Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
of her own children had crawled like that. When the baby was
put on the carpet and its little dress tucked up behind, it was
wonderfully charming. Looking round like some little wild animal
at the grown-up big people with her bright black eyes, she
smiled, unmistakably pleased at their admiring her, and holding
her legs sideways, she pressed vigorously on her arms, and
rapidly drew her whole back up after, and then made another step
forward with her little arms.
But the whole atmosphere of the nursery, and especially the
English nurse, Darya Alexandrovna did not like at all. It was
only on the supposition that no good nurse would have entered so
irregular a household as Annas that Darya Alexandrovna could
explain to herself how Anna with her insight into people could
take such an unprepossessing, disreputable-looking woman as nurse
to her child.
Besides, from a few words that were dropped, Darya Alexandrovna
saw at once that Anna, the two nurses, and the child had no
common existence, and that the mothers visit was something
exceptional. Anna wanted to get the baby her plaything, and
could not find it.
Most amazing of all was the fact that on being asked how many
teeth the baby had, Anna answered wrong, and knew nothing about
the two last teeth.
"I sometimes feel sorry Im so superfluous here," said Anna,
going out of the nursery and holding up her skirt so as to escape
the plaything standing in the doorway. "It was very different
with my first child."
"I expected it to be the other way," said Darya Alexandrovna
"Oh, no! By the way, do you know I saw Seryozha?" said Anna,
screwing up her eyes, as though looking at something far away.
"But well talk about that later. You wouldnt believe it, Im
like a hungry beggar woman when a full dinner is set before her,
and she does not know what to begin on first. The dinner is you,
and the talks I have before me with you, which I could never have
with anyone else; and I dont know which subject to begin upon
first. _Mais je ne vous ferai grace de rien_. I must have
everything out with you."
"Oh, I ought to give you a sketch of the company you will meet
with us," she went on. "Ill begin with the ladies. Princess
Varvara--you know her, and I know your opinion and Stivas about
her. Stiva says the whole aim of her existence is to prove her
superiority over Auntie Katerina Pavlovna: thats all true; but
shes a good-natured woman, and I am so grateful to her. In
Petersburg there was a moment when a chaperon was absolutely
essential for me. Then she turned up. But really she is good-
natured. She did a great deal to alleviate my position. I see
you dont understand all the difficulty of my position...there in
Petersburg," she added. "Here Im perfectly at ease and happy.
Well, of that later on, though. Then Sviazhsky--hes the marshal
of the district, and hes a very good sort of a man, but he wants
to get something out of Alexey. You understand, with his
property, now that we are settled in the country, Alexey can
exercise great influence. Then theres Tushkevitch--you have
seen him, you know--Betsys admirer. Now hes been thrown over
and hes come to see us. As Alexey says, hes one of those
people who are very pleasant if one accepts them for what they
try to appear to be, _et puis il est comme il faut_, as Princess
Varvara says. Then Veslovsky...you know him. A very nice boy,"
she said, and a sly smile curved her lips. "Whats this wild
story about him and the Levins? Veslovsky told Alexey about it,
and we dont believe it. _Il est tres gentil et naif_," she said
again with the same smile. "Men need occupation, and Alexey
needs a circle, so I value all these people. We have to have the
house lively and gay, so that Alexey may not long for any
novelty. Then youll see the steward--a German, a very good
fellow, and he understands his work. Alexey has a very high
opinion of him. Then the doctor, a young man, not quite a
Nihilist perhaps, but you know, eats with his knife...but a very
good doctor. Then the architect.... _Une petite cour!_"
Anna Karenina page 354 Anna Karenina page 356