Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
can, lead the race; but dont lose heart till the last
minute, even if youre behind."
Before the mare had time to move, Vronsky stepped with an agile,
vigorous movement into the steel-toothed stirrup, and lightly and
firmly seated himself on the creaking leather of the saddle.
Getting his right foot in the stirrup, he smoothed the double
reins, as he always did, between his fingers, and Cord let go.
As though she did not know which foot to put first, Frou-Frou
started, dragging at the reins with her long neck, and as though
she were on springs, shaking her rider from side to side. Cord
quickened his step, following him. The excited mare, trying to
shake off her rider first on one side and then the other, pulled
at the reins, and Vronsky tried in vain with voice and hand to
They were just reaching the dammed-up stream on their way to the
starting point. Several of the riders were in front and several
behind, when suddenly Vronsky heard the sound of a horse
galloping in the mud behind him, and he was overtaken by Mahotin
on his white-legged, lop-eared Gladiator. Mahotin smiled,
showing his long teeth, but Vronsky looked angrily at him. He
did not like him, and regarded him now as his most formidable
rival. He was angry with him for galloping past and exciting his
mare. Frou-Frou started into a gallop, her left foot forward,
made two bounds, and fretting at the tightened reins, passed into
a jolting trot, bumping her rider up and down. Cord, too,
scowled, and followed Vronsky almost at a trot.
There were seventeen officers in all riding in this race. The
race course was a large three-mile ring of the form of an ellipse
in front of the pavilion. On this course nine obstacles had been
arranged: the stream, a big and solid barrier five feet high,
just before the pavilion, a dry ditch, a ditch full of water, a
precipitous slope, an Irish barricade (one of the most difficult
obstacles, consisting of a mound fenced with brushwood, beyond
which was a ditch out of sight for the horses, so that the horse
had to clear both obstacles or might be killed); then two more
ditches filled with water, and one dry one; and the end of the
race was just facing the pavilion. But the race began not in the
ring, but two hundred yards away from it, and in that part of the
course was the first obstacle, a dammed-up stream, seven feet in
breadth, which the racers could leap or wade through as they
Three times they were ranged ready to start, but each time some
horse thrust itself out of line, and they had to begin again.
The umpire who was starting them, Colonel Sestrin, was beginning
to lose his temper, when at last for the fourth time he shouted
"Away!" and the racers started.
Every eye, every opera glass, was turned on the brightly colored
group of riders at the moment they were in line to start.
"Theyre off! Theyre starting!" was heard on all sides after
the hush of expectation.
And little groups and solitary figures among the public began
running from place to place to get a better view. In the very
first minute the close group of horsemen drew out, and it could
be seen that they were approaching the stream in twos and
threes and one behind another. To the spectators it seemed as
though they had all started simultaneously, but to the racers
there were seconds of difference that had great value to them.
Frou-Frou, excited and over-nervous, had lost the first moment,
and several horses had started before her, but before reaching
the stream, Vronsky, who was holding in the mare with all his
force as she tugged at the bridle, easily overtook three, and
there were left in front of him Mahotins chestnut Gladiator,
whose hind-quarters were moving lightly and rhythmically up and
down exactly in front of Vronsky, and in front of all, the dainty
mare Diana bearing Kuzovlev more dead than alive.
For the first instant Vronsky was not master either of himself or
his mare. Up to the first obstacle, the stream, he could not
guide the motions of his mare.
Gladiator and Diana came up to it together and almost at the same
instant; simultaneously they rose above the stream and flew
across to the other side; Frou-Frou darted after them, as if
flying; but at the
Anna Karenina page 111 Anna Karenina page 113