Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
being at once transferred to the Guards as a
cornet, had been educated from childhood and lived for years at a
time. The Guards had already left Petersburg on the tenth of August,
and her son, who had remained in Moscow for his equipment, was to join
them on the march to Radzivilov.
It was St. Natalias day and the name day of two of the Rostovs--the
mother and the youngest daughter--both named Nataly. Ever since the
morning, carriages with six horses had been coming and going
continually, bringing visitors to the Countess Rostovas big house
on the Povarskaya, so well known to all Moscow. The countess herself
and her handsome eldest daughter were in the drawing-room with the
visitors who came to congratulate, and who constantly succeeded one
another in relays.
The countess was a woman of about forty-five, with a thin Oriental
type of face, evidently worn out with childbearing--she had had
twelve. A languor of motion and speech, resulting from weakness,
gave her a distinguished air which inspired respect. Princess Anna
Mikhaylovna Drubetskaya, who as a member of the household was also
seated in the drawing room, helped to receive and entertain the
visitors. The young people were in one of the inner rooms, not
considering it necessary to take part in receiving the visitors. The
count met the guests and saw them off, inviting them all to dinner.
"I am very, very grateful to you, mon cher," or "ma chere"--he
called everyone without exception and without the slightest
variation in his tone, "my dear," whether they were above or below him
in rank--"I thank you for myself and for our two dear ones whose
name day we are keeping. But mind you come to dinner or I shall be
offended, ma chere! On behalf of the whole family I beg you to come,
mon cher!" These words he repeated to everyone without exception or
variation, and with the same expression on his full, cheerful,
clean-shaven face, the same firm pressure of the hand and the same
quick, repeated bows. As soon as he had seen a visitor off he returned
to one of those who were still in the drawing room, drew a chair
toward him or her, and jauntily spreading out his legs and putting his
hands on his knees with the air of a man who enjoys life and knows how
to live, he swayed to and fro with dignity, offered surmises about the
weather, or touched on questions of health, sometimes in Russian and
sometimes in very bad but self-confident French; then again, like a
man weary but unflinching in the fulfillment of duty, he rose to see
some visitors off and, stroking his scanty gray hairs over his bald
patch, also asked them to dinner. Sometimes on his way back from the
anteroom he would pass through the conservatory and pantry into the
large marble dining hall, where tables were being set out for eighty
people; and looking at the footmen, who were bringing in silver and
china, moving tables, and unfolding damask table linen, he would
call Dmitri Vasilevich, a man of good family and the manager of all
his affairs, and while looking with pleasure at the enormous table
would say: "Well, Dmitri, youll see that things are all as they
should be? Thats right! The great thing is the serving, thats it."
And with a complacent sigh he would return to the drawing room.
"Marya Lvovna Karagina and her daughter!" announced the countess
gigantic footman in his bass voice, entering the drawing room. The
countess reflected a moment and took a pinch from a gold snuffbox with
her husbands portrait on it.
"Im quite worn out by these callers. However, Ill see her and no
more. She is so affected. Ask her in," she said to the footman in a
sad voice, as if saying: "Very well, finish me off."
A tall, stout, and proud-looking woman, with a round-faced smiling
daughter, entered the drawing room, their dresses rustling.
"Dear Countess, what an age... She has been laid up, poor child...
at the Razumovskis ball... and Countess Apraksina... I was so
delighted..." came the sounds of animated feminine voices,
interrupting one another and mingling with the rustling of dresses and
the scraping of chairs. Then one of those conversations began which
last out until, at the first pause, the guests rise with a rustle of
dresses and say, "I am so delighted... Mammas health... and
Countess Apraksina..." and then, again rustling, pass into the
anteroom, put on cloaks or mantles, and drive away. The conversation
was on the
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