Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
every smile, the sound of every word,
and even every footstep in that house since the terrible news had
come, so now the smile of the little princess--influenced by the
general mood though without knowing its cause--was such as to remind
one still more of the general sorrow.
"Dearest, Im afraid this mornings fruschtique*--as Foka the cook
calls it--has disagreed with me."
"What is the matter with you, my darling? You look pale. Oh, you are
very pale!" said Princess Mary in alarm, running with her soft,
ponderous steps up to her sister-in-law.
"Your excellency, should not Mary Bogdanovna be sent for?" said
one of the maids who was present. (Mary Bogdanovna was a midwife
from the neighboring town, who had been at Bald Hills for the last
"Oh yes," assented Princess Mary, "perhaps thats it. Ill go.
Courage, my angel." She kissed Lise and was about to leave the room.
"Oh, no, no!" And besides the pallor and the physical suffering on
the little princess face, an expression of childish fear of
inevitable pain showed itself.
"No, its only indigestion?... Say its only indigestion, say so,
Mary! Say..." And the little princess began to cry capriciously like a
suffering child and to wring her little hands even with some
affectation. Princess Mary ran out of the room to fetch Mary
"Mon Dieu! Mon Dieu! Oh!" she heard as she left the room.
The midwife was already on her way to meet her, rubbing her small,
plump white hands with an air of calm importance.
"Mary Bogdanovna, I think its beginning!" said Princess Mary
looking at the midwife with wide-open eyes of alarm.
"Well, the Lord be thanked, Princess," said Mary Bogdanovna, not
hastening her steps. "You young ladies should not know anything
"But how is it the doctor from Moscow is not here yet?" said the
princess. (In accordance with Lises and Prince Andrews wishes they
had sent in good time to Moscow for a doctor and were expecting him at
"No matter, Princess, dont be alarmed," said Mary Bogdanovna.
"Well manage very well without a doctor."
Five minutes later Princess Mary from her room heard something heavy
being carried by. She looked out. The men servants were carrying the
large leather sofa from Prince Andrews study into the bedroom. On
their faces was a quiet and solemn look.
Princess Mary sat alone in her room listening to the sounds in the
house, now and then opening her door when someone passed and
watching what was going on in the passage. Some women passing with
quiet steps in and out of the bedroom glanced at the princess and
turned away. She did not venture to ask any questions, and shut the
door again, now sitting down in her easy chair, now taking her
prayer book, now kneeling before the icon stand. To her surprise and
distress she found that her prayers did not calm her excitement.
Suddenly her door opened softly and her old nurse, Praskovya Savishna,
who hardly ever came to that room as the old prince had forbidden
it, appeared on the threshold with a shawl round her head.
"Ive come to sit with you a bit, Masha," said the nurse, "and
here Ive brought the princes wedding candles to light before his
saint, my angel," she said with a sigh.
"Oh, nurse, Im so glad!"
"God is merciful, birdie."
The nurse lit the gilt candles before the icons and sat down by
the door with her knitting. Princess Mary took a book and began
reading. Only when footsteps or voices were heard did they look at one
another, the princess anxious and inquiring, the nurse encouraging.
Everyone in the house was dominated by the same feeling that
Princess Mary experienced as she sat in her room. But owing to the
superstition that the fewer the people who know of it the less a woman
in travail suffers, everyone tried to pretend not to know; no one
spoke of it, but apart from the ordinary staid and respectful good
manners habitual in the princes household, a common anxiety, a
softening of the heart, and a consciousness that something great and
mysterious was being accomplished at that moment made itself felt.
There was no laughter in the maids large hall. In the men servants
hall all sat waiting, silently and alert. In the outlying serfs
quarters torches and candles were burning and no one slept. The old
prince, stepping on his heels, paced up and down his study and sent
Tikhon to ask Mary Bogdanovna what news.--"Say only that the prince
told me to ask, and
War And Peace page 188 War And Peace page 190