The temporary stable, a wooden shed, had been put up close to the
race course, and there his mare was to have been taken the
previous day. He had not yet seen her there.
During the last few days he had not ridden her out for exercise
himself, but had put her in the charge of the trainer, and so now
he positively did not know in what condition his mare had arrived
yesterday and was today. He had scarcely got out of his carriage
when his groom, the so-called "stable boy," recognizing the
carriage some way off, called the trainer. A dry-looking
Englishman, in high boots and a short jacket, clean-shaven,
except for a tuft below his chin, came to meet him, walking with
the uncouth gait of jockey, turning his elbows out and swaying
from side to side.
"Well, how's Frou-Frou?" Vronsky asked in English.
"All right, sir," the Englishman's voice responded somewhere in
the inside of his throat. "Better not go in," he added, touching
his hat. "I've put a muzzle on her, and the mare's fidgety.
Better not go in, it'll excite the mare."
"No, I'm going in. I want to look at her."
"Come along, then," said the Englishman, frowning, and speaking
with his mouth shut, and with swinging elbows, he went on in
front with his disjointed gait.
They went into the little yard in front of the shed. A stable
boy, spruce and smart in his holiday attire, met them with a
broom in his hand, and followed them. In the shed there were
five horses in their separate stalls, and Vronsky knew that his
chief rival, Gladiator, a very tall chestnut horse, had been
brought there, and must be standing among them. Even more than
his mare, Vronsky longed to see Gladiator, whom he had never
seen. But he knew that by the etiquette of the race course it
was not merely impossible for him to see the horse, but improper
even to ask questions about him. Just as he was passing along
the passage, the boy opened the door into the second horse-box on
the left, and Vronsky caught a glimpse of a big chestnut horse
with white legs. He knew that this was Gladiator, but, with the
feeling of a man turning away from the sight of another man's
open letter, he turned round and went into Frou-Frou's stall.