and “Freezing.” Later that evening, inrnthe library, just as the Western, resiHentrnrest of me was beginning to thaw out inrnfront of the fire with a dry grappa, a perfectlyrnpassable Tuscan cigar, and a volumernof Winston Churchill’s war-timernmemoirs, my Eastern, decadent side resumedrnits suit. With perfect timing, itrndrew my attention to the description ofrnSir Winston’s stay at State Villa No. 7,rnnear Moscow, in August 1942:rnThe hot and cold water gushed. Irnlonged for a hot bath after the journey.rn.. . All was instantly prepared.rnI noticed that the basins were notrnfed by separate hot and cold waterrntaps and that they had no plugs.rnHot and cold turned on at oncernthrough a single spout, mingled tornexactly the temperature one desired.rnMoreover, one did not washrnone’s hands in the basins, but underrnthe flowing current of the taps.rn”In a modest way,” adds the Englishrncountry bumpkin with becoming humility,rn”I have adopted this system at home.rnIf there is no scarcity of water it is far thernbest.” And who might you be, exclaimedrnmy troublesome side driving the pointrnhome, to disagree with him? Come on,rnbe fair! Should his wide-eyed fascinationrnwith Stalin’s state-of-the-art faucets bernconsidered somehow objectionable justrnbecause they are Stalin’s?rnAnyway, in the days when Churchillrntook the bath, at State Villa No. 7 but alsornin Teheran and in Yalta, the huntingrnestate of Marsiliana had 9,000 hectares.rnAfter the war ended the Communist localrnauthorities expropriated all the arablernland and much of the forest, leaving myrnFlorentine hosts with 2,700 hectares ofrnhillside underbrush. Back then, huntingrnwild boar was only a pastime, while realrnwealth was believed to lie in good fatrnMaremman land, suitable for agriculturalrnuse. Since then, the value of suchrnland has plummeted — it is now onlyrnworth as much as the European Communityrnwill pay farmers for not growingrnanything edible on it—while the uselessrnunderbrush, where the wild boar thrives,rnhas become precious. Rich businessmenrnfrom all over the world want to huntrnthere, for the same funny reason theyrnwant to wear Ralph Lauren tweeds andrncollect medieval armor.rnA few days after I arrived in Marsiliana,rnmy hosts were informed by the localrnauthorities, who no longer call themselvesrnCommunist, that all hunting permitsrnof the estate are revoked until a substantialrntract of the underbrush is legallyrnceded to them in perpetuity. There wasrnmuch shouting during lunch, and everyonernhad the kind of face that people havernwhen something obviously bad yetrndeeply inexplicable happens to them.rnSo I took off my borrowed Barbourrnand gum boots, and thought again thatrnliving in the country in wintertime, withoutrnmixer taps and all the other creaturerncomforts of city life, softens the brain.rnLook at Winston Churchill.rnAndrei ISavrozov is Chronicles’rnEuropean correspondent.rnHunters and Preyrnby Timothy MurphyrnAnd there came a voice to him,rn”Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.”rn- Acts X, 13rnI. Brother FoxrnA windless cloudless nightrnrefroze the puddled icernwhere geese chose to alight.rnWaking at dawn they foundrntheir feet webbed to the pond.rnDrawn by their doleful criesrna fox sfrolled from the woodrnwith mayhem in his eyes.rnII. WhitetailsrnHoofed rats that they are,rnthey live in cervine fearrnof carnivores who dinernon tenderloin of deerrnor crown rack of fawnrndowned with a young red wine.rnIII. Little Heart ButternCrouse peck at its breastrnand pheasants at its foot.rnBuffalo berries westrnand Russian olives eastrngirdle this shortgrass butte,rnthis table set for a feast.rnI, the unbidden guest,rnhave little heart to shoot.rnAPRIL 1999/39rnrnrn