"The horse is here belonging to Mak...Mak...I never can say the
name," said the Englishman, over his shoulder, pointing his big
finger and dirty nail towards Gladiator's stall.
"Mahotin? Yes, he's my most serious rival," said Vronsky.
"If you were riding him," said the Englishman, "I'd bet on you."
"Frou-Frou's more nervous; he's stronger," said Vronsky, smiling
at the compliment to his riding.
"In a steeplechase it all depends on riding and on pluck," said
Of pluck--that is, energy and courage--Vronsky did not merely
feel that he had enough; what was of far more importance, he was
firmly convinced that no one in the world could have more of this
"pluck" than he had.
"Don't you think I want more thinning down?"
"Oh, no," answered the Englishman. "Please, don't speak loud.
The mare's fidgety," he added, nodding towards the horse-box,
before which they were standing, and from which came the sound of
restless stamping in the straw.
He opened the door, and Vronsky went into the horse-box, dimly
lighted by one little window. In the horse-box stood a dark bay
mare, with a muzzle on, picking at the fresh straw with her
hoofs. Looking round him in the twilight of the horse-box,
Vronsky unconsciously took in once more in a comprehensive glance
all the points of his favorite mare. Frou-Frou was a beast of
medium size, not altogether free from reproach, from a
breeder's point of view. She was small-boned all over; though
her chest was extremely prominent in front, it was narrow. Her
hind-quarters were a little drooping, and in her fore-legs, and
still more in her hind-legs, there was a noticeable curvature.
The muscles of both hind- and fore-legs were not very thick; but
across her shoulders the mare was exceptionally broad, a
peculiarity specially striking now that she was lean from
training. The bones of her legs below the knees looked no
thicker than a finger from in front, but were extraordinarily
thick seen from the side. She looked altogether, except across
the shoulders, as it were, pinched in at the sides and pressed
out in depth. But she had in the highest degree the quality that
makes all defects forgotten: that quality was blood, the blood
that tells, as the English expression has it. The muscles stood
up sharply under the network of sinews, covered with this
delicate, mobile skin, soft as satin, and they were hard a bone.
Her clean-cut head with prominent, bright, spirited eyes,
broadened out at the open nostrils, that showed the red blood in
the cartilage within. About all her figure, and especially her
head, there was a certain expression of energy, and, at the same
time, of softness. She was one of those creatures which seem
only not to speak because the mechanism of their mouth does not
allow them to.