Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
was simply hungry: the
nurse had no milk, sir."
Alexey Alexandrovitch pondered, and after standing still a few
seconds he went in at the other door. The baby was lying with
its head thrown back, stiffening itself in the nurses arms, and
would not take the plump breast offered it; and it never ceased
screaming in spite of the double hushing of the wet-nurse and the
other nurse, who was bending over her.
"Still no better?" said Alexey Alexandrovitch.
"Shes very restless," answered the nurse in a whisper.
"Miss Edwarde says that perhaps the wet-nurse has no milk," he
"I think so too, Alexey Alexandrovitch."
"Then why didnt you say so?"
"Whos one to say it to? Anna Arkadyevna still ill..." said the
The nurse was an old servant of the family. And in her simple
words there seemed to Alexey Alexandrovitch an allusion to his
The baby screamed louder than ever, struggling and sobbing. The
nurse, with a gesture of despair, went to it, took it from the
wet-nurses arms, and began walking up and down, rocking it.
"You must ask the doctor to examine the wet-nurse," said Alexey
Alexandrovitch. The smartly dressed and healthy-looking nurse,
frightened at the idea of losing her place, muttered something to
herself, and covering her bosom, smiled contemptuously at the
idea of doubts being cast on her abundance of milk. In that
smile, too, Alexey Alexandrovitch saw a sneer at his position.
"Luckless child!" said the nurse, hushing the baby, and still
walking up and down with it.
Alexey Alexandrovitch sat down, and with a despondent and
suffering face watched the nurse walking to and fro.
When the child at last was still, and had been put in a deep bed,
and the nurse, after smoothing the little pillow, had left her,
Alexey Alexandrovitch got up, and walking awkwardly on tiptoe,
approached the baby. For a minute he was still, and with the
same despondent face gazed at the baby; but all at once a smile,
that moved his hair and the skin of his forehead, came out on his
face, and he went as softly out of the room.
In the dining room he rang the bell, and told the servant who
came in to send again for the doctor. He felt vexed with his
wife for not being anxious about this exquisite baby, and in this
vexed humor he had no wish to go to her; he had no wish, either,
to see Princess Betsy. But his wife might wonder why he did not
go to her as usual; and so, overcoming his disinclination, he
went towards the bedroom. As he walked over the soft rug towards
the door, he could not help overhearing a conversation he did not
want to hear.
"If he hadnt been going away, I could have understood your
answer and his too. But your husband ought to be above that,"
Betsy was saying.
"Its not for my husband; for myself I dont wish it. Dont say
that!" answered Annas excited voice.
"Yes, but you must care to say good-bye to a man who has shot
himself on your account...."
"Thats just why I dont want to."
With a dismayed and guilty expression, Alexey Alexandrovitch
stopped and would have gone back unobserved. But reflecting that
this would be undignified, he turned back again, and clearing his
throat, he went up to the bedroom. The voices were silent, and
he went in.
Anna, in a gray dressing gown, with a crop of short clustering
black curls on her round head, was sitting on a settee. The
eagerness died out of her face, as it always did, at the sight of
her husband; she dropped her head and looked round uneasily at
Betsy. Betsy, dressed in the height of the latest fashion, in a
hat that towered somewhere over her head like a shade on a lamp,
in a blue dress with violet crossway stripes slanting one way on
the bodice and the other way on the skirt, was sitting beside
Anna, her tall flat figure held erect. Bowing her head, she
greeted Alexey Alexandrovitch with an ironical smile.
"Ah!" she said, as though surprised. "Im very glad youre at
home. You never put in an appearance anywhere, and I havent
seen you ever since Anna has been ill. I have heard all about
it--your anxiety. Yes, youre a wonderful husband!" she said,
with a meaning and affable air, as though she were bestowing an
order of magnanimity on him
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