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Chapter 6

  • The old count went home, and Natasha and Petya promised to return very soon, but as it was still early the hunt went farther. At midday they put the hound_nto a ravine thickly overgrown with young trees. Nicholas standing in _allow field could see all his whips.
  • Facing him lay a field of winter rye, there his own huntsman stood alone in _ollow behind a hazel bush. The hounds had scarcely been loosed befor_icholas heard one he knew, Voltorn, giving tongue at intervals; other hound_oined in, now pausing and now again giving tongue. A moment later he heard _ry from the wooded ravine that a fox had been found, and the whole pack, joining together, rushed along the ravine toward the ryefield and away fro_icholas.
  • He saw the whips in their red caps galloping along the edge of the ravine, h_ven saw the hounds, and was expecting a fox to show itself at any moment o_he ryefield opposite.
  • The huntsman standing in the hollow moved and loosed his borzois, and Nichola_aw a queer, short-legged red fox with a fine brush going hard across th_ield. The borzois bore down on it… . Now they drew close to the fox whic_egan to dodge between the field in sharper and sharper curves, trailing it_rush, when suddenly a strange white borzoi dashed in followed by a black one, and everything was in confusion; the borzois formed a star-shaped figure, scarcely swaying their bodies and with tails turned away from the center o_he group. Two huntsmen galloped up to the dogs; one in a red cap, the other, a stranger, in a green coat.
  • "What's this?" thought Nicholas. "Where's that huntsman from? He is not
  • 'Uncle's' man."
  • The huntsmen got the fox, but stayed there a long time without strapping it t_he saddle. Their horses, bridled and with high saddles, stood near them an_here too the dogs were lying. The huntsmen waved their arms and did somethin_o the fox. Then from that spot came the sound of a horn, with the signa_greed on in case of a fight.
  • "That's Ilagin's huntsman having a row with our Ivan," said Nicholas' groom.
  • Nicholas sent the man to call Natasha and Petya to him, and rode at a footpac_o the place where the whips were getting the hounds together. Several of th_ield galloped to the spot where the fight was going on.
  • Nicholas dismounted, and with Natasha and Petya, who had ridden up, stoppe_ear the hounds, waiting to see how the matter would end. Out of the bushe_ame the huntsman who had been fighting and rode toward his young master, wit_he fox tied to his crupper. While still at a distance he took off his cap an_ried to speak respectfully, but he was pale and breathless and his face wa_ngry. One of his eyes was black, but he probably was not even aware of it.
  • "What has happened?" asked Nicholas.
  • "A likely thing, killing a fox our dogs had hunted! And it was my gray bitc_hat caught it! Go to law, indeed!… He snatches at the fox! I gave him on_ith the fox. Here it is on my saddle! Do you want a taste of this?… " sai_he huntsman, pointing to his dagger and probably imagining himself stil_peaking to his foe.
  • Nicholas, not stopping to talk to the man, asked his sister and Petya to wai_or him and rode to the spot where the enemy's, Ilagin's, hunting party was.
  • The victorious huntsman rode off to join the field, and there, surrounded b_nquiring sympathizers, recounted his exploits.
  • The facts were that Ilagin, with whom the Rostovs had a quarrel and were a_aw, hunted over places that belonged by custom to the Rostovs, and had now, as if purposely, sent his men to the very woods the Rostovs were hunting an_et his man snatch a fox their dogs had chased.
  • Nicholas, though he had never seen Ilagin, with his usual absence o_oderation in judgment, hated him cordially from reports of his arbitrarines_nd violence, and regarded him as his bitterest foe. He rode in angr_gitation toward him, firmly grasping his whip and fully prepared to take th_ost resolute and desperate steps to punish his enemy.
  • Hardly had he passed an angle of the wood before a stout gentleman in a beave_ap came riding toward him on a handsome raven-black horse, accompanied by tw_unt servants.
  • Instead of an enemy, Nicholas found in Ilagin a stately and courteou_entleman who was particularly anxious to make the young count's acquaintance.
  • Having ridden up to Nicholas, Ilagin raised his beaver cap and said he muc_egretted what had occurred and would have the man punished who had allowe_imself to seize a fox hunted by someone else's borzois. He hoped to becom_etter acquainted with the count and invited him to draw his covert.
  • Natasha, afraid that her brother would do something dreadful, had followed hi_n some excitement. Seeing the enemies exchanging friendly greetings, she rod_p to them. Ilagin lifted his beaver cap still higher to Natasha and said, with a pleasant smile, that the young countess resembled Diana in her passio_or the chase as well as in her beauty, of which he had heard much.
  • To expiate his huntsman's offense, Ilagin pressed the Rostovs to come to a_pland of his about a mile away which he usually kept for himself and which, he said, swarmed with hares. Nicholas agreed, and the hunt, now doubled, move_n.
  • The way to Iligin's upland was across the fields. The hunt servants fell int_ine. The masters rode together. "Uncle," Rostov, and Ilagin kept stealthil_lancing at one another's dogs, trying not to be observed by their companion_nd searching uneasily for rivals to their own borzois.
  • Rostov was particularly struck by the beauty of a small, pure-bred, red- spotted bitch on Ilagin's leash, slender but with muscles like steel, _elicate muzzle, and prominent black eyes. He had heard of the swiftness o_lagin's borzois, and in that beautiful bitch saw a rival to his own Milka.
  • In the middle of a sober conversation begun by Ilagin about the year'_arvest, Nicholas pointed to the red-spotted bitch.
  • "A fine little bitch, that!" said he in a careless tone. "Is she swift?"
  • "That one? Yes, she's a good dog, gets what she's after," answered Ilagi_ndifferently, of the red-spotted bitch Erza, for which, a year before, he ha_iven a neighbor three families of house serfs. "So in your parts, too, th_arvest is nothing to boast of, Count?" he went on, continuing th_onversation they had begun. And considering it polite to return the youn_ount's compliment, Ilagin looked at his borzois and picked out Milka wh_ttracted his attention by her breadth. "That black-spotted one of yours i_ine—well shaped!" said he.
  • "Yes, she's fast enough," replied Nicholas, and thought: "If only a full-grow_are would cross the field now I'd show you what sort of borzoi she is," an_urning to his groom, he said he would give a ruble to anyone who found _are.
  • "I don't understand," continued Ilagin, "how some sportsmen can be so jealou_bout game and dogs. For myself, I can tell you, Count, I enjoy riding i_ompany such as this… what could be better?" (he again raised his cap t_atasha) "but as for counting skins and what one takes, I don't care abou_hat."
  • "Of course not!"
  • "Or being upset because someone else's borzoi and not mine catches something.
  • All I care about is to enjoy seeing the chase, is it not so, Count? For _onsider that… "
  • "A-tu!" came the long-drawn cry of one of the borzoi whippers-in, who ha_alted. He stood on a knoll in the stubble, holding his whip aloft, and agai_epeated his long-drawn cry, "A-tu!" (This call and the uplifted whip mean_hat he saw a sitting hare.)
  • "Ah, he has found one, I think," said Ilagin carelessly. "Yes, we must rid_p… . Shall we both course it?" answered Nicholas, seeing in Erza and
  • "Uncle's" red Rugay two rivals he had never yet had a chance of pittin_gainst his own borzois. "And suppose they outdo my Milka at once!" he though_s he rode with "Uncle" and Ilagin toward the hare.
  • "A full-grown one?" asked Ilagin as he approached the whip who had sighted th_are—and not without agitation he looked round and whistled to Erza.
  • "And you, Michael Nikanorovich?" he said, addressing "Uncle."
  • The latter was riding with a sullen expression on his face.
  • "How can I join in? Why, you've given a village for each of your borzois!
  • That's it, come on! Yours are worth thousands. Try yours against one another, you two, and I'll look on!"
  • "Rugay, hey, hey!" he shouted. "Rugayushka!" he added, involuntarily
  • by this diminutive expressing his affection and the hopes he placed on thi_ed borzoi. Natasha saw and felt the agitation the two elderly men and he_rother were trying to conceal, and was herself excited by it.
  • The huntsman stood halfway up the knoll holding up his whip and the gentlefol_ode up to him at a footpace; the hounds that were far off on the horizo_urned away from the hare, and the whips, but not the gentlefolk, also move_way. All were moving slowly and sedately.
  • "How is it pointing?" asked Nicholas, riding a hundred paces toward the whi_ho had sighted the hare.
  • But before the whip could reply, the hare, scenting the frost coming nex_orning, was unable to rest and leaped up. The pack on leash rushed downhil_n full cry after the hare, and from all sides the borzois that were not o_eash darted after the hounds and the hare. All the hunt, who had been movin_lowly, shouted, "Stop!" calling in the hounds, while the borzoi whips, with _ry of "A-tu!" galloped across the field setting the borzois on the hare. Th_ranquil Ilagin, Nicholas, Natasha, and "Uncle" flew, reckless of where an_ow they went, seeing only the borzois and the hare and fearing only to los_ight even for an instant of the chase. The hare they had started was a stron_nd swift one. When he jumped up he did not run at once, but pricked his ear_istening to the shouting and trampling that resounded from all sides at once.
  • He took a dozen bounds, not very quickly, letting the borzois gain on him, and, finally having chosen his direction and realized his danger, laid bac_is ears and rushed off headlong. He had been lying in the stubble, but i_ront of him was the autumn sowing where the ground was soft. The two borzoi_f the huntsman who had sighted him, having been the nearest, were the firs_o see and pursue him, but they had not gone far before Ilagin's red-spotte_rza passed them, got within a length, flew at the hare with terribl_wiftness aiming at his scut, and, thinking she had seized him, rolled ove_ike a ball. The hare arched his back and bounded off yet more swiftly. Fro_ehind Erza rushed the broad-haunched, black-spotted Milka and began rapidl_aining on the hare.
  • "Milashka, dear!" rose Nicholas' triumphant cry. It looked as if Milka woul_mmediately pounce on the hare, but she overtook him and flew past. The har_ad squatted. Again the beautiful Erza reached him, but when close to th_are's scut paused as if measuring the distance, so as not to make a mistak_his time but seize his hind leg.
  • "Erza, darling!" Ilagin wailed in a voice unlike his own. Erza did not hearke_o his appeal. At the very moment when she would have seized her prey, th_are moved and darted along the balk between the winter rye and the stubble.
  • Again Erza and Milka were abreast, running like a pair of carriage horses, an_egan to overtake the hare, but it was easier for the hare to run on the bal_nd the borzois did not overtake him so quickly.
  • "Rugay, Rugayushka! That's it, come on!" came a third voice just then, and
  • "Uncle's" red borzoi, straining and curving its back, caught up with the tw_oremost borzois, pushed ahead of them regardless of the terrible strain, pu_n speed close to the hare, knocked it off the balk onto the ryefield, agai_ut on speed still more viciously, sinking to his knees in the muddy field, and all one could see was how, muddying his back, he rolled over with th_are. A ring of borzois surrounded him. A moment later everyone had drawn u_ound the crowd of dogs. Only the delighted "Uncle" dismounted, and cut off _ad, shaking the hare for the blood to drip off, and anxiously glancing roun_ith restless eyes while his arms and legs twitched. He spoke without himsel_nowing whom to or what about. "That's it, come on! That's a dog!… There, i_as beaten them all, the thousand-ruble as well as the one-ruble borzois.
  • That's it, come on!" said he, panting and looking wrathfully around as if h_ere abusing someone, as if they were all his enemies and had insulted him, and only now had he at last succeeded in justifying himself. "There are you_housand-ruble ones… . That's it, come on!… "
  • "Rugay, here's a pad for you!" he said, throwing down the hare's muddy pad.
  • "You've deserved it, that's it, come on!"
  • "She'd tired herself out, she'd run it down three times by herself," sai_icholas, also not listening to anyone and regardless of whether he were hear_r not.
  • "But what is there in running across it like that?" said Ilagin's groom.
  • "Once she had missed it and turned it away, any mongrel could take it," Ilagi_as saying at the same time, breathless from his gallop and his excitement. A_he same moment Natasha, without drawing breath, screamed joyously, ecstatically, and so piercingly that it set everyone's ear tingling. By tha_hriek she expressed what the others expressed by all talking at once, and i_as so strange that she must herself have been ashamed of so wild a cry an_veryone else would have been amazed at it at any other time. "Uncle" himsel_wisted up the hare, threw it neatly and smartly across his horse's back as i_y that gesture he meant to rebuke everybody, and, with an air of not wishin_o speak to anyone, mounted his bay and rode off. The others all followed, dispirited and shamefaced, and only much later were they able to regain thei_ormer affectation of indifference. For a long time they continued to look a_ed Rugay who, his arched back spattered with mud and clanking the ring of hi_eash, walked along just behind "Uncle's" horse with the serene air of _onqueror.
  • "Well, I am like any other dog as long as it's not a question of coursing. Bu_hen it is, then look out!" his appearance seemed to Nicholas to be saying.
  • When, much later, "Uncle" rode up to Nicholas and began talking to him, h_elt flattered that, after what had happened, "Uncle" deigned to speak to him.