Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Volume II, Book IV, Chapter IV

The hunt.

And I think we may have met our first transgender person in the novel, Nastasya Ivanovna, and old man with a beard in a woman's coat with a woman's name (note the -a and -ovna ending - huh - I'll have to do some research.

More on this chapter tomorrow, meanwhile, here's a Borzoi to contemplate. There were about 40 of the 130 dogs in the wolf-hunting party who were Borzois. I've always thought they were extremely beautiful - I've seen a couple who look like half-moons, but not that sturdy - dog of the aristocrats. They actually, it turns out, were bred to hunt wolves. There are 54 bloodhounds as well for the hunt.

Here it is tomorrow already - that was fast. This chapter is comedy. While Danilo, the huntsman, is very serious, the count, Ilya Andreeich, is a little tipsy and comes across as bufoonish. This is the only chapter I remember him being called by his first names, which must be an indication of the familiar. Semyon, his valet, is with him, and they talk. The count has had a meal and half a bottle of bordeaux - Semyon compliments him on his children - Nikolai, Natasha, and Petya - and how well they ride, hunt, etc. The count eats it up. Meanhwile they know the reserve so well they pick up where everyone is by sound.

In the end, the wolf comes directly toward them. Nastasya (the buffoon) gets off his horse to pick up the counts dropped snuff box, which was dropped when the count was startled at Semyon yelling at a dog. All three get stuck with the wolf loping toward them and into the bushes, followed by two packs of bloodhounds. The wolf is lost. Danilo even yells at them, what I figure must be profanity, since it's just a letter and a blank: "A______!", he cried, raising his whip threateningly at the count. "You b___ed the wolf!...Some hunters!"

It's pandemonium. Comedy. I'm sure the hunt's not over.

This wolf hunting reminded me of Peter and the Wolf, which I used to listen to repeatedly as a child. So good.

Then there's this Oscar winner from a few years back, which is wonderful, too, though much grittier.

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