Part 4, Chapter 10


People :

Author : Leo Tolstoy

Translator : Nathan Haskell Dole

Text :

As the herd returned home the following evening, they met the master[15] and a guest. Zhulduiba, leading the way, cast her eyes on two men's figures: one was the young master in a straw hat; the other, a tall, stout, military man, with wrinkled face. The old mare gazed at the man, and swerving went near to him; the rest, the younger ones, were thrown into some confusion, huddled together, especially when the master and his guest came directly into the midst of the horses, making gestures to each other, and talking.

"Here's this one. I bought it of Voyéïkof,—the dapple-gray horse," said the master.

"And that young black mare, with the white legs,—where did you get her? Fine one," said the guest. They examined many of the horses as they walked around, or stood on the field. They remarked also the chestnut mare.

"That's one of the saddle-horses,—the breed of Khrenovsky."

They quietly gazed at all the horses as they went by. The master shouted to Nester; and the old man, hastily digging his heels into the sides of the piebald, trotted out. The piebald horse hobbled along, limping on one leg; but his gait was such that it was evident that in other circumstances he would not have complained, even if he had been compelled to go in this way, as long as his strength held out, to t* he world's end. He was ready even to go at full gallop, and at first even broke into one.

"I have no hesitation in saying that there isn't a better horse in Russia than that one," said the master, pointing to one of the mares. The guest corroborated this praise. The master, full of satisfaction, walked up and down, made observations, and told the story and pedigree of each of the horses.

It was apparently somewhat of a bore to the guest to listen to the master; but he devised questions, to make it seem as if he were interested in it.

"Yes, yes," said he in some confusion.

"Look," said the host, not replying to the questions, "look at those legs, look at the ... She cost me dear, but I shall have a three-year-old from her that'll go!"

"Does she trot well?" asked the guest.

Thus they scrutinized almost all the horses, and there was nothing more to show. And they were silent.

"Well, shall we go?"

"Yes, let us go."

They went out through the gate. The guest was glad that the exhibition was over, and that he was going home where he would eat, drink, smoke, and have a good time. As they went by Nester, who was sitting on the piebald and waiting for further orders, the guest struck his big fat hand on the horse's side.

"Here's good blood," said he. "He's like the piebald horse, if you remember, that I told you about."

The master perceived that it was not of his horses that the guest was speaking; and he did not listen, but, looking around, continued to gaze at his stud.


Suddenly, at his very ear, was heard a dull, weak, senile neigh. It was the piebald horse that began to neigh, but could not finish it. Becoming, as it were, confused, he broke short off.

Neither the guest nor the master paid any attention to this neigh, but went home. Kholstomír had recognized in the wrinkled old man his beloved former master, the once brilliant, handsome, and wealthy Sierpukhovskoï.

[15] khozhyáïn.

(Source: Published by Thomas Y. Crowell & Co., New York, 13 Astor Place, 1887.)

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Chronology :

November 30, 1886 : Part 4, Chapter 10 -- Publication.
June 09, 2021 : Part 4, Chapter 10 -- Added to
June 09, 2021 : Part 4, Chapter 10 -- Last Updated on

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