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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesWar And Peace - Book Seven: 1810-11 - Chapter 5
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War And Peace - Book Seven: 1810-11 - Chapter 5 Post by :theoldgringo Category :Long Stories Author :Leo Tolstoy Date :December 2010 Read :908

Click below to download : War And Peace - Book Seven: 1810-11 - Chapter 5 (Format : PDF)

War And Peace - Book Seven: 1810-11 - Chapter 5

Nicholas Rostov meanwhile remained at his post, waiting for the
wolf. By the way the hunt approached and receded, by the cries of
the dogs whose notes were familiar to him, by the way the voices of
the huntsmen approached, receded, and rose, he realized what was
happening at the copse. He knew that young and old wolves were
there, that the hounds had separated into two packs, that somewhere
a wolf was being chased, and that something had gone wrong. He
expected the wolf to come his way any moment. He made thousands of
different conjectures as to where and from what side the beast would
come and how he would set upon it. Hope alternated with despair.
Several times he addressed a prayer to God that the wolf should come
his way. He prayed with that passionate and shame-faced feeling with
which men pray at moments of great excitement arising from trivial
causes. "What would it be to Thee to do this for me?" he said to
God. "I know Thou art great, and that it is a sin to ask this of Thee,
but for God's sake do let the old wolf come my way and let Karay
spring at it- in sight of 'Uncle' who is watching from over there- and
seize it by the throat in a death grip!" A thousand times during
that half-hour Rostov cast eager and restless glances over the edge of
the wood, with the two scraggy oaks rising above the aspen undergrowth
and the gully with its water-worn side and "Uncle's" cap just
visible above the bush on his right.

"No, I shan't have such luck," thought Rostov, "yet what wouldn't it
be worth! It is not to be! Everywhere, at cards and in war, I am
always unlucky." Memories of Austerlitz and of Dolokhov flashed
rapidly and clearly through his mind. "Only once in my life to get
an old wolf, I want only that!" thought he, straining eyes and ears
and looking to the left and then to the right and listening to the
slightest variation of note in the cries of the dogs.

Again he looked to the right and saw something running toward him
across the deserted field. "No, it can't be!" thought Rostov, taking a
deep breath, as a man does at the coming of something long hoped
for. The height of happiness was reached- and so simply, without
warning, or noise, or display, that Rostov could not believe his
eyes and remained in doubt for over a second. The wolf ran forward and
jumped heavily over a gully that lay in her path. She was an old
animal with a gray back and big reddish belly. She ran without
hurry, evidently feeling sure that no one saw her. Rostov, holding his
breath, looked round at the borzois. They stood or lay not seeing
the wolf or understanding the situation. Old Karay had turned his head
and was angrily searching for fleas, baring his yellow teeth and
snapping at his hind legs.

"Ulyulyulyu!" whispered Rostov, pouting his lips. The borzois jumped
up, jerking the rings of the leashes and pricking their ears. Karay
finished scratching his hindquarters and, cocking his ears, got up
with quivering tail from which tufts of matted hair hung down.

"Shall I loose them or not?" Nicholas asked himself as the wolf
approached him coming from the copse. Suddenly the wolf's whole
physiognomy changed: she shuddered, seeing what she had probably never
seen before- human eyes fixed upon her- and turning her head a
little toward Rostov, she paused.

"Back or forward? Eh, no matter, forward..." the wolf seemed to
say to herself, and she moved forward without again looking round
and with a quiet, long, easy yet resolute lope.

"Ulyulyu!" cried Nicholas, in a voice not his own, and of its own
accord his good horse darted headlong downhill, leaping over gullies
to head off the wolf, and the borzois passed it, running faster still.
Nicholas did not hear his own cry nor feel that he was galloping,
nor see the borzois, nor the ground over which he went: he saw only
the wolf, who, increasing her speed, bounded on in the same
direction along the hollow. The first to come into view was Milka,
with her black markings and powerful quarters, gaining upon the
wolf. Nearer and nearer... now she was ahead of it; but the wolf
turned its head to face her, and instead of putting on speed as she
usually did Milka suddenly raised her tail and stiffened her forelegs.

"Ulyulyulyulyu!" shouted Nicholas.

The reddish Lyubim rushed forward from behind Milka, sprang
impetuously at the wolf, and seized it by its hindquarters, but
immediately jumped aside in terror. The wolf crouched, gnashed her
teeth, and again rose and bounded forward, followed at the distance of
a couple of feet by all the borzois, who did not get any closer to
her.

"She'll get away! No, it's impossible!" thought Nicholas, still
shouting with a hoarse voice.

"Karay, ulyulyu!..." he shouted, looking round for the old borzoi
who was now his only hope. Karay, with all the strength age had left
him, stretched himself to the utmost and, watching the wolf,
galloped heavily aside to intercept it. But the quickness of the
wolf's lope and the borzoi's slower pace made it plain that Karay
had miscalculated. Nicholas could already see not far in front of
him the wood where the wolf would certainly escape should she reach
it. But, coming toward him, he saw hounds and a huntsman galloping
almost straight at the wolf. There was still hope. A long, yellowish
young borzoi, one Nicholas did not know, from another leash, rushed
impetuously at the wolf from in front and almost knocked her over. But
the wolf jumped up more quickly than anyone could have expected and,
gnashing her teeth, flew at the yellowish borzoi, which, with a
piercing yelp, fell with its head on the ground, bleeding from a
gash in its side.

"Karay? Old fellow!..." wailed Nicholas.

Thanks to the delay caused by this crossing of the wolf's path,
the old dog with its felted hair hanging from its thigh was within
five paces of it. As if aware of her danger, the wolf turned her
eyes on Karay, tucked her tail yet further between her legs, and
increased her speed. But here Nicholas only saw that something
happened to Karay- the borzoi was suddenly on the wolf, and they
rolled together down into a gully just in front of them.

That instant, when Nicholas saw the wolf struggling in the gully
with the dogs, while from under them could be seen her gray hair and
outstretched hind leg and her frightened choking head, with her ears
laid back (Karay was pinning her by the throat), was the happiest
moment of his life. With his hand on his saddlebow, he was ready to
dismount and stab the wolf, when she suddenly thrust her head up
from among that mass of dogs, and then her forepaws were on the edge
of the gully. She clicked her teeth (Karay no longer had her by the
throat), leaped with a movement of her hind legs out of the gully, and
having disengaged herself from the dogs, with tail tucked in again,
went forward. Karay, his hair bristling, and probably bruised or
wounded, climbed with difficulty out of the gully.

"Oh my God! Why?" Nicholas cried in despair.

"Uncle's" huntsman was galloping from the other side across the
wolf's path and his borzois once more stopped the animal's advance.
She was again hemmed in.

Nicholas and his attendant, with "Uncle" and his huntsman, were
all riding round the wolf, crying "ulyulyu!" shouting and preparing to
dismount each moment that the wolf crouched back, and starting forward
again every time she shook herself and moved toward the wood where she
would be safe.

Already, at the beginning of this chase, Daniel, hearing the
ulyulyuing, had rushed out from the wood. He saw Karay seize the wolf,
and checked his horse, supposing the affair to be over. But when he
saw that the horsemen did not dismount and that the wolf shook herself
and ran for safety, Daniel set his chestnut galloping, not at the wolf
but straight toward the wood, just as Karay had run to cut the
animal off. As a result of this, he galloped up to the wolf just
when she had been stopped a second time by "Uncle's" borzois.

Daniel galloped up silently, holding a naked dagger in his left hand
and thrashing the laboring sides of his chestnut horse with his whip
as if it were a flail.

Nicholas neither saw nor heard Daniel until the chestnut,
breathing heavily, panted past him, and he heard the fall of a body
and saw Daniel lying on the wolf's back among the dogs, trying to
seize her by the ears. It was evident to the dogs, the hunters, and to
the wolf herself that all was now over. The terrified wolf pressed
back her ears and tried to rise, but the borzois stuck to her.
Daniel rose a little, took a step, and with his whole weight, as if
lying down to rest, fell on the wolf, seizing her by the ears.
Nicholas was about to stab her, but Daniel whispered, "Don't! We'll
gag her!" and, changing his position, set his foot on the wolf's neck.
A stick was thrust between her jaws and she was fastened with a leash,
as if bridled, her legs were bound together, and Daniel rolled her
over once or twice from side to side.

With happy, exhausted faces, they laid the old wolf, alive, on a
shying and snorting horse and, accompanied by the dogs yelping at her,
took her to the place where they were all to meet. The hounds had
killed two of the cubs and the borzois three. The huntsmen assembled
with their booty and their stories, and all came to look at the
wolf, which, with her broad-browed head hanging down and the bitten
stick between her jaws, gazed with great glassy eyes at this crowd
of dogs and men surrounding her. When she was touched, she jerked
her bound legs and looked wildly yet simply at everybody. Old Count
Rostov also rode up and touched the wolf.

"Oh, what a formidable one!" said he. "A formidable one, eh?" he
asked Daniel, who was standing near.

"Yes, your excellency," answered Daniel, quickly doffing his cap.

The count remembered the wolf he had let slip and his encounter with
Daniel.

"Ah, but you are a crusty fellow, friend!" said the count.

For sole reply Daniel gave him a shy, childlike, meek, and amiable
smile.

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The old count went home, and Natasha and Petya promised to returnvery soon, but as it was still early the hunt went farther. Atmidday they put the hounds into a ravine thickly overgrown withyoung trees. Nicholas standing in a fallow field could see all hiswhips.Facing him lay a field of winter rye, there his own huntsman stoodalone in a hollow behind a hazel bush. The hounds had scarcely beenloosed before Nicholas heard one he knew, Voltorn, giving tongue atintervals; other hounds joined in, now pausing and now again givingtongue. A moment later he heard a cry from the wooded ravine that
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The old count, who had always kept up an enormous huntingestablishment but had now handed it all completely over to his son'scare, 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 notime for attending to trifles, went past Natasha and Petya who weretrying to tell him something. He had a look at all the details ofthe hunt, sent a pack of hounds and huntsmen on ahead to find thequarry, mounted his chestnut
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