Anna Karenina eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,033 pages of information about Anna Karenina.
thick seen from the side.  She looked altogether, except across the shoulders, as it were, pinched in at the sides and pressed out in depth.  But she had in the highest degree the quality that makes all defects forgotten:  that quality was blood, the blood that tells, as the English expression has it.  The muscles stood up sharply under the network of sinews, covered with the delicate, mobile skin, soft as satin, and they were hard as bone.  Her clean-cut head, with prominent, bright, spirited eyes, broadened out at the open nostrils, that showed the red blood in the cartilage within.  About all her figure, and especially her head, there was a certain expression of energy, and, at the same time, of softness.  She was one of those creatures which seem only not to speak because the mechanism of their mouth does not allow them to.

To Vronsky, at any rate, it seemed that she understood all he felt at that moment, looking at her.

Directly Vronsky went towards her, she drew in a deep breath, and, turning back her prominent eye till the white looked bloodshot, she started at the approaching figures from the opposite side, shaking her muzzle, and shifting lightly from one leg to the other.

“There, you see how fidgety she is,” said the Englishman.

“There, darling!  There!” said Vronsky, going up to the mare and speaking soothingly to her.

But the nearer he came, the more excited she grew.  Only when he stood by her head, she was suddenly quieter, while the muscles quivered under her soft, delicate coat.  Vronsky patted her strong neck, straightened over her sharp withers a stray lock of her mane that had fallen on the other side, and moved his face near her dilated nostrils, transparent as a bat’s wing.  She drew a loud breath and snorted out through her tense nostrils, started, pricked up her sharp ear, and put out her strong, black lip towards Vronsky, as though she would nip hold of his sleeve.  But remembering the muzzle, she shook it and again began restlessly stamping one after the other her shapely legs.

“Quiet, darling, quiet!” he said, patting her again over her hind-quarters; and with a glad sense that his mare was in the best possible condition, he went out of the horse-box.

The mare’s excitement had infected Vronsky.  He felt that his heart was throbbing, and that he, too, like the mare, longed to move, to bite; it was both dreadful and delicious.

“Well, I rely on you, then,” he said to the Englishman; “half-past six on the ground.”

“All right,” said the Englishman.  “Oh, where are you going, my lord?” he asked suddenly, using the title “my lord,” which he had scarcely ever used before.

Vronsky in amazement raised his head, and stared, as he knew how to stare, not into the Englishman’s eyes, but at his forehead, astounded at the impertinence of his question.  But realizing that in asking this the Englishman had been looking at him not as an employer, but as a jockey, he answered: 

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Anna Karenina from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.