Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
want you to look."
"I say, Father, joking apart, is she very hideous?" Anatole asked,
as if continuing a conversation the subject of which had often been
mentioned during the journey.
"Enough! What nonsense! Above all, try to be respectful and cautious
with the old prince."
"If he starts a row Ill go away," said Prince Anatole. "I cant
bear those old men! Eh?"
"Remember, for you everything depends on this."
In the meantime, not only was it known in the maidservants rooms
that the minister and his son had arrived, but the appearance of
both had been minutely described. Princess Mary was sitting alone in
her room, vainly trying to master her agitation.
"Why did they write, why did Lise tell me about it? It can never
happen!" she said, looking at herself in the glass. "How shall I enter
the drawing room? Even if I like him I cant now be myself with
him." The mere thought of her fathers look filled her with terror.
The little princess and Mademoiselle Bourienne had already received
from Masha, the ladys maid, the necessary report of how handsome
the ministers son was, with his rosy cheeks and dark eyebrows, and
with what difficulty the father had dragged his legs upstairs while
the son had followed him like an eagle, three steps at a time.
Having received this information, the little princess and Mademoiselle
Bourienne, whose chattering voices had reached her from the
corridor, went into Princess Marys room.
"You know theyve come, Marie?" said the little princess, waddling
in, and sinking heavily into an armchair.
She was no longer in the loose gown she generally wore in the
morning, but had on one of her best dresses. Her hair was carefully
done and her face was animated, which, however, did not conceal its
sunken and faded outlines. Dressed as she used to be in Petersburg
society, it was still more noticeable how much plainer she had become.
Some unobtrusive touch had been added to Mademoiselle Bouriennes
toilet which rendered her fresh and pretty face yet more attractive.
"What! Are you going to remain as you are, dear princess?" she
began. "Theyll be announcing that the gentlemen are in the drawing
room and we shall have to go down, and you have not smartened yourself
up at all!"
The little princess got up, rang for the maid, and hurriedly and
merrily began to devise and carry out a plan of how Princess Mary
should be dressed. Princess Marys self-esteem was wounded by the fact
that the arrival of a suitor agitated her, and still more so by both
her companions not having the least conception that it could be
otherwise. To tell them that she felt ashamed for herself and for them
would be to betray her agitation, while to decline their offers to
dress her would prolong their banter and insistence. She flushed,
her beautiful eyes grew dim, red blotches came on her face, and it
took on the unattractive martyrlike expression it so often wore, as
she submitted herself to Mademoiselle Bourienne and Lise. Both these
women quite sincerely tried to make her look pretty. She was so
plain that neither of them could think of her as a rival, so they
began dressing her with perfect sincerity, and with the naive and firm
conviction women have that dress can make a face pretty.
"No really, my dear, this dress is not pretty," said Lise, looking
sideways at Princess Mary from a little distance. "You have a maroon
dress, have it fetched. Really! You know the fate of your whole life
may be at stake. But this one is too light, its not becoming!"
It was not the dress, but the face and whole figure of Princess Mary
that was not pretty, but neither Mademoiselle Bourienne nor the little
princess felt this; they still thought that if a blue ribbon were
placed in the hair, the hair combed up, and the blue scarf arranged
lower on the best maroon dress, and so on, all would be well. They
forgot that the frightened face and the figure could not be altered,
and that however they might change the setting and adornment of that
face, it would still remain piteous and plain. After two or three
changes to which Princess Mary meekly submitted, just as her hair
had been arranged on the top of her head (a style that quite altered
and spoiled her looks) and she had put on a maroon dress with a
pale-blue scarf, the little princess walked twice round her, now
adjusting a fold of the dress
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