BOOK SEVEN: 1810 - 11
4. CHAPTER IV
The old count, who had always kept up an enormous hunting
establishment but had now handed it all completely over to his son's
care, being in very good spirits on this fifteenth of September,
prepared to go out with the others.
In an hour's time the whole hunting party was at the porch.
Nicholas, with a stern and serious air which showed that now was no
time for attending to trifles, went past Natasha and Petya who were
trying to tell him something. He had a look at all the details of
the hunt, sent a pack of hounds and huntsmen on ahead to find the
quarry, mounted his chestnut Donets, and whistling to his own leash of
borzois, set off across the threshing ground to a field leading to the
Otradnoe wood. The old count's horse, a sorrel gelding called
Viflyanka, was led by the groom in attendance on him, while the
count himself was to drive in a small trap straight to a spot reserved
They were taking fifty-four hounds, with six hunt attendants and
whippers-in. Besides the family, there were eight borzoi kennelmen and
more than forty borzois, so that, with the borzois on the leash
belonging to members of the family, there were about a hundred and
thirty dogs and twenty horsemen.
Each dog knew its master and its call. Each man in the hunt knew his
business. his place, what he had to do. As soon as they had passed the
fence they all spread out evenly and quietly, without noise or talk,
along the road and field leading to the Otradnoe covert.
The horses stepped over the field as over a thick carpet, now and
then splashing into puddles as they crossed a road. The misty sky
still seemed to descend evenly and imperceptibly toward the earth, the
air was still, warm, and silent. Occasionally the whistle of a
huntsman, the snort of a horse, the crack of a whip, or the whine of a
straggling hound could be heard.
When they had gone a little less than a mile, five more riders
with dogs appeared out of the mist, approaching the Rostovs. In
front rode a fresh-looking, handsome old man with a large gray