if she had better not go on doing as she had begun. But he repeated his command in an angry voice, pointing to a hummock spot covered with water, where there could not be anything. She obeyed him, pretending she was searching so as to please him, went round it, and went back to her former position, and was at once aware of the scent again. Now when he was not hindering her, she knew what to do, and, without looking at what was under her feet, and to her vexation stumbling over a hummock into the water, but righting herself with her strong, supple legs, she began making the circuit which was to make all clear to her. The scent of them reached her, stronger and stronger, and more and more defined, and all at once it became perfectly clear to her that one of them was here, behind this hummock, five paces in front of her; she stopped, and her whole body was still and rigid. On her short legs she could see nothing in front of her, but by the scent she knew it was sitting not more than five paces off. She stood still, feeling more and more conscious of it, and enjoying it in anticipation. Her tail was stretched straight and tense, and only wagged at the extreme tip. Her mouth was slightly open, her ears raised. One ear had been turned wrong side out as she ran up, and she breathed heavily but warily, and still more warily she turned around, but more with her eyes than her head, to her master. He was coming along with the face she knew so well, though the eyes were always terrible to her. He stumbled over the hummocks as he came, and moved, as she thought, extraordinarily slowly. She thought he came slowly, but he was running.

Noticing Laska's special attitude as she crouched on the ground, as it were, scratching big prints with her hind paws, and with her mouth slightly open, Levin knew she was pointing at double snipe, and with an inward prayer for luck, especially with the first bird, he ran up to her. Coming quite close up to her, he could from his height look beyond her, and he saw with his eyes what she was seeing with her nose. In a space between two little hummocks, at a couple of yards' distance, he could see a double snipe. Turning its head, it was listening. Then lightly preening and folding its wings, it disappeared round a corner with a clumsy wag of its tail.

`Fetch it, fetch it!' shouted Levin, giving Laska a shove from behind.

`But I can't go,' thought Laska. `Where am I to go? From here I feel them, but if I move forward I shall know nothing of where they are, or who they are.' But then he shoved her with his knee, and in an excited whisper said, `Fetch it, Lassochka, fetch it.'

`Well, if that's what he wishes, I'll do it, but I can't answer for myself now,' she thought, and darted forward as fast as her legs would carry her between the hummocks. She scented nothing now; she could only see and hear, without understanding anything.

Ten paces from her former place a double snipe rose with a guttural cry and the peculiar convex sound of its wings. And immediately after the shot it splashed heavily with its white breast on the wet mire. Another bird did not linger, but rose behind Levin, without the dog's offices.

When Levin turned toward it, it was already some way off. But his shot caught it. Flying twenty paces farther, the second double snipe rose upward, and, whirling round like a ball, dropped heavily on a dry place.

`Come, this is going to be some good!' thought Levin, packing the warm and fat snipe into his gamebag. `Eh, Laska, will it be good?'

When Levin, after reloading his gun, moved on, the sun had fully risen, though unseen behind clouds. The moon had lost all of its luster, and was like a white cloud in the sky. Not a single star could be seen. The soggy places, silvery with dew before, now shone like gold. The rusty pools were all like amber. The blue of the grass had changed to yellow green. The marsh birds twittered and swarmed about the brook and upon the bushes that glittered with dew and cast long shadows. A hawk woke up and settled on a haycock, turning its head from side to side and looking discontentedly at the marsh. Crows were flying about the field, and a barelegged boy was driving the horses to an old man, who had got up from

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.