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.
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.
"Look out!" he shouted, in a voice plainly showing that he had long fretted to utter that word, and letting the borzois slip he galloped toward the count.
The angry borzois whined and getting free of the leash rushed past the horses' feet at the wolf.
The borzois jumped up, jerking the rings of the leashes and pricking their ears.
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 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.
"Uncle's" huntsman was galloping from the other side across the wolf's path and his borzois once more stopped the animal's advance.
The terrified wolf pressed back her ears and tried to rise, but the borzois stuck to her.
The hounds had killed two of the cubs and the borzois three.
The huntsman standing in the hollow moved and loosed his borzois, and Nicholas saw a queer, short-legged red fox with a fine brush going hard across the field.
The borzois bore down on it....
Now they drew close to the fox which began to dodge between the field in sharper and sharper curves, trailing its brush, when suddenly a strange white borzoi dashed in followed by a black one, and everything was in confusion; the borzois formed a star-shaped figure, scarcely swaying their bodies and with tails turned away from the center of the group.
And considering it polite to return the young count's compliment, Ilagin looked at his borzois and picked out Milka who attracted his attention by her breadth.
The pack on leash rushed downhill in full cry after the hare, and from all sides the borzois that were not on leash darted after the hounds and the hare.
All the hunt, who had been moving slowly, shouted, "Stop!" calling in the hounds, while the borzoi whips, with a cry of "A-tu!" galloped across the field setting the borzois on the hare.
The tranquil Ilagin, Nicholas, Natasha, and "Uncle" flew, reckless of where and how they went, seeing only the borzois and the hare and fearing only to lose sight even for an instant of the chase.
He took a dozen bounds, not very quickly, letting the borzois gain on him, and, finally having chosen his direction and realized his danger, laid back his ears and rushed off headlong.
The two borzois of the huntsman who had sighted him, having been the nearest, were the first to see and pursue him, but they had not gone far before Ilagin's red-spotted Erza passed them, got within a length, flew at the hare with terrible swiftness aiming at his scut, and, thinking she had seized him, rolled over like a ball.
That's it, come on!" came a third voice just then, and "Uncle's" red borzoi, straining and curving its back, caught up with the two foremost borzois, pushed ahead of them regardless of the terrible strain, put on speed close to the hare, knocked it off the balk onto the ryefield, again put on speed still more viciously, sinking to his knees in the muddy field, and all one could see was how, muddying his back, he rolled over with the hare.
A ring of borzois surrounded him.
Four borzois with collars were pressing close to the wheels.