The old Agata leaves the village. Boryna, the richest farmer in Lipce, sents the matchmakers to Jagna, the pretties girl in the village. The trouble is, that Jagna, Jagus for short, prefers the son of Boryna - Antoni. As a result of the mutual attraction there is a conflict between the father and the son. Boryna evicts son from the farm. Antek and his wife Hanka, are absent at Boryna's wedding.
Potatoe-lifting. Laking the flax. Reaping cabbage
Antek and Hanka live an extrimely, poor life and Boryna isn't happy in his marriage, as well. The love-affair of Antek and Jagusia lasts and there is more and more difficult to keep in secret. The argument about a sale of the forest between the villagers and the landowner causes a great fight. Antek stands by his father, and as a result, the police arrest him under the conviction of murder.
carring of potatos in clamps. Threshing of corn
- for men. Spinning of wood, weving of wigan - for women.
Agata, who comes back, finds many people missing - men are in prison, Boryna is ill. Hanka comes back to the cottage, talking a role of a housekeeper. In an erotic life of Jagusia two new men appear: a rough chief officer and a subtle Jas. The german colonist, who arrive to the village, don't find there a nice reception. Boryna is dead.
The first ploughing, sowing, haymaking woman
have a lot of work during preparation for feasts.
There was hold the Boryna's funeral. Jagus is driven out of her cottage. Antek comes back home and he is interested in Jagna as before. The old Agata is dead. The villages of Lipce decide to banish depraved Jagus from the village. Antek - presently the first farmer in the village - doesn't stand by her.
Rhythm of all works is given by prepaaration
for harvest and harvest.
Winter (Volume II - Chapter I)
Winter had come. In the first days, it was but trying its strength wrestling with the autumn, and howling far away in the livid distance, like some ravenous monster. Now dawned those chilly glacial days, days of dismal and mournful dejection, lit with a dribbling feeble light; corpse-like days, when the birds flew away to the woods with cries of dread, and the waters babbled fearsomely, rolling sluggishly on, as if palsied by the terror of the cold; and the very country-side seemed to shudder, and all that was therein to look in awe towards the north and its unfathomable depths of clouds. As yet the nights were as those in autumn, full of dreary sighs and soughs; sounds as of struggling, and sudden hushes; the howl of dogs; the cracking snaps of freezing timber; the sad voices of shelter-seeking birds; horrible calls from weird woodlands and crossways, invisible in the dark; and the beating of eerie wings, and shadows lurking beneath the walls of the stupefied cottagers. At evening, from time to time, the huge crimson bulk of the setting sun would still peer out of the west, going down ponderously~a globe of molten iron, whence blood-red floods would gush forth, with smoke-like pitch-black vapours rising round them, looking like a grand and gloomy conflagration. They said: "The winter is growing harder, and ill winds will be rising soon." And indeed the winter did grow harderevery day, every hour, every minute. Directly after the fourth of December (the day of St.Barbara, patroness of a holy death), the first of the winter gales began blowing in short whiffling puffs.They skimmed along the ground, with a baying like that of hounds hot on a trail. They bit into the ploughed fields, snarled about the bushes, worried the snow-drifts, tore at the orchard boughs, swept along the highways, sniffed in the streams; and here and there, with but little ado, they ruined every thatch and fence that was in poor condition. After which they fled, still baying, away to the forest lands; and after them out of the dusk came the great winds on the very same evening, their long sharp tongues lolling out of their wheezy jaws. All night they blew, howling across the fields like packs of famished wolves. They did their work well, too. Ere morning the stark hardened earth had been quite stripped of its tattered and scattered covering of snow; only in places, in hollows and ditches, could a few white rags be seen on the fences. The fields too had some shiny white spots left; but the roads lay frozen deep-as it were, petrifled-and the frost had bitten profoundly into the soil with its keen fangs, so that it resounded with a metallic ring like iron. But with the morning, the gales fled to hide in the woods, where they lurked, tremulous and shuddering. The sky, too, was now overcast, ever with darker clouds, which came creeping up out of every cavern, raising heads of monstrous size, stretching forth long lean flanks, throwing their grey manes to the winds, baring gigantic discoloured teeth, and coming on in mighty battalions.-From the north: black, huge, all shredded and tattered, piled in tiers, branching out like a score of overthrown forests, one upon the other, separated by deep chasms, and with-so it seemed-great streaks scattered over them of greenish ice, as it were: these rushed forward with wild might and a dull murmuring sound. From the west: those advanced slowly-livid, enormously swollen bulks, which in places shone bright as fire; and they rolled one after another, more and more persistent in their long advance, not unlike flocks of great birds. From the east came sailing flattened, rusty-hued masses of vapour, monotonously the same, and forbidding to the eye as mouldering carcasses that drip with tainted gore. From the south, too, were wafted ancient-looking clouds, reddish dark in hue, recalling clods of peat, striped and motley to see, though dingy and dull, as if vermin burrowed within them. There were also clouds floating on high, seeming to descend from the pale quenched orb of the sun, and forming dingy wisps, or spreading out in manifold tints, as embers that are dying. And they all came forward, built up mountains of prodigious height, and concealed all the sky under a black seething flood of squalor and grime. The whole land had suddenly turned to darkness; a dull silence prevailed on every side; all the lights had grown dim; the bright eyes of the waters were glazing over; all beings felt petrified and stood in amazement with bated breath. Up out of the earth sured the fear of what was to come; the frost penetrated even to the marrow of the bones, and every living thing trembled with the terror of it. They saw the hare running through the village, with shaggy fur standing fluffy on end; they saw the ravens alighting with hoarse croaks upon the granaries, and even entering the houses. Dogs howled wildly outside in the yard; men sped in fear to take shelter in their huts: while along the pond the priest's blind mare went to and fro with the ruins of the cart, and struck against the fences, and with a weird cry sought her way back to the stable. The darkness began to be continual, murky and exceedingly depressing; daily the clouds sailed lower; they came creeping down from the forests, like thick volumes of dust, and rolled along the fields like floods of turbid water: then, coining to the village, plunged all things in a dingy ice-cold fog. And suddenly there would come a rent through the midst of the sky that shone dark-blue like the azure mirror of a well: a wild wind whistled through the dim space, the fogs at once were driven together on either side, and by the shatlered gateway thus made came a first loud blast, soon followed by another, a score, and hundreds. They howled on in troops, they poured forwards in torrents that nothing could restrain; they rushed along as if coming out of broken fetters, in raging bellowing multitudes, striking at the gloom, dispelling it utterly, swallowing it up or sweeping it away like rotten chaff. And out and far over the fields, in screaming turmoil, was driven the fog as froth before the wind. The clouds, trampled down by the feet of the pitiless storm, fled and rolled off, to skulk in the woodlands and forests. The sky was swept clean; once more, though with dull and sullen mien, the day peered forth, and every creature drew a breath of relief. For nearly the whole of Sunday the gales blew on without any surcease or abatement. In the day-time, they were not yet quite intolerable; but the nights became beyond bearing. These fell, bright and starlit, and it was then that the gales played their most furious pranks. Folks did not say (as they do when the wind is high): "Sure someone has hung himself," but: "Fivescore men must be hanging now!" What with the howling, the banging, and the creaking as of a thousand empty wagons dashing at a gallop over hard-frozen ice, no one could sleep a wink. The huts creaked likewise. Often and again did the storm come driving at the corners, heaving up the thatches, butting at the doors: sometimes even breaking in the panes so that they had to get up at night and stop them with pillows: for it then rushed in with a sound like the squealing of noisy swine-bringing along with it such fierce cold as benumbed the inmates under their eiderdown quilts. None can say what the villagers suffered, in the course of those days, of those nights. Nor what harm was done abroad. The blasts bore down the fences, plucked off the thatched roofs, and-at the Voyt's-blew down a shed that was all but new. They tore the roof from Bartek Koziol's granary, and carried it away more than a furlong's distance into the fields; they threw down the chimney at the Vincioreks'; they wrenched a good bit of boarding from the mill-roof: and as to the multitudes of minor losses, and the many trees uprooted in the orchards and woods, who can tell them? Why, upon the highway alone, they tore up and cast across the road about a score of poplars, that lay like as many murdered and pitilessly mutilated corpses! The oldest inhabitant could not remember when the winds had been so hostile and done so much injury. Folk therefore kept at home, wrangling together beneath the smoky rafters of their own cabins; for it was no light matter to show one's nose round the corner. Some of the women, however, being less patient, would at times cautiously step outside their enclosures and visit their gossip loving neighbours: ostensibly to spin in company, but in reality to whet their tongues and give vent to their ill humour. Meanwhile, the men were threshing stubbornly on behind the closed granary-doors, and from morning till late at night the flails smote upon the floor. The frost had nipped the corn; and so the grain was more readily threshed out. These gales brought with them more and more biting frosts. With mighty strokes they had frozen all the brooks and streamlets. The morasses were now solid. Even the mill-pond was coated over with a sheet of bluish transparent ice. Only close to the bridge, where the water grew deeper, was it still in motion: all the rest of its banks were fettered by the ice, and openings had to be cut for drawing water. No change of weather came till St. Lucia's day.
"Wedding celebration" - "Autumn" (volume I)
First came the fiddllers, each marching abreast with a flutist; then the bass-viol-players, and the drummers, to whose instruments there little bells attached: all adorned with flying ribbons, and advancing with elastic steps. After the musicians walked a troop of eight: the two "proposers, who had arranged the match, and the six bridesmen. These were all handsome young fellows, slender as pine-trees, slim-waisted, broad-shouldered, enthusiastic dancers, audacious of speech, fond of a fray, and great sticklers for their rights: such were they all six, and all of good families, pure farmer's blood. Together they marched, shoulder to shoulder, down the middle of the road, the ground echoing under the tramping of their boots: with such merry daredevil looks, and so gayly adorned, that they killed the whole scene-a vision of striped trousers glancing in the sun, of scarlet jackets, bats decked with bunches of floating ribbons, and white capotes, open and flapping in the breeze like wings. Uttering shrill cries, and humming joyful tunes, on they dashed, tramping noisily in measure-a young pine-grove in motion and rushing with the blast! The musicians played polonaises, going from hut to hut to all the wedding guests; here vodka was offered them, there they were asked in; elsewhere a song would answer to their tunes; while on all sides the folk came out, dressed in their best raiment, and went swelling the main body. And under the windows of the bridesmaids all sang in unison the following verse:
|Lasses, lightly treading.
Come ye to the wedding-
Hear our gleeful tune!
Hear our voices' chorus
Join with flute sonorous
Hautboy and bassoon!
Let the tankard clink now:
Who is loth to drink now-
He's a scurvy loon!
Oy ta dana dana,
Oy ta dana dana,
Oy ta dana da!
And then they shouted so loud that they could
be heard throughout the whole village, and beyond in the fields
and the forests. The folk had come out in front of their houses,
into the orchards. Many who had not been invited joined the
party, merely to look on and listen ; so, before it had reached
its destination, pretty nearly the whole village was round them,
pressing and surging on every side, while the children ran on in
front: a dense crowd, a swift and a noisy one. Having brought the
guests to the bridal cottage, playing them in with a joyful
strain, they returned to fetch the bridegroom. They played a good
while there before the porch. Boryna came out directly, threw the
door wide open, and would have had them all in; but the Voyt and the Soltys took
him by each arm and led him straight away to Yagna; for it was
high time to go to church. His gait was full of mettle, and he
looked surprisingly young. Clean-shaven, with hair newly cut, and
his weddingsuit on, he made a rarely handsome figure; besides
which, portly and broad-shouldered as he was, the dignified
expression both of his features and his whole outer man made him
conspicuous from afar. He smiled and talked pleasantly with the
young men who had come; especially with the smith, who managed to
be always close to him. They brought him in ceremony to
Dominikova's, where the crowd made place for him; and, with
tumultuous cries, and sounds of many instruments and songs, he
cabin. Yagna was as yet invisible: the women were arraying her in the inner room, carefully watched and strongly bolted. For the young fellows knocked and battered at the door; they cut narrow slits in the partitions, and made careless jests with the bridesmaids: whereupon rose great screaming, much laughter, and of old women's scolding not less. The old dame, with her sons, received the guests, offered vodka, conducted the elders to the places reserved for them, and in short had an eye to everything. All the guests were of high condition: no common men, but only men of property and of good family; and of these only the wealthiest. All were connected with the Borynas and the Paches by ties of family and friendship, or were at least acquaintances who had driven over from distant villages. None of your Klembas, or your Vincioreks, none of your one-acre starvelings were there: nor any of the small fry that eked out their existence by working for others, and were the closest adherents of old Klemba! "No dainties for dogs, and no honey for hogs," says the adage! Presently the door opened; and the organist's wife and the miller's ushered Yagna into the big room. The brides maids formed a circle round her-a wreath of human flowers they were, all so beautifully dressed and so fair to see. And she-she stood in their midst, like a rose, the most fearless of them all; with head-dress of plumes and ribbons and silver and gold lace, she was like one of those images they carry in church processions; and they all stood mute before her. Ah! since the Mazur was first danced, no one was ever more splendid! Then did the bridesmen lift up their voices, growling from the depths of their throats:
Resound, O violin, resound!
(Yagna, now ask pardon of your mother!)
Resound, O flageolet, resound!
(Yagna, now ask pardon of each brother!)
Boryna came forward and took her hand. They both knelt, and Dominikova made the sign of the cross over them with an image, and then sprinkled them both with holy water. Yagna, bursting into tears, fell at her mother's knees, embracing them, and the other women's too, as she begged pardon and took leave of them all. The women athered her into their arms, passing her from one to another, and all wept much: Yuzka the most, thinking of her dead mother. They all formed up before the house and marched off on foot, for the church was but one field away. Then the bridesmen took possession of Yagna. She walked on with delight, smiling through the tears which still trembled in her lashes. She now was gay to see as a spring - blossoming bush, and riveted every eye. Her hair, braided over her forehead, bore above it a rich pile of gold spangles, and peacock's eyes, and sprigs of rosemary. Therefrom, down to her nape and shoulders, fell long ribbons of every hue; her white skirt was gathered at the waist in abundant folds; her corsage, of sky-blue velvet, was laced with silver; she wore great puffed sleeves to her chemise. Round her throat there was an abundant frill, embroidered with designs in dark-blue thread, and necklaces of coral and amber, row upon row, hung covering half her bosom. Matthias was being led by the bridesmaids. As the stalwart oak may be seen rising behind the graceful pine in the woods, so did he appear after Yagna's figure. There was in his gait a certain jaunty swing, and he shot glances on either side of the road: he fancied he had beheld Antek in the ruck. Following him came Dominikova, with the "proposers," the smith and his family, Yuzka, the miller's and the organist's people, and all the persons of any note. And following these came the whole village. The sun was now hanging above the woods, red, enormous, flooding all the road, and the pond, and the huts, with its blood-red glow. In the midst of this crimson conflagration they walked on slowly. It made the eyes blink to see them as they went - with ribbons and peacock plumes and flowers; gay in red trousers, petticoats of orange tints, rainbow kerchiefs, snowy capotes: just as if a whole field full of flowers in bloom had arisen and moved forward, swaying in the wind! Aye, and singing too! For again and again the high treble of the bridesmaids' voices would strike up the ditty:
On the clattering wagons go, And my heart is full of woe, Alas! Round you while our songs rise glad, You, O Yagna, you are sad, Alas! All the way, Dominikova was in tears, her eyes fixed upon Yagna alone. Ambrose was already lighting the tapers in church when they came. They formed in ranks-two and two-and proceeded toward the high altar, just as the priest was coming out of the sacrisy. The wedding was soon over: his Reverence had to visit a sick man in haste. When they left the church, the organist played them out with Mazurs, Obertases, and Kuyavy dances, till their feet beat time of themselves; and more than one was on the point of singing aloud, but luckily remembered where he was. They returned pell-mell, and very noisily, for bridesmen and bridesmaids were singing together. Dominikova got to her home first and, when the company arrived, was there to welcome the newly married couple on her threshold, and offer them the hallowed bread and salt; then she had to receive the whole company a second time. embrace them all, and ask them in once more! In the passage. the music was striking up. So, on passing the threshold, everyone made a partner of the first woman he met, to perform the stately polonaise that was being played. At once, like a many-coloured serpent, a chain of couples, following each other about the room, waved and twined, twisted and turned hack decorously, struck the floor with dignity. swayed to and from in graceful undulation, placed, swam, wheeled about, one after another in serried ranks, Boryna with Yagna leading off! The lights placed on the chimney penthouse flickered, and the very walls seemed like to fall asunder with the forceful gravity of this solemn dance, performed with such dignified grace. This was the introduction, and lasted but some minutes. Then began the first dance, in honour of the bride, and according to the usages and customs of old days. All present squeezed themselves into corners, or huddled against the walls; and the young men made a wide circle, wilhin which she danced. As she stepped out, she felt the blood tingling in her veins; her dark-blue eyes shone; her white teeth gleamed; her face was flushed; she danced persistently, and for a long time, for she was obliged to give each partner at least one turn round the room, and dance with all. The musicians worked hard-worked till they felt worn out: but Yagna seemed to have but just begun. The flush on her face deepened, she turned and whirled more impetuously than ever; her ribbons fluttered and rustled as she went by, lashing those near her on the cheek; and her skirt, expanding to the streaming air, spread out and bellied wide around her. The young men, delighted, beat time on the tables, and shouted in eager excitement. It was only after all the others that she chose her bridegroom. Boryna, who had been waiting so long, now leaped forward, pouncing on her like a forest lynx, seized her waist, whirled her round like a hurricane, and cried to the players: "Now, boys, the Mazur-and with a will!" All the instruments sounded with might and main; the whole room was in a fever. Holing Yagna in a strong grip, Boryna lifted the skirts of his capote over each arm, settled his hat upon his head, clicked his heels together, and set off, swift as the wind! Ah! but how he danced!