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War And Peace 196

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War And Peace

turn to choose a partner, she rose and, tripping rapidly across in her little shoes trimmed with bows, ran timidly to the corner where Denisov sat. She saw that everybody was looking at her and waiting. Nicholas saw that Denisov was refusing though he smiled delightedly. He ran up to them. "Please, Vasili Dmitrich," Natasha was saying, "do come!" "Oh no, let me off, Countess," Denisov replied. "Now then, Vaska," said Nicholas. "They coax me as if I were Vaska the cat!" said Denisov jokingly. "Ill sing for you a whole evening," said Natasha. "Oh, the faiwy! She can do anything with me!" said Denisov, and he unhooked his saber. He came out from behind the chairs, clasped his partners hand firmly, threw back his head, and advanced his foot, waiting for the beat. Only on horse back and in the mazurka was Denisovs short stature not noticeable and he looked the fine fellow he felt himself to be. At the right beat of the music he looked sideways at his partner with a merry and triumphant air, suddenly stamped with one foot, bounded from the floor like a ball, and flew round the room taking his partner with him. He glided silently on one foot half across the room, and seeming not to notice the chairs was dashing straight at them, when suddenly, clinking his spurs and spreading out his legs, he stopped short on his heels, stood so a second, stamped on the spot clanking his spurs, whirled rapidly round, and, striking his left heel against his right, flew round again in a circle. Natasha guessed what he meant to do, and abandoning herself to him followed his lead hardly knowing how. First he spun her round, holding her now with his left, now with his right hand, then falling on one knee he twirled her round him, and again jumping up, dashed so impetuously forward that it seemed as if he would rush through the whole suite of rooms without drawing breath, and then he suddenly stopped and performed some new and unexpected steps. When at last, smartly whirling his partner round in front of her chair, he drew up with a click of his spurs and bowed to her, Natasha did not even make him a curtsy. She fixed her eyes on him in amazement, smiling as if she did not recognize him. "What does this mean?" she brought out. Although Iogel did not acknowledge this to be the real mazurka, everyone was delighted with Denisovs skill, he was asked again and again as a partner, and the old men began smilingly to talk about Poland and the good old days. Denisov, flushed after the mazurka and mopping himself with his handkerchief, sat down by Natasha and did not leave her for the rest of the evening. CHAPTER XIII For two days after that Rostov did not see Dolokhov at his own or at Dolokhovs home: on the third day he received a note from him: As I do not intend to be at your house again for reasons you know of, and am going to rejoin my regiment, I am giving a farewell supper tonight to my friends--come to the English Hotel. About ten oclock Rostov went to the English Hotel straight from the theater, where he had been with his family and Denisov. He was at once shown to the best room, which Dolokhov had taken for that evening. Some twenty men were gathered round a table at which Dolokhov sat between two candles. On the table was a pile of gold and paper money, and he was keeping the bank. Rostov had not seen him since his proposal and Sonyas refusal and felt uncomfortable at the thought of how they would meet. Dolokhovs clear, cold glance met Rostov as soon as he entered the door, as though he had long expected him. "Its a long time since we met," he said. "Thanks for coming. Ill just finish dealing, and then Ilyushka will come with his chorus." "I called once or twice at your house," said Rostov, reddening. Dolokhov made no reply. "You may punt," he said. Rostov recalled at that moment a strange conversation he had once had with Dolokhov. "None but fools trust to luck in play," Dolokhov had then said. "Or are you afraid to play with me?" Dolokhov now asked as if guessing Rostovs thought. Beneath his smile Rostov saw in him the mood he had shown at the Club dinner and at other times, when as if tired of everyday life he had felt a need to escape from

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