Next day, before the ladies were up, the wagonette and a trap for
the shooting party were at the door, and Laska, aware since early
morning that they were going shooting, after much whining and
darting to and fro, had sat herself down in the wagonette beside
the coachman, and, disapproving of the delay, was excitedly
watching the door from which the sportsmen still did not come
out. The first to come out was Vassenka Veslovsky, in new high
boots that reached half-way up his thick thighs, in a green
blouse, with a new Russian leather cartridge-belt, and in his
Scotch cap with ribbons, with a brand-new English gun without a
sling. Laska flew up to him, welcomed him, and jumping up, asked
him in her own way whether the others were coming soon, but
getting no answer from him, she returned to her post of
observation and sank into repose again, her head on one side, and
one ear pricked up to listen. At last the door opened with a
creak, and Stepan Arkadyevitch's spot-and-tan pointer Krak flew
out, running round and round and turning over in the air. Stepan
Arkadyevitch himself followed with a gun in his hand and a cigar
in his mouth.
"Good dog, good dog, Krak!" he cried encouragingly to the dog,
who put his paws up on his chest, catching at his game bag.
Stepan Arkadyevitch was dressed in rough leggings and spats, in
torn trousers and a short coat. On his head there was a wreck of
a hat of indefinite form, but his gun of a new patent was a
perfect gem, and his game bag and cartridge belt, though worn,
were of the very best quality.
Vassenka Veslovsky had had no notion before that it was truly
chic for a sportsman to be in tatters, but to have his shooting
outfit of the best quality. He saw it now as he looked at Stepan
Arkadyevitch, radiant in his rags, graceful, well-fed, and
joyous, a typical Russian nobleman. And he made up his mind that
next time he went shooting he would certainly adopt the same
"Well, and what about our host?" he asked.
"A young wife," said Stepan Arkadyevitch, smiling.
"Yes, and such a charming one!"