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War And Peace 294


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and Michael must come with my dogs," she added to the huntsman. It seemed to Daniel irksome and improper to be in a room at all, but to have anything to do with a young lady seemed to him impossible. He cast down his eyes and hurried out as if it were none of his business, careful as he went not to inflict any accidental injury on the young lady. CHAPTER IV The old count, who had always kept up an enormous hunting establishment but had now handed it all completely over to his sons care, being in very good spirits on this fifteenth of September, prepared to go out with the others. In an hours time the whole hunting party was at the porch. Nicholas, with a stern and serious air which showed that now was no time for attending to trifles, went past Natasha and Petya who were trying to tell him something. He had a look at all the details of the hunt, sent a pack of hounds and huntsmen on ahead to find the quarry, mounted his chestnut Donets, and whistling to his own leash of borzois, set off across the threshing ground to a field leading to the Otradnoe wood. The old counts horse, a sorrel gelding called Viflyanka, was led by the groom in attendance on him, while the count himself was to drive in a small trap straight to a spot reserved for him. They were taking fifty-four hounds, with six hunt attendants and whippers-in. Besides the family, there were eight borzoi kennelmen and more than forty borzois, so that, with the borzois on the leash belonging to members of the family, there were about a hundred and thirty dogs and twenty horsemen. Each dog knew its master and its call. Each man in the hunt knew his business, his place, what he had to do. As soon as they had passed the fence they all spread out evenly and quietly, without noise or talk, along the road and field leading to the Otradnoe covert. The horses stepped over the field as over a thick carpet, now and then splashing into puddles as they crossed a road. The misty sky still seemed to descend evenly and imperceptibly toward the earth, the air was still, warm, and silent. Occasionally the whistle of a huntsman, the snort of a horse, the crack of a whip, or the whine of a straggling hound could be heard. When they had gone a little less than a mile, five more riders with dogs appeared out of the mist, approaching the Rostovs. In front rode a fresh-looking, handsome old man with a large gray mustache. "Good morning, Uncle!" said Nicholas, when the old man drew near. "Thats it. Come on!... I was sure of it," began "Uncle." (He was a distant relative of the Rostovs, a man of small means, and their neighbor.) "I knew you wouldnt be able to resist it and its a good thing youre going. Thats it! Come on! (This was "Uncles" favorite expression.) "Take the covert at once, for my Girchik says the Ilagins are at Korniki with their hounds. Thats it. Come on!... Theyll take the cubs from under your very nose." "Thats where Im going. Shall we join up our packs?" asked Nicholas. The hounds were joined into one pack, and "Uncle" and Nicholas rode on side by side. Natasha, muffled up in shawls which did not hide her eager face and shining eyes, galloped up to them. She was followed by Petya who always kept close to her, by Michael, a huntsman, and by a groom appointed to look after her. Petya, who was laughing, whipped and pulled at his horse. Natasha sat easily and confidently on her black Arabchik and reined him in without effort with a firm hand. "Uncle" looked round disapprovingly at Petya and Natasha. He did not like to combine frivolity with the serious business of hunting. "Good morning, Uncle! We are going too!" shouted Petya. "Good morning, good morning! But dont go overriding the hounds," said "Uncle" sternly. "Nicholas, what a fine dog Trunila is! He knew me," said Natasha, referring to her favorite hound. "In the first place, Trunila is not a dog, but a harrier," thought Nicholas, and looked sternly at his sister, trying to make her feel the distance that ought to separate them at that moment. Natasha understood it. "You mustnt think well be in anyones way, Uncle," she said. "Well go to our places and wont budge." "A good thing too, little countess," said "Uncle," "only mind you dont fall off your horse," he

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