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 very moment when Vronsky felt himself in the
air, he suddenly saw almost under his mare's 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, Diana's 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 Vronsky's sight.
"Bravo!" cried a voice.