"Veslovsky, beside me, walk beside me!" he said in a faint voice
to his companion splashing in the water behind him. Levin could
not help feeling an interest in the direction his gun was
pointed, after that casual shot near the Kolpensky marsh.
"Oh, I won't get in your way, don't trouble about me."
But Levin could not help troubling, and recalled Kitty's words at
parting: "Mind you don't shoot one another." The dogs came
nearer and nearer, passed each other, each pursuing its own
scent. The expectation of snipe was so intense that to Levin the
squelching sound of his own heel, as he drew it up out of the
mire, seemed to be the call of a snipe, and he clutched and
pressed the lock of his gun.
"Bang! bang!" sounded almost in his ear. Vassenka had fired at a
flock of ducks which was hovering over the marsh and flying at
that moment towards the sportsmen, far out of range. Before
Levin had time to look round, there was the whir of one snipe,
another, a third, and some eight more rose one after another.
Stepan Arkadyevitch hit one at the very moment when it was
beginning its zigzag movements, and the snipe fell in a heap into
the mud. Oblonsky aimed deliberately at another, still flying
low in the reeds, and together with the report of the shot, that
snipe too fell, and it could be seen fluttering out where the
sedge had been cut, its unhurt wing showing white beneath.
Levin was not so lucky: he aimed at his first bird too low, and
missed; he aimed at it again, just as it was rising, but at that
instant another snipe flew up at his very feet, distracting him
so that he missed again.
While they were loading their guns, another snipe rose, and
Veslovsky, who had had time to load again, sent two charges of
small-shot into the water. Stepan Arkadyevitch picked up his
snipe, and with sparkling eyes looked at Levin.
"Well, now let us separate," said Stepan Arkadyevitch, and
limping on his left foot, holding his gun in readiness and
whistling to his dog, he walked off in one direction. Levin and
Veslovsky walked in the other.