Chapter 9

`Well, now, what's our plan of campaign? Tell us all about it,' said Stepan Arkadyevich.

`Our plan is this. Now we're driving to Gvozdiov. In Gvozdiov there's a double snipe marsh on this side, and beyond Gvozdiov come some magnificent jacksnipe marshes, where there are double snipe too. It's hot now, and we'll get there - it's twenty verstas - toward evening, and have some evening shooting; we'll spend the night there and go on tomorrow to the bigger moors.'

`And is there nothing on the way?'

`Yes; but we'll save ourselves; besides, it's hot. There are two good little places, but I doubt there being anything to shoot.'

Levin would himself have liked to go into these little places, but they were near home; he could shoot them over any time, and they were only little places - there would hardly be room for three to shoot. And so, with some insincerity, he said that he doubted there being anything to shoot. When they reached a little marsh Levin would have driven by, but Stepan Arkadyevich, with the experienced eye of a sportsman, at once detected a soggy spot visible from the road.

`Shan't we try that?' he said, pointing to the little marsh.

`Levin, do, please! How delightful!' Vassenka Veslovsky began begging, and Levin could not but consent.

Before they had time to stop, the dogs had flown one before the other into the marsh.

`Krak! Laska!...'

The dogs came back.

`There won't be room for three. I'll stay here,' said Levin, hoping they would find nothing but pewits, which had been startled by the dogs, and, turning over in their flight, were plaintively wailing over the marsh.

`No! Come along, Levin, let's go together!' Veslovsky called.

`Really, there's no room. Laska, back, Laska! You won't want another dog, will you?'

Levin remained with the droshky, and looked enviously at the sportsmen. They walked across the marsh. Except one moor hen and pewits, of which Vassenka killed one, there was nothing in the marsh.

`Come, you see now that it was not that I grudged the marsh,' said Levin, `only it's wasting time.'

`Oh, no, it was jolly all the same. Did you see us?' said Vassenka Veslovsky, clambering awkwardly into the droshky with his gun and his pewit in his hands. `How splendidly I shot this bird! Didn't I? Well, shall we soon be getting to the real place?'

The horses started off suddenly, Levin knocked his head against the stock of someone's gun, and there was the report of a shot. The gun did actually go off first, but that was how it seemed to Levin. It appeared that Vassenka Veslovsky making the cocks safe had pressed one trigger, and had held back the other cock. The charge flew into the ground without doing harm to anyone. Stepan Arkadyevich shook his head and laughed reprovingly at Veslovsky. But Levin had not the heart to reprove him. In the first place, any reproach would have seemed to be called forth by the danger he had incurred and the bump that had come up on Levin's forehead. And besides, Veslovsky was at first so naïvely distressed, and then laughed so good-humoredly and infectiously at their general dismay, that one could not but laugh with him.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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