Vassenka drove the horses so fast that they reached the marsh too early, while it was still hot. .cheap prom dresses.
As they drew near this more important marsh, the chief aim of their expedition, Levin could not help considering how he could get rid of Vassenka and be free in his movements. Stepan Arkadyevich evidently had the same desire, and on his face Levin saw the look of anxiety always present in a true sportsman when beginning shooting, together with a certain good-humored slyness peculiar to him. .cheap prom dresses.
`How shall we go? It's a splendid marsh, I see, and there are hawks,' said Stepan Arkadyevich, pointing to two great birds hovering over the sedge. `Where there are hawks, there is sure to be game.' .cheap wedding dresses.
`Now, gentlemen,' said Levin, pulling up his boots and examining the lock of his gun with a somewhat somber expression, `do you see that sedge?' He pointed to an oasis of blackish green in the huge half-mown wet meadow that stretched along the right bank of the river. `The marsh begins here, straight in front of us, do you see - where it is greener? From here it runs to the right where the horses are; there are hummocks there, and double snipe, and all round that sedge as far as that alder tree, and right up to the mill. Over there, do you see, where the creek is? That's the best place. There I once shot seventeen jacksnipe. We'll separate with the dogs and go in different directions, and then meet over there at the mill.' .cheap prom dresses.
`Well, who'll go left, and who to the right?' asked Stepan Arkadyevich. `It's wider to the right; you two go that way and I'll take the left,' he said with apparent carelessness. .cartier love bracelet replica.
`Capital! We'll make the bigger bag! Yes, come along, come along!' Vassenka exclaimed. .cartier love bracelet replica.
Levin could do nothing but agree, and they divided. ..
As soon as they entered the marsh, the two dogs began hunting about together and made toward the rust-colored spot. Levin knew Laska's method, wary and indefinite; he knew the place too, and expected a whole covey of snipe. ..
`Veslovsky, walk beside me - beside me!' he said in a faint voice to his companion splashing in the water behind him. Levin could not help feeling an interest in the direction his gun was pointed, after that casual shot near the Kolpensky marsh. ..
`Oh, I won't get in your way, don't trouble about me.' ..
But Levin could not help troubling, and recalled Kitty's words at parting: `Mind you don't shoot one another.' The dogs came nearer and nearer, passed each other, each pursuing its own scent. The expectation of snipe was so intense that to Levin the smacking sound of his own heel, as he drew it up out of the rusty mire, seemed to be the call of a snipe, and he clutched and pressed the butt of his gun. ..
Bang! bang! sounded almost in his ear. Vassenka had fired at a flock of ducks which was hovering over the marsh and flying at that moment toward the sportsmen, far out of range. Before Levin had time to look round, there was the whir of one snipe, another, a third, and some eight more rose one after another. ..
Stepan Arkadyevich hit one at the very moment when it was beginning its zigzag movements, and the snipe fell as a clod into the quagmire. Oblonsky aimed deliberately at another, still flying low toward the sedge, and together with the report of the shot, that snipe too fell, and it could be seen fluttering out where the sedge had been cut, its unhurt wing showing white beneath. ..
Levin was not so lucky: he aimed at his first bird too low, and missed; he aimed at it again, just as it was rising, but at that instant another snipe flew up at his very feet, distracting him so that he missed again. ..
While they were reloading their guns, another snipe rose, and Veslovsky, who had had time to reload again, sent two charges of small shot into the water. Stepan Arkadyevich picked up his snipe, and with sparkling eyes looked at Levin. ..
`Well, now let us separate,' said Stepan Arkadyevich, and limping on his left foot, holding his gun in readiness and whistling to his dog, he walked off in one direction. Levin and Veslovsky walked off in the other.
It always happened with Levin that when his first shots were a failure he got heated and out of temper, and shot badly the whole day. So was it that day. The snipe showed themselves in numbers. They kept flying up from just under the dogs, from under the sportsmen's legs, and Levin might have retrieved his ill luck. But the more he shot, the more he felt disgraced in the eyes of Veslovsky, who kept popping away merrily and indiscriminately, killing nothing, and not in the slightest abashed by his ill success. Levin, in feverish haste, could not restrain himself, got more and more out of temper, and ended by shooting almost without a hope of hitting. Laska, indeed, seemed to understand this. She began searching more listlessly, and gazed back at the sportsmen with apparent perplexity or reproach in her eyes. Shots followed shots in rapid succession. The smoke of the powder hung about the sportsmen, while in the great roomy net of the gamebag there were only three light, small snipe. And of these one had been killed by Veslovsky alone, and one by both of them together. Meanwhile, from the other side of the marsh, came the sound of Stepan Arkadyevich's shots, not frequent, but, as Levin fancied, well directed, for almost after each they heard `Krak, Krak, apporte!'
This excited Levin still more. The snipe were floating continually in the air over the sedge. Their whirring wings close to the earth, and their harsh cries high in the air, could be heard on all sides; the snipe that had risen first and flown up into the air, settled again before the sportsmen. Instead of two hawks there were now dozens of them hovering with shrill cries over the marsh.
After walking through the larger half of the marsh, Levin and Veslovsky reached the place where the peasants' mowing grass was divided into long strips reaching to the sedge, marked off in one place by the trampled grass, in another by a path mown through it. Half of these strips had already been mown.
Though there was not so much hope of finding birds in the uncut part as the cut part, Levin had promised Stepan Arkadyevich to meet him, and so he walked on with his companion through the cut and uncut patches.
`Hi, hunters!' shouted one of a group of peasants, sitting on an unharnessed telega: `Come and have some lunch with us! Have a drop of wine!'
Levin looked round.
`Come along, it's all right!' shouted a good-humored-looking bearded peasant with a red face, showing his white teeth in a grin, and holding up a greenish bottle that flashed in the sunlight.
`Qu'est-ce qu'ils disent?' asked Veslovsky.
`They invite you to have some vodka. Most likely they've been dividing the meadow into lots. I should have some,' said Levin, not without some guile, hoping Veslovsky would be tempted by the vodka, and would go off to them.
`Why do they offer it?'
`Oh, they're merrymaking. Really, you should join them. You would be interested.'
`Allons, c'est curieux.'
`You go, you go, you'll find the way to the mill!' cried Levin, and looking round he perceived with satisfaction that Veslovsky, bent and stumbling with weariness, holding his gun out at arm's length, was making his way out of the marsh toward the peasants.
`You come too!' the peasant shouted to Levin. `Never fear! Taste our pie!'
Levin felt a strong inclination for a drink of vodka and a bite of bread. He was exhausted, and felt it a great effort to drag his staggering legs out of the mire, and for a minute he hesitated. But Laska was pointing. And immediately all his weariness vanished, and he walked lightly through the swamp toward the dog. A snipe flew up at his feet; he fired and killed it. Laska still pointed. - `Fetch it!' Another bird flew up close to the dog. Levin fired. But it was an unlucky day for him; he missed it, and when he went to look for the one he had shot, he could not find that either. He wandered all about the sedge, but Laska did not believe he had shot it, and when he sent her to find it, she pretended to hunt for it, but did not really do so.
And in the absence of Vassenka, on whom Levin threw the blame of his failure, things went no better. There was plenty of snipe still, but Levin made one miss after another.
The slanting rays of the sun were still hot; his clothes, soaked through with perspiration, stuck to his body; his left boot full of water weighed heavily on his leg and squelched at every step; the sweat ran in drops down his powder-grimed face, his mouth was full of a bitter taste, his nose of the smell of powder and stagnant water, his ears were ringing with the incessant whir of the snipe; he could not touch the barrel of his gun, it was so hot; his heart beat with short, rapid throbs; his hands shook with excitement, and his weary legs stumbled and staggered over the hummocks and in the swamp, but still he walked on and still he shot. At last, after a disgraceful miss, he flung his gun and his hat on the ground.
`No, I must control myself,' he said to himself. Picking up his gun and his hat, he called Laska, and went out of the swamp. When he got onto dry ground he sat down on a hummock, pulled off his boot and emptied it, then walked to the marsh, drank some rust-tasting water, moistened the burning hot barrel of his gun, and washed his face and hands. Feeling refreshed, he went back to the spot where a snipe had settled, firmly resolved to keep cool.
He tried to be calm, but it was the same again. His finger pressed the trigger before he had taken a good aim at the bird. It got worse and worse.
He had only five birds in his gamebag when he walked out of the marsh toward the alders, where he was to rejoin Stepan Arkadyevich.
Before he caught sight of Stepan Arkadyevich he saw his dog. Krak, black all over with the stinking mire of the marsh, darted out from behind the twisted root of an alder, and, with the air of a conqueror, sniffed Laska. Behind Krak there came into view in the shade of the alder tree the shapely figure of Stepan Arkadyevich. He came to meet him, red and perspiring, with unbuttoned neckband, still limping in the same way.
`Well? You have been popping away!' he said, smiling good-humoredly.
`How have you got on?' queried Levin. But there was no need to ask, for he had already seen the full gamebag.
`Oh, pretty fair.'
He had fourteen birds.
`A splendid marsh! I've no doubt Veslovsky got in your way. It's awkward too, shooting with one dog,' said Stepan Arkadyevich, to soften his triumph.
? Leo Tolstoy