Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
mamma," said Kitty; "you wonder that Im enthusiastic
The next day, as she watched her unknown friend, Kitty noticed
that Mademoiselle Varenka was already on the same terms with
Levin and his companion as with her other _proteges_. She went up
to them, entered into conversation with them, and served as
interpreter for the woman, who could not speak any foreign
Kitty began to entreat her mother still more urgently to let her
make friends with Varenka. And, disagreeable as it was to the
princess to seem to take the first step in wishing to make the
acquaintance of Madame Stahl, who thought fit to give herself
airs, she made inquiries about Varenka, and, having ascertained
particulars about her tending to prove that there could be no
harm though little good in the acquaintance, she herself
approached Varenka and made acquaintance with her.
Choosing a time when her daughter had gone to the spring, while
Varenka had stopped outside the bakers, the princess went up to
"Allow me to make your acquaintance," she said, with her
dignified smile. "My daughter has lost her heart to you," she
said. "Possibly you do not know me. I am..."
"That feeling is more than reciprocal, princess," Varenka
"What a good deed you did yesterday to our poor compatriot!" said
Varenka flushed a little. "I dont remember. I dont think I
did anything," she said.
"Why, you saved that Levin from disagreeable consequences."
"Yes, _sa compagne_ called me, and I tried to pacify him, hes
very ill, and was dissatisfied with the doctor. Im used to
looking after such invalids."
"Yes, Ive heard you live at Mentone with your aunt--I think--
Madame Stahl: I used to know her _belle-soeur_."
"No, shes not my aunt. I call her mamma, but I am not related
to her; I was brought up by her," answered Varenka, flushing a
This was so simply said, and so sweet was the truthful and candid
expression of her face, that the princess saw why Kitty had taken
such a fancy to Varenka.
"Well, and whats this Levin going to do?" asked the princess.
"Hes going away," answered Varenka.
At that instant Kitty came up from the spring beaming with
delight that her mother had become acquainted with her unknown
"Well, see, Kitty, your intense desire to make friends with
Mademoiselle. . ."
"Varenka," Varenka put in smiling, "thats what everyone calls
Kitty blushed with pleasure, and slowly, without speaking,
pressed her new friends hand, which did not respond to her
pressure, but lay motionless in her hand. The hand did not
respond to her pressure, but the face of Mademoiselle Varenka
glowed with a soft, glad, though rather mournful smile, that
showed large but handsome teeth.
"I have long wished for this too," she said.
"But you are so busy."
"Oh, no, Im not at all busy," answered Varenka, but at that
moment she had to leave her new friends because two little
Russian girls, children of an invalid, ran up to her.
"Varenka, mammas calling!" they cried.
And Varenka went after them.
The particulars which the princess had learned in regard to
Varenkas past and her relations with Madame Stahl were as
Madame Stahl, of whom some people said that she had worried her
husband out of his life, while others said it was he who had made
her wretched by his immoral behavior, had always been a woman of
weak health and enthusiastic temperament. When, after her
separation from her husband, she gave birth to her only child,
the child had died almost immediately, and the family of Madame
Stahl, knowing her sensibility, and fearing the news would kill
her, had substituted another child, a baby born the same night
and in the same house in Petersburg, the daughter of the chief
cook of the Imperial Household. This was Varenka. Madame Stahl
learned later on that Varenka was not her own child, but she went
on bringing her up, especially as very soon afterwards Varenka
had not a relation of her own living. Madame Stahl had now been
living more than ten years continuously abroad, in the south,
never leaving her couch. And some people said that Madame Stahl
had made her social position as a philanthropic, highly religious
woman; other people said she really was at heart the highly
ethical being, living for nothing but the good of her
fellow creatures, which she represented herself to be. No one
knew what her faith was--Catholic, Protestant, or Orthodox. But
one fact was indubitable--she
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