream. A moment after
every person was in motion, even the women running home for rifles. I
remained with only a few old men who muttered: "The fools! How could
they get them so far away, even if they should happen to shoot them?"

But the hunter instinct, or perhaps the strong desire to get this
particular kind of food, made every one reject the apparent
impossibility of getting the booty from this terrible roaring river,
carrying everything so swiftly away.

The animals approached nearer and nearer. We could see their occasional
desperate efforts to jump from one block to another, always to return
to the big block which quietly and majestically flowed among hundreds
of smaller ones, which pushed around it, now breaking their edges, now
leaving a part of themselves on its surface.

In a short time the deer were directly opposite us. There were five of
them, a big stag and four does.

Suddenly there was a rapid succession of shots around me from the men
who had returned. The stag fell, killed, I afterwards learned, by my
uncle who had aimed at it as being the most precious. Two of the does
also fell, but the two remaining started on a wild race for the Chinese
shore. One of them was obviously wounded, for after two or three slow
bounds she was caught by the moving mass of ice and disappeared under
the water. I followed the other with a certain amount of sympathy until
it was nothing but a tiny dot, and then turned my attention to what was
going on around me.

There was great excitement. An old Cossack named Skorin, was trying to
stop his nineteen-year-old son and two others from the mad attempt to
push a boat on to the stream, in order to go after the slain animals.
These had been pushed gradually nearer us by the ice, and Young Skorin
argued that it would be easy to get them.

I noticed that this dispute was being listened to by our friend Che-un,
a member of the Goldi tribe, one of the native Siberian races, who had
lived near our village as far back as I could remember. He was regarded
with considerable kindly respect by the Cossacks as being the most
experienced hunter and fisher among them. He had on, as usual, his
winter costume which made him look like a bundle of fur. It consisted
of a nicely made deerskin coat, deerskin trousers and boots. His dark
face, with its flat nose, its sparkling, black, almond-shaped eyes, was
all attention.

Old Skorin turned to him. "Tell this madman," he said, "that it is
certain death to try to get into the stream now."

Without giving him a chance to reply, Young Skorin burst out: "Say,
Che-un, tell father how I crossed during last year's flood."

The Goldi did not answer at once. Instead, he puffed two or three times
through the long pipe which he always held in his mouth. Then, slowly
pulling it out, he said brokenly, "Were it a bear, I might go--but for
deer--no."

"Oh, come on," said Young Skorin persuasively. "If you won't, I'll go
with Vassili here. Come on, Vassili," and, with a reckless laugh, and
without paying further heed to the protests of his father, he made a
bound to his boat which was lying among others on the snowy bank.

[Illustration: "IT SEEMED TO ALL OF US THAT THEY COULD NEVER REACH
THEIR GOAL"]

All of these boats were of the light Goldi type, built from three very
wide boards, one about two feet wide, at the bottom, the two others on
the sides, and two small end boards, all well-seasoned, nailed, and
caulked, bent to meet and generally raised at the bow. All the boards
were well smeared over with tar. Such a boat can be easily carried
by two men, or pushed along the snow or ice. At the same time its
displacement is so great that five and sometimes six men can cross a
stream in it.

When the two young men had pushed the boat over the snow into the
river, Young Skorin took his seat in it while Vassili ran for two
landing forks, a gun, and one oar. When he returned, Che-un suddenly
changed his mind and joined the daring youths. This gave great relief
to all of the women, who were filled with anxiety as to the outcome of
the boys' crazy venture.



CHAPTER III

THE BOOTY SECURED


The boat was soon on the river, partly on ice and partly in water, and
the struggle to reach the big ice block on which the deer lay, began.
We saw the hooks of the young men flying now to the left, now to the
right of the boat. Sometimes one end of the boat, sometimes the other,
would be raised high into the air. Now and then, as the stream carried
them further away, we could distinguish that it had become necessary
for the youths to pull or push the boat across some ice barrier. As we
strained our eyes watching them, it seemed to all of us that they could
never reach their goal.

Noontime came, and I heard my mother's call to dinner. I was so hungry
by that time, not having breakfasted, that I answered at once despite
my desire to see the end of the adventure.

I had scarcely seated myself at the table when my father and Old Skorin
entered.

"You must eat with us, Pavel Ivanovich,"[6] said my father. "You can't
go home. It's too far. Besides, it's a long time since we've had a
chance to be together."

We all understood father's kind intention of trying to keep the old
man's mind from dwelling too anxiously on his son's uncertain fate.
Besides, my older sister had just become engaged to Young Skorin and
this drew our families closer together.

Old Skorin stepped into the room with dignity, took off his fur cap,
and walking to the corner in which hung the ikon,[7] crossed himself.
Not until he had done this, did he salute my mother with: "Bread and
salt, Anna Feodorovna," this being the customary greeting when any one
is invited for a meal.

"You are welcome, dear guest, Pavel Ivanovitch," was my mother's hearty
response. "Take this seat," and she pointed to the place of honor under
the ikon and to the right of my father.

"Where is Katia?" asked Skorin.

At this question I looked around amazed to find that Katia was not in
the room. I had never before known her to be absent at meal time.

Mother answered with a trace of discontent in her voice: "I don't know.
The breaking up of the ice seems to have upset the whole village. Run,
Vanka, and find her."

I left my place at the table with great reluctance, not daring to
offer any protest in the presence of my father, whose military training
made him insist on prompt obedience.

When I reached the river's bank, I saw my sister among those yet there.
She stood shading her eyes, in order to still make out the now scarcely
visible boat. Her face expressed a peculiar mixture of admiration
and anxiety. I recalled that she had had a quarrel with Young Skorin
the night before, which had probably led to the rash undertaking.
Inexperienced though I was in such matters, I felt that this venture
had somehow resulted in her complete forgiveness.

When she understood why I had come, her first question was, "Is father
already home?" Learning that he was, she ran as fast as if her heels
were on fire, so that I could scarcely keep up with her.

When we reached home the talk turned to the appearance of the _koza_,
my father saying that it was a good omen, that we should have plenty
of deer meat that season.

These Siberian deer always move in a succession of small herds, and are
followed and preyed on not only by men but also by wolves and other
animals. For this reason our cattle were always safe during their
migration. At this time, too, we always had an abundance of deer meat
three times a day. The skins were saved either to be immediately made
into fur coats and caps or for future use. Often on account of the
abundance of these skins many of them were sold to traders who now and
then visited our part of the country.

Every boy in our village learned all about the habits of the deer in
childhood, not only from his relatives but also from the members of
the neighboring Goldi tribes, or from Manchurians who use the growing
antlers as an invigorating medicine, considering it almost as precious
as ginseng, which is also found along the Ussuri River. Sometimes
they paid as high as two or three hundred rubles[8] for a pair. I
knew several Cossacks who made a fortune hunting deer. They were also
profitable to keep as pets, the horns of the male being cut off every
summer, when just about to harden, and sold.

We were just through dinner when a shout came that Young Skorin had
been successful. We rushed out and met him bringing the big stag to our
house. My mother and sister helped him skin it and cut it into four
parts. Then I was sent around to spread the news that that evening
there would be a big feast to which the whole village was asked, this
to be followed by a dance for the young people.

Toward evening the guests began to arrive, many of the men dressed in
old uniforms, many others simply in belted, gayly embroidered red,
blue, and gray blouses. The older people seated themselves around the
table in our house, while the younger received their share of the feast
informally at our nearest neighbor's, greatly relieved at being free
for a while from the supervision of their elders.

The meal lasted a long time. There was first the traditional deer soup
of the Cossack, then roast deer, and finally an unlimited amount of
coarse rye bread, milk, and tea. Vodka, too, as an especial treat, was
offered to the older people.

When the table had been cleared and moved out of the way, the blind
musician, Foma, with his fiddle under his arm, was led into a corner.
The son of the head man of our village (the _ataman_), took his place
next to him with a harmonica. The dancing began with the rather slow
steps of "_Po Ulice Mastovoi_" (On the paved Street), and ended with
the Cossack dance, "_Kazachok_," led by an old woman named Daria, and
Old Skorin, followed by more and more active dancers, until it finally
terminated in the dancing of the liveliest Cossack present, each newly
invented stunt on his part producing an explosion of applause.

During the dance the house was packed with people. The greatest
excitement prevailed. Men sober enough in everyday life, seemed
suddenly to give expression to something wild in their natures. By
midnight every one present was so exhilarated that he was either
dancing or beating time. Even Grand-dad Matvei, who was said to be a
hundred years old, kept time with the music by shrugging his shoulders
and striking his feet against the ground.

All that evening my sister and Young Skorin were the center of
attention, their engagement having been announced immediately after
supper.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 6: In social converse in Russia, the given name of the person
addressed and the given name of the person's father are used together,
instead of a title and the surname as with us. Thus, Mr. John Smith,
the son of Mr. Karl Smith, would be addressed as John Karl-ovitch.--THE
EDITOR.]

[Footnote 7: The picture of the Savior, the Virgin, or some saint. Used
in the Russo-Greek Church and found in the home of every member of
it.--THE EDITOR.]

[Footnote 8: A ruble is a Russian coin equal to about our half dollar.]



CHAPTER IV

A BIG CATCH AND NEW PREPARATIONS


One evening, later in the spring, when our rivers were entirely free
from ice, and the banks were covered with green grass and primroses,
Peter came suddenly into our barnyard with: "Quick! Get your spearing
fork! There's fish in the grass."

Without a word, I made several leaps to the barn where my father kept
his fishing implements, snatched a fork, and followed Peter in a race
to the river.

Just before we reached the bank, Peter grabbed hold of my hand. "Be
quiet," he said, softly. "Do you see anything?"

I looked on the slightly waving surface of the river and along the
bank, but could see nothing out of the usual.

Peter let me gaze for a while and then pointing to a small inlet formed
by a curvature of the river, where the water was very shallow and
gradually sloped toward the meadow, whispered: "There!"

My eyes followed the direction of the pointing finger. The grass of
the surrounding meadow was partially under water, only a few inches
projecting above the level. Here something attracted my attention.
It looked like a brown comb moving gently back and forth. "A fin," I
whispered, more to myself than to Peter.

Hardly breathing, we stepped into the water which reached to our knees,
and made our way toward the brown waving comb of the fish. I held the
fork in readiness and tried to keep between the fish and the river.

When we were about three or four steps from the fish, it suddenly threw
itself in our direction, and so swiftly that I had scarcely time
to throw the spear. Then something struck me on the foot and I fell
forward into the water.

"Hurry," screamed Peter. "Help me."

With my face in mud and water, I could not at first understand the
situation. When I arose, however, and had wiped my eyes, I was mad with
excitement and joy. The fish had not reached the stream but was on the
sandy bank, half under water. Peter was pressing his whole body on it,
trying to hold it down. It was a _sazan_, extremely big, weighing at
least fifteen pounds, and it took us more than five minutes to subdue
it and carry it to a dry spot. When this was done I let Peter hold the
fish with his fork while I ran for a sack. In this we carried the fish
home, immensely proud and boastful of our achievement.

When father returned at night, he expressed surprise at the size of
our catch, adding that he had heard that day that the _keta_ were
expected soon. This produced more excitement, for next to bread the
most important food of the Ussuri Cossack is fish, and particularly the
_keta_, a kind of salmon.

When the _keta_ came from the sea at Nikolaievsk, they are very fat but
get thinner as they go up stream, it taking several weeks to make the
journey from the mouth of the river to the source. The Cossacks have to
be very active during the migration, for it lasts only a few days.

But father had still other news for us which brought the excitement to
a climax. He had asked the commander of my brother's garrison to permit
Dimitri to return home to help with the _keta_ fishing!

The day following our big catch, all of the men of our village set
to work patching nets, sharpening their spearing forks, repairing
their boats, while the women cleaned and got ready all the different
necessary vessels from barrels to frying pans. Father had brought as
much salt from the town as possible, but it would only be sufficient
for pickling a part of the fish; the rest would have to be smoked and
dried.

While all the village were thus engaged, two horsemen were seen
approaching. They wore tall fur hats, had swords at their sides, and
guns over their shoulders. Their yellow shoulder straps and the broad
yellow stripes on their wide trousers which were shoved into high
boots, the silver inlaid handles of their _nagaikas_ (Cossack whips),
all indicated that they belonged to one of the active divisions of the
Ussuri Cossacks.

Surprised exclamations of "Mitya!" "Phillip!" "Brother!" "Son!" were
heard. I waved a red handkerchief at them, recognizing Dimitri's
companion as Phillip, a cousin of my chum Peter. When they reached the
village, they leaped lightly from their horses and kissed and embraced
all present, answering as they did so the questions and joshing
remarks hurled at them.

I learned that they had come on a two weeks' leave of absence, and that
even father had not expected them so soon. After the first greeting, he
said reproachfully: "There was no need for you to hurry so fast. You
might have killed the horses. Why, it's only yesterday that I saw you."

"Don't be grouchy, father," said Dimitri. "We walked half of the way.
I am very well aware that a Cossack's first duty is to his horse; his
second to himself." And as if to demonstrate this, he turned to where
I was trying to climb into his saddle and said seriously: "No, Vanka,
don't worry him now. He is too tired. Better loosen his saddle girths,
take off his bridle, and lead him to the stable. Don't forget to put as
much straw as possible under his feet. Don't get on him, or I'll never
let you go near him."

Although discouraged in my expectation of a nice ride, I was
nevertheless proud of my brother and his confidence, and led the horse
to a shed which, as was usual in our village, consisted of three sides
only, the fourth, to the South, being open.

At that moment my mother came running up. She had not seen Dimitri
for more than a year, and she hung herself on his neck, laughing and
weeping with joy.

Then the interrupted work was resumed. Dimitri and Phillip left us to
change their clothes, but soon returned and joined heartily in our
preparations.

Part of the men now waded out into an arm of the river until the water
reached to their breast. Through this arm the fish usually made their
way. Here two fences, separated by a space of about two hundred feet,
were to be built, one to the Russian bank, the opposite one from the
water to an island in the river. First, poles three or four inches
thick, were thrust into the river bottom, about a foot apart, and then
willow twigs interwoven between. The fences were then braced from
behind with posts tied with willow ropes.

When these were finished and the men had come back to shore, a big fire
was kindled. Standing around it, they took off their wet clothes and
hung them on nearby bushes or spread them out in the sun.

Old Skorin then pulled a basket with eatables from under a stone, and
also a bottle containing _vodka_ (brandy), in order, he said, to keep
them from catching cold while standing around naked after their icy
bath. Although their lips were blue and their teeth chattered, they
laughed and joked as they took it. People don't complain of things in
our part of the world.

A decidedly cold wind now began to blow and I was sent to several of
the homes for what clothes I could get. Without, however, waiting for
me to return, they began to spread the fish nets which were lying in
big bundles on the banks.

I soon came back with some dry things for the oldest in the party. For
Skorin, in addition to an old army overcoat, I had a pair of long socks
made of heavy wool by his wife. She had pressed them into my hand at
the last moment, bidding me to be sure to see that her husband put them
on.

Skorin received these with a show of scorn, mingled, however, with a
satisfaction that he could not disguise. "My wife," he said, "is always
worrying about me. If we Cossacks gave in to our wives, we'd all be
very tender-footed." But I saw that he pulled on the socks.

Having performed my commission, I turned to where about four hundred
feet of netting was already hanging on seven foot high poles. Men were
at work on this, tying up broken loops and fixing weights to the lower
parts. Long ropes were fastened to the ends. The work was done with
feverish haste. When my brother and Phillip came running up, another
bundle of nets of about the same size was unrolled, and the two set to
work patching it, putting all the skill that they possessed into the
work. When the call for dinner came at noon, the netting was ready for
use.

Now a difference of opinion arose, some wishing to continue until all
the nets were finished, others contending that after a hearty meal they
could complete the work more quickly. Skorin who despite his age, was
the inspiration of all present, sided with those who wished to remain,
but when some one called his attention to the fact that Dimitri and
Philip had not breakfasted, he surrendered, and we all hurried to our
homes.



CHAPTER V

"THE KETA ARE COMING!"


Certain that there would be something extra for dinner on my brother's
account, I ran on ahead, and as I ran I tried to guess what it would
be. We would have, of course, the usual _borsch_ (cabbage soup with
plenty of meat, potatoes, and onions, and sometimes the addition of
sour cream), buckwheat _kasha_ (porridge), and the inevitable tea and
rye bread. But what else? As soon as I burst into the room, I knew, for
mother was just taking a big fish pie out of the whitewashed oven in
the brick fireplace.

The others came in as I was clapping my hands with delight, and we all
took our seats around the big table. We had hardly finished eating our
_borsch_ to which, following the example of my father, I added two
big spoonfuls of buckwheat porridge, when the door opened and Sonya,
Peter's sister, came in so nearly out of breath that she could hardly
ejaculate the words--"The _keta_ are coming!"

She might have said the enemy, so suddenly did we all spring to our
feet and rush out shouting the news to all whose homes we passed. A few
minutes after, our boats were in the water with the nets, and the men
at their assigned places with fishing hooks, hatchets, and ropes. The
women were not behindhand in coming, not merely to gaze at the river
but to bring necessary utensils.

I had no especial duty assigned me, and so in trying to help everybody,
I managed to be a nuisance. It was not long before I received a kick
out of the way from my father, who was assisting Feodor carry a heavy
net. This sent me several feet down the bank.

Nothing disheartened, I grabbed hold of a boat which my brother and
Young Skorin were pushing into the water. But they worked so rapidly
that I lost my balance and fell flat into the edge of the river. My
brother caught me up by the neck, shook me angrily, and tumbling me up
on the bank growled: "Stop putting yourself where you're not wanted."

I hardly knew what to make of such unusual treatment from Mitya. To
hide the tears which were ready to fall, I ran as fast as I could to
the top of the bank and got behind some trees from which I had a good
view of the entire river.

Here I soon forgot how sore I felt. The fresh damp air was filled with
the aromatic fragrance of opening buds and leaves. For a mile along the
Russian bank, the river shone mirror-like under the bright rays of the
Spring sun. Its surface was slightly waved by the wind, except in one
place where there was a peculiar disturbance. Sharp waves and splashes
and two rows of foam indicated the approaching advance guard of the
_keta_.

Two boats were rowing desperately to their appointed places on both
sides of the opening between the two fences. Two other boats had
already gone to watch lest the fish should turn into some other arm.
Suddenly the men in these began to fire shots, no doubt to prevent the
fish from turning. Their maneuver evidently succeeded, for the fish
headed directly to where the other party awaited them.

As they came nearer and nearer I grew so excited that I leaped high
into the air and yelled wildly.

Although it was not a big school of fish, it covered more than two
hundred feet. As it came to the fences there was a great disturbance,
heads and tails and even the entire body appearing far out of the
water. A few individual fish jumped as high as the very top of the
fence. A very large number became entangled in the spread nets.

Because of the number of fish, it became difficult to get the water
end of the net back to land, and, for a while, it looked as if the
fish would escape, nets and all. The hard work of the men in the
boats seemed to accomplish little. Finally Old Skorin, alone in his
light _baidarra_,[9] separated himself from the others, and pulled
behind him the end of the rope, while the others exerted themselves to
resist the pressure of the fish. When he reached the bank, he wound
the rope around some trees which he used as a block, until he made a
sufficiently strong anchor for the party behind. Two or three men came
to his assistance, and gradually the far end of the net, filled with an
enormously large number of fish, was brought on the bank.

A little behind this net was another net to get the fish that escaped
the first. Many fish, however, went under both and were soon out of
sight.

The whole village now gathered with vessels and sacks, knives and
hatchets. The fish were picked up, killed, and carried to improvised
tables, where a row of women and two strong men started to work at
cleaning, salting, and packing them in barrels. The work was continued
until the salt gave out late at night. The remainder were left for
drying and smoking on the morrow. All of the work was done in common;
later the fish were divided among the different families according to
the number of workers in each.

The next morning everything looked gloomy and muddy, for there had been
a shower during the night, and it was still drizzling. Happening to
recall that the year before at this fish season the weather had been
dry, I ventured to ask: "Isn't it foolish to try to dry fish in such
wet weather? They'll get wetter than they now are."

To my chagrin and astonishment, all began to laugh, and Young Skorin
remarked: "They are rather used to being pretty wet, I fancy."

As I turned from the laughing crowd, who, as soon as they had cleaned
some of the fish, hung them on ropes stretched in several rows along
the bank, I noticed that "Granny" Daria and her adopted son were
watching the workers. I soon saw that they were not there merely out of
curiosity but to pick up the spawn which they washed in a big tank and
piled in a barrel. Later I was told that Daria had been the first in
the village to prepare caviar for sale. That was the year before, when
she made enough money to purchase a cow in the city. We all envied her
this cow, for in comparison with our undeveloped Manchurian cows she
gave an enormous amount of milk.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 9: A boat for one man, made of bark and the skin of fish over
a wood skeleton.]



CHAPTER VI

TIGER! TIGER!


I must have been at least a year older when father came in one evening,
his face full of serious concern. I had just been uttering peculiar
yells to amuse my little sister, but at once became silent, anxious for
him to speak. As soon as he had warmed his hands a little at the fire,
he turned to me with, "You will have to go after the cattle, Vanka, and
try to get them into the yard." Then, turning to my mother, he added,
"A tiger[10] was seen in the valley last night." Mother began to make
some timid objections to my going out because of the falling snow, but
father interrupted with: "Trifles! He's a Cossack!"

My mother knew too well my father's conviction that the same discipline
that prevailed in the camp should be found in the home, to say more.

I confess that I did not like the task assigned me. As I reluctantly
arose, my mother, trying not to betray her emotions, bade me put my
fur coat over my blouse. When I had done so, she herself tied a heavy
muffler over my cap, and then turning from me, pretended to be absorbed
in getting supper. The anxious look in her eyes, however, had not
escaped me.

When I stepped out of doors, I could not make out anything at first.
The wind was colder and blowing stronger than in the morning, and
I rubbed my nose, remembering the half frozen one with which I had
returned from a trip on the river two weeks before, resulting in a
swollen face and a disagreeable daily greasing with goose fat.

After a few minutes I made out the fences, and then the road, down
which I stumbled, hoping to find our cattle clustered as usual, about a
big haystack, half a mile from the village.

The sky, as is customary in Eastern Siberia, was clear and full of
stars. The dazzling whiteness around gleamed as if covered with
thousands of jewels. More than once a clump of bushes made me sure that
the tiger was a dozen steps before me.

Suddenly a sinister sound broke the stillness. I half turned to run,
when it was repeated, and I recognized that it was only a cracking
of the ice in the river below me, so I continued on, relieved. Snow
circles now began to form around my muffled face and the deeper snow
creaked under my feet. Gradually, however, all sense of fear left me
for a while. The spirit of adventure, the thought of accomplishing so
difficult a commission, filled my heart with the determination to do it
as well as though I were a full grown man.

I had gone less than a quarter of a mile when I began to make out
several dark spots approaching along the trail. Soon I heard the
bleating of a calf, who, evidently trying to follow its mother, was
discontented that more attention was not paid to it.

"They have scented the tiger," I said to myself, "and are trying to get
home."

For a moment I felt glad that I did not have to go further. Then it
occurred to me that should the frightened animals unexpectedly see me,
they might run away so that it would be impossible to find them again
that night.

Quickly stepping to one side, I crouched down next to a little hillock.
I was a moment too late, for the cattle stopped and stood motionless,
gazing toward the spot where I lay. When they renewed their approach,
their rapid trot had changed to a slow, cautious walk. It was fortunate
that the wind was blowing in my direction, for they were soon in line
with me. I scarcely breathed until they had passed, when I leaped up so
quickly to follow that I again frightened them, and they started off on
so mad a rush towards home that they were soon out of sight.

It was not until then that it occurred to me that the tiger might have
been following the cattle, that even now he was somewhere near where I
had first caught a glimpse of them.

Panic stricken, I grabbed up the folds of my heavy coat and ran along
the trail like one insane. Once I stumbled, and it seemed to me that I
felt the tiger's breath on my neck, that his claws were outstretched to
carry me so far away that even my mother could not find me.

Then, with a hasty glance behind that saw nothing, I gave a leap
forward and continued my run. At last I caught a glimpse of the light
from our house, which was at one end of the village; and completely out
of breath, I broke into the kitchen and sank to the floor.

Mother, greatly alarmed, ran up to me, crying out: "For heaven's sake,
Vanka, what's the matter? Are you hurt? Is the tiger--"

Gasping for breath, I answered weakly, "Yes, tiger."

This produced a commotion. My older sister began to cry; my mother
caught up the baby from her warm bed on top of the oven and kissed her,
while father with one leap took his rifle from the hook and put on his
ammunition belt. Then, taking me by the shoulder, he demanded: "Where
was the tiger?"

I muttered something so unintelligible that his face cleared somewhat.
He evidently perceived that I was more frightened than the situation
justified. To relieve the tensity of the atmosphere, he said in quite a
natural tone, "You're scared, Sonny, eh?" Then added briskly, "Shame on
you! Take a lantern and follow me."

These words returned to me all my presence of mind. I jumped up and
feeling the necessity of something being done, ran for the lantern, lit
it, and followed my father who, enveloped in his fur coat, was already
out of doors.

When my eyes accustomed themselves to the darkness, I saw that all of
our cows were huddled together near the barn. We drove them to a corral
surrounded by a seven-foot high fence made of tree trunks.

When sure that all were in, father closed the gate, and turned to
another corral in which were the horses tied to posts. At first I
thought that he intended to drive them into the corral with the cows,
but soon saw, to my great surprise, that he had not only untied them
but let them go freely out of the gates. He even went to a shed
reserved for a highly valued stallion and let him loose.

"Why did you do that?" I ventured to ask him.

"I never heard yet of a loose horse being caught by a tiger," he
replied briefly.

"But the cattle--" I began.

"They're different," he said, "they haven't the sense to know how to
protect themselves. Besides, they couldn't run fast enough, anyhow."

As we moved about with our lanterns, our dogs and those of our
neighbors kept up a continuous barking. At last we turned toward the
house, my father remarking as if to himself, "The tiger is a good way
off yet."

"How can you tell?" I asked timidly.

"Why," he answered rather impatiently, "don't you hear how the dogs are
barking?"

"Yes," I said. "Much more than usual."

"More than usual," he repeated after me with a sarcastic emphasis.
"You'll see how they bark if a tiger ever ventures near our house. But
come, it's time to go in. I'm worn out. You go ahead, I'll follow as
soon as I've closed the gate."

I skipped to the house, feeling very brave with my father so near,
and listened to the different voices of the dogs as I did so. That of
little Zushka, who belonged to our nearest neighbor, seemed ridiculous
compared with that of our wolf-hound, Manjur. I whistled to Manjur who
was about a hundred feet away. He stopped barking and ran up to me.
Hardly had I begun to pat his head than he suddenly stiffened with
attention, his hair bristling. Then with a ferocious bark such as I had
never heard before, he disappeared into the darkness.

The moon, which had risen, made the surroundings quite visible. Turning
my head, I saw my father some distance away standing perfectly still,
his face turned toward the road, his rifle raised to his shoulder.

I also stood still, scarcely breathing, until he set his rifle on the
ground. As he did so he glanced at the house. Seeing me he called out
roughly, "What are you doing here? Didn't I tell you to go in?"

"Is it a tiger?" I said with teeth chattering.

"I don't know," he answered; "but do as you're bid."

I had to obey, and stepping in, soon cuddled myself under the heavy
fur coat that served as my comforter. But though I lay down I could
not fall asleep until my father came in and quietly but a little more
slowly than usual, got ready for bed.

I heard my mother whisper: "Did the tiger come?" and father's answer:
"I think so, but for some reason he went away."

"Will he return?" from my mother.

"How do I know?" came impatiently from my tired father, and I fell
asleep.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 10: The Siberian tiger, one of the finest in the world, is
found only in the Eastern part of the country.--THE EDITOR.]



CHAPTER VII

THE NIGHT ALARM


A few hours before dawn I was awakened by our dog barking angrily,
yet with a peculiar note showing fear and disdain. I could also hear
him leaping up and down in one spot near the very door of our house.
Instead of answering barks, the neighboring dogs gave forth long and
deep howls. There was such a noise and mooing of the cows in the corral
that it seemed to me they must be trying to stamp or hook each other to
death.

Father and mother were already up, and I heard father's deep command:
"Get me a lantern."

As soon as the match was lit I saw him as he stood in his night shirt
but with his fur hat on his head and a rifle in his hand. As soon as
the lantern had been lit, he seized it and rushed to the door, putting
on his overcoat as he ran. I arose hastily, put on my fur coat, grabbed
the hatchet lying by the stove, and followed just as he cheered on the
dog who ran before him to the corral, barking loudly.

As I came near I saw my father thrust his rifle hastily between two
fence posts. A second later came a short flash and the report of the
gun. But my father's curses showed that he had failed to hit the mark.
At the same time, I heard a roar so terrible in its fury and strength
and hate that I trembled so as to be hardly able to stand. Surely, I
thought, a beast who can produce such a roar can swallow not only one
but several cows at once. How brave my father seemed to me as, still
muttering, he reloaded his old gun with another cartridge. But here
something happened. The great beast holding a cow in his teeth as a
cat does a mouse, jumped over the seven-foot fence of the corral and
ran off into the darkness, pursued by our wolf hound. With what sounded
like the Cossack war cry, father followed, while I, too, made my way
some distance after, this distance gradually increasing on the snow
covered trail.

[Illustration: "THE GREAT BEAST . . . JUMPED OVER THE SEVEN-FOOT FENCE"]

We continued in this fashion for perhaps five minutes, when the dog
changed his ferocious barking to a pitiful whine and a new shot rang
out into the air, followed by a short roar. I stopped in the middle of
the road, unable to go a step further.

I don't know how long I stood there, but it was until I heard Manjur
returning. I could just make him out but oh, in what a pitiful
condition! He was limping so badly that at times he simply dragged his
body along the ground. Tears sprang to my eyes as I heard his cries and
hurried toward him intending to pat him on the head. But when I tried
to do so, my hand found itself covered with a warm sticky fluid
which I knew to be blood. I could feel that his skin was torn, one ear
gone, and his left front leg broken.

Helping the dog all I could, I returned crying to the house. As I
stepped into the room covered with Manjur's blood, my sister Katia gave
a scream, while my mother with terror written in her eyes, exclaimed:
"What's happened to you? Where is your father?"

"I don't know," I answered; "but see what the frightful tiger did to
poor Manjur."

Mother, somewhat relieved, but still trembling, now came up and helped
me apply greased bandages to the torn ear and broken skin of the
faithful dog.

While we were doing this, father returned. Slowly he took off his hat,
then his heavy coat, and in reply to my mother's mute questioning look,
said: "I believe that I must have hit him for he dropped the cow,--yet
he got away."

"Is she alive?" asked my mother with anxiety.

My father shook his head. "Her neck is entirely broken," he said,
adding, "I hardly think he'll return to-night. To-morrow we'll get him,
for he's probably hungry and will hang around." Then he ordered me and
my terrified sister to go to bed in order to get up early, and busied
himself with poor Manjur.

Long after the light was extinguished, I lay awake thinking of the
tiger, my father's courage, my mother's anxiety, the wounded dog,
and the dear cow. For some time, too, I could hear the low voices
of my father and mother discussing the preparations for the morrow.
One name, that of Tolochkin, was mentioned several times. I knew of
this Tolochkin as a wonderful hunter of tigers. I had never seen him,
however, for he lived more than forty miles away, and was peculiar in
his habits, keeping much to himself.



CHAPTER VIII

WHAT CAME FROM ATTENDING A SKODKA


The sun's rays were already brightening the room when I awoke next
morning. I jumped up from the bench that formed my bed at night and
looked around. The fire was burning brightly in the big stove, mother
and sister were clearing the table. Father was gone!

Quick as a flash, it occurred to me why he was away. He had gone to a
_skodka_, a gathering of the villagers who are always called together
when there is a grave matter to be discussed. My lips trembled in my
disappointment, for I had hoped to go with father.

I dressed hastily, and then grabbing up my fur cap and coat started for
the door. Mother saw me and called out, "Where are you in such a hurry
to go, you foolish boy? You're not washed nor combed, nor have you had
a bite to eat."

"I haven't time," I mumbled. "I have to go to the _skodka_."

Mother, despite the seriousness of the situation, burst out laughing.
"Do you think you are necessary," she inquired, "to deciding what ought
to be done?" Then changing her tone she said, "Hang up your _shuba_
(overcoat), wash yourself, and breakfast, and then perhaps you can go."

My pleadings to depart at once were in vain, and I had to do her
bidding. I forgot the disappointment somewhat, in attacking with relish
the well-prepared buckwheat porridge, rye bread, and tea. The instant I
was through, nothing could prevent me from running to the _skodka_.

When I reached Fedoraev's log house, which my mother had told me was
the place of meeting, I found the front room filled with neighbors.
Peter, who was at the door under the low-eaved portico, pointed out
a tall, broad-shouldered man, with a heavy beard and bushy hair and
brows, as the renowned Tolochkin. I gazed at him with all my might.
"How many tigers has he killed?" I asked Peter in a whisper.

"Forty!" came the answer. "And you ought to see the bear and deer skins
which I saw in his yard the latter part of January."

I turned to the man again. I had been told that he was about fifty
years of age, but he looked about ten or fifteen years younger. I
noticed that he did not say much except to reply sharply to suggestions
and arguments.

"Why won't you come with us, Ivan Stepanovitch?" I heard the village
_ataman_, the head man of our village, say to him in a slow, persuasive
voice. "We need you to show our youths how to hunt tigers. They've got
to learn. We lost five cows and a dozen sheep last year, and this one
rascal alone can ruin us. We'll give you half the price of the skin."

"I don't care for the company, thank you; I prefer to hunt tigers
single-handed." He paused and added with a peculiar sarcasm, "I'm
really not needed." Here he arose and left abruptly.

For several minutes after his departure, no one spoke. Then I heard
my father's voice: "Since he doesn't want to come, let him stay away.
We're no children to need help. How many rifles can we count on for
to-morrow?"

There came a chorus of "I," "I'm with you," "Count on me," and then
quite involuntarily, I found myself exclaiming loudly: "I'll go."

To my surprise everybody found something amusing just then, for there
was a resounding laugh. A man near the door faced me with, "Where is
your rifle?"

I looked straight into his eyes and answered earnestly, "Last year my
uncle promised to give me one of his shotguns."

Again there came a new and stronger explosion of laughter. What was the
matter? Were they laughing at me?

My uncle came to my rescue. "Brave boy," he said, patting me on the
shoulder. "I'll take you if your father consents, and you shall have a
rifle instead of a shotgun. We need some one to see to our horses."

Then the meeting began to discuss plans. It was decided that about two
hours after midnight all who were going were to meet outside of the
village at the crossing of the road to Bear Valley. Only two dogs, wolf
hounds owned by Laddeef, were to be taken.

When I returned home, I said nothing to my mother of my share in the
_skodka_, but when shortly after midnight I heard my father's heavy
steps go out to feed the horses, I arose quietly and dressed, not
forgetting my fur overcoat and cap and my warm felt boots. When my
father returned, his beard white with frost and snow on his deerskin
boots, he looked at me with a mingling of surprise and satisfaction and
exclaimed: "You up! What's the matter?"

"You seemed willing that I should go on the hunt," I stammered, fearful
of a refusal at the last moment.

"Seemed willing," my father repeated with a slight smile.

Here my mother who was now up, broke in quite excitedly: "You are
surely not going to be so crazy as to let Vanka go."

That saved me. Father always disliked any interference, and now, in
addition, mother's tone angered him.

"Father," I begged, before he could speak, "mother thinks I'm a baby.
She doesn't understand that I'm to be raised like a Cossack and not
like a lamb. Uncle will take care of me."

My father who was frowning deeply, seemed to be turning over something
in his mind. At last, without looking at me, he said, "It'll do you
good. If your uncle will take charge of you,--go."

I didn't give my mother a chance to utter a word but flew out of the
door like a bullet, forgetting even to close the door after me, a
negligence usually punished in our village by a beating.

I did not lessen my speed until I found myself at my uncle's
felt-padded door. Turning the knob (it was not customary to lock doors
or to knock in our village), I walked in. Uncle was still in bed and
at first could not understand my presence. When he did, he jumped to
his feet with "You rascal, you caught me this time, all right! Take any
rifle you want."

He pointed to several antlers on the wall on which hung an array of
rifles and daggers. While I tried to decide on the rifle, he washed
and dressed, made a fire and began to prepare pancakes and tea. Having
decided what gun I wanted, I helped him by hammering odd-shaped lumps
of sugar from a big cone-shaped loaf.

From time to time he looked smilingly at me and uttered unrelated
ejaculations, from which I learned that he favored my going.

We sat down, I thinking what a cheerful man he was.

"I guess you haven't breakfasted," he said, filling my plate. "Your
mother probably gave you a spanking instead of something to eat."

I looked up at him in surprise. How could he know that I hadn't had
anything to eat, and that my mother was angry.

Having eaten heartily, we went out. I helped saddle his horse, and
then together, laughing and talking, we hitched a mule to a sleigh
into which we put hay and grain, a bag of tobacco, some bread, salt
and meat, sugar and tea, an _arkan_ (the Cossack's lassoo), and some
cartridges. I tried to follow his excellent method of packing things
away neatly, for I knew that that was a part of the training of every
Cossack.

When we were ready to start, I in front, he a few steps behind, his
pipe in his mouth, a smile on his lips, I could not help asking:
"Uncle, what are you smiling at?"

"At you!" he answered unexpectedly. "I guess you wouldn't go home just
now even for ten rubles."[11]

"Why--" I began and stopped, wondering again how he could read my
thoughts. For it had just occurred to me that if, for any reason, I had
to return, mother wouldn't let me out again, and perhaps even father--
At this point, I hit the mule on whose back I was mounted, and we
started off.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 11: Russian money. Ten rubles would equal about five dollars
of our money.--THE EDITOR.]



CHAPTER IX

THE HUNT


When we reached the meeting-place, more than a dozen men on horseback
were already there. Close to them stood a big shallow sleigh, the
runners of which were a pair of birch poles. In it were ropes, a
hatchet, food and forage. The driver of this was Daria, an old woman,
whom I have already mentioned once or twice. I knew her story. The
death of her husband and two children of typhoid fever had caused her
to be despondent for several years. Then some one left a foundling at
her door. She adopted the child, trying in every way to make a worthy
man of him. To do this, she accepted all kinds of odd jobs, even such
as were generally given to men. She built fences, prepared the dead
for burial, acted as midwife and nurse, delivered messages that nobody
else cared to undertake, sometimes at night or during severe storms.
She seemed to be afraid of nothing in the world and of nobody.

When she first began to work in this way, she was pitied and helped; a
little later, she was laughed at, and unpleasant names were applied to
her; but finally, all came to have a deep respect for her and to rely
on her help when trouble came.

Long years of humiliation and struggle for a living, and the overcoming
of all obstacles, had made her somewhat imperative in manner. She
always expressed a decided opinion. Many people thought she really knew
everything, and one or two superstitious persons even insinuated that
she was a witch. When money or its equivalent in milk, eggs or flour
was offered for her services, she accepted it from those who could
pay. From others she refused everything, giving instead something from
her own small store.

I thought her very odd, but liked her. Nevertheless, to-day,--well,
to-day, it seemed to me that it was not fitting that I, a Cossack,
should have to remain in the rear with a woman.

Comforting myself with the knowledge that Daria was a very unusual
woman, I bade her good morning.

"Good morning, you rascal," she answered. "What are you doing here? I
know that your mother is worrying about you."

I did not think that this needed a reply. Jumping down from the mule
but holding on to the reins, I joined a group of Cossacks who formed a
circle in front of their horses.

"I guess we're all here," remarked Mikhailov, an active, talkative
fellow who had lately returned from actual service with the rank of
non-commissioned officer and with the unpopular habit of constantly
assuming leadership. He was probably the youngest present.

"Yes," replied my father. "And now we must follow some system. Perhaps
we'd better cast lots to see who is to be our _ataman_, the leader of
our band."

Old Skorin shook his head. "What's the use of that?" he said. "You know
the country, and you'll suit us."

This did not please Mikhailov, who tried to put in an argument against
there being any leader, but he was overruled, one of the men even
turning to him with: "You, in particular, need to be careful. Don't
be too anxious to shoot when you first catch sight of the tiger. Wait
until you can aim directly at his head or heart. If you don't, he'll
teach you something that you'll never forget in this life."

"Keep your counsel for your own use," retorted Mikhailov. "I don't need
it."

Father here raised a warning hand and began to assign to each one
present his place and duty.

"You, Simeon," he said, turning to one, "take the hounds along the low
places of the valley, so as to get the tiger to move out of the bushes
into the open spaces in the hills. You, Ivan and Feodor, take your
places on the western side of the brush and keep close watch. Don't let
the beast escape into the forest. And you, Mikhailov, and you, Foma,
remain as quiet as dead men on the left side of the brush, about one
hundred feet apart. Mind, you're to hide in the tall grass and not show
yourselves. The tiger will probably try to run to Hog Valley. Don't
miss him. Be vigilant and brave."

Then he turned to me. "As for you, Vanka, stay with Granny under the
oak on yonder hill. Tie the horses well and see that they don't get
frightened at either the tiger or the shots. See that you don't stare
open-mouthed at the sky and don't go where you're not wanted. If you
leave your place--you'll be sorry that the tiger didn't get you. Do you
understand?"

[Illustration: ALEXIS PAVLOVITCH]

Something in my father's voice cheered me. I felt that he knew what he
was about and that I must obey.

Then Mikhailov asked father, "Where are you going?"

"To the north of the valley, where I'll take the rest and station
them." Turning to Simeon he added, "Don't let the hunt commence until
you hear a shot from my rifle." And, followed by several men, he left
us.

Before those remaining separated, I heard Mikhailov remark to his
neighbor, "Oh, he's foxy. He's selected the best place for himself.
We'll not even catch a glimpse of the tiger."

Here Daria turned quickly to him with, "You've returned from service
as big a fool as when you left. Do your duty and you'll find that
Alexis Pavlovitch has done you justice." Striking her horses with a
whip, Daria started for the oak. I followed.

When I had tied the horses, I tried to wait patiently for day-break.
But oh, how long the hours seemed! My fingers grew stiff with the
frost. I tried to limber them up by blowing on them after I had taken
off my mittens. Here Daria jumped to the ground, picked up a big
handful of snow and rubbed her fingers with it. After wiping them she
put them into the big sleeves of her fur coat, saying, "Now even my old
fingers are warm. Follow my example."

I bent down, my fingers so stiff that I could hardly grab up any snow.
As I rubbed them, their flexibility gradually returned, and I dried
them on the border of my fur coat. Then, still imitating my companion,
I put them into my sleeves. They felt as warm as if they had just come
out of boiling water.

By the time the first glimmer of dawn appeared, I could already
distinguish Mikhailov, who was lying half hidden in the dry grass, and
a moment after, the dogs leaping around Simeon, who tried to keep them
quiet while waiting for my father's signal.

Just before sunrise, the faint sound of a shot from down the valley
came to us. Daria awakened from her doze. At the same time the hounds
commenced to bark and move toward the dry snow-covered brush covering
the bottom of the valley. At first Simeon held them tightly by a rope
and they barked regularly and carelessly. Soon, however, there was a
change. Anger and hate mingled with their bark.

"They have scented the tiger," whispered Daria.

I forgot everything, horses, mule, myself, as I stared fearfully into
the snow-covered underbrush for a glimpse of the beast. At first I
could see nothing, for the white covering grew blinding under the first
rays of the sun. That and the yellow leaves of the low Mongolian oaks
hid Simeon, the hounds, and the tiger, making it seem a wall of mystery
to me.

I shivered for fear of the men as I recalled how easily this tiger had
carried off our cow. It was not until later that I learned that even
the most ferocious of wild creatures will avoid meeting man unless
forced to do so.

The sun rose just behind where I was stationed, and gradually I could
see two stationary black spots against the white of the hills opposite.
They were Ivan and Feodor.

On our side, Mikhailov and Foma showed more excitement. They even kept
bobbing into sight, despite my father's strict orders to remain hidden.
I also made out two Cossacks, mere specks, down in the valley. But
nowhere could I find my father.

Suddenly I noticed a movement in the brush some distance away. I
thought it must be Simeon and his hounds, until an open space was
reached and I distinctly saw an animal apparently the size of a mouse.
Unable to control myself I cried: "The tiger!"

Daria's hand instantly covered my mouth. But Mikhailov had heard and
signaled "Where?"

I tried to show him as best I could without turning my eyes from
the tiny spot on the snow. It may have been that the tiger heard my
loud exclamation; it may have been that something else attracted his
attention; in any case he remained motionless for a few seconds. Then
with one leap he disappeared again into the brush.

Shortly after, Simeon and the two hounds appeared in the same spot.
Then my excitement cannot be described as I saw the tiger run exactly
toward where Mikhailov was concealed. From my elevated position all
this was visible; Mikhailov, however, could not see how close the tiger
was to him.

In a very short time the beast had reached the eastern side. He
appeared so unexpectedly before Mikhailov that the latter, instead of
shooting, uttered a curse, and the tiger turned back. Here Mikhailov
committed the grave error against which he had been warned. He shot in
the direction that the tiger had gone and evidently hit without killing
him.

A terrible roar followed as the creature turned and jumped right on the
man who had wounded him.



CHAPTER X

THE HUNT--CONTINUED


My heart gave a wild leap and I grabbed hold of the side of the sled
for support. Then a great many things happened, but I recall them to
the smallest detail.

As the tiger's roar rang out, all the horses tied to the trees and in
my care broke their halters and rushed wildly away. Daria's two horses
attached to the sled, followed, leaping over all obstacles. Daria's
greatest efforts were powerless to even reduce their speed. I soon
forgot all about them, however, so intent did I become on the picture
before me.

I saw Foma, who was nearest, make a few jumps toward him and then
kneel and point his rifle at the beast who clung to Mikhailov. A shot
followed. Immediately after, the tiger turned, looking just like a big
cat. He gave three or four convulsive shakes and fell back without a
sound on the snow, his hind legs sinking deep into it, and his front
legs stretched to the sky.

I ran toward Mikhailov, but, before I reached him, I felt a strong arm
on my neck and a voice interrupted by deep breathing: "Stop, you crazy
boy! Wait! He might be able to break your neck yet. A tiger doesn't
die as quickly as that." I stopped, and with the man who had spoken
gazed where the tiger lay. It remained motionless. After a few seconds
my companion judged it safe to approach. Foma had shot him in the ear,
killing him instantly.

Mikhailov was lying with his right side and part of his head deeply
imbedded in the snow. His fur coat had been torn from his shoulder,
revealing a deep wound from which the shoulder blade projected. At
first sight his head seemed attached to the body only by a shred of
skin, so unnaturally was it twisted to one side and covered by a thick
mass of blood.

Though shivering as if with a fever, I could not turn my eyes from the
terrible sight. I regained possession of myself only when I heard my
father's voice as he came up on horseback.

As he jumped down to examine Mikhailov he turned saying, "Go, help my
brother catch Daria's horses."

The man addressed leaped at once on father's horse and hit it with a
_nagaika_ (a Cossack whip). The spirited animal put back its ears, and
like an arrow shot out toward where Daria's horses could be just seen
running around in circles in the snow.

One by one the other hunters arrived and stood around Mikhailov. No one
seemed to know what to do, and no one dared, apparently, say what he
thought, although two of the men took off their hats as is generally
done in the presence of Death.

Finally some one did turn to my father with, "Is he quite dead?"

As if in answer, Mikhailov just then made a faint movement with a
finger of his left hand. It seemed to me that he was trying to signify
something by this, especially as it was followed by a slight moan or
two. Then again there was silence.

Here some of the men began to talk, wondering how he could have made so
great a blunder. My father stopped them. "It's time to do something,"
he said, and beckoning to two others to help him, tried to raise the
wounded man into a more comfortable position. Mikhailov groaned faintly.

"Better let him die without hurting him," interjected my uncle, turning
his head away.

"But look!" quickly exclaimed an intelligent-looking young man. "His
face isn't injured at all. Only his neck is torn. He might live long
enough to take the sacrament at least, and even, perhaps, make his last
will."

Four of the men again raised Mikhailov, my father supporting his head,
and placed him on a saddle blanket that had been stretched out on the
snow.

Meanwhile Daria's horses had been caught and she had driven up. As soon
as sufficiently near, she slipped down from her sleigh and tottered
toward the wounded man. Blood was still dripping from the neck.

"Fools!" she exclaimed, looking indignantly at the men. "It's lucky the
blood has partially clogged or he would have bled to death before your
eyes."

Then turning to one of the Cossacks she added: "Your blouse looks
clean. Give it to me."

Without a word the man took it off and handed it to her.

Paying no attention to the bits of advice that now began to be given,
such as "Put some tobacco on the torn place," "Powder is the best
thing," she tore the shirt into pieces and began to bandage the wound.

I watched her quick, sure movements with a constantly growing
admiration, my former liking for her changing to a sort of reverent
love.

When she had finished and stretched herself with difficulty, I found
that the men had not been idle. Dried twigs had been spread in the
sleigh and these covered with several horse-blankets, the whole forming
a comfortable bed. The quickness with which it had been made showed
that the Cossacks were used to needing it.

Several Cossacks now lifted the wounded man on to the sleigh with as
great care and skill as that possessed by the best trained nurses. They
then helped Daria to an especially prepared place by his side. My
uncle took the driver's seat, and I, without waiting for invitation or
permission, jumped up next to him. Slowly we drove off.

I looked back once or twice to see what those left behind were doing.
Some of them hung the tiger to a strong tree, the skin having already
been loosened from his legs. Then they carefully cut the thin under
skin with their hunting knives and gradually pulled it off from the
tail down.

As soon as we arrived at the village, a man was sent on the swiftest
horse to be found, to the nearest _stannica_ (an administrative Cossack
station) where a doctor was to be found.[12]

It was not until late at night that the doctor arrived. When he had
examined the wound, he said: "I can't understand how he has lasted so
long with so little help."

"Will he live?" some one asked.

The doctor shook his head. "There's but little chance of that," he said.

But I may as well say here that Mikhailov did live, his wonderful
constitution pulling him through. His neck, however, was crippled,
his head always inclining toward the left side, and his left arm
practically disabled. The accident taught him wisdom, and later he took
to hunting again, becoming the most renowned hunter of wolves and bears
in our district.

The tiger skin was sold to a passing merchant for sixty rubles, while
the tiger's heart was bought by a Chinaman, who intended, it was said,
to reduce it to powder and sell it to those who thought that they could
thus have some of the tiger's bravery transmitted to them. The skull
was given to Daria in acknowledgment of her services, and kept by her,
with many other very curious things, in the front room of her little
log house.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 12: Each district has its own doctor receiving pay from the
government. His duty is to attend to all Cossacks and their families,
free of charge, whenever necessary.]



CHAPTER XI

A JOURNEY


One day, not long after a traveling merchant had brought us news of
Dimitri, my father called me to the bench on which he sat, and putting
his hands on my head, asked: "How would you like to learn to read and
write?"

At first I did not know what to answer, the question was so unexpected.
Glancing at my mother, I saw that it made her so uneasy that she
dropped a tumbler on the floor, a very unusual happening.

Although father did not insist on my answering, the question kept
coming back to me all that day and the next, until I decided that to
learn to read and write would be a very good thing.

For some days following this question, I noticed that father seemed
to be brooding over something, and finally, to my great surprise, I
accidentally learned that I was the cause of his worry.

One night after I had gone to my bed, where I lay dreaming of having
won distinction in the army, I heard mother say, "What's worrying you,
Alexis? Are you sick? Or is anything wrong with the horses? Or"--here
her voice trembled--"have you had bad tidings of Dimitri that you're
afraid to tell me?"

"Oh, no," father answered. "Nothing is wrong." Then he abruptly changed
the conversation. "Do you remember Mongalov?"

"Do you mean your chum, Vanka, whom my mother spanked when he threw mud
at me as a child?"

"That's the one," replied my father. "But you mustn't call him Vanka
any more. Didn't Mitya tell you that he is now a _sotnik_?"[13]

"What! An officer! Is it possible?"

"Yes,--and I am not," said my father with a certain bitterness in his
voice. "Yet I had a better chance in some ways than he." Here his
voice sank lower. "Now, our Vanka isn't stupid, and if we give him an
education I don't see why he shouldn't become an officer. Too bad that
that fellow Gabrilov, whom we had here as a teacher last spring, turned
out to be such a drunkard. We really had to get rid of him."

Mother interrupted him. "Judging by Gabrilov, education isn't such
a splendid thing. Boys brought up in town learn all sorts of wicked
things. I'd rather keep Vanka here. He can learn to be as good a
Cossack in our village as anywhere else. Mongalov may dress better
than you, but he isn't respected a bit more. After Katia is married I
don't see how I can get along without Vanka."

Here I fell asleep with the pleasant knowledge that, after all, I was
not simply a nuisance but meant something to my parents.

The next morning father went about his work as usual, feeding the
horses and cattle, and bringing wood and cutting it. In the meantime
mother brought water from the well in the middle of the yard, and I
pumped water into a big trough to which I led the horses.

When this had been done, father caught two of the horses, gave them
some grain and tied them to a post.

Seeing my look of inquiry, he smilingly repeated a favorite proverb,
"Don't try to learn too much or your hair will turn gray."

As we went in to breakfast his lips moved as if he were talking to
himself, a habit he had formed whenever he had a great deal on his
mind. Mother watched him with a troubled air, and at last asked:
"What's the matter, Alexis?"

Without replying to her question, he said, "I have to go to Habarovsk
to-day, and I'll take Vanyuska with me. I've been promising him the
ride for a long time."

I jumped up, waved my arms, and with my mouth full of bread, shouted:
"Hurrah!"

My mother stopped me. "Sit down, you foolish boy. You can't go. I need
you."

But, after a long argument, mother agreed to my going. Then father and
I cleaned the horses and tied their tails up as high as possible, for
at this time of the year the roads were very muddy. I placed a light
saddle on the horse I was to ride, and father's military saddle with
its high trees on the other horse. As father put some sacks with forage
behind these, Katia came out with something that mother was sending
Dimitri. I was very glad to see this, for it meant that we were going
to visit the Cossack barracks.

Half an hour later we had left home and were making our way through
the deep mud. It was a beautiful Spring morning. The air was fresh and
clear, and, despite the heavy road, the horses were full of spirit and
went on with a light and springy gait.

At a turn of the road I suddenly saw two rabbits sitting about a
hundred feet from us. Pointing to them, I called to my father to look.
Here my horse jumped to one side and I was all but thrown from the
saddle.

My father was quite angry. He turned to me exclaiming roughly: "What's
the matter with you? A Cossack should always watch his horse. He must
never be taken by surprise even should the horse leap a fence. You
almost fell like a sack."

Since that lesson I have never failed in watchfulness, never "fallen
asleep," as the Cossacks say, even when trying to ride a mule or an ox.

We did not meet many travelers. Once a company of dusky, flat-featured
natives of the Lake Baikal region, passed us, splendidly mounted
on their horses. Their large, squat bodies gave them a somewhat
forbidding air, but I knew how peaceful and harmless they really are.
The Russians call them Bratskie (brotherly people). One was dressed
in a long, purplish blue cloak, lined with fur, and had on a curious
blue cone-shaped hat. The others were evidently Cossacks, for they
had on the distinguishing uniform. They may have been on their way
to some Buddhist shrine, for the Russian Government, severe with its
own people, allows those born into other religions to worship as they
please. "God gave us our religion. He gave them theirs," expresses the
attitude taken.

It was just here that we were overtaken by a man mounted like ourselves
on a shaggy Siberian pony. When he had come up, both he and my father
gave expression to surprised greetings. He proved to be an old-time
acquaintance. There was no end of questions and answers for he rode
with us as far as our destination. He had just come from the city of
Vladivostok,[14] the great growing seaport of Siberia. As he gave a
glowing description of the place, I was reminded of the meaning of the
name Vladi-vostok--possessor of the East.

"We may build a great trade with the United States through
Vladivostok," he remarked among other things. "It has a splendid,
land-locked harbor, large enough for any number of vessels,--and a
beautiful one as well."

"But isn't it frozen a large part of the year?" my father asked.

"From the latter part of December to April. It's really too bad so
great a country as ours hasn't an outlet further south. But all trade
isn't stopped on account of the ice. There is a channel kept open for
the largest ships all winter by means of ice-breakers."

"What kind of people are there in Vladivostok?" I ventured to ask, half
fearful of saying something ridiculous.

The man turned to me with a smile. "Many exactly like those in your
village. Then people from different parts of Europe, and Chinese and
Japanese. Also quite a number of Koreans, whom you can tell by their
white dress. You'll see those in Habarovsk, also." After a moment's
pause, he went on, "The bay is called the Golden Horn (Zolotoy Rog).
The town rises up from it in terraces. It is very picturesque."

"I suppose there is a fort there," I again ventured.

This time the man laughed. "If you visited this seaport you might
think it all forts. There are defenses,--forts and guns,--whole lines
of them, everywhere. The greater part of the population consists of
soldiers and sailors."

Here my father broached the subject of which his mind seemed so full
these days. "I suppose there are fine schools," he said.

I was so stiff by this time, and my back ached so much from the long
unusual ride, that I was no longer able to concentrate my mind on
anything except that I must not disgrace my father and myself by
showing fatigue.

At last we approached the great Amur River. Across it we could just
make out a few black spots and the shining roof of a church.

After a half hour ride we came to a place on the bank where a raft was
stationed. A few people were already aboard, desiring, like ourselves,
to be taken across. Two soldiers had the boat in charge, and as soon
as we were on, every one helped them in making the somewhat difficult
trip.

On the opposite bank we parted from our companion, and then, for the
first time, I fully realized that we had reached our destination,--the
important garrison town of Habarovsk.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 13: An officer in the Cossack cavalry.]

[Footnote 14: Now connected by the longest railroad in the world with
Petrograd (St. Petersburg), Russia.]



CHAPTER XII

A GARRISON TOWN


This was my first visit to a city, and I gazed with very wide wonder at
the wooden sidewalks, the big stores, the many two-story houses, the
well-dressed women and the numerous soldiers on the street. I could
hardly understand what father said to me, so absorbed was I in the
entirely new scenes before me.

Suddenly we heard the sound of trumpets, cymbals, and tambourines,
accompanied by a lively song. Then a company of Cossacks on horseback
issued from a side street. At the head of the column rode a group of
special singers,--_pesenniki_.

Father and I stationed ourselves near the edge of the street, and
tried to find a familiar figure. The long row of faces splashed here
and there with mud; the similar uniforms, with rifles protruding from
leather straps at the back and swords at the side; the hats tipped to
the right, all exactly at the same angle; every left hand holding the
bridle reins, every right hand placed on the hips;--how was it possible
to distinguish among them?

I soon decided that my only chance of finding Dimitri was to look for
his horse, which I knew to be gray, while the majority were bay. It was
not long before I shouted: "Father, look at the eighth row! Dimitri!"
Then still louder: "Dimitri! Dimitri! Look! Here we are!"

Brother turned and nodded, but, to my great astonishment, did not come
to us, but followed the others without giving any other expression of
recognition.

Then I heard father saying, "Why can't you be quiet? Dimitri can't come
to us until his company is dismissed."

Meanwhile the Cossacks, six abreast, continued to ride past us
whistling and singing.

The entire population of the place now seemed to gather on the
sidewalk. There were merchants in front of their stores, boys who tried
hard to keep step with the horses, women returning from market with
baskets on their arms, all gazing with appreciation at what was a daily
sight. How very desirable it seemed to me to be one of such a company.
How glad I was that my brother belonged to it, and that my father was
a Cossack. Hoping to impress a pretty little girl who stood near me, I
took off my felt cap with its yellow cloth top, symbolic of the East
Siberian Cossacks, and then having looked at it, slowly put it on again.

The Cossack officers rode on one side of the men. They were
distinguished not only by their brighter uniforms but also by the
half Arabian horses on which they were mounted. Many of them had
silver-plated belts around their waists. They had no rifles, only
swords that shone brightly, while revolvers hung from their left sides.
The bridles of their horses glimmered with silver. All the horses were
covered with foam, showing that the drill had been no easy one.

When we reached the barracks, the commanding officer gave an order, and
the whole company leaped like one man from their horses to the ground.
Another order, and the horses were led to the stables, adobe buildings
covered with thatched roofs.

After the horses were rubbed down and fed, Dimitri at last came and
embraced us, saying: "Wait for me at the rooms of the second platoon,
where I'll join you as soon as I am free."

Then he ran with others to wash before taking his place in the
dining-room. As we made our way to the dormitory, my attention was
again attracted by singing, but of a different kind. It was the solemn
prayer which was always chanted before dinner.

Soon we found ourselves in a long room in a brick building. Everything
about it was exceedingly neat. High windows admitted plenty of light,
and as all were open there was a fine circulation of fresh air. The
walls were apparently freshly white-washed, the floors painted. In one
corner hung a big ikon with a lamp under it. About fifty iron beds
placed in two rows were down the middle. Each bed was covered with a
gray blanket and each was marked with the name of the owner. Along the
inside of the wall stood racks for the rifles.

When, after a half hour, we heard the chanting of the prayer of thanks
in the dining-room near by, we looked expectantly at the door. The
company soon filed in. Some stretched themselves on their beds, some
sat down to read, and some began to mend their clothes.

When Dimitri came, one of father's first inquiries was regarding
schools and the promotion to officer rank. My brother was not well
posted and so called the sergeant-major to help him. Time passed
quickly until the hour for drill. Then the first Cossack who noticed
that an officer had entered the room, exclaimed, "Silence! Rise!"

At once there was deep quiet as all arose. I was amazed at the sudden
change, and looked with respect and fear at the man who could produce
it. It was father's old-time friend, Captain Mongalov. I watched
everything that he did with great intentness, noted how his worn-out
uniform was tightly buttoned, how erect he held his body. Even the
curves of his legs, probably caused from living so much on horseback,
and the way he swayed from side to side as he walked, attracted me.
And how splendid and fierce I thought his big black mustache reaching
almost to his ears.

His face was a peculiar mixture of the Russian and Asiatic types,
occasionally met among Siberian Cossacks. When he smiled, he showed two
rows of perfect ivory, and he smiled often. Yet even with his comrades
his expression could change to one of great sternness at the least
break of discipline.

When he saw us he turned to my father with, "From where do you hail,
friend?"

Father slowly and smilingly replied, "Don't you recognize me, Ivan
Petrovitch? I have just come from the Ussuri."

"What! Is it you, Alexis Pavlovitch!" Mongalov exclaimed. "It's ages
since I last saw you." And he embraced my father.

After a short exchange of reminiscences, he turned to me. "Is this your
son? He promises to make a fine Cossack! Are you keeping in mind, my
son, Cossack ideals of bravery and honor?"

Drawing myself to my full height in imitation of the bearing of those
around me, I answered as well as I could, looking straight into his
eyes as I did so.

"Good!" he exclaimed, and taking hold of me under the elbows he tossed
me, like an old acquaintance, high into the air.

Then, suddenly, he turned to my father. "You must excuse me now. I want
to see more of you some evening at my house." And, in a flash, the
genial friend had changed into the stern commander of a company who,
at a single word from him, proceeded to do the various tasks necessary
before retiring.



CHAPTER XIII

A COSSACK DRILL


The night was spent at the home of an aunt, whose husband, a grocer,
was also a retired Cossack. Their home was a very humble one, but what
it lacked in luxury it made up in the hospitality of its owners.

Fresh straw for beds was brought in and put in a room set apart. This
straw was covered with heavy home-spun bed linen, some feather pillows,
and two big fur coats as comforters. After a fire had been kindled in
the stove, we were invited to partake of supper, which consisted of
deer meat, pancakes heavily buttered, and sour cream.

After eating very heartily I became so sleepy that I was ordered to
bed. When I awoke, the sun was streaming directly into my face.
Father, who was already dressed, tried to hurry me by saying, "You are
a nice Cossack! They must be half through the drill which you were so
anxious to see. Mongalov has promised to give you a horse so that you
can follow the _sotnia_" (a company of from one hundred and twenty to
one hundred and sixty horsemen).

This was news to me. Burning my mouth in my haste to swallow my hot
tea, I was ready to follow my father in a few minutes.

When we came to the barracks the Cossacks, holding on to the reins of
their horses with their right hands, were assembled in the front yard,
and the sergeant-major was calling the roll. "We came too late for the
morning prayer," my father whispered to me as the roll was ended.

Here came an order from the sergeant-major. "Seat yourselves." At once
every man leaped upon his horse.

"Line up," came next, and the horses arranged themselves in two
straight lines, head to head and breast to breast.

"Silence!" was the next order, and all gazed mutely ahead, immovable as
statues.

Some long command, the words of which I did not catch, followed, and
the company changed positions to six in a row. A moment after, all were
trotting along the road out of town.

As we started to follow, the sergeant-major hailed me. "Good morning!
Are you the young fellow whom Captain Mongalov wishes to have a horse?"

"Yes," answered my father for me, adding, "But I'm afraid he isn't a
good enough rider to follow the company."

"Never fear," returned the sergeant-major. "I'll bet he's a true
Cossack and will take to horses as a duck does to a lake."

A soldier now held a horse until I had climbed into its saddle. When he
let it go, it started so fast to catch up with the others that I had
difficulty in keeping my seat. However I did this, and also managed to
prevent the horse from joining the ranks.

After we had left the city, the company was halted in a big plain
which stretched far out before us. It was somewhat rolling, with here
and there washed-out places. The sergeant-major rode along the line
inspecting the ammunition and appearance of the men. While he was doing
this, horses were heard approaching at full speed. On the foremost sat
Mongalov. A little behind came two other officers.

"Greetings to you, little brothers!" he shouted as he rode along the
line without reining in his horse.

Then I was almost dumbfounded by the suddenness of a gigantic answer.
"Good Day to Your Honor," came from the company as from one man.

Mongalov noticed me and kindly stopped to say: "Keep close to the
trumpeter and you'll see everything. Only don't get into anybody's way
or I'll have to arrest you." With a smiling nod he rode to the front.

At a word from him, the officers took their places. Then followed
several changes of position, all done with great rapidity and
precision. I learned later that Captain Mongalov's men were unusually
well trained even for Cossacks. The Captain loved his profession and
the men were devoted to him. There was something fatherly in the great
care that he took of the Cossacks under him. On the other hand, he was
severe in punishing any breach of discipline. No one resented this
since he was just and endeavored to make the punishment corrective.

At the conclusion of the drill Mongalov called out in a voice
resounding with warm approval: "Well done, little brothers, well done.
Thank you!"

And again, as one man, the company responded: "We were glad to do our
best, Your Honor."

"Down!" was the next order.

All leaped together to the ground.

"Rest and smoke," came again, and he and his officers jumped off their
own horses and stood together discussing the next drill.

The company followed their example, and soon burst into loud talk and
laughter, while clouds of smoke arose from pipes and cigarettes.

In the meantime I didn't know what to do. I was afraid that if I
climbed down I couldn't get up again on my horse, who seemed unusually
lively and disobedient to me. But I was not left long in this awkward
position, for after a quarter of an hour of rest the Cossacks were
again on their horses, every man ready to obey any order.

To judge by the alert look on their faces, the most important part of
the drill was now to come. Every eye was turned toward their commanding
officer as if trying to guess what new trick would be required of them.

Mongalov sat on his steed, his right hand twirling his mustache, his
eyes directed far down the field as if surveying the distance or
estimating the difficulties before his men. Then his voice rang out
abruptly: "Company, build _lava_!"

These words produced an effect like a discharge of ammunition in the
midst of the Cossacks. The horses rushed madly forward and to each
side of the center, forming a kind of fan. Only by putting forth the
full strength of my arm did I keep my horse in place, the proud animal
trying so hard to show that she understood the command.

In the wink of an eye the compact body of horses was transformed into a
long line of separate riders, stretched so that there was about twenty
feet between each. All were still, the men with swords drawn out of
their scabbards.

Mongalov no longer shouted orders but indicated what was to be done by
waving his sword in different directions. As if charmed by its motions,
the long line moved, now to the right, now to the left, now forward,
now backward.

Once Mongalov, evidently dissatisfied, ordered the trumpeter to repeat
through the trumpet the order given with the sword. Since that time I
have loved the harmonious sounds of the Cossack trumpet which in a very
short time I grew to understand as plainly as spoken words.

Here something happened. Mongalov again made a sign to the trumpeter.
A short, disagreeably false tone was the result. At this the Cossacks
acted like mad. With swords outstretched, they bent down to their
horses' manes and with a terrible yell, "Whee-ee!" they rushed wildly
to the front against an imaginary enemy. My horse with ears back, took
her bit between her teeth, and flew after them. Here I learned how
rapidly a horse can travel. The air whistled in my ears; my hat was
blown off; my feet flew from the stirrups; and not to be thrown off, I
grabbed the horse by the mane, uttering a short prayer.

I did not know what was happening around me until I found myself,
perhaps because of my light weight, among the other Cossacks. Around
me were excited faces with wild expressions; faces that had lost their
humanity; faces such as demons might possess, or Christian fanatics who
would lay down their lives for their faith.

As we rode, a big washout suddenly loomed before us. Most of the horses
immediately jumped over and disappeared in a mad rush forward. But my
horse and those of three men, perhaps through some fault on our part,
did not make the proper jump. I felt a shock as the hoofs of my horse
struck the opposite banks of the ravine, and then the horse fell to the
ground, throwing me over its head into the middle of a mud-hole.

As I struggled to get up, there came a new signal of three long
harmonious sounds. The _lava_ was stopped. Once out of the hole, I saw
a line of still excited horses far to the front. Two or three riderless
horses, one of them mine, were running around them. Not far from me lay
another breathing hard and trying vainly to rise. Near it a Cossack lay
stretched out, while two others sat on the ground a short distance away.

In a short time Mongalov, the trumpeter, and two officers, came
galloping to us. His first question was to me. "Are you hurt?"

"No," I replied, in a voice that sounded strange to me, so shaken was I
with the new experience.

"Here," said Mongalov to a Cossack, "place this boy back of yourself."
Then, throwing the reins of his horse to the trumpeter, he leaped down
and turned his attention to the man lying stretched on the ground.

He proved to be alive but with a leg broken and was put into the
ambulance which had come up. "What's the matter with you?" Mongalov
asked the two bruised, scratched, and mud-covered men who sat on the
ground.

"_Nichevo_,"[15] they answered, smiling and shaking their heads. And as
soon as their horses were caught and brought to them, they managed to
leap on them as if in reality nothing had happened.

When my horse was led up, Mongalov looked at me where I sat ashamed to
meet his gaze, holding tightly to the belt of the man before me. "You
can stay where you are, my boy," he said kindly, "or ride your own
horse. But let me congratulate you on being now a true Cossack. The
man who has never fallen from his saddle can never make a satisfactory
cavalryman!"

How much good these words did me! They not only made me feel at ease
with myself, but taught me one of the best lessons of my life: that
mistakes or mishaps do not down a man who can rise above them. With
some difficulty I slipped from my safe position, and climbed as swiftly
as possible into the saddle of my former horse.

It was not long before the entire company were again on their way back
to town. At the call "Singers forward," several Cossacks left the ranks
and took their places at the head of the column. One of these men was
urged to sing and he responded with a Little Russian song about a
Cossack who returned home from fighting the Turks. At the conclusion of
each stanza those surrounding the soloist began the refrain which was
taken up by the entire company. Listening to this story-telling song
I almost forgot that I was in Siberia, so vividly did pictures of what
took place far away a hundred years ago pass before me.

This song was followed by a boisterous rollicking one. The chorus was
loud and accompanied by cymbals and tambourine. Any one glancing at the
broadly smiling and yelling faces, would not have believed that their
owners were just returning from the most strenuous kind of work, had it
not been for the mud and perspiration visible and their foam-covered
horses.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 15: Nothing; no harm.]



CHAPTER XIV

AN EVENING VISIT


As we approached the town, there was less talking and laughing and the
singing became less boisterous. The crowds gathered as I had seen them
before, and showed their appreciation of the songs by now and then
joining in the chorus.

[Illustration: COSSACK OFFICERS]

Before the barracks were reached, the men leaped down from the
horses, loosened their saddle girths, and led them to the stables.
Here they unsaddled them, gave them hay, and curried them, while the
non-commissioned officers inspected their legs as well as the skin
that had been under the saddles. This was done with much caution, for
Captain Mongalov was particularly strict regarding the health and
care of the horses. Where there was negligence, his usual reprimand
was apt to end with: "Don't forget next time that the Cossack army's
efficiency depends more on the sound legs of a good horse than on the
blockhead who does not know enough to take care of them."

When all the horses had been inspected, cleaned, watered, and given
their prescribed measure of oats, the men were allowed to go to get
themselves ready for dinner, leaving, however, four men whose turn it
was to take care of the stables.

I wish there were time to tell of all the wonders of that garrison
visit, of the dinner in the big dining-room with Dimitri, of the
lessons given the young men, of the instructing officers, and most of
all of my first sight of the fascinating and difficult exercise called
the _jigatovka_, which I saw that same afternoon, and which consisted
of horse vaulting, dart throwing at a gallop and many other things.

Captain Mongalov invited us all to spend the evening at his house,
and by six o'clock my father, my aunt, and I were at his front door.
Being a little in advance of the others, I tried to open it, but, to
my surprise, found it was not possible to do so. Could it be locked, I
wondered. In our village such a thing was never done except under very
unusual circumstances. Father, noting my surprise, pointed to a handle
on the door which he bade me pull down. I did so and heard a loud ring
within. In a moment the door was opened by an orderly, who greeted us
like friends and invited us in.

When he had gone to announce us, I glanced around the room. A big desk
occupied the left corner, the top of which was covered with books
relating to military regulations. The big brass inkstand with its two
kinds of ink, black and red, especially attracted me. On a table near
by, a heavy nickel-plated lamp threw its light over a mass of official
papers. Instead of benches around the room as at my own home there
were numerous comfortable chairs.

One wall was covered with the skins of wild beasts. I recognized those
of a black and of a brown bear. Above these were fastened enormous
antlers. On their very numerous branches hung swords, daggers, and
other arms. Pictures, one of which was that of an old lady plainly
dressed (the Captain's mother), hung on the opposite wall.

Then my attention fastened itself on a big tiger skin covering a
sofa. I touched the artificial eyes which looked so intently at me; I
wondered if the teeth were real. So occupied did I become that it was
like an electric shock to feel a sudden clap on my shoulder and the
Captain's hearty voice greeting me.

I immediately experienced a strong desire to converse with him as I
would with an older brother, but he had turned from me and was busy
answering some of my father's numerous questions.

The bell rang again and admitted a new group. My aunt at once stepped
up and threw her arms about one of the women in it, who proved to be
her own cousin from the pretty neighboring city of Blagovestchensk.
Closely following the cousin came her husband, a former artillery
officer, with a very long beard. His thick, bushy gray hair framed a
small sympathetic face. With them was a pale but very attractive lady
dressed in a gray suit. A little girl of about my own age, had hold of
her hand.

Mongalov greeted this lady with particular respect and gallantly
kissed her hand. Then he invited all to take off their wraps and make
themselves at home, that is, all but Nina, the little girl, and myself.
He had beckoned to us to follow the orderly into the garden.

Here we found many things to interest us. There was a horse that
refused sugar from Nina but accepted, to my great delight, bread and
salt from me. There were fancy chickens, and, best of all, a sort of
see-saw on which I condescended to accept Nina's invitation to play.
We stood as straight as possible on the board which was balanced on a
log, and as it went up and down jumped alternately into the air, each
time going a little higher. Nina was not at all afraid, and despite a
peculiar seriousness about her, we were well acquainted when supper was
announced.

The table, set with more good things than I had ever seen before,
was in a long dining-room. Soon everybody was laughing and joking,
everybody except Nina's mother. It seemed to me that she was not like
the rest of us but I could not have told why.

The supper lasted a long time and when we returned to the big
living-room, the piano, which stood on one side, was opened and Lidia
Ivanovna, the lady in gray, consented to play some Russian airs from
Glinka's opera, "Life of the Tzar."

Shortly after, both she and her little daughter as well as my aunt's
cousin left, pleading the weariness still felt by the strangers from
long travel.

When they had gone, Mongalov turned to the former artillery officer,
whose name was Kuzmin, and asked, "Where did you meet Lidia Ivanovna?"

"She came with a caravan of prisoners sent from St. Petersburg."
(Petrograd.) "I am told that she is looking for her husband who was
sent to Siberia a few years ago as a political exile.[16] If she can
find him, she wishes to share his fate."

Here I exclaimed impulsively: "It ought to be easy to find him. The
government officials can surely tell her where he is."

Kuzmin smiled bitterly. "They can, perhaps, if they wish. You must
remember, however, that Siberia is no little state. When I came here,
it was with many thousands of prisoners, mostly Poles who had fought
for their country's independence, and they are now so scattered that
you might not meet a dozen in a lifetime."

"How big is Siberia?" I asked.

"In figures, it is more than five million square miles, but see that
map hanging on the wall," said the old man with some eagerness, as
if glad of the change in the conversation, "and see that little dot.
That stands for the biggest city you know, the one you are now in,
Habarovsk."

"That little dot!" I exclaimed in surprise, for no one had ever
explained a map to me before.

"This waving line," continued Kuzmin, "is the Amur River."

Again I stared incredulously. How could a little line stand for the
very wide Amur whose waters ran from horizon to horizon!

"Now that is only a small part of Siberia," said my new teacher. "From
here at Habarovsk to the Ural Mountains, which separate Siberia from
Russia, it takes two months to travel both day and night in a carriage."

"Tell me some other things about Siberia," I begged.

He pointed to a blue spot in the south. "This is Lake Baikal,[17] the
largest body of fresh water in Asia, about four hundred miles long and
about forty-five miles wide. It is fifteen hundred feet above the
level of the sea. It is a place full of mystery. I don't know if any
one yet has been able to find how deep it is. On one side are all kinds
of caverns and arches. It's pretty but it's mysterious. Now and then
the earth in the vicinity trembles and quakes. Irkutsk, the largest and
most important city in Siberia, is not very far from it."

After a moment's pause, he went on: "Let me tell you something of
Blagovestchensk,[18] my own city. But no; I'd talk too long. Why don't
you move there?" turning suddenly to my father.

My father shook his head. "If I move," he said slowly, "I want to try
farming."

"Farming offers many inducements," agreed Kuzmin. "I meet many farmers
who came here penniless and now have hundreds of acres of land and
hundreds of head of cattle and stables filled with grain."[19]

"Were you ever in St. Petersburg?" I asked unexpectedly. At this
question a queer change came over Kuzmin's face and he looked down
without answering.

Here Mongalov reached for his balalaika, a sort of Russian mandolin,
and began to play some gay Russian airs on it.

When we reached home, I asked my father why Kuzmin did not wish to talk
about St. Petersburg.

"He is a useful and clever man," my father answered, "but, poor fellow,
he belongs to the unfortunates."

From that I understood that, like Lidia Ivanovna's husband, the former
artillery officer was an exile.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 16: Siberia was formerly a penal colony.]

[Footnote 17: Lake Baikal's depth has never been measured. It is said
to be the deepest lake in the world. There are many very interesting
things about this lake. For one thing, everything points to its being
very ancient. Water flowing into it is supposed to be ten times that
flowing out into the Angara River. What becomes of it? Its waters are
fresh, yet gulls, cormorants, and other birds usually found only on the
sea, haunt it, and seals actually live in it. The peasants call it the
Holy Sea and have many superstitions regarding it.--THE EDITOR.]

[Footnote 18: Blagovestchensk is now one of the prettiest cities in
Siberia. It has tree-lined avenues, parks, and attractive residences.
There are also fine schools, public libraries, theaters, and hospitals
free to the poor.--THE EDITOR.]

[Footnote 19: Between 1905 and 1914 more than 3,000,000 colonists
settled in Siberia. A great deal has been done by the Russian
Government to help the new settlers in their new life.--THE EDITOR.]



CHAPTER XV

LENT AND EASTER


Next morning my father took me to an exhibition held to show something
of the resources of Siberia. While I studied the many evidences of
great mineral wealth,[20] my father devoted his attention to everything
that pertained to farming.

On the way back to my aunt's I learned that we were not to go home yet,
father having decided to stay for the week of repentance, a religious
custom observed by orthodox Russians.

"You are now old enough to take your first sacrament after confession,"
he said to me.

When I went next to the big church, with its onion-shaped dome, I felt
quite nervous thinking of all the faults and sins that I would have to
confess for the first time in my life.

The service was a very solemn one. Every once in a while one of the
black-robed priests came out from behind the sacred gates on the altar
and read the prayer:

    "Lord and Protector of my life,
     Keep me from idleness,
     Keep me from disappointment,
     Keep me from false ambition,
     Keep me from idle chattering.
     Give me chastity,
     Give me humility and love,
     Me, Thy servant.
     O Heavenly Czar, open my eyes to my sins;
     Let me not judge my neighbors,
     Let me reverence Thee always."

Not until the end of the service did the choir sing something very
sweet in a minor key.

Child though I was, I left the church with a sense of the vanity of
earthly things. I was ready to repent. I particularly remembered a day
when I had taken a stick and hit my dog, poor dear Manjur. This, I told
myself, I must confess, and also how often I had teased my baby sister.

On the night of confession, when, after a very long wait, my turn came,
I found myself before a priest whose long beard made his face remind
me of pictures of prophets that I had seen. It was very late, and he
looked tired, but his eyes shone with sympathy as he listened to my
brief recital.

I was so overcome with weariness[21] when I reached home that I threw
myself, supperless and partly dressed, on my bed and at once fell
asleep.

I awoke very hungry next morning and after washing, hurried to the
table where breakfast usually awaited me. The table was empty and all
the people in the room were dressed in their Sunday clothes.

"Get ready quickly," said my father, "to come with us to church."

"But can't I have some bread and tea first?" I asked.

"No, indeed," said my father sternly. "You must not drink even a drop
of water between confession and the taking of the sacrament."

"A drop of water!" I repeated in confusion. For it had happened that I
had swallowed a drop when washing that morning. This troubled me until
later the priest assured me that that did not count, since it had been
involuntary.

I went to church with my stomach groaning for food. This, and the
incense-laden air, caused me to feel faint until at last with many
others, I received my share of the consecrated bread and wine.

This somewhat revived me, and I looked around with more interest at the
people near by. There were several persons of note in the church, some
in government uniforms with numerous medals on their breasts. Mongalov
and his Cossack officers were among these, dressed in entirely new
uniforms, but without fire-arms or ammunition, even their swords being
detached and kept for them by outsiders until they had partaken of the
sacrament.

When we came back to my aunt's I found many preparations already made
for the Easter festival. The big dining-table had been much enlarged.
It was covered with a white cloth and decorated with flowers and
greens. On it were all kinds of attractive food. I was most impressed
by what the Russians call _pashka_. It was in the shape of a pyramid
and had been made by my aunt from cottage cheese, mixed with cream,
sugar, and raisins. On it were figures of the Cross.

On each side of the _pashka_, which occupied the center of the table,
was an entire ham baked in dough, several dozen eggs covered with
various bright designs, and many other things.

To my great disappointment, nobody was allowed to touch even a bit of
bread. Everything had to wait for Easter morn.

I was told that I should be awakened that night, and I was by the
solemn ringing of the heaviest bells in the neighborhood. We dressed
hastily and hurried to the church for the midnight service. There were
so many already there that we had difficulty in entering.

Everybody looked happy, even the priests who were all dressed in white,
silvery robes. When the service was over there was much kissing, every
one repeating, "Christ is risen," or the response, "He is risen indeed."

It was almost four o'clock before we returned home with two or three
guests who had been invited to break the fast with us. Before any
other food was served, small pieces of consecrated _pashka_ and an
Easter cake called _kulich_ were passed around.

The next day was spent by the men in paying calls to all whom they
knew. As they had to eat and drink at every house, the result can be
imagined.

The Easter celebration lasted a full week. What I liked best about it
was the merry rolling of eggs down hill, the swings, enormous slides
and see-saws, and other amusements provided for the children.

At last the joyous time came to an end, and after a last breakfast with
Dimitri in the dining-room of the Second Platoon, father and I mounted
our horses for home.

It seemed very long to me since I had come away. I thought several
times of Peter and wondered if I could not show him some of the tricks
of the _jigatovka_. When we neared our village, I sat very proud and
erect with my mind quite made up that mother would surely mistake me
for Dimitri. But as we rode into our yard, instead of anything like
that happening, mother came running out and throwing her arms about me
exclaimed: "O Vanyuska,[22] you must be tired out from your long ride.
Come in quickly and tell me how you ever managed for so long without
your mother?"


THE END

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 20: Siberia is remarkably rich in minerals. It is especially
famed for its gold, which is found chiefly in Central and Eastern
Siberia.]

[Footnote 21: There are no pews in Orthodox Russian churches. The
entire congregation stands or kneels during the entire service.--THE
EDITOR.]

[Footnote 22: Vanka is the ordinary diminutive for Ivan (John), while
Vanyuska is another and more affectionate diminutive.--THE EDITOR.]



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  _Each one volume, 12mo, illustrated_      $1.75


=THE YOUNG KNIGHT=

The clash of broad-sword on buckler, the twanging of bow-strings and
the cracking of spears splintered by whirling maces resound through
this stirring tale of knightly daring-do.


=THE YOUNG CAVALIERS=

"There have been many scores of books written about the Charles Stuarts
of England, but never a merrier and more pathetic one than 'The Young
Cavaliers.'"--_Family Herald._


=THE KING'S MINSTREL=

"The interesting situations are numerous, and the spirit of the hero is
one of courage, devotion and resource."--_Columbus Dispatch._

"It is told with spirit and action."--_Buffalo Express._

"The story will please all those who read it, and will be of
particular interest for the boys for whom it was intended. It is a
tale of devotion to an ideal of service and as such will appeal to
youth."--_Portage Register-Democrat._

"There is a lofty ideal throughout, some court intrigue, a
smattering of the decadence of the old church heads, and a readable
story."--_Middletown Press._



THE BOYS' STORY OF THE RAILROAD SERIES

By BURTON E. STEVENSON

  _Each large 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated_,    $1.75


=THE YOUNG SECTION-HAND=; OR, THE ADVENTURES OF ALLAN WEST.

"The whole range of section railroading is covered in the
story."--_Chicago Post._


=THE YOUNG TRAIN DISPATCHER=

"A vivacious account of the varied and often hazardous nature of
railroad life."--_Congregationalist._


=THE YOUNG TRAIN MASTER=

"It is a book that can be unreservedly commended to anyone who loves a
good, wholesome, thrilling, informing yarn."--_Passaic News._


=THE YOUNG APPRENTICE=; OR, ALLAN WEST'S CHUM.

"The story is intensely interesting."--_Baltimore Sun._



THE DAYS OF CHIVALRY SERIES

Of Worth While Classics for Boys and Girls

_Revised and Edited for the Modern Reader_

  _Each large 12mo, illustrated and with a poster jacket
       in full color_                                       $2.00


=THE DAYS OF CHIVALRY=

By W. H. DAVENPORT ADAMS.

"The hero is Aimery, son of a poor armorer, who becomes page to the
Lord of Rulamort. It is a tale of wars, but a tale which brings peace;
a peace and contentment in the knowledge that right, even in the
darkest times, has survived and conquered."--_Portland Express._


=THE CHAPLET OF PEARLS=

By C. M. YONGE.

Catherine de Medici and gay King Henri II; their sons Francois II,
Charles IX, and Henri III; and finally the great and martial figure of
Henri of Navarre are prominent in these pages.

"A splendid piece of work, and lovers of French history will find it
most agreeable reading."--_Buffalo Courier and Express._



BARBARA WINTHROP SERIES

By HELEN KATHERINE BROUGHALL

  _Each one volume, cloth decorative, 12mo, illustrated_   $1.75


=BARBARA WINTHROP AT BOARDING SCHOOL=

"The book has pleasing spontaneity, high ideals and
wholesomeness."--_New York Continent._


=BARBARA WINTHROP AT CAMP=

"High ideals and a real spirit of fun underlie the story, which will
be a decided addition to the bookshelves of the young girl for whom a
holiday gift is contemplated."--_Los Angeles Saturday Night._


=BARBARA WINTHROP: GRADUATE=

There is in this new story gaiety and laughter, the light-heartedness
of youth, with its little tragedies and a real mystery to complicate
matters and make the days of Barbara Winthrop and her chums, Peggy and
Jo, more alluring. A story of the highest order written by "a real
girl" for girls, up-to-date in all that is helpful.



DOCTOR'S LITTLE GIRL SERIES

By MARION AMES TAGGART

  _Each large 12mo, cloth, illustrated, per volume_,      $1.75


=THE DOCTOR'S LITTLE GIRL=

"A charming story of the ups and downs of the life of a dear little
maid."--_The Churchman._


=SWEET NANCY=: THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF THE DOCTOR'S LITTLE GIRL.

"Just the sort of book to amuse, while its influence cannot but be
elevating."--_New York Sun._


=NANCY, THE DOCTOR'S LITTLE PARTNER=

"The story is sweet and fascinating, such as many girls of wholesome
tastes will enjoy."--_Springfield Union._


=NANCY PORTER'S OPPORTUNITY=

"Nancy shows throughout that she is a splendid young woman, with plenty
of pluck."--_Boston Globe._


=NANCY AND THE COGGS TWINS=

"The story is refreshing."--_New York Sun._



THE FRIENDLY TERRACE SERIES

By HARRIET LUMMIS SMITH

  _Each one volume, cloth, decorative, 12mo, illustrated,
       per volume_                                          $1.75


=THE GIRLS OF FRIENDLY TERRACE=

"It is a book that cheers, that inspires to higher thinking; it knits
hearts; it unfolds neighborhood plans in a way that makes one tingle to
try carrying them out, and most of all it proves that in daily life,
threads of wonderful issues are being woven in with what appears the
most ordinary of material, but which in the end brings results stranger
than the most thrilling fiction."--_Belle Kellogg Towne in The Young
People's Weekly, Chicago._


=PEGGY RAYMOND'S VACATION=

"It is a clean, wholesome, hearty story, well told and full of
incident. It carries one through experiences that hearten and brighten
the day."--_Utica, N. Y., Observer._


=PEGGY RAYMOND'S SCHOOL DAYS=

"It is a bright, entertaining story, with happy girls, good times,
natural development, and a gentle earnestness of general tone."--_The
Christian Register, Boston._


=THE FRIENDLY TERRACE QUARTETTE=

"The story is told in easy and entertaining style and is a most
delightful narrative, especially for young people. It will also make
the older readers feel younger, for while reading it they will surely
live again in the days of their youth."--_Troy Budget._


=PEGGY RAYMOND'S WAY=

"The author has again produced a story that is replete with wholesome
incidents and makes Peggy more lovable than ever as a companion and
leader."--_World of Books._

"It possesses a plot of much merit and through its 324 pages it weaves
a tale of love and of adventure which ranks it among the best books for
girls."--_Cohoes American._



FAMOUS LEADERS SERIES

By CHARLES H. L. JOHNSTON

  _Each large 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated, per
       volume_                                              $2.00


=FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS=

"More of such books should be written, books that acquaint young
readers with historical personages in a pleasant, informal way."--_New
York Sun._


=FAMOUS INDIAN CHIEFS=

"Mr. Johnston has done faithful work in this volume, and his relation
of battles, sieges and struggles of these famous Indians with the
whites for the possession of America is a worthy addition to United
States History."--_New York Marine Journal._


=FAMOUS SCOUTS=

"It is the kind of a book that will have a great fascination for boys
and young men."--_New London Day._


=FAMOUS PRIVATEERSMEN AND ADVENTURERS OF THE SEA=

"The tales are more than merely interesting; they are entrancing,
stirring the blood with thrilling force."--_Pittsburgh Post._


=FAMOUS FRONTIERSMEN AND HEROES OF THE BORDER=

"The accounts are not only authentic, but distinctly readable,
making a book of wide appeal to all who love the history of actual
adventure."--_Cleveland Leader._


=FAMOUS DISCOVERERS AND EXPLORERS OF AMERICA=

"The book is an epitome of some of the wildest and bravest adventures
of which the world has known."--_Brooklyn Daily Eagle._


=FAMOUS GENERALS OF THE GREAT WAR=

Who Led the United States and Her Allies to a Glorious Victory.

"The pages of this book have the charm of romance without its
unreality. The book illuminates, with life-like portraits, the history
of the World War."--_Rochester Post Express._


By EDWIN WILDMAN


=THE FOUNDERS OF AMERICA= (=Lives of Great Americans from the
Revolution to the Monroe Doctrine=)


=THE BUILDERS OF AMERICA= (=Lives of Great Americans from the Monroe
Doctrine to the Civil War=)

"How can one become acquainted with the histories of some of the famous
men of the United States? A very good way is to read these books by
Edwin Wildman, wherein the life stories of fifteen men who founded our
country are told."--_New York Post._


=FAMOUS LEADERS OF CHARACTER= (=Lives of Great Americans from the Civil
War to Today=)

". . . Is a book that should be read by every boy in the whole
country. . . ."--_Atlanta Constitution._


=FAMOUS LEADERS OF INDUSTRY.--First Series=

"Are these stories interesting? Let a boy read them; and tell
you."--_Boston Transcript._


=FAMOUS LEADERS OF INDUSTRY.--Second Series=

"These biographies drive home the truth that just as every soldier of
Napoleon carried a marshal's baton in his knapsack, so every American
youngster carries potential success under his hat."--_New York World._


By CHARLES LEE LEWIS

_Professor, United States Naval Academy, Annapolis_


=FAMOUS AMERICAN NAVAL OFFICERS=

=With a complete index.=

"In connection with the life of John Paul Jones, Stephen Decatur, and
other famous naval officers, he groups the events of the period in
which the officer distinguished himself, and combines the whole into a
colorful and stirring narrative."--_Boston Herald._



STORIES BY EVALEEN STEIN

  _Each one volume, 12mo, illustrated_      $1.65


=THE CHRISTMAS PORRINGER=

This story happened many hundreds of years ago in the quaint Flemish
city of Bruges and concerns a little girl named Karen.


=GABRIEL AND THE HOUR BOOK=

"No works in juvenile fiction contain so many of the elements that
stir the hearts of children and grown-ups as well as do the stories so
admirably told by this author."--_Louisville Daily Courier._


=A LITTLE SHEPHERD OF PROVENCE=

"The story should be one of the influences in the life of every child
to whom good stories can be made to appeal."--_Public Ledger._


=THE LITTLE COUNT OF NORMANDY=

"This touching and pleasing story is told with a wealth of interest
coupled with enlivening descriptions of the country where its scenes
are laid."--_Wilmington Every Evening._


=WHEN FAIRIES WERE FRIENDLY=

"The stories are music in prose--they are like pearls on a chain of
gold--each word seems exactly the right word in the right place; the
stories sing themselves out, they are so beautifully expressed."--_The
Lafayette Leader._


=PEPIN: A Tale of Twelfth Night=

"A creation almost as perfect as her 'Christmas
Porringer.'"--_Lexington Herald._


=CHILDREN'S STORIES=

"The stories are light and fanciful and worthy of a place beside Grimm
and Hans Andersen in the child's library."--_Cincinnati Post._



MINUTE BOYS SERIES

By JAMES OTIS and EDWARD STRATEMEYER

  _Each one volume, cloth decorative, 12mo, fully illustrated,
       per volume_                                          $1.50


This series of books for boys needs no recommendation. We venture to
say that there are few boys of any age in this broad land who do not
know and love both these authors and their stirring tales.

These books, as shown by their titles, deal with periods in the history
of the development of our great country which are of exceeding interest
to every patriotic American boy--and girl. Places and personages of
historical interest are here presented to the young reader in story
form, and a great deal of real information is unconsciously gathered.

    =THE MINUTE BOYS OF PHILADELPHIA=
    =THE MINUTE BOYS OF BOSTON=
    =THE MINUTE BOYS OF NEW YORK CITY=
    =THE MINUTE BOYS OF LONG ISLAND=
    =THE MINUTE BOYS OF SOUTH CAROLINA=
    =THE MINUTE BOYS OF THE WYOMING VALLEY=
    =THE MINUTE BOYS OF THE MOHAWK VALLEY=
    =THE MINUTE BOYS OF THE GREEN MOUNTAINS=
    =THE MINUTE BOYS OF BUNKER HILL=
    =THE MINUTE BOYS OF LEXINGTON=
    =THE MINUTE BOYS OF YORKTOWN=



THE YOUNG PIONEER SERIES


By HARRISON ADAMS

  _Each 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated, per volume_    $1.65


=THE PIONEER BOYS OF THE OHIO=; OR, CLEARING THE WILDERNESS.

"Such books as this are an admirable means of stimulating among the
young Americans of to-day interest in the story of their pioneer
ancestors and the early days of the Republic."--_Boston Globe._


=THE PIONEER BOYS ON THE GREAT LAKES=; OR, ON THE TRAIL OF THE IROQUOIS.

"The recital of the daring deeds of the frontier is not only
interesting but instructive as well."--_American Tourist, Chicago._


=THE PIONEER BOYS OF THE MISSISSIPPI=; OR, THE HOMESTEAD IN THE
WILDERNESS.

"The story is told with spirit, and is full of adventure."--_New York
Sun._


=THE PIONEER BOYS OF THE MISSOURI=; OR, IN THE COUNTRY OF THE SIOUX.

"Vivid in style, vigorous in movement, full of dramatic situations,
true to historic perspective, this story is a capital one for
boys."--_Watchman Examiner._


=THE PIONEER BOYS OF THE YELLOWSTONE=; OR, LOST IN THE LAND OF WONDERS.

"There is plenty of lively adventure and action and the story is well
told."--_Duluth Herald._


=THE PIONEER BOYS OF THE COLUMBIA=; OR, IN THE WILDERNESS OF THE GREAT
NORTHWEST.

"The story is full of spirited action and contains much valuable
historical information."--_Boston Herald._


=THE PIONEER BOYS OF THE COLORADO=; OR, BRAVING THE PERILS OF THE GRAND
CANYON COUNTRY.

"The story is written by a fine storyteller. It makes instructive and
inspiring reading for boys."--_New Bedford Standard._



HILDEGARDE-MARGARET SERIES

By LAURA E. RICHARDS

Eleven Volumes


The Hildegarde-Margaret Series, beginning with "Queen Hildegarde" and
ending with "The Merryweathers," make one of the best and most popular
series of books for girls ever written.

  _Each large 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated, per volume_   $1.75
  _The eleven volumes boxed as a set_                           $19.25


LIST OF TITLES

    =QUEEN HILDEGARDE=
    =HILDEGARDE'S HOLIDAY=
    =HILDEGARDE'S HOME=
    =HILDEGARDE'S NEIGHBORS=
    =HILDEGARDE'S HARVEST=
    =THREE MARGARETS=
    =MARGARET MONTFORT=
    =PEGGY=
    =RITA=
    =FERNLEY HOUSE=
    =THE MERRYWEATHERS=



HONOR BRIGHT SERIES

By LAURA E. RICHARDS

  _Each one volume, cloth decorative, 12mo, illustrated_   $1.75


=HONOR BRIGHT=

"This is a story that rings as true and honest as the name of the
young heroine--Honor--and not only the young girls, but the old ones
will find much to admire and to commend in the beautiful character of
Honor."--_Constitution, Atlanta, Ga._


=HONOR BRIGHT'S NEW ADVENTURE=

"Girls will love the story and it has plot enough to interest the older
reader as well."--_St. Louis Daily Globe-Democrat._



DELIGHTFUL BOOKS FOR LITTLE FOLKS

By LAURA E. RICHARDS


=THREE MINUTE STORIES=

  _Cloth decorative, 12mo, with eight plates in full color
          and many text illustrations_                      $1.75

"Little ones will understand and delight in the stories and
poems."--_Indianapolis News._


=FIVE MINUTE STORIES=

  _Cloth decorative, square 12mo, illustrated_      $1.75

A charming collection of short stories and clever poems for children.


=MORE FIVE MINUTE STORIES=

  _Cloth decorative, square 12mo, illustrated_      $1.75

A noteworthy collection of short stories and poems for children, which
will prove as popular with mothers as with boys and girls.



THE LITTLE COLONEL BOOKS (Trade Mark)

By ANNIE FELLOWS JOHNSTON

  _Each large 12mo, cloth, illustrated, per volume_      $2.00


=THE LITTLE COLONEL STORIES= (Trade Mark)

Being three "Little Colonel" stories in the Cosy Corner Series, "The
Little Colonel," "Two Little Knights of Kentucky," and "The Giant
Scissors," in a single volume.

    =THE LITTLE COLONEL'S HOUSE PARTY=
          (Trade Mark)

    =THE LITTLE COLONEL'S HOLIDAYS=
          (Trade Mark)

    =THE LITTLE COLONEL'S HERO=
          (Trade Mark)

    =THE LITTLE COLONEL AT BOARDING-SCHOOL=
          (Trade Mark)

    =THE LITTLE COLONEL IN ARIZONA=
          (Trade Mark)

    =THE LITTLE COLONEL'S CHRISTMAS VACATION=
          (Trade Mark)

    =THE LITTLE COLONEL, MAID OF HONOR=
          (Trade Mark)

    =THE LITTLE COLONEL'S KNIGHT COMES RIDING=
          (Trade Mark)

    =THE LITTLE COLONEL'S CHUM, MARY WARE=
          (Trade Mark)

    =MARY WARE IN TEXAS=

    =MARY WARE'S PROMISED LAND=

_These twelve volumes, boxed as a set, $24.00._


=THE ROAD OF THE LOVING HEART=

  _Cloth decorative, with special designs and illustrations_ $1.25

In choosing her title, Mrs. Johnston had in mind "The Road of the
Loving Heart," that famous highway, built by the natives of Hawaii,
from their settlement to the home of Robert Louis Stevenson, as a
memorial of their love and respect for the man who lived and labored
among them, and whose example of a loving heart has never been
forgotten. This story of a little princess and her faithful pet
bear, who finally do discover "The Road of the Loving Heart," is a
masterpiece of sympathy and understanding and beautiful thought.



THE JOHNSTON JEWEL SERIES

  _Each small 16mo, decorative boards, per volume_      $0.75


=IN THE DESERT OF WAITING=: THE LEGEND OF CAMELBACK MOUNTAIN.


=THE THREE WEAVERS=: A FAIRY TALE FOR FATHERS AND MOTHERS AS WELL AS
FOR THEIR DAUGHTERS.


=KEEPING TRYST=: A TALE OF KING ARTHUR'S TIME.


=THE LEGEND OF THE BLEEDING HEART=


=THE RESCUE OF PRINCESS WINSOME=: A FAIRY PLAY FOR OLD AND YOUNG.


=THE JESTER'S SWORD=


=THE LITTLE COLONEL'S GOOD TIMES BOOK=

  Uniform in size with the Little Colonel Series      $2.50
  Bound in white kid (morocco) and gold                6.00

Cover design and decorations by Peter Verberg.

"A mighty attractive volume in which the owner may record the good
times she has on decorated pages, and under the directions as it were
of Annie Fellows Johnston."--_Buffalo Express._

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes:

Puntuation repaired. Text uses both Ivanovich and Ivanovitch once for
the same person, Pavel.





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