Page:Taras Bulba. A Tale of the Cossacks. 1916.djvu/24

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complaint, and Marfa felt secure in meting out to him the punishment which she had promised.

Sometimes these noble bandits disagreed among themselves, and civil war broke out. Once such a nobly-born robber attacked Marfa's home with some of his horde, and a bloody combat ensued, which ended in the defeat of Marfa, and the reduction of her buildings and her whole village to ashes. She and her sons (who were still minors) made their escape by hiding in a swamp. But Marfa assembled her horde again (several of her capable assistants had been slain in that fray), and, before proceeding to rebuild her village, she raided her rival's estate, burned his manor to ashes, and slew him with her own hand, her men following her example with his men who had accompanied him in his call upon her.

But Marfa made handsome amends, according to her lights—she had his name and the names of all the people who were slain in this affair, inscribed in a Book of Remembrance, with the commentary, "slain." This was, also, the practice of Ivan the Terrible in regard to his victims; and in keeping with it was the ardent piety of both Tzar Ivan and Marfa. The souls of their murdered victims are prayed for to the present day, and will be, forever.

Marfa was noted for her external devoutness,