Veslovsky, eager to see the shooting, had driven into the marsh,
and got the horses stuck in the mud.
"Damn the fellow!" Levin said to himself, as he went back to the
carriage that had sunk in the mire. "What did you drive in for?"
he said to him dryly, and calling the coachman, he began pulling
the horses out.
Levin was vexed both at being hindered from shooting and at his
horses getting stuck in the mud, and still more at the fact that
neither Stepan Arkadyevitch nor Veslovsky helped him and the
coachman to unharness the horses and get them out, since neither
of them had the slightest notion of harnessing. Without
vouchsafing a syllable in reply to Vassenka's protestations that
it had been quite dry there, Levin worked in silence with the
coachman at extricating the horses. But then, as he got warm at
the work and saw how assiduously Veslovsky was tugging at the
wagonette by one of the mud-guards, so that he broke it indeed,
Levin blamed himself for having under the influence of
yesterday's feelings been too cold to Veslovsky, and tried to be
particularly genial so as to smooth over his chilliness. When
everything had been put right, and the carriage had been brought
back to the road, Levin had the lunch served.
"Bon appetit--bonne conscience! Ce poulet va tomber jusqu'au
fond de mes bottes," Vassenka, who had recovered his spirits,
quoted the French saying as he finished his second chicken.
"Well, now our troubles are over, now everything's going to go
well. Only, to atone for my sins, I'm bound to sit on the box.
That's so? eh? No, no! I'll be your Automedon. You shall see
how I'll get you along," he answered, not letting go the rein,
when Levin begged him to let the coachman drive. "No, I must
atone for my sins, and I'm very comfortable on the box." And he
Levin was a little afraid he would exhaust the horses, especially
the chestnut, whom he did not know how to hold in; but
unconsciously he fell under the influence of his gaiety and
listened to the songs he sang all the way on the box, or the
descriptions and representations he gave of driving in the
English fashion, four-in-hand; and it was in the very best of
spirits that after lunch they drove to the Gvozdyov marsh.