Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
very moment when Vronsky felt himself in the
air, he suddenly saw almost under his mares hoofs Kuzovlev, who
was floundering with Diana on the further side of the stream.
(Kuzovlev had let go the reins as he took the leap, and the mare
had sent him flying over her head.) Those details Vronsky learned
later; at the moment all he saw was that just under him, where
Frou-Frou must alight, Dianas legs or head might be in the way.
But Frou-Frou drew up her legs and back in the very act of
leaping, like a falling cat, and, clearing the other mare,
alighted beyond her.
"O the darling!" thought Vronsky.
After crossing the stream Vronsky had complete control of his
mare, and began holding her in, intending to cross the great
barrier behind Mahotin, and to try to overtake him in the clear
ground of about five hundred yards that followed it.
The great barrier stood just in front of the imperial pavilion.
The Tsar and the whole court and crowds of people were all gazing
at them--at him, and Mahotin a length ahead of him, as they drew
near the "devil," as the solid barrier was called. Vronsky was
aware of those eyes fastened upon him from all sides, but he saw
nothing except the ears and neck of his own mare, the ground
racing to meet him, and the back and white legs of Gladiator
beating time swiftly before him, and keeping always the same
distance ahead. Gladiator rose, with no sound of knocking
against anything. With a wave of his short tail he disappeared
from Vronskys sight.
"Bravo!" cried a voice.
At the same instant, under Vronskys eyes, right before him
flashed the palings of the barrier. Without the slightest change
in her action his mare flew over it; the palings vanished, and he
heard only a crash behind him. The mare, excited by Gladiators
keeping ahead, had risen too soon before the barrier, and grazed
it with her hind hoofs. But her pace never changed, and Vronsky,
feeling a spatter of mud in his face, realized that he was once
more the same distance from Gladiator. Once more he perceived in
front of him the same back and short tail, and again the same
swiftly moving white legs that got no further away.
At the very moment when Vronsky thought that now was the time to
overtake Mahotin, Frou-Frou herself, understanding his thoughts,
without any incitement on his part, gained ground considerably,
and began getting alongside of Mahotin on the most favorable
side, close to the inner cord. Mahotin would not let her pass
that side. Vronsky had hardly formed the thought that he could
perhaps pass on the outer side, when Frou-Frou shifted her pace
and began overtaking him on the other side. Frou-Frous
shoulder, beginning by now to be dark with sweat, was even with
Gladiators back. For a few lengths they moved evenly. But
before the obstacle they were approaching, Vronsky began working
at the reins, anxious to avoid having to take the outer circle,
and swiftly passed Mahotin just upon the declivity. He caught a
glimpse of his mud-stained face as he flashed by. He even
fancied that he smiled. Vronsky passed Mahotin, but he was
immediately aware of him close upon him, and he never ceased
hearing the even-thudding hoofs and the rapid and still quite
fresh breathing of Gladiator.
The next two obstacles, the water course and the barrier, were
easily crossed, but Vronsky began to hear the snorting and thud
of Gladiator closer upon him. He urged on his mare, and to his
delight felt that she easily quickened her pace, and the thud of
Gladiators hoofs was again heard at the same distance away.
Vronsky was at the head of the race, just as he wanted to be and
as Cord had advised, and now he felt sure of being the winner.
His excitement, his delight, and his tenderness for Frou-Frou
grew keener and keener. He longed to look round again, but he
did not dare do this, and tried to be cool and not to urge on his
mare so to keep the same reserve of force in her as he felt that
Gladiator still kept. There remained only one obstacle, the most
difficult; if he could cross it ahead of the others he would come
in first. He was flying towards the Irish barricade, Frou-Frou
and he both together saw the barricade in the distance,
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