Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
come and tell me her answer."
"Inform the prince that labor has begun," said Mary Bogdanovna,
giving the messenger a significant look.
Tikhon went and told the prince.
"Very good!" said the prince closing the door behind him, and Tikhon
did not hear the slightest sound from the study after that.
After a while he re-entered it as if to snuff the candles, and,
seeing the prince was lying on the sofa, looked at him, noticed his
perturbed face, shook his head, and going up to him silently kissed
him on the shoulder and left the room without snuffing the candles
or saying why he had entered. The most solemn mystery in the world
continued its course. Evening passed, night came, and the feeling of
suspense and softening of heart in the presence of the unfathomable
did not lessen but increased. No one slept.
It was one of those March nights when winter seems to wish to resume
its sway and scatters its last snows and storms with desperate fury. A
relay of horses had been sent up the highroad to meet the German
doctor from Moscow who was expected every moment, and men on horseback
with lanterns were sent to the crossroads to guide him over the
country road with its hollows and snow-covered pools of water.
Princess Mary had long since put aside her book: she sat silent, her
luminous eyes fixed on her nurses wrinkled face (every line of
which she knew so well), on the lock of gray hair that escaped from
under the kerchief, and the loose skin that hung under her chin.
Nurse Savishna, knitting in hand, was telling in low tones, scarcely
hearing or understanding her own words, what she had told hundreds
of times before: how the late princess had given birth to Princess
Mary in Kishenev with only a Moldavian peasant woman to help instead
of a midwife.
"God is merciful, doctors are never needed," she said.
Suddenly a gust of wind beat violently against the casement of the
window, from which the double frame had been removed (by order of
the prince, one window frame was removed in each room as soon as the
larks returned), and, forcing open a loosely closed latch, set the
damask curtain flapping and blew out the candle with its chill,
snowy draft. Princess Mary shuddered; her nurse, putting down the
stocking she was knitting, went to the window and leaning out tried to
catch the open casement. The cold wind flapped the ends of her
kerchief and her loose locks of gray hair.
"Princess, my dear, theres someone driving up the avenue!" she
said, holding the casement and not closing it. "With lanterns. Most
likely the doctor."
"Oh, my God! thank God!" said Princess Mary. "I must go and meet
him, he does not know Russian."
Princess Mary threw a shawl over her head and ran to meet the
newcomer. As she was crossing the anteroom she saw through the
window a carriage with lanterns, standing at the entrance. She went
out on the stairs. On a banister post stood a tallow candle which
guttered in the draft. On the landing below, Philip, the footman,
stood looking scared and holding another candle. Still lower, beyond
the turn of the staircase, one could hear the footstep of someone in
thick felt boots, and a voice that seemed familiar to Princess Mary
was saying something.
"Thank God!" said the voice. "And Father?"
"Gone to bed," replied the voice of Demyan the house steward, who
Then the voice said something more, Demyan replied, and the steps in
the felt boots approached the unseen bend of the staircase more
"Its Andrew!" thought Princess Mary. "No it cant be, that would be
too extraordinary," and at the very moment she thought this, the
face and figure of Prince Andrew, in a fur cloak the deep collar of
which covered with snow, appeared on the landing where the footman
stood with the candle. Yes, it was he, pale, thin, with a changed
and strangely softened but agitated expression on his face. He came up
the stairs and embraced his sister.
"You did not get my letter?" he asked, and not waiting for a
reply--which he would not have received, for the princess was unable
to speak--he turned back, rapidly mounted the stairs again with the
doctor who had entered the hall after him (they had met at the last
post station), and again embraced his sister.
"What a strange fate, Masha darling!" And having taken off his cloak
and felt boots, he went to the little princess apartment.
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