The coachman pulled up his four horses and looked round to the
right, to a field of rye, where some peasants were sitting on a
cart. The counting house clerk was just going to jump down, but
on second thoughts he shouted peremptorily to the peasants
instead, and beckoned to them to come up. The wind, that seemed
to blow as they drove, dropped when the carriage stood still;
gadflies settled on the steaming horses that angrily shook them
off. The metallic clank of a whetstone against a scythe, that
came to them from the cart, ceased. One of the peasants got up
and came towards the carriage.
"Well, you are slow!" the counting house clerk shouted angrily to
the peasant who was stepping slowly with his bare feet over the
ruts of the rough dry road. "Come along, do!"
A curly-headed old man with a bit of bast tied round his hair,
and his bent back dark with perspiration, came towards the
carriage, quickening his steps, and took hold of the mud-guard
with his sunburnt hand.
"Vozdvizhenskoe, the manor house? the count's?" he repeated; "go
on to the end of this track. Then turn to the left. Straight
along the avenue and you'll come right upon it. But whom do you
want? The count himself?"
"Well, are they at home, my good man?" Darya Alexandrovna said
vaguely, not knowing how to ask about Anna, even of this peasant.
"At home for sure," said the peasant, shifting from one bare foot
to the other, and leaving a distinct print of five toes and a
heel in the dust. "Sure to be at home," he repeated, evidently
eager to talk. "Only yesterday visitors arrived. There's a
sight of visitors come. What do you want?" He turned round and
called to a lad, who was shouting something to him from the cart.
"Oh! They all rode by here not long since, to look at a reaping
machine. They'll be home by now. And who will you be belonging
"We've come a long way," said the coachman, climbing onto the
box. "So it's not far?"