The slanting rays of the sun were still hot; his clothes, soaked
through with perspiration, stuck to his body; his left boot full
of water weighed heavily on his leg and squeaked at every step;
the sweat rain in drops down his powder-grimed face, his mouth
was full of the bitter taste, his nose of the smell of powder and
stagnant water, his ears were ringing with the incessant whir of
the snipe; he could not touch the stock of his gun, it was so
hot; his heart beat with short, rapid throbs; his hands shook
with excitement, and his weary legs stumbled and staggered over
the hillocks and in the swamp, but still he walked on and still
he shot. At last, after a disgraceful miss, he flung his gun and
his hat on the ground.
"No, I must control myself," he said to himself. Picking up his
gun and his hat, he called Laska, and went out of the swamp.
When he got on to dry ground he sat down, pulled off his boot and
emptied it, then walked to the marsh, drank some stagnant-tasting
water, moistened his burning hot gun, and washed his face and
hands. Feeling refreshed, he went back to the spot where a snipe
had settled, firmly resolved to keep cool.
He tried to be calm, but it was the same again. His finger
pressed the cock before he had taken a good aim at the bird. It
got worse and worse.
He had only five birds in his game-bag when he walked out of the
marsh towards the alders where he was to rejoin Stepan
Before he caught sight of Stepan Arkadyevitch he saw his dog.
Krak darted out from behind the twisted root of an alder, black
all over with the stinking mire of the marsh, and with the air of
a conqueror sniffed at Laska. Behind Krak there came into view
in the shade of the alder tree the shapely figure of Stepan
Arkadyevitch. He came to meet him, red and perspiring, with
unbuttoned neckband, still limping in the same way.
"Well? You have been popping away!" he said, smiling