Chapter 8

Next day, before the ladies were up, the carriages for the shooting party, the droshky and a trap, were at the door, and Laska, aware since early morning that they were going shooting, after much whining and darting to and fro, had sat herself down in the droshky beside the coachman, and, disapproving of the delay, was excitedly watching the door from which the sportsmen still did not issue. The first to come out was Vassenka Veslovsky, in new high boots that reached halfway up his thick thighs, in a green blouse, with a new cartridge belt, redolent of leather, and in his Scotch cap with ribbons, with a brand-new English gun without a sling. Laska flew up to him, welcomed him, and, jumping up, asked him in her own way whether the others were coming soon; but getting no answer from him, she returned to her post of observation and sank into repose again, her head on one side, and one ear pricked up to listen. At last the door opened with a creak, and Stepan Arkadyevich's spot-and-tan pointer Krak flew out, running round and round and turning over in the air. Stepan Arkadyevich himself followed with a gun in his hand and a cigar in his mouth. `Soho, soho, Krak!' he cried encouragingly to the dog, who put his paws up on his chest, catching at his gamebag. Stepan Arkadyevich was dressed in brogues and puttees, in torn trousers and a short coat. On his head there was a wreck of a hat of indefinite form, but his gun of a new patent was a perfect gem, and his gamebag and cartridge belt, though worn, were of the very best quality.

Vassenka Veslovsky had had no notion before that it was truly chic for a sportsman to be in tatters, but to have his shooting outfit of the best quality. He saw it now as he looked at Stepan Arkadyevich, radiant in his rags, graceful, well-fed, and joyous, a typical Russian nobleman. And he made up his mind that next time he went shooting he would certainly adopt the same getup.

`Well, and what about our host?' he asked.

`A young wife,' said Stepan Arkadyevich, smiling.

`Yes, and such a charming one!'

`He came down dressed. No doubt he's run up to her again.'

Stepan Arkadyevich guessed right. Levin had run up again to his wife to ask her once more if she forgave him for his idiocy yesterday, and, moreover, to beg her in Christ's name to be more careful. The great thing was for her to keep away from the children - they might any minute jostle against her. Then he had once more to hear her declare that she was not angry with him for going away for two days, and to beg her to be sure to send a note next morning by a servant on horseback, to write him, if it were but two words only, to let him know that all was well with her.

Kitty was distressed, as she always was, at parting for a couple of days from her husband, but when she saw his eager figure, looking big and strong in his shooting boots and his white blouse, and a sort of sportsman elation and excitement incomprehensible to her, she forgot her own chagrin for the sake of his pleasure, and said good-by to him cheerfully.

`Pardon, gentlemen!' he said, running out on the steps. `Have you put the lunch in? Why is the chestnut on the right? Well, it doesn't matter. Laska, down; go and lie down!'

`Put them with the herd of heifers,' he said to the herdsman who was waiting for him at the steps to ask him what was to be done with the geld oxen. `Excuse me, here comes another villain.'

Levin jumped out of the droshky, in which he had already taken his seat, to meet the carpenter, who came toward the steps with a rule in his hand.

`You didn't come to the countinghouse yesterday, and now you're detaining me. Well, what is it?'

`Would your honor let me make another turning? There's only three steps to add. And we make it just fit at the same time. It will be much more convenient.'

  By PanEris using Melati.

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