FictionForest

PART SIX : Chapter 13

Leo TolstoyAug 24, 2016'Command+D' Bookmark this page

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The sportsman’s saying, that
if the first beast or the first bird is not missed,
the day will be lucky, turned out correct.

At ten o’clock Levin, weary,
hungry, and happy after a tramp of twenty miles, returned
to his night’s lodging with nineteen head of
fine game and one duck, which he tied to his belt,
as it would not go into the game bag.  His companions
had long been awake, and had had time to get hungry
and have breakfast.

“Wait a bit, wait a bit, I know
there are nineteen,” said Levin, counting a
second time over the grouse and snipe, that looked
so much less important now, bent and dry and bloodstained,
with heads crooked aside, than they did when they
were flying.

The number was verified, and Stepan
Arkadyevitch’s envy pleased Levin.  He
was pleased too on returning to find the man sent by
Kitty with a note was already there.

“I am perfectly well and happy. 
If you were uneasy about me, you can feel easier
than ever.  I’ve a new bodyguard, Marya
Vlasyevna,” ­this was the midwife,
a new and important personage in Levin’s domestic
life.  “She has come to have a look at me. 
She found me perfectly well, and we have kept her till
you are back.  All are happy and well, and please,
don’t be in a hurry to come back, but, if the
sport is good, stay another day.”

These two pleasures, his lucky shooting
and the letter from his wife, were so great that two
slightly disagreeable incidents passed lightly over
Levin.  One was that the chestnut trace horse,
who had been unmistakably overworked on the previous
day, was off his feed and out of sorts.  The
coachman said he was “Overdriven yesterday,
Konstantin Dmitrievitch.  Yes, indeed! driven
ten miles with no sense!”

The other unpleasant incident, which
for the first minute destroyed his good humor, though
later he laughed at it a great deal, was to find that
of all the provisions Kitty had provided in such abundance
that one would have thought there was enough for a
week, nothing was left.  On his way back, tired
and hungry from shooting, Levin had so distinct a
vision of meat-pies that as he approached the hut
he seemed to smell and taste them, as Laska had smelt
the game, and he immediately told Philip to give him
some.  It appeared that there were no pies left,
nor even any chicken.

“Well, this fellow’s appetite!”
said Stepan Arkadyevitch, laughing and pointing at
Vassenka Veslovsky.  “I never suffer from
loss of appetite, but he’s really marvelous!…”

“Well, it can’t be helped,”
said Levin, looking gloomily at Veslovsky.  “Well,
Philip, give me some beef, then.”

“The beef’s been eaten,
and the bones given to the dogs,” answered Philip.

Levin was so hurt that he said, in
a tone of vexation, “You might have left me
something!” and he felt ready to cry.

“Then put away the game,”
he said in a shaking voice to Philip, trying not to
look at Vassenka, “and cover them with some
nettles.  And you might at least ask for some
milk for me.”

But when he had drunk some milk, he
felt ashamed immediately at having shown his annoyance
to a stranger, and he began to laugh at his hungry
mortification.

In the evening they went shooting
again, and Veslovsky had several successful shots,
and in the night they drove home.

Their homeward journey was as lively
as their drive out had been.  Veslovsky sang songs
and related with enjoyment his adventures with the
peasants, who had regaled him with vodka, and said
to him, “Excuse our homely ways,” and
his night’s adventures with kiss-in-the-ring
and the servant-girl and the peasant, who had asked
him was he married, and on learning that he was not,
said to him, “Well, mind you don’t run
after other men’s wives ­you’d
better get one of your own.”  These words
had particularly amused Veslovsky.

“Altogether, I’ve enjoyed
our outing awfully.  And you, Levin?”

“I have, very much,” Levin
said quite sincerely.  It was particularly delightful
to him to have got rid of the hostility he had been
feeling towards Vassenka Veslovsky at home, and to
feel instead the most friendly disposition to him.

 

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