Vassenka drove the horses so smartly that they reached the marsh
too early, while it was still hot.
As they drew near this more important marsh, the chief aim of
their expedition, Levin could not help considering how he could
get rid of Vassenka and be free in his movements. Stepan
Arkadyevitch evidently had the same desire, and on his face Levin
saw the look of anxiety always present in a true sportsman when
beginning shooting, together with a certain good-humored slyness
peculiar to him.
"How shall we go? It's a splendid marsh, I see, and there are
hawks," said Stepan Arkadyevitch, pointing to two great birds
hovering over the reeds. "Where there are hawks, there is sure
to be game."
"Now, gentlemen," said Levin, pulling up his boots and examining
the lock of his gun with rather a gloomy expression, "do you see
those reeds?" He pointed to an oasis of blackish green in the
huge half-mown wet meadow that stretched along the right bank of
the river. "The marsh begins here, straight in front of us, do
you see--where it is greener? From here it runs to the right
where the horses are; there are breeding places there, and
grouse, and all round those reeds as far as that alder, and right
up to the mill. Over there, do you see, where the pools are?
That's the best place. There I once shot seventeen snipe.
We'll separate with the dogs and go in different directions, and
then meet over there at the mill."
"Well, which shall go to left and which to right?" asked Stepan
Arkadyevitch. "It's wider to the right; you two go that way and
I'll take the left," he said with apparent carelessness.
"Capital! we'll make the bigger bag! Yes, come along, come
along!" Vassenka exclaimed.
Levin could do nothing but agree, and they divided.
As soon as they entered the marsh, the two dogs began hunting
about together and made towards the green, slime-covered pool.
Levin knew Laska's method, wary and indefinite; he knew the place
too and expected a whole covey of snipe.